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Job 3-22New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

II. First Cycle of Speeches

Chapter 3

Job’s Complaint. After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed his day.[a] Job spoke out and said:

Perish the day on which I was born,
    the night when they said, “The child is a boy!”
May that day be darkness:
    may God[b] above not care for it,
    may light not shine upon it!
May darkness and gloom claim it,
    clouds settle upon it,
    blackness of day[c] affright it!
May obscurity seize that night;
    may it not be counted among the days of the year,
    nor enter into the number of the months!
May that night be barren;
    let no joyful outcry greet it!
Let them curse it who curse the Sea,
    those skilled at disturbing Leviathan![d]
May the stars of its twilight be darkened;
    may it look for daylight, but have none,
    nor gaze on the eyes of the dawn,
10 Because it did not keep shut the doors of the womb
    to shield my eyes from trouble!
11 Why did I not die at birth,
    come forth from the womb and expire?
12 Why did knees receive me,
    or breasts nurse me?
13 For then I should have lain down and been tranquil;
    had I slept, I should then have been at rest
14 With kings and counselors of the earth
    who rebuilt what were ruins
15 Or with princes who had gold
    and filled their houses with silver.
16 Or why was I not buried away like a stillborn child,
    like babies that have never seen the light?
17 There[e] the wicked cease from troubling,
    there the weary are at rest.
18 The captives are at ease together,
    and hear no overseer’s voice.
19 Small and great are there;
    the servant is free from the master.
20 Why is light given to the toilers,
    life to the bitter in spirit?
21 They wait for death and it does not come;
    they search for it more than for hidden treasures.
22 They rejoice in it exultingly,
    and are glad when they find the grave:
23 A man whose path is hidden from him,
    one whom God has hemmed in![f]
24 For to me sighing comes more readily than food;
    my groans well forth like water.
25 For what I feared overtakes me;
    what I dreaded comes upon me.
26 I have no peace nor ease;
    I have no rest, for trouble has come!

Chapter 4

Eliphaz’s First Speech. Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

If someone attempts a word with you, would you mind?
    How can anyone refrain from speaking?
Look, you have instructed many,
    and made firm their feeble hands.
Your words have upheld the stumbler;
    you have strengthened faltering knees.
But now that it comes to you, you are impatient;
    when it touches you, you are dismayed.
Is not your piety a source of confidence,
    and your integrity of life your hope?
Reflect now, what innocent person perishes?
    Where are the upright destroyed?
As I see it, those who plow mischief
    and sow trouble will reap them.
By the breath of God they perish,
    and by the blast of his wrath they are consumed.
10 Though the lion[g] roars, though the king of beasts cries out,
    yet the teeth of the young lions are broken;
11 The old lion perishes for lack of prey,
    and the cubs of the lioness are scattered.
12 A word was stealthily brought to me,[h]
    my ear caught a whisper of it.
13 In my thoughts during visions of the night,
    when deep sleep falls on mortals,
14 Fear came upon me, and shuddering,
    that terrified me to the bone.
15 Then a spirit passed before me,
    and the hair of my body stood on end.
16 It paused, but its likeness I could not recognize;
    a figure was before my eyes,
    in silence I heard a voice:
17 “Can anyone be more in the right than God?
    Can mortals be more blameless than their Maker?
18 Look, he puts no trust in his servants,
    and even with his messengers he finds fault.
19 How much more with those who dwell in houses of clay,
    whose foundation is in the dust,
    who are crushed more easily than a moth!
20 Morning or evening they may be shattered;
    unnoticed, they perish forever.
21 The pegs of their tent are plucked up;
    they die without knowing wisdom.”

Chapter 5

Call now! Will anyone respond to you?
    To which of the holy ones[i] will you turn?
Surely impatience kills the fool
    and indignation slays the simpleton.
I have seen a fool spreading his roots,
    but I cursed his household suddenly:
May his children be far from safety;
    may they be crushed at the gate[j] without a rescuer.
What they have reaped may the hungry eat up,
    or God take away by blight,
    or the thirsty swallow their substance.
For not from dust does mischief come,
    nor from the soil does trouble sprout.
Human beings beget mischief
    as sparks[k] fly upward.
In your place, I would appeal to God,
    and to God I would state my plea.
[l]He does things great and unsearchable,
    things marvelous and innumerable.
10 He gives rain upon the earth
    and sends water upon the fields;
11 He sets up the lowly on high,
    and those who mourn are raised to safety.
12 He frustrates the plans of the cunning,
    so that their hands achieve no success;
13 He catches the wise in their own ruses,
    and the designs of the crafty are routed.
14 They meet with darkness in the daytime,
    at noonday they grope as though it were night.
15 But he saves the poor from the sword of their mouth,[m]
    from the hand of the mighty.
16 Thus the needy have hope,
    and iniquity closes its mouth.
17 Happy the one whom God reproves!
    The Almighty’s[n] discipline do not reject.
18 For he wounds, but he binds up;
    he strikes, but his hands give healing.
19 Out of six troubles he will deliver you,
    and at the seventh[o] no evil shall touch you.
20 In famine he will deliver you from death,
    and in war from the power of the sword;
21 From the scourge of the tongue you shall be hidden,
    and you shall not fear approaching ruin.
22 At ruin and want you shall laugh;
    the beasts of the earth, do not fear.
23 With the stones of the field shall your covenant be,
    and the wild beasts shall be at peace with you.
24 And you shall know that your tent is secure;
    taking stock of your household, you shall miss nothing.
25 You shall know that your descendants are many,
    and your offspring like the grass of the earth.
26 You shall approach the grave in full vigor,
    as a shock of grain comes in at its season.
27 See, this we have searched out; so it is!
    This we have heard, and you should know.

Chapter 6

Job’s First Reply. Then Job answered and said:

Ah, could my anguish but be measured
    and my calamity laid with it in the scales,
They would now outweigh the sands of the sea!
    Because of this I speak without restraint.
For the arrows of the Almighty are in me,
    and my spirit drinks in their poison;
    the terrors of God are arrayed against me.
Does the wild donkey bray when it has grass?[p]
    Does the ox low over its fodder?
Can anything insipid be eaten without salt?
    Is there flavor in the white of an egg?
I refuse to touch them;
    they are like loathsome food to me.
Oh, that I might have my request,
    and that God would grant what I long for:
Even that God would decide to crush me,
    that he would put forth his hand and cut me off!
10 Then I should still have consolation
    and could exult through unremitting pain,
    because I have not transgressed the commands of the Holy One.
11 What strength have I that I should endure,
    and what is my limit that I should be patient?
12 Have I the strength of stones,
    or is my flesh of bronze?
13 Have I no helper,
    and has my good sense deserted me?
14 A friend owes kindness to one in despair,
    though he has forsaken the fear of the Almighty.
15 My companions are undependable as a wadi,
    as watercourses that run dry in the wadies;
16 Though they may be black with ice,
    and with snow heaped upon them,
17 Yet once they flow, they cease to be;
    in the heat, they disappear from their place.
18 Caravans wander from their routes;
    they go into the wasteland and perish.
19 The caravans of Tema[q] search,
    the companies of Sheba have hopes;
20 They are disappointed, though they were confident;
    they come there and are frustrated.
21 It is thus that you have now become for me;[r]
    you see a terrifying thing and are afraid.
22 Have I said, “Give me something,
    make a bribe on my behalf from your possessions”?
23 Or “Deliver me from the hand of the enemy,
    redeem me from oppressors”?
24 Teach me, and I will be silent;
    make me understand how I have erred.
25 How painful honest words can be;
    yet how unconvincing is your argument!
26 Do you consider your words as proof,
    but the sayings of a desperate man as wind?
27 You would even cast lots for the orphan,
    and would barter over your friend!
28 Come, now, give me your attention;
    surely I will not lie to your face.
29 Think it over; let there be no injustice.
    Think it over; I still am right.
30 Is there insincerity on my tongue,
    or cannot my taste discern falsehood?

Chapter 7

Is not life on earth a drudgery,[s]
    its days like those of a hireling?
Like a slave who longs for the shade,
    a hireling who waits for wages,
So I have been assigned months of futility,
    and troubled nights have been counted off for me.
When I lie down I say, “When shall I arise?”
    then the night drags on;
    I am filled with restlessness until the dawn.
My flesh is clothed with worms and scabs;
    my skin cracks and festers;
My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle;
    they come to an end without hope.
Remember that my life is like the wind;
    my eye will not see happiness again.
The eye that now sees me shall no more behold me;
    when your eye is on me, I shall be gone.
As a cloud dissolves and vanishes,
    so whoever goes down to Sheol shall not come up.
10 They shall not return home again;
    their place shall know them no more.
11 My own utterance I will not restrain;
    I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
    I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
12 [t]Am I the Sea, or the dragon,
    that you place a watch over me?[u]
13 When I say, “My bed shall comfort me,
    my couch shall ease my complaint,”
14 Then you frighten me with dreams
    and terrify me with visions,
15 So that I should prefer strangulation
    and death rather than my existence.[v]
16 I waste away: I will not live forever;
    let me alone, for my days are but a breath.
17 [w]What are human beings, that you make much of them,
    or pay them any heed?
18 You observe them every morning
    and try them at every moment!
19 How long before you look away from me,
    and let me alone till I swallow my spit?
20 If I sin, what do I do to you,
    O watcher of mortals?
Why have you made me your target?
    Why should I be a burden for you?
21 Why do you not pardon my offense,
    or take away my guilt?
For soon I shall lie down in the dust;
    and should you seek me I shall be gone.

Chapter 8

Bildad’s First Speech. Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

How long will you utter such things?
    The words from your mouth are a mighty wind!
Does God pervert judgment,
    does the Almighty pervert justice?
If your children have sinned against him
    and he has left them in the grip of their guilt,
Still, if you yourself have recourse to God
    and make supplication to the Almighty,
Should you be blameless and upright,
    surely now he will rouse himself for you
    and restore your rightful home.
Though your beginning was small,
    your future will flourish indeed.
Inquire of the former generations,
    pay attention to the experience of their ancestors—
As we are but of yesterday and have no knowledge,
    because our days on earth are but a shadow—
10 Will they not teach you and tell you
    and utter their words of understanding?
11 [x]Can the papyrus grow up without mire?
    Can the reed grass flourish without water?
12 While it is yet green and uncut,
    it withers quicker than any grass.
13 So is the end of everyone who forgets God,
    and so shall the hope of the godless perish.
14 His confidence is but a gossamer thread,
    his trust is a spider’s house.
15 He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand;
    he shall cling to it, but it shall not endure.
16 He thrives in full sun,
    and over his garden his shoots go forth;
17 About a heap of stones his roots are entwined;
    among the rocks he takes hold.
18 Yet if one tears him from his place,
    it will disown him: “I have never seen you!”
19 There he lies rotting beside the road,
    and out of the soil another sprouts.
20 Behold, God will not cast away the upright;
    neither will he take the hand of the wicked.
21 Once more will he fill your mouth with laughter
    and your lips with rejoicing.
22 Those who hate you shall be clothed with shame,
    and the tent of the wicked shall be no more.

Chapter 9

Job’s Second Reply. Then Job answered and said:

I know well that it is so;
    but how can anyone be in the right before God?
Should one wish to contend with him,[y]
    he could not answer him once in a thousand times.
God is wise in heart and mighty in strength;
    who has withstood him and remained whole?
He removes the mountains before they know it;
    he overturns them in his anger.
He shakes the earth out of its place,
    and the pillars beneath it tremble.
He commands the sun, and it does not rise;
    he seals up the stars.
He alone stretches out the heavens
    and treads upon the back of the sea.
He made the Bear and Orion,
    the Pleiades and the constellations of the south;
10 He does things great and unsearchable,
    things marvelous and innumerable.
11 Should he come near me, I do not see him;
    should he pass by, I am not aware of him;
12 Should he seize me forcibly, who can resist?
    Who can say to him, “What are you doing?”
13 He is God and he does not relent;
    the helpers of Rahab[z] bow beneath him.
14 How then could I give him any answer,
    or choose out arguments against him!
15 Even though I were right, I could not answer,
    but should rather beg for what was due me.
16 If I appealed to him and he answered me,
    I could not believe that he would listen to me;
17 With a storm he might overwhelm me,
    and multiply my wounds for nothing;
18 He would not allow me to draw breath,
    but might fill me with bitter griefs.
19 If it be a question of strength, he is mighty;
    or of judgment, who will call him to account?
20 Though I were right, my own mouth might condemn me;
    were I innocent, it might put me in the wrong.
21 I am innocent, but I cannot know it;
    I despise my life.
22 It is all one! therefore I say:
    Both the innocent and the wicked he destroys.
23 When the scourge slays suddenly,
    he scoffs at the despair of the innocent.
24 The earth is given into the hands 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 happiness;
26 They shoot by like skiffs of reed,
    like an eagle swooping upon its prey.
27 If I say: I will forget my complaining,
    I will lay aside my sadness and be of good cheer,
28 Then I am in dread of all my pains;
    I know that you[aa] will not hold me innocent.
29 It is I who will be accounted guilty;
    why then should I strive in vain?
30 If I should wash myself with soap
    and cleanse my hands with lye,
31 Yet you would plunge me in the ditch,
    so that my garments would abhor me.
32 For he is not a man like myself, that I should answer him,
    that we should come together in judgment.
33 Would that there were an arbiter between us,
    who could lay his hand upon us both
34     and withdraw his rod from me,
So that his terrors did not frighten me;
35     that I might speak without being afraid of him.
Since this is not the case with me,
    [ab]I loathe my life.

Chapter 10

I will give myself up to complaint;
    I will speak from the bitterness of my soul.
I will say to God: Do not put me in the wrong!
    Let me know why you oppose me.
[ac]Is it a pleasure for you to oppress,
    to spurn the work of your hands,
    and shine on the plan of the wicked?
Have you eyes of flesh?
    Do you see as mortals see?
Are your days like the days of a mortal,
    and are your years like a human lifetime,
That you seek for guilt in me
    and search after my sins,
Even though you know that I am not wicked,
    and that none can deliver me out of your hand?
Your hands have formed me and fashioned me;
    will you then turn and destroy me?
Oh, remember that you fashioned me from clay!
    Will you then bring me down to dust again?
10 Did you not pour me out like milk,
    and thicken me like cheese?
11 With skin and flesh you clothed me,
    with bones and sinews knit me together.
12 Life and love you granted me,
    and your providence has preserved my spirit.
13 Yet these things you have hidden in your heart;
    I know they are your purpose:
14 If I should sin, you would keep a watch on me,
    and from my guilt you would not absolve me.
15 If I should be wicked, alas for me!
    even if righteous, I dare not hold up my head,
    sated with shame, drenched in affliction!
16 Should it lift up, you hunt me like a lion:
    repeatedly you show your wondrous power against me,
17 You renew your attack[ad] upon me
    and multiply your harassment of me;
    in waves your troops come against me.
18 Why then did you bring me forth from the womb?
    I should have died and no eye have seen me.
19 I should be as though I had never lived;
    I should have been taken from the womb to the grave.
20 Are not my days few? Stop!
    Let me alone, that I may recover a little
21 Before I go whence I shall not return,
    to the land of darkness and of gloom,
22 The dark, disordered land
    where darkness is the only light.

Chapter 11

Zophar’s First Speech. And Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:

Should not many words be answered,
    or must the garrulous man necessarily be right?
Shall your babblings keep others silent,
    and shall you deride and no one give rebuke?
Shall you say: “My teaching is pure,
    and I am clean in your sight”?
But oh, that God would speak,[ae]
    and open his lips against you,
And tell you the secrets of wisdom,
    for good sense has two sides;
So you might learn that God
    overlooks some of your sinfulness.
Can you find out the depths of God?
    or find out the perfection of the Almighty?
It is higher than the heavens; what can you do?
    It is deeper than Sheol; what can you know?
It is longer than the earth in measure,
    and broader than the sea.
10 If he should seize and imprison
    or call to judgment, who then could turn him back?
11 For he knows the worthless
    and sees iniquity; will he then ignore it?
12 An empty head will gain understanding,
    when a colt of a wild jackass is born human.[af]
13 If you set your heart aright
    and stretch out your hands toward him,
14 If iniquity is in your hand, remove it,
    and do not let injustice dwell in your tent,
15 Surely then you may lift up your face in innocence;
    you may stand firm and unafraid.
16 For then you shall forget your misery,
    like water that has ebbed away you shall regard it.
17 Then your life shall be brighter than the noonday;
    its gloom shall become like the morning,
18 And you shall be secure, because there is hope;
    you shall look round you and lie down in safety;
19     you shall lie down and no one will disturb you.
Many shall entreat your favor,
20     but the wicked, looking on, shall be consumed with envy.
Escape shall be cut off from them,
    their only hope their last breath.

Chapter 12

Job’s Third Reply. [ag]Then Job answered and said:

No doubt you are the people
    with whom wisdom shall die!
But I have intelligence as well as you;
    I do not fall short of you;
    for who does not know such things as these?
I have become the sport of my neighbors:[ah]
    “The one whom God answers when he calls upon him,
    The just, the perfect man,” is a laughingstock;
The undisturbed esteem my downfall a disgrace
    such as awaits unsteady feet;
Yet the tents of robbers are prosperous,
    and those who provoke God are secure,
    whom God has in his power.[ai]
But now ask the beasts to teach you,
    the birds of the air to tell you;
Or speak to the earth to instruct you,
    and the fish of the sea to inform you.
Which of all these does not know
    that the hand of God has done this?
10 In his hand is the soul of every living thing,
    and the life breath of all mortal flesh.
11 Does not the ear judge words
    as the mouth tastes food?
12 So with old age is wisdom,
    and with length of days understanding.
13 With him are wisdom and might;
    his are counsel and understanding.
14 If he knocks a thing down, there is no rebuilding;
    if he imprisons, there is no release.
15 He holds back the waters and there is drought;
    he sends them forth and they overwhelm the land.
16 With him are strength and prudence;
    the misled and the misleaders are his.
17 He sends counselors away barefoot,
    makes fools of judges.
18 He loosens the belt of kings,
    ties a waistcloth on their loins.[aj]
19 He sends priests away barefoot,
    leads the powerful astray.
20 He silences the trusted adviser,
    takes discretion from the elders.
21 He pours shame on nobles,
    the waistband of the strong he loosens.
22 He uncovers deep things from the darkness,
    brings the gloom into the light.
23 He makes nations great and destroys them,
    spreads peoples abroad and abandons them.
24 He takes understanding from the leaders of the land,
    makes them wander in a pathless desert.
25 They grope in the darkness without light;
    he makes them wander like drunkards.

Chapter 13

All this my eye has seen;
    my ear has heard and perceived it.
What you know, I also know;
    I do not fall short of you.
But I would speak with the Almighty;
    I want to argue with God.
But you gloss over falsehoods,
    you are worthless physicians, every one of you!
Oh, that you would be altogether silent;
    that for you would be wisdom!
Hear now my argument
    and listen to the accusations from my lips.
Is it for God that you speak falsehood?
    Is it for him that you utter deceit?
Is it for him that you show partiality?
    Do you make accusations on behalf of God?
Will it be well when he shall search you out?
    Can you deceive him as you do a mere human being?
10 He will openly rebuke you
    if in secret you show partiality.
11 Surely his majesty will frighten you
    and dread of him fall upon you.
12 Your reminders are ashy maxims,
    your fabrications mounds of clay.
13 Be silent! Let me alone that I may speak,
    no matter what happens to me.
14 I will carry my flesh between my teeth,
    and take my life in my hand.[ak]
15 Slay me though he might, I will wait for him;[al]
    I will defend my conduct before him.
16 This shall be my salvation:
    no impious man can come into his presence.
17 Pay close attention to my speech,
    give my statement a hearing.
18 Behold, I have prepared my case,
    I know that I am in the right.
19 If anyone can make a case against me,
    then I shall be silent and expire.
20 Two things only do not use against me,[am]
    then from your presence I need not hide:
21 Withdraw your hand far from me,
    do not let the terror of you frighten me.
22 Then call me, and I will respond;
    or let me speak first, and answer me.
23 What are my faults and my sins?
    My misdeed, my sin make known to me!
24 Why do you hide your face
    and consider me your enemy?[an]
25 Will you harass a wind-driven leaf
    or pursue a withered straw?
26 For you draw up bitter indictments against me,
    and punish in me the faults of my youth.
27 You put my feet in the stocks;
    you watch all my paths
    and trace out all my footsteps,
28 Though I wear out like a leather bottle,
    like a garment the moth has consumed.

Chapter 14

Man born of woman
    is short-lived and full of trouble,[ao]
Like a flower that springs up and fades,
    swift as a shadow that does not abide.
Upon such a one will you set your eyes,
    bringing me into judgment before you?
Can anyone make the unclean clean?
    No one can.
Since his days are determined—
    you know the number of his months;
    you have fixed the limit which he cannot pass—
Look away from him and let him be,
    while, like a hireling, he completes his day.
For a tree there is hope;
    if it is cut down, it will sprout again,
    its tender shoots will not cease.
Even though its root grow old in the earth
    and its stump die in the dust,
Yet at the first whiff of water it sprouts
    and puts forth branches like a young plant.
10 But when a man dies, all vigor leaves him;
    when a mortal expires, where then is he?
11 As when the waters of a lake fail,
    or a stream shrivels and dries up,
12 So mortals lie down, never to rise.
    Until the heavens are no more, they shall not awake,
    nor be roused out of their sleep.
13 Oh, that you would hide me in Sheol,
    shelter me till your wrath is past,
    fix a time to remember me!
14 If a man were to die, and live again,
    all the days of my drudgery I would wait
    for my relief to come.
15 You would call, and I would answer you;
    you would long for the work of your hands.
16 Surely then you would count my steps,
    and not keep watch for sin in me.
17 My misdeeds would be sealed up in a pouch,[ap]
    and you would cover over my guilt.
18 Mountains fall and crumble,
    rocks move from their place,
19 And water wears away stone,
    and floods wash away the soil of the land—
    so you destroy the hope of mortals!
20 You prevail once for all against them and they pass on;
    you dismiss them with changed appearance.
21 If their children are honored, they are not aware of it;
    or if disgraced, they do not know about them.
22 Only for themselves, their pain;
    only for themselves, their mourning.

III. Second Cycle of Speeches

Chapter 15

Second Speech of Eliphaz. [aq]Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

Does a wise man answer with windy opinions,
    or puff himself up with the east wind?
Does he argue in speech that does not avail,
    and in words that are to no profit?
You in fact do away with piety,
    you lessen devotion toward God,
Because your wickedness instructs your mouth,
    and you choose to speak like the crafty.
Your own mouth condemns you, not I;
    your own lips refute you.
Were you the first to be born?
    Were you brought forth before the hills?
Do you listen in on God’s council
    and restrict wisdom to yourself?
What do you know that we do not know,
    or understand that we do not?
10 There are gray-haired old men among us,
    more advanced in years than your father.
11 Are the consolations of God not enough for you,
    and speech that deals gently with you?
12 Why does your heart carry you away,
    and why do your eyes flash,
13 So that you turn your anger against God
    and let such words escape your mouth!
14 How can any mortal be blameless,
    anyone born of woman be righteous?
15 If in his holy ones God places no confidence,
    and if the heavens are not without blame in his sight,
16 How much less so is the abominable and corrupt:
    people who drink in iniquity like water!
17 I will show you, if you listen to me;
    what I have seen I will tell—
18 What the wise relate
    and have not contradicted since the days of their ancestors,
19 To whom alone the land was given,
    when no foreigner moved among them:
20 The wicked is in torment all his days,
    and limited years are in store for the ruthless;
21 The sound of terrors is in his ears;
    when all is prosperous, a spoiler comes upon him.
22 He despairs of escaping the darkness,
    and looks ever for the sword;
23 A wanderer, food for vultures,
    he knows destruction is imminent.
24 A day of darkness fills him with dread;
    distress and anguish overpower him,
    like a king expecting an attack.
25 Because he has stretched out his hand against God
    and arrogantly challenged the Almighty,
26 Rushing defiantly against him,
    with the stout bosses of his shields.
27 Although he has covered his face with his crassness,
    padded his loins with blubber,
28 He shall dwell in ruined cities,
    in houses that are deserted,
    crumbling into rubble.
29 He shall not be rich, his possessions shall not endure;
    his property shall not spread over the land.
30 A flame shall sear his early growth,
    and with the wind his blossoms shall disappear.
31 Let him not trust in his height, misled,
    even though his height be like the palm tree.[ar]
32 He shall wither before his time,
    his branches no longer green.
33 He shall be like a vine that sheds its grapes unripened,
    like an olive tree casting off its blossom.
34 For the breed of the impious shall be sterile,
    and fire shall consume the tents of extortioners.
35 They conceive malice, bring forth deceit,
    give birth to fraud.[as]

Chapter 16

Job’s Fourth Reply. Then Job answered and said:

I have heard this sort of thing many times.
    Troublesome comforters, all of you!
Is there no end to windy words?
    What sickness makes you rattle on?
I also could talk as you do,
    were you in my place.
I could declaim over you,
    or wag my head at you;
I could strengthen you with talk,
    with mere chatter give relief.
If I speak, my pain is not relieved;
    if I stop speaking, nothing changes.
But now he has exhausted me;
    you have stunned all my companions.
You[at] have shriveled me up; it is a witness,
    my gauntness rises up to testify against me;
His wrath tears and assails me,
    he gnashes his teeth against me;
My enemy looks daggers at me.
10     They gape at me with their mouths;
They strike me on the cheek with insults;
    they are all enlisted against me.
11 God has given me over to the impious;
    into the hands of the wicked he has cast me.
12 I was in peace, but he dislodged me,
    seized me by the neck, dashed me to pieces.
He has set me up for a target;
13     his arrows strike me from all directions.
He pierces my sides without mercy,
    pours out my gall upon the ground.
14 He pierces me, thrust upon thrust,
    rushes at me like a warrior.
15 I have sewn sackcloth on my skin,
    laid my horn low in the dust.
16 My face is inflamed with weeping,
    darkness covers my eyes,
17 Although my hands are free from violence,
    and my prayer sincere.
18 O earth, do not cover my blood,
    nor let my outcry come to rest![au]
19 Even now my witness[av] is in heaven,
    my advocate is on high.
20 My friends it is who wrong me;
    before God my eyes shed tears,
21 That justice may be done for a mortal with God:
    as for a man with his neighbor.
22 For my years are numbered,
    and I go the road of no return.

Chapter 17

My spirit is broken, my days finished,
    my burial at hand.
Surely mockers surround me,
    at their provocation, my eyes grow dim.
Put up a pledge for me with you:[aw]
    who is there to give surety for me?
You darken their minds to knowledge;
    therefore you will not exalt them.
For a share of property he informs on friends,
    while the eyes of his children grow dim.
I am made a byword of the people;
    I am one at whom people spit.
My eyes are blind with anguish,
    and my whole frame is like a shadow.
The upright are astonished at this,
    the innocent aroused against the wicked.
The righteous holds to his way,
    the one with clean hands increases in strength.
10 But turn now, and come on again;
    I do not find a wise man among you!
11 My days pass by, my plans are at an end,
    the yearning of my heart.
12 They would change the night into day;
    where there is darkness they talk of approaching light.
13 [ax]If my only hope is dwelling in Sheol,
    and spreading my couch in darkness,
14 If I am to say to the pit, “You are my father,”
    and to the worm “my mother,” “my sister,”
15 Where then is my hope,
    my happiness, who can see it?
16 Will they descend with me into Sheol?
    Shall we go down together into the dust?

Chapter 18

Bildad’s Second Speech. Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

When will you put an end to words?
    Reflect, and then we can have discussion.
Why are we accounted like beasts,
    equal to them in your sight?
You who tear yourself in your anger—
    shall the earth be neglected on your account
    or the rock be moved out of its place?
Truly, the light of the wicked is extinguished;
    the flame of his fire casts no light.
In his tent light is darkness;
    the lamp above him goes out.
His vigorous steps are hemmed in,
    his own counsel casts him down.
A net catches him by the feet,
    he wanders into a pitfall.
A trap seizes him by the heel,
    a snare lays hold of him.
10 A noose is hidden for him on the ground,
    a netting for him on the path.
11 On every side terrors frighten him;
    they harry him at each step.
12 His strength is famished,
    disaster is ready at his side,
13 His skin is eaten to the limbs,
    the firstborn of Death[ay] eats his limbs.
14 He is plucked from the security of his tent;
    and marched off to the king of terrors.[az]
15 Fire lodges in his tent,
    over his abode brimstone is scattered.
16 Below, his roots dry up,
    and above, his branches wither.
17 His memory perishes from the earth,
    and he has no name in the countryside.
18 He is driven from light into darkness,
    and banished from the world.
19 He has neither offshoot nor offspring among his people,
    no survivor where once he dwelt.
20 Those who come after shall be appalled at his fate;
    those who went before are seized with horror.
21 So is it then with the dwelling of the impious;
    such is the place of the one who does not know God!

Chapter 19

Job’s Fifth Reply. [ba]Then Job answered and said:

How long will you afflict my spirit,
    grind me down with words?
These ten times you have humiliated me,
    have assailed me without shame!
Even if it were true that I am at fault,
    my fault would remain with me;
If truly you exalt yourselves at my expense,
    and use my shame as an argument against me,
Know then that it is God who has dealt unfairly with me,
    and compassed me round with his net.
If I cry out “Violence!” I am not answered.
    I shout for help, but there is no justice.
He has barred my way and I cannot pass;
    veiled my path in darkness;
He has stripped me of my glory,
    taken the diadem from my brow.
10 He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone;
    he has uprooted my hope like a tree.
11 He has kindled his wrath against me;
    he counts me one of his enemies.
12 His troops advance as one;
    they build up their road to attack me,
    encamp around my tent.
13 My family has withdrawn from me,
    my friends are wholly estranged.
14 My relatives and companions neglect me,
    my guests have forgotten me.
15 Even my maidservants consider me a stranger;
    I am a foreigner in their sight.
16 I call my servant, but he gives no answer,
    though I plead aloud with him.
17 My breath is abhorrent to my wife;
    I am loathsome to my very children.
18 Even young children despise me;
    when I appear, they speak against me.
19 All my intimate friends hold me in horror;
    those whom I loved have turned against me!
20 My bones cling to my skin,
    and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.[bb]
21 Pity me, pity me, you my friends,
    for the hand of God has struck me!
22 Why do you pursue me like God,
    and prey insatiably upon me?
23 Oh, would that my words were written down!
    Would that they were inscribed in a record:[bc]
24 That with an iron chisel and with lead
    they were cut in the rock forever!
25 As for me, I know that my vindicator lives,[bd]
    and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust.
26 This will happen when my skin has been stripped off,
    and from my flesh I will see God:
27 I will see for myself,
    my own eyes, not another’s, will behold him:
    my inmost being is consumed with longing.
28 But you who say, “How shall we persecute him,
    seeing that the root of the matter is found in him?”
29 Be afraid of the sword for yourselves,
    for your anger is a crime deserving the sword;
    that you may know that there is a judgment.

Chapter 20

Zophar’s Second Speech. Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:

So now my thoughts provide an answer for me,
    because of the feelings within me.
A rebuke that puts me to shame I hear,
    and from my understanding a spirit gives me a reply.
Do you not know this: from of old,
    since human beings were placed upon the earth,
The triumph of the wicked is short
    and the joy of the impious but for a moment?
Though his pride mount up to the heavens
    and his head reach to the clouds,
Yet he perishes forever like the dung he uses for fuel,
    and onlookers say, “Where is he?”
Like a dream he takes flight and cannot be found;
    he fades away like a vision of the night.
The eye which saw him does so no more;
    nor shall his dwelling again behold him.
10 His sons will restore to the poor,
    and his hands will yield up his riches.
11 Though his bones are full of youthful vigor,
    it shall lie with him in the dust.
12 Though wickedness is sweet in his mouth,
    and he hides it under his tongue,
13 Though he retains it and will not let it go
    but keeps it still within his mouth,
14 Yet in his stomach the food shall turn;
    it shall be venom of asps inside him.
15 The riches he swallowed he shall vomit up;
    God shall make his belly disgorge them.
16 The poison of asps he shall drink in;
    the viper’s fangs shall slay him.
17 He shall see no streams of oil,[be]
    no torrents of honey or milk.
18 He shall give back his gains, never used;
    like his profit from trade, never enjoyed.
19 Because he has oppressed and neglected the poor,
    and stolen a house he did not build;
20 For he has known no quiet in his greed,
    in his treasure he cannot save himself.
21 None of his survivors will consume it,
    therefore his prosperity shall not endure.
22 When he has more than enough, distress shall be his,
    every sort of trouble shall come upon him.
23 When he has filled his belly,
    God shall send against him the fury of his wrath
    and rain down his missiles upon him.
24 Should he escape an iron weapon,
    a bronze bow shall pierce him through;
25 The dart shall come out of his back,
    a shining point out of his gall-bladder:
    terrors fall upon him.
26 Complete darkness is in store for his treasured ones;
    a fire unfanned shall consume him;
    any survivor in his tent shall be destroyed.
27 The heavens shall reveal his guilt,
    and the earth rise up against him.
28 The flood shall sweep away his house,
    torrents in the day of God’s anger.
29 This is the portion of the wicked,
    the heritage appointed him by God.[bf]

Chapter 21

Job’s Sixth Reply. Then Job answered and said:

At least listen to my words,
    and let that be the consolation you offer.
Bear with me while I speak;
    and after I have spoken, you can mock!
Is my complaint toward any human being?
    Why should I not be impatient?
Look at me and be appalled,
    put your hands over your mouths.
When I think of it, I am dismayed,
    and shuddering seizes my flesh.
[bg]Why do the wicked keep on living,
    grow old, become mighty in power?
Their progeny is secure in their sight;
    their offspring are before their eyes.
Their homes are safe, without fear,
    and the rod of God is not upon them.
10 Their bulls breed without fail;
    their cows calve and do not miscarry.
11 They let their young run free like sheep,
    their children skip about.
12 They sing along with drum and lyre,
    and make merry to the sound of the pipe.
13 They live out their days in prosperity,
    and tranquilly go down to Sheol.
14 Yet they say to God, “Depart from us,
    for we have no desire to know your ways!
15 What is the Almighty that we should serve him?
    And what do we gain by praying to him?”
16 Their happiness is not in their own hands.
    The designs of the wicked are far from me!
17 How often is the lamp of the wicked put out?
    How often does destruction come upon them,
    the portion God allots in his anger?
18 Let them be like straw before the wind,
    like chaff the storm carries away!
19 “God is storing up the man’s misery for his children”?—
    let him requite the man himself so that he knows it!
20 Let his own eyes behold his calamity,
    and the wrath of the Almighty let him drink!
21 For what interest has he in his family after him,
    when the number of his months is finished?
22 Can anyone teach God knowledge,
    seeing that he judges those on high?[bh]
23 One dies in his full vigor,
    wholly at ease and content;
24 His figure is full and nourished,
    his bones are moist with marrow.
25 Another dies with a bitter spirit,
    never having tasted happiness.
26 Alike they lie down in the dust,
    and worms cover them both.
27 See, I know your thoughts,
    and the arguments you plot against me.
28 For you say, “Where is the house of the great,
    and where the dwelling place of the wicked?”
29 Have you not asked the wayfarers
    and do you not acknowledge the witness they give?
30 On the day of calamity the evil man is spared,
    on the day that wrath is released.
31 Who will charge him to his face about his conduct,
    and for what he has done who will repay him?
32 He is carried to the grave
    and at his tomb they keep watch.
33 Sweet to him are the clods of the valley.
    All humankind will follow after him,
    and countless others before him.
34 How empty the consolation you offer me!
    Your arguments remain a fraud.

IV. Third Cycle of Speeches[bi]

Chapter 22

Eliphaz’s Third Speech. Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

Can a man be profitable to God?
    Can a wise man be profitable to him?
Does it please the Almighty that you are just?
    Does he gain if your ways are perfect?[bj]
Is it because of your piety that he reproves you—
    that he enters into judgment with you?
Is not your wickedness great,
    your iniquity endless?
You keep your relatives’ goods in pledge unjustly,[bk]
    leave them stripped naked of their clothing.
To the thirsty you give no water to drink,
    and from the hungry you withhold bread;
As if the land belonged to the powerful,
    and only the privileged could dwell in it!
You sent widows away empty-handed,
    and the resources of orphans are destroyed.
10 Therefore snares are round about you,
    sudden terror makes you panic,
11 Or darkness—you cannot see!
    A deluge of waters covers you.
12 Does not God, in the heights of the heavens,
    behold the top of the stars, high though they are?
13 Yet you say, “What does God know?
    Can he judge through the thick darkness?
14 Clouds hide him so that he cannot see
    as he walks around the circuit of the heavens!”
15 Do you indeed keep to the ancient way
    trodden by the worthless?

Footnotes:

