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Job 21-29 New King James Version (NKJV)

Job’s Discourse on the Wicked

21 Then Job answered and said:

“Listen carefully to my speech,
And let this be your [a]consolation.
Bear with me that I may speak,
And after I have spoken, keep mocking.

“As for me, is my complaint against man?
And if it were, why should I not be impatient?
Look at me and be astonished;
Put your hand over your mouth.
Even when I remember I am terrified,
And trembling takes hold of my flesh.
Why do the wicked live and become old,
Yes, become mighty in power?
Their descendants are established with them in their sight,
And their offspring before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear,
Neither is [b]the rod of God upon them.
10 Their bull breeds without failure;
Their cow calves without miscarriage.
11 They send forth their little ones like a flock,
And their children dance.
12 They sing to the tambourine and harp,
And rejoice to the sound of the flute.
13 They spend their days in wealth,
And [c]in a moment go down to the [d]grave.
14 Yet they say to God, ‘Depart from us,
For we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways.
15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him?
And what profit do we have if we pray to Him?’
16 Indeed [e]their prosperity is not in their hand;
The counsel of the wicked is far from me.

17 “How often is the lamp of the wicked put out?
How often does their destruction come upon them,
The sorrows God distributes in His anger?
18 They are like straw before the wind,
And like chaff that a storm [f]carries away.
19 They say, ‘God [g]lays up [h]one’s iniquity for his children’;
Let Him recompense him, that he may know it.
20 Let his eyes see his destruction,
And let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
21 For what does he care about his household after him,
When the number of his months is cut in half?

22 “Can anyone teach God knowledge,
Since He judges those on high?
23 One dies in his full strength,
Being wholly at ease and secure;
24 His [i]pails are full of milk,
And the marrow of his bones is moist.
25 Another man dies in the bitterness of his soul,
Never having eaten with pleasure.
26 They lie down alike in the dust,
And worms cover them.

27 “Look, I know your thoughts,
And the schemes with which you would wrong me.
28 For you say,
‘Where is the house of the prince?
And where is [j]the tent,
The dwelling place of the wicked?’
29 Have you not asked those who travel the road?
And do you not know their signs?
30 For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom;
They shall be brought out on the day of wrath.
31 Who condemns his way to his face?
And who repays him for what he has done?
32 Yet he shall be brought to the grave,
And a vigil kept over the tomb.
33 The clods of the valley shall be sweet to him;
Everyone shall follow him,
As countless have gone before him.
34 How then can you comfort me with empty words,
Since [k]falsehood remains in your answers?”

Eliphaz Accuses Job of Wickedness

22 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

“Can a man be profitable to God,
Though he who is wise may be profitable to himself?
Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that you are righteous?
Or is it gain to Him that you make your ways blameless?

“Is it because of your fear of Him that He corrects you,
And enters into judgment with you?
Is not your wickedness great,
And your iniquity without end?
For you have taken pledges from your brother for no reason,
And stripped the naked of their clothing.
You have not given the weary water to drink,
And you have withheld bread from the hungry.
But the [l]mighty man possessed the land,
And the honorable man dwelt in it.
You have sent widows away empty,
And the [m]strength of the fatherless was crushed.
10 Therefore snares are all around you,
And sudden fear troubles you,
11 Or darkness so that you cannot see;
And an abundance of water covers you.

12 “Is not God in the height of heaven?
And see the highest stars, how lofty they are!
13 And you say, ‘What does God know?
Can He judge through the deep darkness?
14 Thick clouds cover Him, so that He cannot see,
And He walks above the circle of heaven.’
15 Will you keep to the old way
Which wicked men have trod,
16 Who were cut down before their time,
Whose foundations were swept away by a flood?
17 They said to God, ‘Depart from us!
What can the Almighty do to [n]them?’
18 Yet He filled their houses with good things;
But the counsel of the wicked is far from me.

19 “The righteous see it and are glad,
And the innocent laugh at them:
20 ‘Surely our [o]adversaries are cut down,
And the fire consumes their remnant.’

21 “Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace;
Thereby good will come to you.
22 Receive, please, instruction from His mouth,
And lay up His words in your heart.
23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up;
You will remove iniquity far from your tents.
24 Then you will lay your gold in the dust,
And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks.
25 Yes, the Almighty will be your [p]gold
And your precious silver;
26 For then you will have your delight in the Almighty,
And lift up your face to God.
27 You will make your prayer to Him,
He will hear you,
And you will pay your vows.
28 You will also declare a thing,
And it will be established for you;
So light will shine on your ways.
29 When they cast you down, and you say, ‘Exaltation will come!
Then He will save the humble person.
30 He will even deliver one who is not innocent;
Yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands.”

