2 “How long will you say these things, and the words of your mouth be a great wind? 3 Does God pervert justice? Or does the Almighty pervert the right? 4 If your children have sinned against him, he has delivered them into the hand of their transgression. 5 If you will seek God and plead with the Almighty for mercy, 6 if you are pure and upright, surely then he will rouse himself for you and restore your rightful habitation. 7 And though your beginning was small, your latter days will be very great.
8 “For inquire, please, of bygone ages, and consider what the fathers have searched out. 9 For we are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow. 10 Will they not teach you and tell you and utter words out of their understanding?
11 “Can papyrus grow where there is no marsh? Can reeds flourish where there is no water? 12 While yet in flower and not cut down, they wither before any other plant. 13 Such are the paths of all who forget God; the hope of the godless shall perish. 14 His confidence is severed, and his trust is a spider's web.[a] 15 He leans against his house, but it does not stand; he lays hold of it, but it does not endure. 16 He is a lush plant before the sun, and his shoots spread over his garden. 17 His roots entwine the stone heap; he looks upon a house of stones. 18 If he is destroyed from his place, then it will deny him, saying, ‘I have never seen you.’ 19 Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the soil others will spring.
20 “Behold, God will not reject a blameless man, nor take the hand of evildoers. 21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting. 22 Those who hate you will be clothed with shame, and the tent of the wicked will be no more.”
Job Replies: There Is No Arbiter
9 Then Job answered and said:
2 “Truly I know that it is so: But how can a man be in the right before God? 3 If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times. 4 He is wise in heart and mighty in strength —who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?— 5 he who removes mountains, and they know it not, when he overturns them in his anger, 6 who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; 7 who commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars; 8 who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea; 9 who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south; 10 who does great things beyond searching out, and marvelous things beyond number. 11 Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not; he moves on, but I do not perceive him. 12 Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back? Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’
13 “God will not turn back his anger; beneath him bowed the helpers of Rahab. 14 How then can I answer him, choosing my words with him? 15 Though I am in the right, I cannot answer him; I must appeal for mercy to my accuser.[b] 16 If I summoned him and he answered me, I would not believe that he was listening to my voice. 17 For he crushes me with a tempest and multiplies my wounds without cause; 18 he will not let me get my breath, but fills me with bitterness. 19 If it is a contest of strength, behold, he is mighty! If it is a matter of justice, who can summon him?[c] 20 Though I am in the right, my own mouth would condemn me; though I am blameless, he would prove me perverse. 21 I am blameless; I regard not myself; I loathe my life. 22 It is all one; therefore I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’ 23 When disaster brings sudden death, he mocks at the calamity[d] of the innocent. 24 The earth is given into the hand of the wicked; he covers the faces of its judges— if it is not he, who then is it?
25 “My days are swifter than a runner; they flee away; they see no good. 26 They go by like skiffs of reed, like an eagle swooping on the prey. 27 If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will put off my sad face, and be of good cheer,’ 28 I become afraid of all my suffering, for I know you will not hold me innocent. 29 I shall be condemned; why then do I labor in vain? 30 If I wash myself with snow and cleanse my hands with lye, 31 yet you will plunge me into a pit, and my own clothes will abhor me. 32 For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, that we should come to trial together. 33 There is no[e] arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both. 34 Let him take his rod away from me, and let not dread of him terrify me. 35 Then I would speak without fear of him, for I am not so in myself.
Job Continues: A Plea to God
10 “I loathe my life; I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. 2 I will say to God, Do not condemn me; let me know why you contend against me. 3 Does it seem good to you to oppress, to despise the work of your hands and favor the designs of the wicked? 4 Have you eyes of flesh? Do you see as man sees? 5 Are your days as the days of man, or your years as a man's years, 6 that you seek out my iniquity and search for my sin, 7 although you know that I am not guilty, and there is none to deliver out of your hand? 8 Your hands fashioned and made me, and now you have destroyed me altogether. 9 Remember that you have made me like clay; and will you return me to the dust? 10 Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese? 11 You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. 12 You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit. 13 Yet these things you hid in your heart; I know that this was your purpose. 14 If I sin, you watch me and do not acquit me of my iniquity. 15 If I am guilty, woe to me! If I am in the right, I cannot lift up my head, for I am filled with disgrace and look on my affliction. 16 And were my head lifted up,[f] you would hunt me like a lion and again work wonders against me. 17 You renew your witnesses against me and increase your vexation toward me; you bring fresh troops against me.
18 “Why did you bring me out from the womb? Would that I had died before any eye had seen me 19 and were as though I had not been, carried from the womb to the grave. 20 Are not my days few? Then cease, and leave me alone, that I may find a little cheer 21 before I go—and I shall not return— to the land of darkness and deep shadow, 22 the land of gloom like thick darkness, like deep shadow without any order, where light is as thick darkness.”
Zophar Speaks: You Deserve Worse
11 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:
2 “Should a multitude of words go unanswered, and a man full of talk be judged right? 3 Should your babble silence men, and when you mock, shall no one shame you? 4 For you say, ‘My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in God's[g] eyes.’ 5 But oh, that God would speak and open his lips to you, 6 and that he would tell you the secrets of wisdom! For he is manifold in understanding.[h] Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves.
7 “Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? 8 It is higher than heaven[i]—what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know? 9 Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea. 10 If he passes through and imprisons and summons the court, who can turn him back? 11 For he knows worthless men; when he sees iniquity, will he not consider it? 12 But a stupid man will get understanding when a wild donkey's colt is born a man!
13 “If you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hands toward him. 14 If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents. 15 Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear. 16 You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. 17 And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. 18 And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security. 19 You will lie down, and none will make you afraid; many will court your favor. 20 But the eyes of the wicked will fail; all way of escape will be lost to them, and their hope is to breathe their last.”
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