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Job 31-32 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

31 “I have made a covenant with my eyes;
    how then could I look upon a virgin?
What would be my portion from God above,
    and my heritage from the Almighty[a] on high?
Does not calamity befall the unrighteous,
    and disaster the workers of iniquity?
Does he not see my ways,
    and number all my steps?

“If I have walked with falsehood,
    and my foot has hurried to deceit—
let me be weighed in a just balance,
    and let God know my integrity!—
if my step has turned aside from the way,
    and my heart has followed my eyes,
    and if any spot has clung to my hands;
then let me sow, and another eat;
    and let what grows for me be rooted out.

“If my heart has been enticed by a woman,
    and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door;
10 then let my wife grind for another,
    and let other men kneel over her.
11 For that would be a heinous crime;
    that would be a criminal offense;
12 for that would be a fire consuming down to Abaddon,
    and it would burn to the root all my harvest.

13 “If I have rejected the cause of my male or female slaves,
    when they brought a complaint against me;
14 what then shall I do when God rises up?
    When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him?
15 Did not he who made me in the womb make them?
    And did not one fashion us in the womb?

16 “If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,
    or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
17 or have eaten my morsel alone,
    and the orphan has not eaten from it—
18 for from my youth I reared the orphan[b] like a father,
    and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow[c]
19 if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,
    or a poor person without covering,
20 whose loins have not blessed me,
    and who was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;
21 if I have raised my hand against the orphan,
    because I saw I had supporters at the gate;
22 then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder,
    and let my arm be broken from its socket.
23 For I was in terror of calamity from God,
    and I could not have faced his majesty.

24 “If I have made gold my trust,
    or called fine gold my confidence;
25 if I have rejoiced because my wealth was great,
    or because my hand had gotten much;
26 if I have looked at the sun[d] when it shone,
    or the moon moving in splendor,
27 and my heart has been secretly enticed,
    and my mouth has kissed my hand;
28 this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges,
    for I should have been false to God above.

29 “If I have rejoiced at the ruin of those who hated me,
    or exulted when evil overtook them—
30 I have not let my mouth sin
    by asking for their lives with a curse—
31 if those of my tent ever said,
    ‘O that we might be sated with his flesh!’[e]
32 the stranger has not lodged in the street;
    I have opened my doors to the traveler—
33 if I have concealed my transgressions as others do,[f]
    by hiding my iniquity in my bosom,
34 because I stood in great fear of the multitude,
    and the contempt of families terrified me,
    so that I kept silence, and did not go out of doors—
35 O that I had one to hear me!
    (Here is my signature! Let the Almighty[g] answer me!)
    O that I had the indictment written by my adversary!
36 Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;
    I would bind it on me like a crown;
37 I would give him an account of all my steps;
    like a prince I would approach him.

38 “If my land has cried out against me,
    and its furrows have wept together;
39 if I have eaten its yield without payment,
    and caused the death of its owners;
40 let thorns grow instead of wheat,
    and foul weeds instead of barley.”

The words of Job are ended.

Elihu Rebukes Job’s Friends

32 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became angry. He was angry at Job because he justified himself rather than God; he was angry also at Job’s three friends because they had found no answer, though they had declared Job to be in the wrong.[h] Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job, because they were older than he. But when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouths of these three men, he became angry.

Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite answered:

“I am young in years,
    and you are aged;
therefore I was timid and afraid
    to declare my opinion to you.
I said, ‘Let days speak,
    and many years teach wisdom.’
But truly it is the spirit in a mortal,
    the breath of the Almighty,[i] that makes for understanding.
It is not the old[j] that are wise,
    nor the aged that understand what is right.
10 Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me;
    let me also declare my opinion.’

11 “See, I waited for your words,
    I listened for your wise sayings,
    while you searched out what to say.
12 I gave you my attention,
    but there was in fact no one that confuted Job,
    no one among you that answered his words.
13 Yet do not say, ‘We have found wisdom;
    God may vanquish him, not a human.’
14 He has not directed his words against me,
    and I will not answer him with your speeches.

15 “They are dismayed, they answer no more;
    they have not a word to say.
16 And am I to wait, because they do not speak,
    because they stand there, and answer no more?
17 I also will give my answer;
    I also will declare my opinion.
18 For I am full of words;
    the spirit within me constrains me.
19 My heart is indeed like wine that has no vent;
    like new wineskins, it is ready to burst.
20 I must speak, so that I may find relief;
    I must open my lips and answer.
21 I will not show partiality to any person
    or use flattery toward anyone.
22 For I do not know how to flatter—
    or my Maker would soon put an end to me!

Footnotes:

  1. Job 31:2 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  2. Job 31:18 Heb him
  3. Job 31:18 Heb her
  4. Job 31:26 Heb the light
  5. Job 31:31 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  6. Job 31:33 Or as Adam did
  7. Job 31:35 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  8. Job 32:3 Another ancient tradition reads answer, and had put God in the wrong
  9. Job 32:8 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  10. Job 32:9 Gk Syr Vg: Heb many
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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