Job Proclaims God’s Righteous Judgments

23 Then Job answered and said:

“Even today my complaint is bitter;
[q]My hand is listless because of my groaning.
Oh, that I knew where I might find Him,
That I might come to His seat!
I would present my case before Him,
And fill my mouth with arguments.
I would know the words which He would answer me,
And understand what He would say to me.
Would He contend with me in His great power?
No! But He would take note of me.
There the upright could reason with Him,
And I would be delivered forever from my Judge.

“Look, I go forward, but He is not there,
And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;
When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him;
When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.
10 But He knows the way that I take;
When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
11 My foot has held fast to His steps;
I have kept His way and not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from the commandment of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth
More than my [r]necessary food.

13 “But He is unique, and who can make Him change?
And whatever His soul desires, that He does.
14 For He performs what is appointed for me,
And many such things are with Him.
15 Therefore I am terrified at His presence;
When I consider this, I am afraid of Him.
16 For God made my heart weak,
And the Almighty terrifies me;
17 Because I was not cut off [s]from the presence of darkness,
And He did not hide deep darkness from my face.

Job Complains of Violence on the Earth

24 Since times are not hidden from the Almighty,
Why do those who know Him see not His days?

Some remove landmarks;
They seize flocks violently and feed on them;
They drive away the donkey of the fatherless;
They take the widow’s ox as a pledge.
They push the needy off the road;
All the poor of the land are forced to hide.
Indeed, like wild donkeys in the desert,
They go out to their work, searching for food.
The wilderness yields food for them and for their children.
They gather their fodder in the field
And glean in the vineyard of the wicked.
They spend the night naked, without clothing,
And have no covering in the cold.
They are wet with the showers of the mountains,
And huddle around the rock for want of shelter.

Some snatch the fatherless from the breast,
And take a pledge from the poor.
10 They cause the poor to go naked, without clothing;
And they take away the sheaves from the hungry.
11 They press out oil within their walls,
And tread winepresses, yet suffer thirst.
12 The dying groan in the city,
And the souls of the wounded cry out;
Yet God does not charge them with wrong.

13 “There are those who rebel against the light;
They do not know its ways
Nor abide in its paths.
14 The murderer rises with the light;
He kills the poor and needy;
And in the night he is like a thief.
15 The eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight,
Saying, ‘No eye will see me’;
And he [t]disguises his face.
16 In the dark they break into houses
Which they marked for themselves in the daytime;
They do not know the light.
17 For the morning is the same to them as the shadow of death;
If someone recognizes them,
They are in the terrors of the shadow of death.

18 “They should be swift on the face of the waters,
Their portion should be cursed in the earth,
So that no one would turn into the way of their vineyards.
19 As drought and heat [u]consume the snow waters,
So [v]the grave consumes those who have sinned.
20 The womb should forget him,
The worm should feed sweetly on him;
He should be remembered no more,
And wickedness should be broken like a tree.
21 For he [w]preys on the barren who do not bear,
And does no good for the widow.

22 “But God draws the mighty away with His power;
He rises up, but no man is sure of life.
23 He gives them security, and they rely on it;
Yet His eyes are on their ways.
24 They are exalted for a little while,
Then they are gone.
They are brought low;
They are [x]taken out of the way like all others;
They dry out like the heads of grain.

25 “Now if it is not so, who will prove me a liar,
And make my speech worth nothing?”

Bildad: How Can Man Be Righteous?

25 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

“Dominion and fear belong to Him;
He makes peace in His high places.
[y]Is there any number to His armies?
Upon whom does His light not rise?
How then can man be righteous before God?
Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman?
If even the moon does not shine,
And the stars are not pure in His sight,
How much less man, who is a maggot,
And a son of man, who is a worm?”

Job: Man’s Frailty and God’s Majesty

26 But Job answered and said:

“How have you helped him who is without power?
How have you saved the arm that has no strength?
How have you counseled one who has no wisdom?
And how have you declared sound advice to many?
To whom have you uttered words?
And whose spirit came from you?

