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Job Cannot Argue with His Creator

This was Job’s response:

“Indeed, I’m fully aware that this is so,
    but how can a person become right with God?
If one were to seek to argue with him,
    he won’t be able to answer him even once in a thousand times.
He is wise in heart and strong in will—
    who can be stubborn against him and succeed?

“He removes mountains without their knowledge,
    overthrowing them in his anger.
He shakes the earth from its orbit,[a]
    so that its foundations shudder.
He commands the sun so that it doesn’t shine[b]
    and seals up the stars.
He alone spreads out the heavens,
    he walks on the waves[c] of the sea.
He created Bear, Orion, the Pleiades,
    and the southern constellations.
10 He does great things that cannot be explained,
    and awesome deeds that cannot be counted.

11 “If he were to pass near me, I wouldn’t notice;
    if he moves by, I wouldn’t perceive him.
12 Indeed, if he snatches someone[d] away,
    who could restrain him?
        Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’

13 “God doesn’t restrain his anger.
    Rahab’s assistants are humiliated under him.
14 So how am I to answer him,
    choosing what I am to say to him?
15 Even if I’m in the right,
    I cannot answer him.
        I can only appeal for mercy.

16 “Were I to be summoned, and he were to answer me,
    I wouldn’t even believe
        that he was listening to what I have to say.[e]
17 For he crushes me with a storm,
    and keeps on wounding me for no reason.
18 He won’t let me catch my breath;
    instead, he fills me with bitterness.

19 “Is this a contest of strength? He is obviously stronger!
    Is this a matter of justice? Who can sue him?
20 Though I’m in the right, my own mouth will condemn me;
    though I’m blameless, he’ll pronounce me as guilty.

21 “I’m blameless;
    I don’t know myself;
        I despise my life.
22 I say it’s all the same—
    he destroys both the blameless and the guilty.[f]
23 If a calamity[g] causes sudden death,
    he’ll mock at the despair of the innocent.
24 A land is given into the hands of a wicked person;[h]
    he covers the faces of its judges.
        If it is not God,[i] then who is it?”

Job Argues that God Won’t Acquit Him

25 “My days pass faster than a runner;
    but they pass quickly without seeing anything good.
26 They pass by like a ship made of reeds,
    like an eagle swooping down on its prey.
27 If I were to say, ‘Let me forget my complaint,’
    change[j] the expression on[k] my face, and look cheerful,
28 then I still dread all of my suffering;
    I know you still won’t acquit me.
29 I will be condemned,
    so why should I wear myself out with this futility?

30 “If I wash myself with water from snow,
    and cleanse my hands with lye,
31 you’ll still drop me into the Pit,[l]
    and my own clothes will despise me.
32 He’s not a man like me,
    so that I can answer him,
        or that we can enter into litigation[m] with one another.
33 There is not yet a mediator between us,
    who would set his hand on the two of us,
34 removing his rod from me,
    and not letting terror of him overwhelm me.
35 Otherwise, I would speak without being terrified of him,
    because I’m not like that inside myself.”


  1. Job 9:6 Lit. place
  2. Job 9:7 Lit. rise
  3. Job 9:8 Lit. high places
  4. Job 9:12 The Heb. lacks someone
  5. Job 9:16 Lit. to my voice
  6. Job 9:22 Or wicked
  7. Job 9:23 Or scourge
  8. Job 9:24 Lit. man
  9. Job 9:24 Lit. he
  10. Job 9:27 Lit. forsake
  11. Job 9:27 The Heb. lacks the expression on
  12. Job 9:31 I.e. the place of punishment in the afterlife
  13. Job 9:32 Lit. controversy


Then Job replied:

“Indeed, I know that this is true.
    But how can mere mortals prove their innocence before God?(A)
Though they wished to dispute with him,(B)
    they could not answer him one time out of a thousand.(C)
His wisdom(D) is profound, his power is vast.(E)
    Who has resisted(F) him and come out unscathed?(G)
He moves mountains(H) without their knowing it
    and overturns them in his anger.(I)
He shakes the earth(J) from its place
    and makes its pillars tremble.(K)
He speaks to the sun and it does not shine;(L)
    he seals off the light of the stars.(M)
He alone stretches out the heavens(N)
    and treads on the waves of the sea.(O)
He is the Maker(P) of the Bear[a] and Orion,
    the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.(Q)
10 He performs wonders(R) that cannot be fathomed,
    miracles that cannot be counted.(S)
11 When he passes me, I cannot see him;
    when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.(T)
12 If he snatches away, who can stop him?(U)
    Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’(V)
13 God does not restrain his anger;(W)
    even the cohorts of Rahab(X) cowered at his feet.

14 “How then can I dispute with him?
    How can I find words to argue with him?(Y)
15 Though I were innocent, I could not answer him;(Z)
    I could only plead(AA) with my Judge(AB) for mercy.(AC)
16 Even if I summoned him and he responded,
    I do not believe he would give me a hearing.(AD)
17 He would crush me(AE) with a storm(AF)
    and multiply(AG) my wounds for no reason.(AH)
18 He would not let me catch my breath
    but would overwhelm me with misery.(AI)
19 If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty!(AJ)
    And if it is a matter of justice, who can challenge him[b]?(AK)
20 Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me;
    if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty.(AL)

21 “Although I am blameless,(AM)
    I have no concern for myself;(AN)
    I despise my own life.(AO)
22 It is all the same; that is why I say,
    ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’(AP)
23 When a scourge(AQ) brings sudden death,
    he mocks the despair of the innocent.(AR)
24 When a land falls into the hands of the wicked,(AS)
    he blindfolds its judges.(AT)
    If it is not he, then who is it?(AU)

25 “My days are swifter than a runner;(AV)
    they fly away without a glimpse of joy.(AW)
26 They skim past(AX) like boats of papyrus,(AY)
    like eagles swooping down on their prey.(AZ)
27 If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint,(BA)
    I will change my expression, and smile,’
28 I still dread(BB) all my sufferings,
    for I know you will not hold me innocent.(BC)
29 Since I am already found guilty,
    why should I struggle in vain?(BD)
30 Even if I washed myself with soap(BE)
    and my hands(BF) with cleansing powder,(BG)
31 you would plunge me into a slime pit(BH)
    so that even my clothes would detest me.(BI)

32 “He is not a mere mortal(BJ) like me that I might answer him,(BK)
    that we might confront each other in court.(BL)
33 If only there were someone to mediate between us,(BM)
    someone to bring us together,(BN)
34 someone to remove God’s rod from me,(BO)
    so that his terror would frighten me no more.(BP)
35 Then I would speak up without fear of him,(BQ)
    but as it now stands with me, I cannot.(BR)


  1. Job 9:9 Or of Leo
  2. Job 9:19 See Septuagint; Hebrew me.