Job 23-24 Good News Translation (GNT)
23 1-2 I still rebel and complain against God;
I cannot keep from groaning.
3 How I wish I knew where to find him,
and knew how to go where he is.
4 I would state my case before him
and present all the arguments in my favor.
5 I want to know what he would say
and how he would answer me.
6 Would God use all his strength against me?
No, he would listen as I spoke.
7 I am honest; I could reason with God;
he would declare me innocent once and for all.
8 I have searched in the East, but God is not there;
I have not found him when I searched in the West.
9 God has been at work in the North and the South,
but still I have not seen him.
10 Yet God knows every step I take;
if he tests me, he will find me pure.
11 I follow faithfully the road he chooses,
and never wander to either side.
12 I always do what God commands;
I follow his will, not my own desires.
13 He never changes. No one can oppose him
or stop him from doing what he wants to do.
14 He will fulfill what he has planned for me;
that plan is just one of the many he has;
15 I tremble with fear before him.
16-17 Almighty God has destroyed my courage.
It is God, not the dark, that makes me afraid—
even though the darkness has made me blind.
24 Why doesn't God set a time for judging,
a day of justice for those who serve him?
2 People move property lines to get more land;
they steal sheep and put them with their own flocks.
3 They take donkeys that belong to orphans,
and keep a widow's ox till she pays her debts.
4 They prevent the poor from getting their rights
and force the needy to run and hide.
5 So the poor, like wild donkeys,
search for food in the dry wilderness;
nowhere else can they find food for their children.
6 They have to harvest fields they don't own,
and gather grapes in vineyards of the wicked.
7 At night they sleep with nothing to cover them,
nothing to keep them from the cold.
8 They are drenched by the rain that falls on the mountains,
and they huddle beside the rocks for shelter.
9 Evil people make slaves of fatherless infants
and take the children of the poor in payment for debts.
10 But the poor must go out with no clothes to protect them;
they must go hungry while harvesting wheat.
11 They press olives for oil, and grapes for wine,
but they themselves are thirsty.
12 In the cities the wounded and dying cry out,
but God ignores their prayers.
13 There are those who reject the light;
they don't understand it or go where it leads.
14 At dawn the murderer gets up
and goes out to kill the poor,
and at night he steals.
15 The adulterer waits for twilight to come;
he covers his face so that no one can see him.
16 At night thieves break into houses,
but by day they hide and avoid the light.
17 They fear the light of day,
but darkness holds no terror for them.
18 The wicked are swept away by floods,
and the land they own is under God's curse;
they no longer go to work in their vineyards.
19 As snow vanishes in heat and drought,
so sinners vanish from the land of the living.
20 Not even their mothers remember them now;
they are eaten by worms and destroyed like fallen trees.
21 That happens because they mistreated widows
and showed no kindness to childless women.
22 God, in his strength, destroys the mighty;
God acts—and the wicked die.
23 God may let them live secure,
but keeps an eye on them all the time.
24 For a while the wicked prosper,
but then they wither like weeds,
like stalks of grain that have been cut down.
25 Can anyone deny that this is so?
Can anyone prove that my words are not true?
Job 23-24 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Job Replies: My Complaint Is Bitter
23 Then Job answered:
2 “Today also my complaint is bitter;
his hand is heavy despite my groaning.
3 Oh, that I knew where I might find him,
that I might come even to his dwelling!
4 I would lay my case before him,
and fill my mouth with arguments.
5 I would learn what he would answer me,
and understand what he would say to me.
6 Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power?
No; but he would give heed to me.
7 There an upright person could reason with him,
and I should be acquitted forever by my judge.
8 “If I go forward, he is not there;
or backward, I cannot perceive him;
9 on the left he hides, and I cannot behold him;
I turn to the right, but I cannot see him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I shall come out like gold.
11 My foot has held fast to his steps;
I have kept his way and have not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from the commandment of his lips;
I have treasured in my bosom the words of his mouth.
13 But he stands alone and who can dissuade him?
What he desires, that he does.
14 For he will complete what he appoints for me;
and many such things are in his mind.
15 Therefore I am terrified at his presence;
when I consider, I am in dread of him.
16 God has made my heart faint;
the Almighty has terrified me;
17 If only I could vanish in darkness,
and thick darkness would cover my face!
Job Complains of Violence on the Earth
24 “Why are times not kept by the Almighty,
and why do those who know him never see his days?
2 The wicked remove landmarks;
they seize flocks and pasture them.
3 They drive away the donkey of the orphan;
they take the widow’s ox for a pledge.
4 They thrust the needy off the road;
the poor of the earth all hide themselves.
5 Like wild asses in the desert
they go out to their toil,
scavenging in the wasteland
food for their young.
6 They reap in a field not their own
and they glean in the vineyard of the wicked.
7 They lie all night naked, without clothing,
and have no covering in the cold.
8 They are wet with the rain of the mountains,
and cling to the rock for want of shelter.
9 “There are those who snatch the orphan child from the breast,
and take as a pledge the infant of the poor.
10 They go about naked, without clothing;
though hungry, they carry the sheaves;
11 between their terraces they press out oil;
they tread the wine presses, but suffer thirst.
12 From the city the dying groan,
and the throat of the wounded cries for help;
yet God pays no attention to their prayer.
13 “There are those who rebel against the light,
who are not acquainted with its ways,
and do not stay in its paths.
14 The murderer rises at dusk
to kill the poor and needy,
and in the night is like a thief.
15 The eye of the adulterer also waits for the twilight,
saying, ‘No eye will see me’;
and he disguises his face.
16 In the dark they dig through houses;
by day they shut themselves up;
they do not know the light.
17 For deep darkness is morning to all of them;
for they are friends with the terrors of deep darkness.
18 “Swift are they on the face of the waters;
their portion in the land is cursed;
no treader turns toward their vineyards.
19 Drought and heat snatch away the snow waters;
so does Sheol those who have sinned.
20 The womb forgets them;
the worm finds them sweet;
they are no longer remembered;
so wickedness is broken like a tree.
21 “They harm the childless woman,
and do no good to the widow.
22 Yet God prolongs the life of the mighty by his power;
they rise up when they despair of life.
23 He gives them security, and they are supported;
his eyes are upon their ways.
24 They are exalted a little while, and then are gone;
they wither and fade like the mallow;
they are cut off like the heads of grain.
25 If it is not so, who will prove me a liar,
and show that there is nothing in what I say?”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Job 23-24 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
2 “Today too my complaint is bitter;
my hand is weighed down because of my groaning.
3 I wish I knew where I could find him;
then I would go to where he is.
4 I would state my case before him
and fill my mouth with arguments.
5 I would know his answering words
and grasp what he would tell me.
6 Would he browbeat me with his great power?
No, he would pay attention to me.
7 There an upright person could reason with him;
thus I might be forever acquitted by my judge.
8 “If I head east, he isn’t there;
if I head west, I don’t detect him,
9 if I turn north, I don’t spot him;
in the south he is veiled, and I still don’t see him.
10 Yet he knows the way I take;
when he has tested me, I will come out like gold.
11 My feet have stayed in his footsteps;
I keep to his way without turning aside.
12 I don’t withdraw from his lips’ command;
I treasure his words more than my daily food.
13 “But he has no equal, so who can change him?
What he desires, he does.
14 He will accomplish what is decreed for me,
and he has many plans like this.
15 This is why I am terrified of him;
the more I think about it, the more afraid I am —
16 God has undermined my courage;
Shaddai frightens me.
17 Yet I am not cut off by the darkness;
he has protected me from the deepest gloom.
24 “Why are times not kept by Shaddai?
Why do those who know him not see his days?
2 There are those who move boundary markers;
they carry off flocks and pasture them;
3 they drive away the orphan’s donkey;
as collateral, they seize the widow’s ox.
4 They push the needy out of the way —
the poor of the land are forced into hiding;
5 like wild donkeys in the wilderness,
they have to go out and scavenge food,
[hoping that] the desert
will provide food for their children.
6 They must reap in fields that are not their own
and gather late grapes in the vineyards of the wicked.
7 They pass the night without clothing, naked,
uncovered in the cold,
8 wet with mountain rain,
and hugging the rock for lack of shelter.
9 “There are those who pluck orphans from the breast
and [those who] take [the clothes of] the poor in pledge,
10 so that they go about stripped, unclothed;
they go hungry, as they carry sheaves [of grain];
11 between these men’s rows [of olives], they make oil;
treading their winepresses, they suffer thirst.
12 Men are groaning in the city,
the mortally wounded are crying for help,
yet God finds nothing amiss!
13 “There are those who rebel against the light —
they don’t know its ways or stay in its paths.
14 The murderer rises with the light
to kill the poor and needy;
while at night he is like a thief.
