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Bildad’s First Speech

How Long Will You Talk?

Bildad from Shuah[a] said:

How long will you talk
    and keep saying nothing?
Does God All-Powerful
    stand in the way of justice?
He made your children pay
    for their sins.
So why don’t you turn to him
    and start living right?
Then he will decide
to rescue and restore you
    to your place of honor.
Your future will be brighter
    by far than your past.

Our Ancestors Were Wise

Our ancestors were wise,
    so learn from them.
Our own time has been short,
like a fading shadow,
    and we know very little.
10 But they will instruct you
    with great understanding.

11 Papyrus reeds grow healthy
    only in a swamp,
12 and if the water dries up,
    they die sooner than grass.
13 Such is the hopeless future
    of all who turn from God
14 and trust in something as frail
    as a spider’s web—
15 they take hold and fall
    because it’s so flimsy.
16 Sinful people are like plants
with spreading roots
and plenty
    of sun and water.
17 They wrap their roots tightly
    around rocks.[b]
18 But once they are pulled up,
    they have no more place;
19 their life slips away,[c]
    and other plants grow there.

20 We know God doesn’t reject
an innocent person
    or help a sinner.
21 And so, he will make you happy
and give you something
    to smile about.
22 But your evil enemies
will be put to shame
    and disappear forever.


  1. 8.1 Shuah: See the note at 2.11.
  2. 8.17 rocks: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 17.
  3. 8.19 their. . . away: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.