2 “If we dare to converse with you, will you be impatient [or offended]? But who can restrain himself from speaking? 3 “Behold, you have admonished and instructed many, And you have strengthened weak hands. 4 “Your words have helped the one who was stumbling to stand, And you have strengthened feeble knees. 5 “But now [a]adversity comes upon you, and you are impatient and intolerant; It touches you, and you are horrified. 6 “Is not your fear of God your confidence, And [is not] the integrity and uprightness of your ways your hope?
7 “Remember now, who, being innocent, ever perished? Or where [and in what circumstances] were those upright and in right standing with God destroyed? 8 “As I have seen, those who plow wickedness And those who sow trouble and harm harvest it. 9 “By the breath of God they perish, And by the blast of His anger they are consumed. 10 “The roaring of the lion and the voice of the fierce lion, And the teeth of the young lions are broken. 11 “The lion perishes for lack of prey, And the cubs of the lioness are scattered.
12 “Now a word was secretly brought to me, And my ear received a whisper of it. 13 “Amid disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, When deep sleep falls on men, 14 Dread and trembling came upon me, Which made all my bones shake. 15 “Then a spirit passed before my face; The hair on my skin stood on end! 16 “The spirit stood still, but I could not discern its appearance; A form was before my eyes; There was silence, and then I heard a voice, saying: 17 ‘Can [mortal] man be just before God or be more righteous than He? Can a man be pure before his Maker or be more cleansed than He? 18 ‘God puts no trust or confidence, even in His [heavenly] servants, And He charges His angels with error. 19 ‘How much more [will He blame and charge] those who dwell in houses (bodies) of clay, Whose foundations are in the dust, Who are crushed like a moth. 20 ‘Between morning and evening they are broken in pieces and destroyed; Unobserved and unnoticed, they perish forever. 21 ‘Is not their tent-cord drawn up within them [so that the tent collapses]? Do they not die, and yet without [acquiring] wisdom?’
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