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Job’s Second Speech: A Response to Eliphaz

Then Job spoke again:

“If my misery could be weighed
    and my troubles be put on the scales,
they would outweigh all the sands of the sea.
    That is why I spoke impulsively.
For the Almighty has struck me down with his arrows.
    Their poison infects my spirit.
    God’s terrors are lined up against me.
Don’t I have a right to complain?
    Don’t wild donkeys bray when they find no grass,
    and oxen bellow when they have no food?
Don’t people complain about unsalted food?
    Does anyone want the tasteless white of an egg?[a]
My appetite disappears when I look at it;
    I gag at the thought of eating it!

“Oh, that I might have my request,
    that God would grant my desire.
I wish he would crush me.
    I wish he would reach out his hand and kill me.
10 At least I can take comfort in this:
    Despite the pain,
    I have not denied the words of the Holy One.
11 But I don’t have the strength to endure.
    I have nothing to live for.
12 Do I have the strength of a stone?
    Is my body made of bronze?
13 No, I am utterly helpless,
    without any chance of success.

14 “One should be kind to a fainting friend,
    but you accuse me without any fear of the Almighty.[b]
15 My brothers, you have proved as unreliable as a seasonal brook
    that overflows its banks in the spring
16     when it is swollen with ice and melting snow.
17 But when the hot weather arrives, the water disappears.
    The brook vanishes in the heat.
18 The caravans turn aside to be refreshed,
    but there is nothing to drink, so they die.
19 The caravans from Tema search for this water;
    the travelers from Sheba hope to find it.
20 They count on it but are disappointed.
    When they arrive, their hopes are dashed.
21 You, too, have given no help.
    You have seen my calamity, and you are afraid.
22 But why? Have I ever asked you for a gift?
    Have I begged for anything of yours for myself?
23 Have I asked you to rescue me from my enemies,
    or to save me from ruthless people?
24 Teach me, and I will keep quiet.
    Show me what I have done wrong.
25 Honest words can be painful,
    but what do your criticisms amount to?
26 Do you think your words are convincing
    when you disregard my cry of desperation?
27 You would even send an orphan into slavery[c]
    or sell a friend.
28 Look at me!
    Would I lie to your face?
29 Stop assuming my guilt,
    for I have done no wrong.
30 Do you think I am lying?
    Don’t I know the difference between right and wrong?

“Is not all human life a struggle?
    Our lives are like that of a hired hand,
like a worker who longs for the shade,
    like a servant waiting to be paid.
I, too, have been assigned months of futility,
    long and weary nights of misery.
Lying in bed, I think, ‘When will it be morning?’
    But the night drags on, and I toss till dawn.
My body is covered with maggots and scabs.
    My skin breaks open, oozing with pus.

Job Cries Out to God

“My days fly faster than a weaver’s shuttle.
    They end without hope.
O God, remember that my life is but a breath,
    and I will never again feel happiness.
You see me now, but not for long.
    You will look for me, but I will be gone.
Just as a cloud dissipates and vanishes,
    those who die[d] will not come back.
10 They are gone forever from their home—
    never to be seen again.

11 “I cannot keep from speaking.
    I must express my anguish.
    My bitter soul must complain.
12 Am I a sea monster or a dragon
    that you must place me under guard?
13 I think, ‘My bed will comfort me,
    and sleep will ease my misery,’
14 but then you shatter me with dreams
    and terrify me with visions.
15 I would rather be strangled—
    rather die than suffer like this.
16 I hate my life and don’t want to go on living.
    Oh, leave me alone for my few remaining days.

17 “What are people, that you should make so much of us,
    that you should think of us so often?
18 For you examine us every morning
    and test us every moment.
19 Why won’t you leave me alone,
    at least long enough for me to swallow!
20 If I have sinned, what have I done to you,
    O watcher of all humanity?
Why make me your target?
    Am I a burden to you?[e]
21 Why not just forgive my sin
    and take away my guilt?
For soon I will lie down in the dust and die.
    When you look for me, I will be gone.”

Footnotes

  1. 6:6 Or the tasteless juice of the mallow plant?
  2. 6:14 Or friend, / or he might lose his fear of the Almighty.
  3. 6:27 Hebrew even gamble over an orphan.
  4. 7:9 Hebrew who go down to Sheol.
  5. 7:20 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads target, so that I am a burden to myself?

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