Job’s Discourse on the Wicked

21 Then Job answered and said:

“Listen carefully to my speech,
And let this be your [a]consolation.
Bear with me that I may speak,
And after I have spoken, keep (A)mocking.

“As for me, is my complaint against man?
And if it were, why should I not be impatient?
Look at me and be astonished;
(B)Put your hand over your mouth.
Even when I remember I am terrified,
And trembling takes hold of my flesh.
(C)Why do the wicked live and become old,
Yes, become mighty in power?
Their descendants are established with them in their sight,
And their offspring before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear,
(D)Neither is [b]the rod of God upon them.
10 Their bull breeds without failure;
Their cow calves (E)without miscarriage.
11 They send forth their little ones like a flock,
And their children dance.
12 They sing to the tambourine and harp,
And rejoice to the sound of the flute.
13 They (F)spend their days in wealth,
And [c]in a moment go down to the [d]grave.
14 (G)Yet they say to God, ‘Depart from us,
For we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways.
15 (H)Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him?
And (I)what profit do we have if we pray to Him?’
16 Indeed [e]their prosperity is not in their hand;
(J)The counsel of the wicked is far from me.

17 “How often is the lamp of the wicked put out?
How often does their destruction come upon them,
The sorrows God (K)distributes in His anger?
18 (L)They are like straw before the wind,
And like chaff that a storm [f]carries away.
19 They say, ‘God [g]lays up [h]one’s iniquity (M)for his children’;
Let Him recompense him, that he may know it.
20 Let his eyes see his destruction,
And (N)let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
21 For what does he care about his household after him,
When the number of his months is cut in half?

22 “Can(O) anyone teach God knowledge,
Since He judges those on high?
23 One dies in his full strength,
Being wholly at ease and secure;
24 His [i]pails are full of milk,
And the marrow of his bones is moist.
25 Another man dies in the bitterness of his soul,
Never having eaten with pleasure.
26 They (P)lie down alike in the dust,
And worms cover them.

27 “Look, I know your thoughts,
And the schemes with which you would wrong me.
28 For you say,
‘Where is the house of the prince?
And where is [j]the tent,
The dwelling place of the wicked?’
29 Have you not asked those who travel the road?
And do you not know their signs?
30 (Q)For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom;
They shall be brought out on the day of wrath.
31 Who condemns his way to his face?
And who repays him for what he has done?
32 Yet he shall be brought to the grave,
And a vigil kept over the tomb.
33 The clods of the valley shall be sweet to him;
(R)Everyone shall follow him,
As countless have gone before him.
34 How then can you comfort me with empty words,
Since [k]falsehood remains in your answers?”

Eliphaz Accuses Job of Wickedness

22 Then (S)Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

“Can(T) a man be profitable to God,
Though he who is wise may be profitable to himself?
Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that you are righteous?
Or is it gain to Him that you make your ways blameless?

“Is it because of your fear of Him that He corrects you,
And enters into judgment with you?
Is not your wickedness great,
And your iniquity without end?
For you have (U)taken pledges from your brother for no reason,
And stripped the naked of their clothing.
You have not given the weary water to drink,
And you (V)have withheld bread from the hungry.
But the [l]mighty man possessed the land,
And the honorable man dwelt in it.
You have sent widows away empty,
And the [m]strength of the fatherless was crushed.
10 Therefore snares are all around you,
And sudden fear troubles you,
11 Or darkness so that you cannot see;
And an abundance of (W)water covers you.

12 “Is not God in the height of heaven?
And see the highest stars, how lofty they are!
13 And you say, (X)‘What does God know?
Can He judge through the deep darkness?
14 (Y)Thick clouds cover Him, so that He cannot see,
And He walks above the circle of heaven.’
15 Will you keep to the old way
Which wicked men have trod,
16 Who (Z)were cut down before their time,
Whose foundations were swept away by a flood?
17 (AA)They said to God, ‘Depart from us!
What can the Almighty do to [n]them?’
18 Yet He filled their houses with good things;
But the counsel of the wicked is far from me.

19 “The(AB) righteous see it and are glad,
And the innocent laugh at them:
20 ‘Surely our [o]adversaries are cut down,
And the fire consumes their remnant.’

21 “Now acquaint yourself with Him, and (AC)be at peace;
Thereby good will come to you.
22 Receive, please, (AD)instruction from His mouth,
And (AE)lay up His words in your heart.
23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up;
You will remove iniquity far from your tents.
24 Then you will (AF)lay your gold in the dust,
And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks.
25 Yes, the Almighty will be your [p]gold
And your precious silver;
26 For then you will have your (AG)delight in the Almighty,
And lift up your face to God.
27 (AH)You will make your prayer to Him,
He will hear you,
And you will pay your vows.
28 You will also declare a thing,
And it will be established for you;
So light will shine on your ways.
29 When they cast you down, and you say, ‘Exaltation will come!
Then (AI)He will save the humble person.
30 He will even deliver one who is not innocent;
Yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands.”

Job Proclaims God’s Righteous Judgments

23 Then Job answered and said:

“Even today my (AJ)complaint is bitter;
[q]My hand is listless because of my groaning.
(AK)Oh, that I knew where I might find Him,
That I might come to His seat!
I would present my case before Him,
And fill my mouth with arguments.
I would know the words which He would answer me,
And understand what He would say to me.
(AL)Would He contend with me in His great power?
No! But He would take note of me.
There the upright could reason with Him,
And I would be delivered forever from my Judge.

“Look,(AM) I go forward, but He is not there,
And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;
When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him;
When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.
10 But (AN)He knows the way that I take;
When (AO)He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
11 (AP)My foot has held fast to His steps;
I have kept His way and not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from the (AQ)commandment of His lips;
(AR)I have treasured the words of His mouth
More than my [r]necessary food.

13 “But He is unique, and who can make Him change?
And whatever (AS)His soul desires, that He does.
14 For He performs what is (AT)appointed for me,
And many such things are with Him.
15 Therefore I am terrified at His presence;
When I consider this, I am afraid of Him.
16 For God (AU)made my heart weak,
And the Almighty terrifies me;
17 Because I was not (AV)cut off [s]from the presence of darkness,
And He did not hide deep darkness from my face.


  1. Job 21:2 comfort
  2. Job 21:9 The rod of God’s chastisement
  3. Job 21:13 Without lingering
  4. Job 21:13 Or Sheol
  5. Job 21:16 Lit. their goal
  6. Job 21:18 steals away
  7. Job 21:19 stores up
  8. Job 21:19 Lit. his
  9. Job 21:24 LXX, Vg. bowels; Syr. sides; Tg. breasts
  10. Job 21:28 Vg. omits the tent
  11. Job 21:34 faithlessness
  12. Job 22:8 Lit. man of arm
  13. Job 22:9 Lit. arms
  14. Job 22:17 LXX, Syr. us
  15. Job 22:20 LXX substance is
  16. Job 22:25 Ancient vss. suggest defense; MT gold, as in v. 24
  17. Job 23:2 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; LXX, Syr. His
  18. Job 23:12 Lit. appointed portion
  19. Job 23:17 Or by or before

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