2 “Can a man be of benefit to God? Can even a wise person benefit him? 3 What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous? What would he gain if your ways were blameless?
4 “Is it for your piety that he rebukes you and brings charges against you? 5 Is not your wickedness great? Are not your sins endless? 6 You demanded security from your relatives for no reason; you stripped people of their clothing, leaving them naked. 7 You gave no water to the weary and you withheld food from the hungry, 8 though you were a powerful man, owning land— an honored man, living on it. 9 And you sent widows away empty-handed and broke the strength of the fatherless. 10 That is why snares are all around you, why sudden peril terrifies you, 11 why it is so dark you cannot see, and why a flood of water covers you.
12 “Is not God in the heights of heaven? And see how lofty are the highest stars! 13 Yet you say, ‘What does God know? Does he judge through such darkness? 14 Thick clouds veil him, so he does not see us as he goes about in the vaulted heavens.’ 15 Will you keep to the old path that the wicked have trod? 16 They were carried off before their time, their foundations washed away by a flood. 17 They said to God, ‘Leave us alone! What can the Almighty do to us?’ 18 Yet it was he who filled their houses with good things, so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked. 19 The righteous see their ruin and rejoice; the innocent mock them, saying, 20 ‘Surely our foes are destroyed, and fire devours their wealth.’
21 “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. 22 Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. 23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent 24 and assign your nuggets to the dust, your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines, 25 then the Almighty will be your gold, the choicest silver for you. 26 Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty and will lift up your face to God. 27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows. 28 What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways. 29 When people are brought low and you say, ‘Lift them up!’ then he will save the downcast. 30 He will deliver even one who is not innocent, who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”
23 Then Job replied:
2 “Even today my complaint is bitter; his hand[a] is heavy in spite of[b] my groaning. 3 If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! 4 I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. 5 I would find out what he would answer me, and consider what he would say to me. 6 Would he vigorously oppose me? No, he would not press charges against me. 7 There the upright can establish their innocence before him, and there I would be delivered forever from my judge.
8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. 9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. 14 He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. 15 That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him. 16 God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me. 17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face.
24 “Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days? 2 There are those who move boundary stones; they pasture flocks they have stolen. 3 They drive away the orphan’s donkey and take the widow’s ox in pledge. 4 They thrust the needy from the path and force all the poor of the land into hiding. 5 Like wild donkeys in the desert, the poor go about their labor of foraging food; the wasteland provides food for their children. 6 They gather fodder in the fields and glean in the vineyards of the wicked. 7 Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked; they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold. 8 They are drenched by mountain rains and hug the rocks for lack of shelter. 9 The fatherless child is snatched from the breast; the infant of the poor is seized for a debt. 10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked; they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry. 11 They crush olives among the terraces[c]; they tread the winepresses, yet suffer thirst. 12 The groans of the dying rise from the city, and the souls of the wounded cry out for help. But God charges no one with wrongdoing.
13 “There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay in its paths. 14 When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up, kills the poor and needy, and in the night steals forth like a thief. 15 The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk; he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’ and he keeps his face concealed. 16 In the dark, thieves break into houses, but by day they shut themselves in; they want nothing to do with the light. 17 For all of them, midnight is their morning; they make friends with the terrors of darkness.
18 “Yet they are foam on the surface of the water; their portion of the land is cursed, so that no one goes to the vineyards. 19 As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow, so the grave snatches away those who have sinned. 20 The womb forgets them, the worm feasts on them; the wicked are no longer remembered but are broken like a tree. 21 They prey on the barren and childless woman, and to the widow they show no kindness. 22 But God drags away the mighty by his power; though they become established, they have no assurance of life. 23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but his eyes are on their ways. 24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone; they are brought low and gathered up like all others; they are cut off like heads of grain.
25 “If this is not so, who can prove me false and reduce my words to nothing?”
25 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
2 “Dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes order in the heights of heaven. 3 Can his forces be numbered? On whom does his light not rise? 4 How then can a mortal be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure? 5 If even the moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in his eyes, 6 how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot— a human being, who is only a worm!”
26 Then Job replied:
2 “How you have helped the powerless! How you have saved the arm that is feeble! 3 What advice you have offered to one without wisdom! And what great insight you have displayed! 4 Who has helped you utter these words? And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?
5 “The dead are in deep anguish, those beneath the waters and all that live in them. 6 The realm of the dead is naked before God; Destruction[d] lies uncovered. 7 He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. 8 He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. 9 He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. 10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness. 11 The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke. 12 By his power he churned up the sea; by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces. 13 By his breath the skies became fair; his hand pierced the gliding serpent. 14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”
Job’s Final Word to His Friends
27 And Job continued his discourse:
2 “As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made my life bitter, 3 as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, 4 my lips will not say anything wicked, and my tongue will not utter lies. 5 I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. 6 I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.
7 “May my enemy be like the wicked, my adversary like the unjust! 8 For what hope have the godless when they are cut off, when God takes away their life? 9 Does God listen to their cry when distress comes upon them? 10 Will they find delight in the Almighty? Will they call on God at all times?
11 “I will teach you about the power of God; the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal. 12 You have all seen this yourselves. Why then this meaningless talk?
13 “Here is the fate God allots to the wicked, the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty: 14 However many his children, their fate is the sword; his offspring will never have enough to eat. 15 The plague will bury those who survive him, and their widows will not weep for them. 16 Though he heaps up silver like dust and clothes like piles of clay, 17 what he lays up the righteous will wear, and the innocent will divide his silver. 18 The house he builds is like a moth’s cocoon, like a hut made by a watchman. 19 He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more; when he opens his eyes, all is gone. 20 Terrors overtake him like a flood; a tempest snatches him away in the night. 21 The east wind carries him off, and he is gone; it sweeps him out of his place. 22 It hurls itself against him without mercy as he flees headlong from its power. 23 It claps its hands in derision and hisses him out of his place.”
Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found
28 There is a mine for silver and a place where gold is refined. 2 Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore. 3 Mortals put an end to the darkness; they search out the farthest recesses for ore in the blackest darkness. 4 Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft, in places untouched by human feet; far from other people they dangle and sway. 5 The earth, from which food comes, is transformed below as by fire; 6 lapis lazuli comes from its rocks, and its dust contains nuggets of gold. 7 No bird of prey knows that hidden path, no falcon’s eye has seen it. 8 Proud beasts do not set foot on it, and no lion prowls there. 9 People assault the flinty rock with their hands and lay bare the roots of the mountains. 10 They tunnel through the rock; their eyes see all its treasures. 11 They search[e] the sources of the rivers and bring hidden things to light.
12 But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? 13 No mortal comprehends its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living. 14 The deep says, “It is not in me”; the sea says, “It is not with me.” 15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold, nor can its price be weighed out in silver. 16 It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir, with precious onyx or lapis lazuli. 17 Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it, nor can it be had for jewels of gold. 18 Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention; the price of wisdom is beyond rubies. 19 The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it; it cannot be bought with pure gold.
20 Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell? 21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing, concealed even from the birds in the sky. 22 Destruction[f] and Death say, “Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.” 23 God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells, 24 for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. 25 When he established the force of the wind and measured out the waters, 26 when he made a decree for the rain and a path for the thunderstorm, 27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it; he confirmed it and tested it. 28 And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”
Job 23:2Septuagint and Syriac; Hebrew / the hand on me
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