10 “I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul. 2 I say to God: Do not declare me guilty, but tell me what charges you have against me. 3 Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands, while you smile on the plans of the wicked? 4 Do you have eyes of flesh? Do you see as a mortal sees? 5 Are your days like those of a mortal or your years like those of a strong man, 6 that you must search out my faults and probe after my sin— 7 though you know that I am not guilty and that no one can rescue me from your hand?
8 “Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? 9 Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again? 10 Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese, 11 clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? 12 You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.
13 “But this is what you concealed in your heart, and I know that this was in your mind: 14 If I sinned, you would be watching me and would not let my offense go unpunished. 15 If I am guilty—woe to me! Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head, for I am full of shame and drowned in[a] my affliction. 16 If I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion and again display your awesome power against me. 17 You bring new witnesses against me and increase your anger toward me; your forces come against me wave upon wave.
18 “Why then did you bring me out of the womb? I wish I had died before any eye saw me. 19 If only I had never come into being, or had been carried straight from the womb to the grave! 20 Are not my few days almost over? Turn away from me so I can have a moment’s joy 21 before I go to the place of no return, to the land of gloom and utter darkness, 22 to the land of deepest night, of utter darkness and disorder, where even the light is like darkness.”
11 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
2 “Are all these words to go unanswered? Is this talker to be vindicated? 3 Will your idle talk reduce others to silence? Will no one rebuke you when you mock? 4 You say to God, ‘My beliefs are flawless and I am pure in your sight.’ 5 Oh, how I wish that God would speak, that he would open his lips against you 6 and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom has two sides. Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.
7 “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? 8 They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know? 9 Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.
10 “If he comes along and confines you in prison and convenes a court, who can oppose him? 11 Surely he recognizes deceivers; and when he sees evil, does he not take note? 12 But the witless can no more become wise than a wild donkey’s colt can be born human.[b]
13 “Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, 14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, 15 then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear. 16 You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. 17 Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. 18 You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. 19 You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor. 20 But the eyes of the wicked will fail, and escape will elude them; their hope will become a dying gasp.”
12 Then Job replied:
2 “Doubtless you are the only people who matter, and wisdom will die with you! 3 But I have a mind as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know all these things?
4 “I have become a laughingstock to my friends, though I called on God and he answered— a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless! 5 Those who are at ease have contempt for misfortune as the fate of those whose feet are slipping. 6 The tents of marauders are undisturbed, and those who provoke God are secure— those God has in his hand.[c]
7 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; 8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. 9 Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? 10 In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. 11 Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food? 12 Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?
13 “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his. 14 What he tears down cannot be rebuilt; those he imprisons cannot be released. 15 If he holds back the waters, there is drought; if he lets them loose, they devastate the land. 16 To him belong strength and insight; both deceived and deceiver are his. 17 He leads rulers away stripped and makes fools of judges. 18 He takes off the shackles put on by kings and ties a loincloth[d] around their waist. 19 He leads priests away stripped and overthrows officials long established. 20 He silences the lips of trusted advisers and takes away the discernment of elders. 21 He pours contempt on nobles and disarms the mighty. 22 He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light. 23 He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them. 24 He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason; he makes them wander in a trackless waste. 25 They grope in darkness with no light; he makes them stagger like drunkards.
13 “My eyes have seen all this, my ears have heard and understood it. 2 What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you. 3 But I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God. 4 You, however, smear me with lies; you are worthless physicians, all of you! 5 If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom. 6 Hear now my argument; listen to the pleas of my lips. 7 Will you speak wickedly on God’s behalf? Will you speak deceitfully for him? 8 Will you show him partiality? Will you argue the case for God? 9 Would it turn out well if he examined you? Could you deceive him as you might deceive a mortal? 10 He would surely call you to account if you secretly showed partiality. 11 Would not his splendor terrify you? Would not the dread of him fall on you? 12 Your maxims are proverbs of ashes; your defenses are defenses of clay.
13 “Keep silent and let me speak; then let come to me what may. 14 Why do I put myself in jeopardy and take my life in my hands? 15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely[e] defend my ways to his face. 16 Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance, for no godless person would dare come before him! 17 Listen carefully to what I say; let my words ring in your ears. 18 Now that I have prepared my case, I know I will be vindicated. 19 Can anyone bring charges against me? If so, I will be silent and die.
20 “Only grant me these two things, God, and then I will not hide from you: 21 Withdraw your hand far from me, and stop frightening me with your terrors. 22 Then summon me and I will answer, or let me speak, and you reply to me. 23 How many wrongs and sins have I committed? Show me my offense and my sin. 24 Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy? 25 Will you torment a windblown leaf? Will you chase after dry chaff? 26 For you write down bitter things against me and make me reap the sins of my youth. 27 You fasten my feet in shackles; you keep close watch on all my paths by putting marks on the soles of my feet.
