Job Replies to Eliphaz

God Has Dumped the Works on Me

1-7 Job answered:

“If my misery could be weighed,
    if you could pile the whole bitter load on the scales,
It would be heavier than all the sand of the sea!
    Is it any wonder that I’m howling like a caged cat?
The arrows of God Almighty are in me,
    poison arrows—and I’m poisoned all through!
    God has dumped the whole works on me.
Donkeys bray and cows moo when they run out of pasture—
    so don’t expect me to keep quiet in this.
Do you see what God has dished out for me?
    It’s enough to turn anyone’s stomach!
Everything in me is repulsed by it—
    it makes me sick.

Pressed Past the Limits

8-13 “All I want is an answer to one prayer,
    a last request to be honored:
Let God step on me—squash me like a bug,
    and be done with me for good.
I’d at least have the satisfaction
    of not having blasphemed the Holy God,
    before being pressed past the limits.
Where’s the strength to keep my hopes up?
    What future do I have to keep me going?
Do you think I have nerves of steel?
    Do you think I’m made of iron?
Do you think I can pull myself up by my bootstraps?
    Why, I don’t even have any boots!

My So-Called Friends

14-23 “When desperate people give up on God Almighty,
    their friends, at least, should stick with them.
But my brothers are fickle as a gulch in the desert—
    one day they’re gushing with water
From melting ice and snow
    cascading out of the mountains,
But by midsummer they’re dry,
    gullies baked dry in the sun.
Travelers who spot them and go out of their way for a drink
    end up in a waterless gulch and die of thirst.
Merchant caravans from Tema see them and expect water,
    tourists from Sheba hope for a cool drink.
They arrive so confident—but what a disappointment!
    They get there, and their faces fall!
And you, my so-called friends, are no better—
        there’s nothing to you!
    One look at a hard scene and you shrink in fear.
It’s not as though I asked you for anything—
    I didn’t ask you for one red cent—
Nor did I beg you to go out on a limb for me.
    So why all this dodging and shuffling?

24-27 “Confront me with the truth and I’ll shut up,
    show me where I’ve gone off the track.
Honest words never hurt anyone,
    but what’s the point of all this pious bluster?
You pretend to tell me what’s wrong with my life,
    but treat my words of anguish as so much hot air.
Are people mere things to you?
    Are friends just items of profit and loss?

28-30 “Look me in the eyes!
    Do you think I’d lie to your face?
Think it over—no double-talk!
    Think carefully—my integrity is on the line!
Can you detect anything false in what I say?
    Don’t you trust me to discern good from evil?”

There’s Nothing to My Life

1-6 “Human life is a struggle, isn’t it?
    It’s a life sentence to hard labor.
Like field hands longing for quitting time
    and working stiffs with nothing to hope for but payday,
I’m given a life that meanders and goes nowhere—
    months of aimlessness, nights of misery!
I go to bed and think, ‘How long till I can get up?’
    I toss and turn as the night drags on—and I’m fed up!
I’m covered with maggots and scabs.
    My skin gets scaly and hard, then oozes with pus.
My days come and go swifter than the click of knitting needles,
    and then the yarn runs out—an unfinished life!

7-10 “God, don’t forget that I’m only a wisp of air!
    These eyes have had their last look at goodness.
And your eyes have seen the last of me;
    even while you’re looking, there’ll be nothing left to look at.
When a cloud evaporates, it’s gone for good;
    those who go to the grave never come back.
They don’t return to visit their families;
    never again will friends drop in for coffee.

11-16 “And so I’m not keeping one bit of this quiet,
    I’m laying it all out on the table;
    my complaining to high heaven is bitter, but honest.
Are you going to put a muzzle on me,
    the way you quiet the sea and still the storm?
If I say, ‘I’m going to bed, then I’ll feel better.
    A little nap will lift my spirits,’
You come and so scare me with nightmares
    and frighten me with ghosts
That I’d rather strangle in the sheets
    than face this kind of life any longer.
I hate this life! Who needs any more of this?
    Let me alone! There’s nothing to my life—it’s nothing
        but smoke.

17-21 “What are mortals anyway, that you bother with them,
    that you even give them the time of day?
That you check up on them every morning,
    looking in on them to see how they’re doing?
Let up on me, will you?
    Can’t you even let me spit in peace?
Even suppose I’d sinned—how would that hurt you?
    You’re responsible for every human being.
Don’t you have better things to do than pick on me?
    Why make a federal case out of me?
Why don’t you just forgive my sins
    and start me off with a clean slate?
The way things are going, I’ll soon be dead.
    You’ll look high and low, but I won’t be around.”

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