  1. 3:1 His day: that is, the day of his birth.
  2. 3:4 God: in Heb. ’Eloah, another name for the divinity, used frequently in Job.
  3. 3:5 Blackness of day: that is, an eclipse.
  4. 3:8 Leviathan: a mythological sea monster symbolizing primeval chaos. It is parallel to Sea, which was the opponent of Baal in the Ugaritic legends. Cf. 9:13; 26:13; 40:25–41:26; Ps 74:13–14; 104:26; Is 27:1.
  5. 3:17 There: in death.
  6. 3:23 Hemmed in: contrast the same verb as used in 1:10.
  7. 4:10 The lion: used figuratively here for the violent, rapacious sinner who cannot prevail against God.
  8. 4:12–21 A dramatic presentation of the idea of human nothingness in contrast to God’s greatness (v. 17). The message of the “private revelation” that stirs Eliphaz so deeply is in reality expressed countless times in the Bible. The statements of the friends are often “truths” that are insensitive or irrelevant to Job’s questioning.
  9. 5:1 Holy ones: members of the heavenly court; cf. 1:6 and note. They were viewed as heavenly intercessors.
  10. 5:4 At the gate: of the city, where justice was administered.
  11. 5:7 Sparks: in Hebrew, “sons of resheph,” which the ancient versions took as the name of a bird. Resheph was an underworld deity of plague, but the word also means “flames” in Sg 8:6.
  12. 5:9 Perhaps to be omitted here; it is a duplicate of 9:10.
  13. 5:15 From the sword of their mouth: the Hebrew is obscure.
  14. 5:17 Almighty: standard translation of Heb. Shaddai.
  15. 5:19 Six…the seventh: proverbial expression for any large number; cf. Prv 24:16; Lk 17:4.
  16. 6:5–6 Job would not complain if his life were as pleasant to him as fodder to a hungry animal; but his life is as disagreeable as insipid food. White of an egg: thus the obscure Hebrew has been understood in Jewish tradition; some render it “mallow juice.”
  17. 6:19 Tema: in northwest Arabia. Sheba: home of the Sabeans; see note on 1:15.
  18. 6:21 It is only at this point that the previous lines (vv. 1–20) are clearly directed to the three friends. The style of replying in these chapters (3–31) is often indirect. Job and the friends become mouthpieces through which the author presents current views on divine retribution in dramatic fashion. In chap. 7, Job will not even speak directly to the friends.
  19. 7:1 Drudgery: taken by some to refer to military service; cf. also 14:14.
  20. 7:12–21 Job now speaks not to his friends (who never speak to God), but to God. He does this frequently; cf. 9:28; 10:2–22; 13:20–28; 14:13–22.
  21. 7:12 An allusion to the personification of primeval chaos as a monstrous ocean vanquished by God; see note on 3:8.
  22. 7:15 Existence: lit., bones; the Hebrew is unclear.
  23. 7:17–18 An ironic allusion to Ps 8:5.
  24. 8:11–13 As marsh plants need water, so human beings need God. These verses may be a quotation from the teaching of the ancestors; cf. v. 10.
  25. 9:3 Job begins to explore the possibility of challenging God in a lawsuit, a theme that will recur (10:2), but he knows the odds are against him (vv. 12–20).
  26. 9:13 Rahab: another name for the primeval sea-monster; see notes on 3:8 and Ps 89:11; cf. Jb 7:12; 26:12.
  27. 9:28–31 You: refers to God.
  28. 10:1 I loathe my life: these words complete the thought of 9:35.
  29. 10:3–12 These lines are a delicate mixture of sarcasm and prayer; Job “reminds” God, challenging the divine providence. Note the piteous tone of the final request in vv. 20–22.
  30. 10:17 Attack: or “witnesses,” continuing the metaphor of lawsuit used in these chapters.
  31. 11:5 This is another of many ironies (e.g., cf. 11:16–19) that occur throughout the book. Zophar does not know that God will speak (chaps. 38–42), but contrary to what he thinks.
  32. 11:12 A colt…is born human: the Hebrew is obscure. As translated, it seems to be a proverb referring to an impossible event.
  33. 12:1 Job begins his third and longest speech to the friends with sarcasm, and eventually he accuses them of falsehood (13:4–11). The dialogue between them becomes increasingly sharp. With the appeal to learning from beasts and birds (12:7), Job launches into what seems to be a bitter parody of the power of God.
  34. 12:4–5 The Hebrew is somewhat obscure, but the general sense is that the wicked mock the pious when the latter appear to be abandoned by God; cf. Ps 22:7–9; Mt 27:39–43.
  35. 12:6 Whom God has in his power: the Hebrew is obscure. The line may be a scribal error; some of the phrases occur in vv. 9, 10.
  36. 12:18 He reduces kings to the condition of slaves, who wear only a cloth wrapped about the waist.
  37. 13:14 The second half of the verse is a common biblical expression for risking one’s life; cf. Jgs 12:3; 1 Sm 19:5; 28:21; Ps 119:109; the first half of the verse must have a similar meaning. Job is so confident of his innocence that he is willing to risk his life by going to judgment with God.
  38. 13:15 Many translations adopt the Ketib reading, “I have no hope.”
  39. 13:20 In 13:20–14:22, Job directs his address to God; cf. 7:8–21; 9:28–10:22. His three friends never do this.
  40. 13:24 The Hebrew word for “enemy” (‘oyeb) is very close to the Hebrew form of Job’s name (‘iyyob). The play on the word implies that God has confused the two.
  41. 14:1 The sorrowful lament of Job is that God should relent in view of the limited life of human beings. When compared to plant life, which dies but can revive, the death of human beings is final. Job’s wild and “unthinkable” wish in vv. 13–17 is a bold stroke of imagination and desire: if only in Sheol he were protected till God would remember him! Were he to live again (v. 14), things would be different, but alas, God destroys “the hope of mortals” (v. 19).
  42. 14:17 Sealed up in a pouch: hidden away and forgotten.
  43. 15:1 The tone of Eliphaz’s speech is now much rougher. In vv. 7–9 he ridicules Job’s knowledge with a sarcastic question about whether he was a member of the divine council before creation and thus had unique wisdom (according to Prv 8:22–31, only Woman Wisdom existed before creation). Verses 20–35 are a typical description of the fate of the wicked.
  44. 15:31 The translation is uncertain.
  45. 15:35 The plans of the wicked yield nothing but futile results. Cf. Ps 7:15; Is 59:4.
  46. 16:8 You: God. Job then describes in vv. 9–17 the savage treatment that he has received from God.
  47. 16:18 As the exposed blood of those who were unjustly slain cries to heaven for vengeance (Gn 4:10; Ez 24:6–9), so Job’s sufferings demand redress.
  48. 16:19 Witness: refers perhaps to God (is Job appealing to God against God?), or to a mediator (cf. 9:33), or to a personification of Job’s prayer.
  49. 17:3 Addressed to God; v. 10 to Job’s friends.
  50. 17:13–16 Job elaborates another of the vivid descriptions of “life” in Sheol; cf. 3:13–23; 10:21–22.
  51. 18:13 Firstborn of Death: that is, disease, plague.
  52. 18:14 The king of terrors: of Sheol, of Death (cf. the “terrors” in v. 11). However, the Hebrew of this verse is obscure.
  53. 19:1 Job continues railing against his friends (vv. 2–5), and describing God’s savage attack in words reminiscent of 16:9–17.
  54. 19:20 Skin of my teeth: although the metaphor is not clear, this has become a proverbial expression for a narrow escape. It does not fit Job’s situation here.
  55. 19:23–24 What Job is about to say is so important that he wants it recorded in a permanent manner.
  56. 19:25–27 The meaning of this passage is obscure because the original text has been poorly preserved and the ancient versions do not agree among themselves. Job asserts three times that he shall see a future vindicator (Hebrew goel), but he leaves the time and manner of this vindication undefined. The Vulgate translation has Job indicating a belief in resurrection after death, but the Hebrew and the other ancient versions are less specific.
  57. 20:17 Oil: olive oil, one of the main agricultural products of ancient Palestine, a land proverbially rich in honey and milk; see Ex 3:8; etc.
  58. 20:29 Zophar ends his lecture in the style of Bildad (cf. 18:19) with a summary appraisal of what he has been saying about the fate of the wicked.
  59. 21:7 In vv. 7–29 Job launches into a realistic description of the fate of the wicked, contrary to the claims made by the friends.
  60. 21:22 Those on high: the heavenly beings; cf. 1:6; Ps 82:1–8.
  61. 22:1–27:23 The traditional three cycles of speeches breaks down in chaps. 22–27, because Zophar does not appear. This may be interpreted as a sign that the three friends see no point in further dialogue, or that Job’s replies have reduced them to silence, or that there has been a mistake in the transmission of the text (hence various transferrals of verses have been proposed to include Zophar, but without any textual evidence).
  62. 22:3 Another irony: God will “gain,” because he will have been proved right in his claim to the satan that Job is “perfect.”
  63. 22:6–9 This criticism of Job by Eliphaz is untrue (cf. 31:19), but he is driven to it by his belief that God always acts justly, even when he causes someone to suffer; suffering is due to wrongdoing (cf. v. 29).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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