“The dead tremble,
Those under the waters and those inhabiting them.
Sheol is naked before Him,
And Destruction has no covering.
He stretches out the north over empty space;
He hangs the earth on nothing.
He binds up the water in His thick clouds,
Yet the clouds [z]are not broken under it.
He covers the face of His throne,
And spreads His cloud over it.
10 He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters,
At the boundary of light and darkness.
11 The pillars of heaven tremble,
And are [aa]astonished at His rebuke.
12 He stirs up the sea with His power,
And by His understanding He breaks up [ab]the storm.
13 By His Spirit He adorned the heavens;
His hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
14 Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways,
And how small a whisper we hear of Him!
But the thunder of His power who can understand?”

Job Maintains His Integrity

27 Moreover Job continued his discourse, and said:

As God lives, who has taken away my justice,
And the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter,
As long as my breath is in me,
And the breath of God in my nostrils,
My lips will not speak wickedness,
Nor my tongue utter deceit.
Far be it from me
That I should say you are right;
Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go;
My heart shall not [ac]reproach me as long as I live.

“May my enemy be like the wicked,
And he who rises up against me like the unrighteous.
For what is the hope of the hypocrite,
Though he may gain much,
If God takes away his life?
Will God hear his cry
When trouble comes upon him?
10 Will he delight himself in the Almighty?
Will he always call on God?

11 “I will teach you [ad]about the hand of God;
What is with the Almighty I will not conceal.
12 Surely all of you have seen it;
Why then do you behave with complete nonsense?

13 “This is the portion of a wicked man with God,
And the heritage of oppressors, received from the Almighty:
14 If his children are multiplied, it is for the sword;
And his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread.
15 Those who survive him shall be buried in death,
And their[ae] widows shall not weep,
16 Though he heaps up silver like dust,
And piles up clothing like clay—
17 He may pile it up, but the just will wear it,
And the innocent will divide the silver.
18 He builds his house like a [af]moth,
Like a [ag]booth which a watchman makes.
19 The rich man will lie down,
[ah]But not be gathered up;
He opens his eyes,
And he is no more.
20 Terrors overtake him like a flood;
A tempest steals him away in the night.
21 The east wind carries him away, and he is gone;
It sweeps him out of his place.
22 It hurls against him and does not spare;
He flees desperately from its [ai]power.
23 Men shall clap their hands at him,
And shall hiss him out of his place.

Job’s Discourse on Wisdom

28 “Surely there is a mine for silver,
And a place where gold is refined.
Iron is taken from the [aj]earth,
And copper is smelted from ore.
Man puts an end to darkness,
And searches every recess
For ore in the darkness and the shadow of death.
He breaks open a shaft away from people;
In places forgotten by feet
They hang far away from men;
They swing to and fro.
As for the earth, from it comes bread,
But underneath it is turned up as by fire;
Its stones are the source of sapphires,
And it contains gold dust.
That path no bird knows,
Nor has the falcon’s eye seen it.
The [ak]proud lions have not trodden it,
Nor has the fierce lion passed over it.
He puts his hand on the flint;
He overturns the mountains [al]at the roots.
10 He cuts out channels in the rocks,
And his eye sees every precious thing.
11 He dams up the streams from trickling;
What is hidden he brings forth to light.

12 “But where can wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
13 Man does not know its value,
Nor is it found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, ‘It is not in me’;
And the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15 It cannot be purchased for gold,
Nor can silver be weighed for its price.
16 It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
In precious onyx or sapphire.
17 Neither gold nor crystal can equal it,
Nor can it be exchanged for [am]jewelry of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of [an]coral or quartz,
For the price of wisdom is above rubies.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
Nor can it be valued in pure gold.

20 “From where then does wisdom come?
And where is the place of understanding?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living,
And concealed from the birds of the [ao]air.
22 Destruction[ap] and Death say,
‘We have heard a report about it with our ears.’
23 God understands its way,
And He knows its place.
24 For He looks to the ends of the earth,
And sees under the whole heavens,
25 To establish a weight for the wind,
And apportion the waters by measure.
26 When He made a law for the rain,
And a path for the thunderbolt,
27 Then He saw [aq]wisdom and declared it;
He prepared it, indeed, He searched it out.
28 And to man He said,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
And to depart from evil is understanding.’ ”

Job’s Summary Defense

29 Job further continued his discourse, and said:

“Oh, that I were as in months past,
As in the days when God watched over me;
When His lamp shone upon my head,
And when by His light I walked through darkness;
Just as I was in the days of my prime,
When the friendly counsel of God was over my tent;
When the Almighty was yet with me,
When my children were around me;
When my steps were bathed with [ar]cream,
And the rock poured out rivers of oil for me!

“When I went out to the gate by the city,
When I took my seat in the open square,
The young men saw me and hid,
And the aged arose and stood;
The princes refrained from talking,
And put their hand on their mouth;
10 The voice of nobles was hushed,
And their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.
11 When the ear heard, then it blessed me,
And when the eye saw, then it approved me;
12 Because I delivered the poor who cried out,
The fatherless and the one who had no helper.
13 The blessing of a perishing man came upon me,
And I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.
14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
My justice was like a robe and a turban.
15 I was eyes to the blind,
And I was feet to the lame.
16 I was a father to the poor,
And I searched out the case that I did not know.
17 I broke the fangs of the wicked,
And plucked the victim from his teeth.

18 “Then I said, ‘I shall die in my nest,
And multiply my days as the sand.
19 My root is spread out to the waters,
And the dew lies all night on my branch.
20 My glory is fresh within me,
And my bow is renewed in my hand.’

21 Men listened to me and waited,
And kept silence for my counsel.
22 After my words they did not speak again,
And my speech settled on them as dew.
23 They waited for me as for the rain,
And they opened their mouth wide as for the spring rain.
24 If I mocked at them, they did not believe it,
And the light of my countenance they did not cast down.
25 I chose the way for them, and sat as chief;
So I dwelt as a king in the army,
As one who comforts mourners.

Footnotes:

  1. Job 21:2 comfort
  2. Job 21:9 The rod of God’s chastisement
  3. Job 21:13 Without lingering
  4. Job 21:13 Or Sheol
  5. Job 21:16 Lit. their goal
  6. Job 21:18 steals away
  7. Job 21:19 stores up
  8. Job 21:19 Lit. his
  9. Job 21:24 LXX, Vg. bowels; Syr. sides; Tg. breasts
  10. Job 21:28 Vg. omits the tent
  11. Job 21:34 faithlessness
  12. Job 22:8 Lit. man of arm
  13. Job 22:9 Lit. arms
  14. Job 22:17 LXX, Syr. us
  15. Job 22:20 LXX substance is
  16. Job 22:25 Ancient vss. suggest defense; MT gold, as in v. 24
  17. Job 23:2 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; LXX, Syr. His
  18. Job 23:12 Lit. appointed portion
  19. Job 23:17 Or by or before
  20. Job 24:15 Lit. puts a covering on his face
  21. Job 24:19 Lit. seize
  22. Job 24:19 Or Sheol
  23. Job 24:21 Lit. feeds on
  24. Job 24:24 Lit. gathered up
  25. Job 25:3 Can His armies be counted?
  26. Job 26:8 do not break
  27. Job 26:11 amazed
  28. Job 26:12 Heb. rahab
  29. Job 27:6 reprove
  30. Job 27:11 Or by
  31. Job 27:15 Lit. his
  32. Job 27:18 So with MT, Vg.; LXX, Syr. spider (cf. 8:14); Tg. decay
  33. Job 27:18 Temporary shelter
  34. Job 27:19 So with MT, Tg.; LXX, Syr. But shall not add (i.e., do it again); Vg. But take away nothing
  35. Job 27:22 Lit. hand
  36. Job 28:2 Lit. dust
  37. Job 28:8 Lit. sons of pride, figurative of the great lions
  38. Job 28:9 At the base
  39. Job 28:17 vessels
  40. Job 28:18 Heb. ramoth
  41. Job 28:21 heaven
  42. Job 28:22 Heb. Abaddon
  43. Job 28:27 Lit. it
  44. Job 29:6 So with ancient vss. and a few Heb. mss. (cf. Job 20:17); MT wrath
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Job 21-29 New International Version (NIV)

Job

21 Then Job replied:

“Listen carefully to my words;
    let this be the consolation you give me.
Bear with me while I speak,
    and after I have spoken, mock on.

“Is my complaint directed to a human being?
    Why should I not be impatient?
Look at me and be appalled;
    clap your hand over your mouth.
When I think about this, I am terrified;
    trembling seizes my body.
Why do the wicked live on,
    growing old and increasing in power?
They see their children established around them,
    their offspring before their eyes.
Their homes are safe and free from fear;
    the rod of God is not on them.
10 Their bulls never fail to breed;
    their cows calve and do not miscarry.
11 They send forth their children as a flock;
    their little ones dance about.
12 They sing to the music of timbrel and lyre;
    they make merry to the sound of the pipe.
13 They spend their years in prosperity
    and go down to the grave in peace.[a]
14 Yet they say to God, ‘Leave us alone!
    We have no desire to know your ways.
15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
    What would we gain by praying to him?’
16 But their prosperity is not in their own hands,
    so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked.

17 “Yet how often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out?
    How often does calamity come upon them,
    the fate God allots in his anger?
18 How often are they like straw before the wind,
    like chaff swept away by a gale?
19 It is said, ‘God stores up the punishment of the wicked for their children.’
    Let him repay the wicked, so that they themselves will experience it!
20 Let their own eyes see their destruction;
    let them drink the cup of the wrath of the Almighty.
21 For what do they care about the families they leave behind
    when their allotted months come to an end?

22 “Can anyone teach knowledge to God,
    since he judges even the highest?
23 One person dies in full vigor,
    completely secure and at ease,
24 well nourished in body,[b]
    bones rich with marrow.
25 Another dies in bitterness of soul,
    never having enjoyed anything good.
26 Side by side they lie in the dust,
    and worms cover them both.

27 “I know full well what you are thinking,
    the schemes by which you would wrong me.
28 You say, ‘Where now is the house of the great,
    the tents where the wicked lived?’
29 Have you never questioned those who travel?
    Have you paid no regard to their accounts—
30 that the wicked are spared from the day of calamity,
    that they are delivered from[c] the day of wrath?
31 Who denounces their conduct to their face?
    Who repays them for what they have done?
32 They are carried to the grave,
    and watch is kept over their tombs.
33 The soil in the valley is sweet to them;
    everyone follows after them,
    and a countless throng goes[d] before them.

34 “So how can you console me with your nonsense?
    Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!”

Eliphaz

22 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:

“Can a man be of benefit to God?
    Can even a wise person benefit him?
What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous?
    What would he gain if your ways were blameless?

“Is it for your piety that he rebukes you
    and brings charges against you?
Is not your wickedness great?
    Are not your sins endless?
You demanded security from your relatives for no reason;
    you stripped people of their clothing, leaving them naked.
You gave no water to the weary
    and you withheld food from the hungry,
though you were a powerful man, owning land
    an honored man, living on it.
And you sent widows away empty-handed
    and broke the strength of the fatherless.
10 That is why snares are all around you,
    why sudden peril terrifies you,
11 why it is so dark you cannot see,
    and why a flood of water covers you.

12 “Is not God in the heights of heaven?
    And see how lofty are the highest stars!
13 Yet you say, ‘What does God know?
    Does he judge through such darkness?
14 Thick clouds veil him, so he does not see us
    as he goes about in the vaulted heavens.’
15 Will you keep to the old path
    that the wicked have trod?
16 They were carried off before their time,
    their foundations washed away by a flood.
17 They said to God, ‘Leave us alone!
    What can the Almighty do to us?’
18 Yet it was he who filled their houses with good things,
    so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked.
19 The righteous see their ruin and rejoice;
    the innocent mock them, saying,
20 ‘Surely our foes are destroyed,
    and fire devours their wealth.’

21 “Submit to God and be at peace with him;
    in this way prosperity will come to you.
22 Accept instruction from his mouth
    and lay up his words in your heart.
23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored:
    If you remove wickedness far from your tent
24 and assign your nuggets to the dust,
    your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines,
25 then the Almighty will be your gold,
    the choicest silver for you.
26 Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty
    and will lift up your face to God.
27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you,
    and you will fulfill your vows.
28 What you decide on will be done,
    and light will shine on your ways.
29 When people are brought low and you say, ‘Lift them up!’
    then he will save the downcast.
30 He will deliver even one who is not innocent,
    who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”

Job

23 Then Job replied:

“Even today my complaint is bitter;
    his hand[e] is heavy in spite of[f] my groaning.
If only I knew where to find him;
    if only I could go to his dwelling!
I would state my case before him
    and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would find out what he would answer me,
    and consider what he would say to me.
Would he vigorously oppose me?
    No, he would not press charges against me.
There the upright can establish their innocence before him,
    and there I would be delivered forever from my judge.

“But if I go to the east, he is not there;
    if I go to the west, I do not find him.
When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
    when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
    when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
11 My feet have closely followed his steps;
    I have kept to his way without turning aside.
12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
    I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.