28 “So man wastes away like something rotten, like a garment eaten by moths.
14 “Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble. 2 They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure. 3 Do you fix your eye on them? Will you bring them[f] before you for judgment? 4 Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one! 5 A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. 6 So look away from him and let him alone, till he has put in his time like a hired laborer.
7 “At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. 8 Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, 9 yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant. 10 But a man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more. 11 As the water of a lake dries up or a riverbed becomes parched and dry, 12 so he lies down and does not rise; till the heavens are no more, people will not awake or be roused from their sleep.
13 “If only you would hide me in the grave and conceal me till your anger has passed! If only you would set me a time and then remember me! 14 If someone dies, will they live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal[g] to come. 15 You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made. 16 Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin. 17 My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin.
18 “But as a mountain erodes and crumbles and as a rock is moved from its place, 19 as water wears away stones and torrents wash away the soil, so you destroy a person’s hope. 20 You overpower them once for all, and they are gone; you change their countenance and send them away. 21 If their children are honored, they do not know it; if their offspring are brought low, they do not see it. 22 They feel but the pain of their own bodies and mourn only for themselves.”
15 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
2 “Would a wise person answer with empty notions or fill their belly with the hot east wind? 3 Would they argue with useless words, with speeches that have no value? 4 But you even undermine piety and hinder devotion to God. 5 Your sin prompts your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty. 6 Your own mouth condemns you, not mine; your own lips testify against you.
7 “Are you the first man ever born? Were you brought forth before the hills? 8 Do you listen in on God’s council? Do you have a monopoly on wisdom? 9 What do you know that we do not know? What insights do you have that we do not have? 10 The gray-haired and the aged are on our side, men even older than your father. 11 Are God’s consolations not enough for you, words spoken gently to you? 12 Why has your heart carried you away, and why do your eyes flash, 13 so that you vent your rage against God and pour out such words from your mouth?
14 “What are mortals, that they could be pure, or those born of woman, that they could be righteous? 15 If God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes, 16 how much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt, who drink up evil like water!
17 “Listen to me and I will explain to you; let me tell you what I have seen, 18 what the wise have declared, hiding nothing received from their ancestors 19 (to whom alone the land was given when no foreigners moved among them): 20 All his days the wicked man suffers torment, the ruthless man through all the years stored up for him. 21 Terrifying sounds fill his ears; when all seems well, marauders attack him. 22 He despairs of escaping the realm of darkness; he is marked for the sword. 23 He wanders about for food like a vulture; he knows the day of darkness is at hand. 24 Distress and anguish fill him with terror; troubles overwhelm him, like a king poised to attack, 25 because he shakes his fist at God and vaunts himself against the Almighty, 26 defiantly charging against him with a thick, strong shield.
27 “Though his face is covered with fat and his waist bulges with flesh, 28 he will inhabit ruined towns and houses where no one lives, houses crumbling to rubble. 29 He will no longer be rich and his wealth will not endure, nor will his possessions spread over the land. 30 He will not escape the darkness; a flame will wither his shoots, and the breath of God’s mouth will carry him away. 31 Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless, for he will get nothing in return. 32 Before his time he will wither, and his branches will not flourish. 33 He will be like a vine stripped of its unripe grapes, like an olive tree shedding its blossoms. 34 For the company of the godless will be barren, and fire will consume the tents of those who love bribes. 35 They conceive trouble and give birth to evil; their womb fashions deceit.”
16 Then Job replied:
2 “I have heard many things like these; you are miserable comforters, all of you! 3 Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing? 4 I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you. 5 But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.
6 “Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away. 7 Surely, God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household. 8 You have shriveled me up—and it has become a witness; my gauntness rises up and testifies against me. 9 God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me; my opponent fastens on me his piercing eyes. 10 People open their mouths to jeer at me; they strike my cheek in scorn and unite together against me. 11 God has turned me over to the ungodly and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked. 12 All was well with me, but he shattered me; he seized me by the neck and crushed me. He has made me his target; 13 his archers surround me. Without pity, he pierces my kidneys and spills my gall on the ground. 14 Again and again he bursts upon me; he rushes at me like a warrior.
15 “I have sewed sackcloth over my skin and buried my brow in the dust. 16 My face is red with weeping, dark shadows ring my eyes; 17 yet my hands have been free of violence and my prayer is pure.
18 “Earth, do not cover my blood; may my cry never be laid to rest! 19 Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. 20 My intercessor is my friend[h] as my eyes pour out tears to God; 21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.
