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Job Finishes His Defense

29 Job again took up his discourse and said:(A)

“O that I were as in the months of old,
    as in the days when God watched over me,(B)
when his lamp shone over my head,
    and by his light I walked through darkness,(C)
when I was in my prime,
    when the friendship of God was upon my tent,(D)
when the Almighty[a] was still with me,
    when my children were around me,
when my steps were washed with milk
    and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!(E)
When I went out to the gate of the city,
    when I took my seat in the square,
the young men saw me and withdrew,
    and the aged rose up and stood;
the nobles refrained from talking
    and laid their hands on their mouths;(F)
10 the voices of princes were hushed,
    and their tongues stuck to the roofs of their mouths.(G)
11 When the ear heard, it commended me,
    and when the eye saw, it approved,
12 because I delivered the poor who cried
    and the orphan who had no helper.(H)
13 The blessing of the wretched came upon me,
    and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.(I)
14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
    my justice was like a robe and a turban.(J)
15 I was eyes to the blind
    and feet to the lame.
16 I was a father to the needy,
    and I championed the cause of the stranger.(K)
17 I broke the fangs of the unrighteous
    and made them drop their prey from their teeth.(L)
18 Then I thought, ‘I shall die in my nest,
    and I shall multiply my days like the phoenix;[b](M)
19 my roots spread out to the waters,
    with the dew all night on my branches;(N)
20 my glory was fresh with me
    and my bow ever new in my hand.’(O)

21 “They listened to me and waited
    and kept silence for my counsel.(P)
22 After I spoke they did not speak again,
    and my word dropped upon them like dew.[c](Q)
23 They waited for me as for the rain;
    they opened their mouths as for the spring rain.
24 I smiled on them when they had no confidence,
    and the light of my countenance they did not extinguish.[d]
25 I chose what they should do and sat as chief,
    and I lived like a king among his troops,
    like one who comforts mourners.(R)

30 “But now they make sport of me,
    those who are younger than I,
whose fathers I would have disdained
    to set with the dogs of my flock.(S)
What could I gain from the strength of their hands?
    All their vigor is gone.
Through want and hard hunger
    they gnaw the dry and desolate ground;
they pick mallow and the leaves of bushes
    and to warm themselves the roots of broom.
They are driven out from society;
    people shout after them as after a thief.
In the gullies of wadis they must live,
    in holes in the ground and in the rocks.
Among the bushes they bray;
    under the nettles they huddle together.
A senseless, disreputable brood,
    they have been whipped out of the land.

“And now they mock me in song;
    I am a byword to them.(T)
10 They abhor me; they keep aloof from me;
    they do not hesitate to spit at the sight of me.(U)
11 Because God has loosed my bowstring and humbled me,
    they have cast off restraint in my presence.(V)
12 On my right hand the rabble rise up;
    they send me sprawling
    and build roads for my ruin.(W)
13 They break up my path;
    they promote my calamity;
    no one restrains[e] them.
14 As through a wide breach they come;
    amid the crash they roll on.
15 Terrors are turned upon me;
    my honor is pursued as by the wind,
    and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud.(X)

16 “And now my soul is poured out within me;
    days of affliction have taken hold of me.(Y)
17 The night racks my bones,
    and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.
18 With violence he seizes my garment;[f]
    he grasps me by[g] the collar of my tunic.
19 He has cast me into the mire,
    and I have become like dust and ashes.(Z)
20 I cry to you, and you do not answer me;
    I stand, and you merely look at me.(AA)
21 You have turned cruel to me;
    with the might of your hand you persecute me.(AB)
22 You lift me up on the wind, you make me ride on it,
    and you toss me about in the roar of the storm.(AC)
23 I know that you will bring me to death,
    to the house appointed for all living.(AD)

24 “Surely one does not turn against the needy,[h]
    when in disaster they cry for help.[i](AE)
25 Did I not weep for those whose day was hard?
    Was not my soul grieved for the poor?(AF)
26 But when I looked for good, evil came,
    and when I waited for light, darkness came.(AG)
27 My inward parts are in turmoil and are never still;
    days of affliction come to meet me.
28 I go about in sunless gloom;
    I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.(AH)
29 I am a brother of jackals
    and a companion of ostriches.(AI)
30 My skin turns black and falls from me,
    and my bones burn with heat.(AJ)
31 My lyre is turned to mourning
    and my pipe to the voice of those who weep.(AK)


  1. 29.5 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  2. 29.18 Or like sand
  3. 29.22 Heb lacks like dew
  4. 29.24 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  5. 30.13 Cn: Heb helps
  6. 30.18 Gk: Heb my garment is disfigured
  7. 30.18 Heb like
  8. 30.24 Heb ruin
  9. 30.24 Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain