Job’s Reply to Eliphaz

Then Job answered:

If only my grief could be weighed
and my devastation(A) placed with it on the scales.(B)
For then it would outweigh the sand of the seas!
That is why my words are rash.
Surely the arrows of the Almighty have pierced[a] me;
my spirit drinks their poison.
God’s terrors are arrayed against me.(C)
Does a wild donkey bray over fresh grass
or an ox low over its fodder?
Is bland food eaten without salt?
Is there flavor in an egg white?[b]
I refuse to touch them;
they are like contaminated food.(D)

If only my request would be granted
and God would provide what I hope for:
that he would decide to crush me,
to unleash his power and cut me off!
10 It would still bring me comfort,
and I would leap for joy in unrelenting pain
that I have not denied[c] the words of the Holy One.(E)

11 What strength do I have, that I should continue to hope?
What is my future, that I should be patient?
12 Is my strength that of stone,
or my flesh made of bronze?
13 Since I cannot help myself,
the hope for success has been banished from me.

14 A despairing man should receive loyalty from his friends,[d](F)
even if he abandons the fear of the Almighty.
15 My brothers are as treacherous as a wadi,
as seasonal streams that overflow
16 and become darkened[e] because of ice,
and the snow melts into them.
17 The wadis evaporate in warm weather;
they disappear from their channels in hot weather.
18 Caravans turn away from their routes,
go up into the desert, and perish.
19 The caravans of Tema look for these streams.
The traveling merchants of Sheba hope for them.
20 They are ashamed because they had been confident of finding water.
When they arrive there, they are disappointed.(G)
21 So this is what you have now become to me.[f]
When you see something dreadful, you are afraid.
22 Have I ever said, “Give me something”
or “Pay a bribe for me from your wealth”
23 or “Deliver me from the enemy’s hand”
or “Redeem me from the hand of the ruthless”?

24 Teach me, and I will be silent.
Help me understand what I did wrong.
25 How painful honest words can be!
But what does your rebuke prove?
26 Do you think that you can disprove my words
or that a despairing man’s words are mere wind?(H)
27 No doubt you would cast lots for a fatherless child
and negotiate a price to sell your friend.(I)

28 But now, please look at me;
I will not lie to your face.(J)
29 Reconsider; don’t be unjust.
Reconsider; my righteousness(K) is still the issue.
30 Is there injustice on my tongue
or can my palate not taste disaster?(L)

Isn’t each person consigned to forced labor(M) on earth?
Are not his days like those of a hired worker?
Like a slave he longs for shade;
like a hired worker he waits for his pay.
So I have been made to inherit months of futility,
and troubled nights have been assigned to me.(N)
When I lie down I think,
“When will I get up?”
But the evening drags on endlessly,
and I toss and turn until dawn.
My flesh is clothed with maggots and encrusted with dirt.[g]
My skin forms scabs[h] and then oozes.(O)

My days pass more swiftly than a weaver’s shuttle;
they come to an end without hope.(P)
Remember that my life is but a breath.
My eye will never again see anything good.(Q)
The eye of anyone who looks on me
will no longer see me.
Your eyes will look for me, but I will be gone.(R)
As a cloud fades away and vanishes,
so the one who goes down to Sheol(S) will never rise again.
10 He will never return to his house;
his hometown will no longer remember[i] him.(T)

11 Therefore I will not restrain my mouth.
I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
12 Am I the sea[j](U) or a sea monster,(V)
that you keep me under guard?
13 When I say, “My bed will comfort me,
and my couch will ease my complaint,”
14 then you frighten me with dreams,
and terrify me with visions,(W)
15 so that I prefer strangling[k]
death rather than life in this body.[l](X)
16 I give up! I will not live forever.
Leave me alone,(Y) for my days are a breath.[m]

17 What is a mere human, that you think so highly of him
and pay so much attention to him?(Z)
18 You inspect him every morning,
and put him to the test every moment.(AA)
19 Will you ever look away from me,
or leave me alone long enough to swallow?[n]
20 If I have sinned, what have I done to you,
Watcher of humanity?
Why have you made me your target,(AB)
so that I have become a burden to you?[o]
21 Why not forgive my sin
and pardon my iniquity?(AC)
For soon I will lie down in the grave.(AD)
You will eagerly seek me, but I will be gone.(AE)

Bildad Speaks

Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

How long will you go on saying these things?
Your words(AF) are a blast of wind.(AG)
Does God pervert justice?(AH)
Does the Almighty pervert what is right?(AI)
Since your children sinned against him,
he gave them over to their rebellion.
But if you earnestly seek(AJ) God
and ask the Almighty for mercy,(AK)
if you are pure and upright,
then he will move even now on your behalf
and restore the home where your righteousness dwells.(AL)
Then, even if your beginnings were modest,
your final days will be full of prosperity.(AM)

For ask the previous generation,
and pay attention to what their ancestors discovered,(AN)
since we were born only yesterday and know nothing.
Our days on earth are but a shadow.(AO)
10 Will they not teach you and tell you
and speak from their understanding?
11 Does papyrus grow where there is no marsh?
Do reeds flourish without water?
12 While still uncut shoots,
they would dry up quicker than any other plant.
13 Such is the destiny[p] of all who forget God;
the hope of the godless(AP) will perish.

14 His source of confidence is fragile;[q]
what he trusts in is a spider’s web.(AQ)
15 He leans on his web, but it doesn’t stand firm.
He grabs it, but it does not hold up.
16 He is a well-watered plant in the sunshine;
his shoots spread out over his garden.
17 His roots are intertwined around a pile of rocks.
He looks for a home among the stones.
18 If he is uprooted[r] from his place,
it will deny knowing him, saying, “I never saw you.”(AR)
19 Surely this is the joy of his way of life;
yet others will sprout from the dust.
20 Look, God does not reject a person of integrity,
and he will not support[s] evildoers.(AS)

21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
and your lips with a shout of joy.(AT)
22 Your enemies will be clothed with shame;(AU)
the tent(AV) of the wicked will no longer exist.

Job’s Reply to Bildad

Then Job answered:

Yes, I know what you’ve said is true,
but how can a person be justified before God?(AW)
If one wanted to take(AX) him to court,
he could not answer God[t] once in a thousand times.(AY)
God is wise(AZ) and all-powerful.
Who has opposed him and come out unharmed?
He removes mountains without their knowledge,
overturning them in his anger.(BA)
He shakes the earth from its place
so that its pillars tremble.
He commands the sun not to shine
and seals off the stars.(BB)
He alone stretches out the heavens(BC)
and treads on the waves of the sea.[u]
He makes the stars: the Bear,[v] Orion,
the Pleiades,(BD) and the constellations[w] of the southern sky.
10 He does great and unsearchable things,
wonders without number.(BE)
11 If he passed by me, I wouldn’t see him;(BF)
if he went by, I wouldn’t recognize him.
12 If he snatches something, who can stop[x] him?
Who can ask him, “What are you doing?” (BG)
13 God does not hold back his anger;
Rahab’s(BH) assistants cringe in fear beneath him!
14 How then can I answer him
or choose my arguments against him?
15 Even if I were in the right, I could not answer.
I could only beg my Judge for mercy.(BI)
16 If I summoned him and he answered me,
I do not believe he would pay attention to what I said.
17 He batters me with a whirlwind(BJ)
and multiplies my wounds without cause.
18 He doesn’t let me catch my breath
but fills me with bitter experiences.
19 If it is a matter of strength, look, he is the powerful one!(BK)
If it is a matter of justice, who can summon(BL) him?[y]
20 Even if I were in the right, my own mouth would condemn me;(BM)
if I were blameless, my mouth would declare me guilty.
21 Though I am blameless,
I no longer care about myself;
I renounce my life.(BN)
22 It is all the same. Therefore I say,
“He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.”(BO)
23 When catastrophe[z] brings sudden death,
he mocks the despair of the innocent.
24 The earth[aa] is handed over to the wicked;
he blindfolds[ab] its judges.(BP)
If it isn’t he, then who is it?

25 My days fly by faster than a runner;[ac](BQ)
they flee without seeing any good.(BR)
26 They sweep by like boats made of papyrus,
like an eagle swooping down on its prey.(BS)
27 If I said, “I will forget my complaint,
change my expression, and smile,”
28 I would still live in terror of all my pains.(BT)
I know you will not acquit me.(BU)
29 Since I will be found guilty,(BV)
why should I struggle in vain?
30 If I wash myself with snow,
and cleanse my hands with lye,
31 then you dip me in a pit of mud,
and my own clothes despise me!

32 For he is not a man like me, that I can answer him,(BW)
that we can take each other to court.
33 There is no mediator between us,
to lay his hand on both of us.
34 Let him take his rod away from me
so his terror will no longer frighten me.(BX)
35 Then I would speak and not fear him.
But that is not the case; I am on my own.

Footnotes

  1. 6:4 Lit Almighty are in
  2. 6:6 Hb obscure
  3. 6:10 Lit hidden
  4. 6:14 Lit To the despairing his friend loyalty
  5. 6:16 Or turbid
  6. 6:21 Alt Hb tradition reads So you have now become nothing
  7. 7:5 Or and dirty scabs
  8. 7:5 Lit skin hardens
  9. 7:10 Lit know
  10. 7:12 Or the sea god
  11. 7:15 Or suffocation
  12. 7:15 Lit than my bones
  13. 7:16 Or are futile
  14. 7:19 Lit swallow my saliva?
  15. 7:20 Alt Hb tradition, LXX; MT, Vg read myself
  16. 8:13 Lit Such are the ways
  17. 8:14 Or cut off; Hb obscure
  18. 8:18 Or destroyed
  19. 8:20 Lit grasp the hand of
  20. 9:3 Or court, God would not answer him
  21. 9:8 Or and walks on the back of the sea god
  22. 9:9 Or Aldebaran
  23. 9:9 Or chambers
  24. 9:12 Or dissuade
  25. 9:19 LXX; MT reads me
  26. 9:23 Or whip; Hb obscure
  27. 9:24 Or land
  28. 9:24 Lit covers the faces of
  29. 9:25 = a royal messenger

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