22 “Only a few years will pass before I take the path of no return.
17 1 My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me. 2 Surely mockers surround me; my eyes must dwell on their hostility.
3 “Give me, O God, the pledge you demand. Who else will put up security for me? 4 You have closed their minds to understanding; therefore you will not let them triumph. 5 If anyone denounces their friends for reward, the eyes of their children will fail.
6 “God has made me a byword to everyone, a man in whose face people spit. 7 My eyes have grown dim with grief; my whole frame is but a shadow. 8 The upright are appalled at this; the innocent are aroused against the ungodly. 9 Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger.
10 “But come on, all of you, try again! I will not find a wise man among you. 11 My days have passed, my plans are shattered. Yet the desires of my heart 12 turn night into day; in the face of the darkness light is near. 13 If the only home I hope for is the grave, if I spread out my bed in the realm of darkness, 14 if I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother’ or ‘My sister,’ 15 where then is my hope— who can see any hope for me? 16 Will it go down to the gates of death? Will we descend together into the dust?”
18 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
2 “When will you end these speeches? Be sensible, and then we can talk. 3 Why are we regarded as cattle and considered stupid in your sight? 4 You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger, is the earth to be abandoned for your sake? Or must the rocks be moved from their place?
5 “The lamp of a wicked man is snuffed out; the flame of his fire stops burning. 6 The light in his tent becomes dark; the lamp beside him goes out. 7 The vigor of his step is weakened; his own schemes throw him down. 8 His feet thrust him into a net; he wanders into its mesh. 9 A trap seizes him by the heel; a snare holds him fast. 10 A noose is hidden for him on the ground; a trap lies in his path. 11 Terrors startle him on every side and dog his every step. 12 Calamity is hungry for him; disaster is ready for him when he falls. 13 It eats away parts of his skin; death’s firstborn devours his limbs. 14 He is torn from the security of his tent and marched off to the king of terrors. 15 Fire resides[i] in his tent; burning sulfur is scattered over his dwelling. 16 His roots dry up below and his branches wither above. 17 The memory of him perishes from the earth; he has no name in the land. 18 He is driven from light into the realm of darkness and is banished from the world. 19 He has no offspring or descendants among his people, no survivor where once he lived. 20 People of the west are appalled at his fate; those of the east are seized with horror. 21 Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man; such is the place of one who does not know God.”
19 Then Job replied:
2 “How long will you torment me and crush me with words? 3 Ten times now you have reproached me; shamelessly you attack me. 4 If it is true that I have gone astray, my error remains my concern alone. 5 If indeed you would exalt yourselves above me and use my humiliation against me, 6 then know that God has wronged me and drawn his net around me.
7 “Though I cry, ‘Violence!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice. 8 He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; he has shrouded my paths in darkness. 9 He has stripped me of my honor and removed the crown from my head. 10 He tears me down on every side till I am gone; he uproots my hope like a tree. 11 His anger burns against me; he counts me among his enemies. 12 His troops advance in force; they build a siege ramp against me and encamp around my tent.
13 “He has alienated my family from me; my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. 14 My relatives have gone away; my closest friends have forgotten me. 15 My guests and my female servants count me a foreigner; they look on me as on a stranger. 16 I summon my servant, but he does not answer, though I beg him with my own mouth. 17 My breath is offensive to my wife; I am loathsome to my own family. 18 Even the little boys scorn me; when I appear, they ridicule me. 19 All my intimate friends detest me; those I love have turned against me. 20 I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.[j]
21 “Have pity on me, my friends, have pity, for the hand of God has struck me. 22 Why do you pursue me as God does? Will you never get enough of my flesh?
23 “Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, 24 that they were inscribed with an iron tool on[k] lead, or engraved in rock forever! 25 I know that my redeemer[l] lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.[m] 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet[n] in[o] my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
28 “If you say, ‘How we will hound him, since the root of the trouble lies in him,[p]’ 29 you should fear the sword yourselves; for wrath will bring punishment by the sword, and then you will know that there is judgment.[q]”
20 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
2 “My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer because I am greatly disturbed. 3 I hear a rebuke that dishonors me, and my understanding inspires me to reply.
4 “Surely you know how it has been from of old, ever since mankind[r] was placed on the earth, 5 that the mirth of the wicked is brief, the joy of the godless lasts but a moment. 6 Though the pride of the godless person reaches to the heavens and his head touches the clouds, 7 he will perish forever, like his own dung; those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’ 8 Like a dream he flies away, no more to be found, banished like a vision of the night. 9 The eye that saw him will not see him again; his place will look on him no more. 10 His children must make amends to the poor; his own hands must give back his wealth.
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