13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him?
    He does whatever he pleases.
14 He carries out his decree against me,
    and many such plans he still has in store.
15 That is why I am terrified before him;
    when I think of all this, I fear him.
16 God has made my heart faint;
    the Almighty has terrified me.
17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness,
    by the thick darkness that covers my face.

24 “Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment?
    Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?
There are those who move boundary stones;
    they pasture flocks they have stolen.
They drive away the orphan’s donkey
    and take the widow’s ox in pledge.
They thrust the needy from the path
    and force all the poor of the land into hiding.
Like wild donkeys in the desert,
    the poor go about their labor of foraging food;
    the wasteland provides food for their children.
They gather fodder in the fields
    and glean in the vineyards of the wicked.
Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked;
    they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold.
They are drenched by mountain rains
    and hug the rocks for lack of shelter.
The fatherless child is snatched from the breast;
    the infant of the poor is seized for a debt.
10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked;
    they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry.
11 They crush olives among the terraces[g];
    they tread the winepresses, yet suffer thirst.
12 The groans of the dying rise from the city,
    and the souls of the wounded cry out for help.
    But God charges no one with wrongdoing.

13 “There are those who rebel against the light,
    who do not know its ways
    or stay in its paths.
14 When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up,
    kills the poor and needy,
    and in the night steals forth like a thief.
15 The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk;
    he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’
    and he keeps his face concealed.
16 In the dark, thieves break into houses,
    but by day they shut themselves in;
    they want nothing to do with the light.
17 For all of them, midnight is their morning;
    they make friends with the terrors of darkness.

18 “Yet they are foam on the surface of the water;
    their portion of the land is cursed,
    so that no one goes to the vineyards.
19 As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow,
    so the grave snatches away those who have sinned.
20 The womb forgets them,
    the worm feasts on them;
the wicked are no longer remembered
    but are broken like a tree.
21 They prey on the barren and childless woman,
    and to the widow they show no kindness.
22 But God drags away the mighty by his power;
    though they become established, they have no assurance of life.
23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security,
    but his eyes are on their ways.
24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone;
    they are brought low and gathered up like all others;
    they are cut off like heads of grain.

25 “If this is not so, who can prove me false
    and reduce my words to nothing?”

Bildad

25 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

“Dominion and awe belong to God;
    he establishes order in the heights of heaven.
Can his forces be numbered?
    On whom does his light not rise?
How then can a mortal be righteous before God?
    How can one born of woman be pure?
If even the moon is not bright
    and the stars are not pure in his eyes,
how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot—
    a human being, who is only a worm!”

Job

26 Then Job replied:

“How you have helped the powerless!
    How you have saved the arm that is feeble!
What advice you have offered to one without wisdom!
    And what great insight you have displayed!
Who has helped you utter these words?
    And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?

“The dead are in deep anguish,
    those beneath the waters and all that live in them.
The realm of the dead is naked before God;
    Destruction[h] lies uncovered.
He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
    he suspends the earth over nothing.
He wraps up the waters in his clouds,
    yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.
He covers the face of the full moon,
    spreading his clouds over it.
10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters
    for a boundary between light and darkness.
11 The pillars of the heavens quake,
    aghast at his rebuke.
12 By his power he churned up the sea;
    by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces.
13 By his breath the skies became fair;
    his hand pierced the gliding serpent.
14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works;
    how faint the whisper we hear of him!
    Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”

Job’s Final Word to His Friends

27 And Job continued his discourse:

“As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice,
    the Almighty, who has made my life bitter,
as long as I have life within me,
    the breath of God in my nostrils,
my lips will not say anything wicked,
    and my tongue will not utter lies.
I will never admit you are in the right;
    till I die, I will not deny my integrity.
I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it;
    my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.

“May my enemy be like the wicked,
    my adversary like the unjust!
For what hope have the godless when they are cut off,
    when God takes away their life?
Does God listen to their cry
    when distress comes upon them?
10 Will they find delight in the Almighty?
    Will they call on God at all times?

11 “I will teach you about the power of God;
    the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal.
12 You have all seen this yourselves.
    Why then this meaningless talk?

13 “Here is the fate God allots to the wicked,
    the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty:
14 However many his children, their fate is the sword;
    his offspring will never have enough to eat.
15 The plague will bury those who survive him,
    and their widows will not weep for them.
16 Though he heaps up silver like dust
    and clothes like piles of clay,
17 what he lays up the righteous will wear,
    and the innocent will divide his silver.
18 The house he builds is like a moth’s cocoon,
    like a hut made by a watchman.
19 He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more;
    when he opens his eyes, all is gone.
20 Terrors overtake him like a flood;
    a tempest snatches him away in the night.
21 The east wind carries him off, and he is gone;
    it sweeps him out of his place.
22 It hurls itself against him without mercy
    as he flees headlong from its power.
23 It claps its hands in derision
    and hisses him out of his place.”

Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found

28 There is a mine for silver
    and a place where gold is refined.
Iron is taken from the earth,
    and copper is smelted from ore.
Mortals put an end to the darkness;
    they search out the farthest recesses
    for ore in the blackest darkness.
Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,
    in places untouched by human feet;
    far from other people they dangle and sway.
The earth, from which food comes,
    is transformed below as by fire;
lapis lazuli comes from its rocks,
    and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
    no falcon’s eye has seen it.
Proud beasts do not set foot on it,
    and no lion prowls there.
People assault the flinty rock with their hands
    and lay bare the roots of the mountains.
10 They tunnel through the rock;
    their eyes see all its treasures.
11 They search[i] the sources of the rivers
    and bring hidden things to light.

12 But where can wisdom be found?
    Where does understanding dwell?
13 No mortal comprehends its worth;
    it cannot be found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, “It is not in me”;
    the sea says, “It is not with me.”
15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold,
    nor can its price be weighed out in silver.
16 It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,
    with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.
17 Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,
    nor can it be had for jewels of gold.
18 Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention;
    the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
19 The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it;
    it cannot be bought with pure gold.

20 Where then does wisdom come from?
    Where does understanding dwell?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
    concealed even from the birds in the sky.
22 Destruction[j] and Death say,
    “Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”
23 God understands the way to it
    and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth
    and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he established the force of the wind
    and measured out the waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
    and a path for the thunderstorm,
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
    he confirmed it and tested it.
28 And he said to the human race,
    “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
    and to shun evil is understanding.”

Job’s Final Defense

29 Job continued his discourse:

“How I long for the months gone by,
    for the days when God watched over me,
when his lamp shone on my head
    and by his light I walked through darkness!
Oh, for the days when I was in my prime,
    when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house,
when the Almighty was still with me
    and my children were around me,
when my path was drenched with cream
    and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.

“When I went to the gate of the city
    and took my seat in the public square,
the young men saw me and stepped aside
    and the old men rose to their feet;
the chief men refrained from speaking
    and covered their mouths with their hands;
10 the voices of the nobles were hushed,
    and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.
11 Whoever heard me spoke well of me,
    and those who saw me commended me,
12 because I rescued the poor who cried for help,
    and the fatherless who had none to assist them.
13 The one who was dying blessed me;
    I made the widow’s heart sing.
14 I put on righteousness as my clothing;
    justice was my robe and my turban.
15 I was eyes to the blind
    and feet to the lame.
16 I was a father to the needy;
    I took up the case of the stranger.
17 I broke the fangs of the wicked
    and snatched the victims from their teeth.

18 “I thought, ‘I will die in my own house,
    my days as numerous as the grains of sand.
19 My roots will reach to the water,
    and the dew will lie all night on my branches.
20 My glory will not fade;
    the bow will be ever new in my hand.’

21 “People listened to me expectantly,
    waiting in silence for my counsel.
22 After I had spoken, they spoke no more;
    my words fell gently on their ears.
23 They waited for me as for showers
    and drank in my words as the spring rain.
24 When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;
    the light of my face was precious to them.[k]
25 I chose the way for them and sat as their chief;
    I dwelt as a king among his troops;
    I was like one who comforts mourners.

Footnotes:

  1. Job 21:13 Or in an instant
  2. Job 21:24 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  3. Job 21:30 Or wicked are reserved for the day of calamity, / that they are brought forth to
  4. Job 21:33 Or them, / as a countless throng went
  5. Job 23:2 Septuagint and Syriac; Hebrew / the hand on me
  6. Job 23:2 Or heavy on me in
  7. Job 24:11 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  8. Job 26:6 Hebrew Abaddon
  9. Job 28:11 Septuagint, Aquila and Vulgate; Hebrew They dam up
  10. Job 28:22 Hebrew Abaddon
  11. Job 29:24 The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

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