15 The eye of the adulterer too waits for twilight;
he thinks, ‘No eye will see me’;
but [to be sure], he covers his face.
16 When it’s dark, they break into houses;
in the daytime, they stay out of sight.
[None of them] know the light.
17 For to all of them deep darkness is like morning,
for the terrors of deep darkness are familiar to them.
18 “May they be scum on the surface of the water,
may their share of land be cursed,
may no one turn on the way of their vineyards,
19 may drought and heat steal away their snow water
and Sh’ol those who have sinned.
20 May the womb forget them,
may worms find them sweet,
may they no longer be remembered —
thus may iniquity be snapped like a stick.
21 They devour childless women
and give no help to widows.
22 “Yet God keeps pulling the mighty along —
they get up, even when not trusting their own lives.
23 However, even if God lets them rest in safety,
his eyes are on their ways.
24 They are exalted for a little while;
and then they are gone,
brought low, gathered in like all others,
shriveled up like ears of grain.
25 “And even if it isn’t so now,
still no one can prove me a liar
and show that my words are worthless.”
Job 23-24 The Message (MSG)
I’m Completely in the Dark
23 1-7 Job replied:
“I’m not letting up—I’m standing my ground.
My complaint is legitimate.
God has no right to treat me like this—
it isn’t fair!
If I knew where on earth to find him,
I’d go straight to him.
I’d lay my case before him face-to-face,
give him all my arguments firsthand.
I’d find out exactly what he’s thinking,
discover what’s going on in his head.
Do you think he’d dismiss me or bully me?
No, he’d take me seriously.
He’d see a straight-living man standing before him;
my Judge would acquit me for good of all charges.
8-9 “I travel East looking for him—I find no one;
then West, but not a trace;
I go North, but he’s hidden his tracks;
then South, but not even a glimpse.
10-12 “But he knows where I am and what I’ve done.
He can cross-examine me all he wants, and I’ll pass the test
I’ve followed him closely, my feet in his footprints,
not once swerving from his way.
I’ve obeyed every word he’s spoken,
and not just obeyed his advice—I’ve treasured it.
13-17 “But he is singular and sovereign. Who can argue with him?
He does what he wants, when he wants to.
He’ll complete in detail what he’s decided about me,
and whatever else he determines to do.
Is it any wonder that I dread meeting him?
Whenever I think about it, I get scared all over again.
God makes my heart sink!
God Almighty gives me the shudders!
I’m completely in the dark,
I can’t see my hand in front of my face.”
An Illusion of Security
24 1-12 “But if Judgment Day isn’t hidden from the Almighty,
why are we kept in the dark?
There are people out there getting by with murder—
stealing and lying and cheating.
They rip off the poor
and exploit the unfortunate,
Push the helpless into the ditch,
bully the weak so that they fear for their lives.
The poor, like stray dogs and cats,
scavenge for food in back alleys.
They sort through the garbage of the rich,
eke out survival on handouts.
Homeless, they shiver through cold nights on the street;
they’ve no place to lay their heads.
Exposed to the weather, wet and frozen,
they huddle in makeshift shelters.
Nursing mothers have their babies snatched from them;
the infants of the poor are kidnapped and sold.
They go about patched and threadbare;
even the hard workers go hungry.
No matter how backbreaking their labor,
they can never make ends meet.
People are dying right and left, groaning in torment.
The wretched cry out for help
and God does nothing, acts like nothing’s wrong!
13-17 “Then there are those who avoid light at all costs,
who scorn the light-filled path.
When the sun goes down, the murderer gets up—
kills the poor and robs the defenseless.
Sexual predators can’t wait for nightfall,
thinking, ‘No one can see us now.’
Burglars do their work at night,
but keep well out of sight through the day.
They want nothing to do with light.
Deep darkness is morning for that bunch;
they make the terrors of darkness their companions in crime.
18-25 “They are scraps of wood floating on the water—
useless, cursed junk, good for nothing.
As surely as snow melts under the hot, summer sun,
sinners disappear in the grave.
The womb has forgotten them, worms have relished them—
nothing that is evil lasts.
they prey on those less fortunate.
However much they strut and flex their muscles,
there’s nothing to them. They’re hollow.
They may have an illusion of security,
but God has his eye on them.
They may get their brief successes,
but then it’s over, nothing to show for it.
Like yesterday’s newspaper,
they’re used to wrap up the garbage.
You’re free to try to prove me a liar,
but you won’t be able to do it.”