Job Despairs of God’s Dealings
10 “I am disgusted with my life and loathe it!
I will give free expression to my complaint;
I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
“I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me [and declare me guilty]!
Show me why You contend and argue and struggle with me.
‘Does it indeed seem right to You to oppress,
To despise and reject the work of Your hands,
And to look with favor on the schemes of the wicked?
‘Do You have eyes of flesh?
Do You see as a man sees?
‘Are Your days as the days of a mortal,
Are Your years as man’s years,
That You seek my guilt
And search for my sin?
‘Although You know that I am not guilty or wicked,
Yet there is no one who can rescue me from Your hand.
‘Your hands have formed and made me altogether.
Would You [turn around and] destroy me?
‘Remember now, that You have made me as clay;
So will You turn me into dust again?
‘Have You not poured me out like milk
And curdled me like cheese?
‘[You have] clothed me with skin and flesh,
And knit me together with bones and sinews.
‘You have granted me life and lovingkindness;
And Your providence (divine care, supervision) has preserved my spirit.
‘Yet these [present evils] You have hidden in Your heart [since my creation]:
I know that this was within You [in Your purpose and thought].
‘If I sin, then You would take note and observe me,
And You would not acquit me of my guilt.
‘If I am wicked, woe to me [for judgment comes]!
And if I am righteous, I dare not lift up my head.
For I am sated and filled with disgrace and the sight of my misery.
‘Should I lift my head up, You would hunt me like a lion;
And again You would show Your marvelous power against me.
‘You renew Your witnesses against me
And increase Your indignation and anger toward me;
Hardship after hardship is with me [attacking me time after time].
‘Why then did You bring me out of the womb?
Would that I had perished and no eye had seen me!
‘I should have been as though I had not existed;
[I should have been] carried from the womb to the grave.’
“Would He not let my few days alone,
Withdraw from me that I may have a little cheer
Before I go—and I shall not return—
To the land of darkness and the deep shadow [of death],
The [sunless] land of utter gloom as darkness itself,
[The land] of the shadow of death, without order,
And [where] it shines as [thick] darkness.”
Zophar Rebukes Job
11 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said,
“Shall a multitude of words not be answered?
And should a talkative man [making such a long-winded defense] be acquitted?
“Should your boasts and babble silence men?
And shall you scoff and no one put you to shame?
“For you have said, ‘My teaching (doctrine) [that God knowingly afflicts the righteous] is pure,
And I am innocent in your eyes.’(A)
“But oh, that God would speak,
And open His lips [to speak] against you,
And [that He would] show you the secrets of wisdom!
For sound wisdom [a]has two sides.
Know therefore that God forgets a part of your wickedness and guilt.
“Can you discover the depths of God?
Can you [by searching] discover the limits of the Almighty [ascend to His heights, extend to His widths, and comprehend His infinite perfection]?
“His wisdom is as high as the heights of heaven. What can you do?
It is deeper than Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead). What can you know?
“It is longer in measure [and scope] than the earth,
And broader than the sea.
“If God passes by or arrests,
Or calls an assembly [of judgment], who can restrain Him?
[If He is against a man, who can call Him to account for it?]
“For He recognizes and knows false and worthless men,
And He sees wickedness, will He not consider it?
“But a hollow (empty-headed) man will become intelligent and wise
[Only] when the [b]colt of a wild donkey is born as a man.
“If you direct your heart [on the right path]
And stretch out your hands to Him,
If sin is in your hand, put it far away [from you],
And do not let wrongdoing dwell in your tents;
Then, indeed, you could lift up your face [to Him] without moral defect,
And you would be firmly established and secure and not fear.
“For you would forget your trouble;
You would remember it as waters that have passed by.
“And your [c]life would be brighter than the noonday;
Darkness [then] would be like the morning.
“Then you would trust [with confidence], because there is hope;
You would look around you and rest securely.
“You would lie down with no one to frighten you,
And many would entreat and seek your favor.
“But the eyes of the wicked will fail,
And they will not escape [the justice of God];
And their hope is to breathe their last [and die].”
Job Chides His Accusers
12 Then Job responded,
“No doubt you are the [only wise] people [in the world],
And wisdom will die with you!
“But I have intelligence and understanding as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
Who does not know such things as these [of God’s wisdom and might]?
“I am a joke to my friends;
I, one whom God answered when he called upon Him—
A just and blameless man is a joke [and laughed to scorn].
“He who is at ease has contempt for misfortune,
But misfortune is ready [and anxiously waiting] for those whose feet slip.
“The tents of the destroyers prosper;
And those who provoke God are [apparently] secure,
Whom God brings into their power.
“Now ask the animals, and let them teach you [that God does not deal with His creatures according to their character];
And ask the birds of the air, and let them tell you;
Or speak to the earth [with its many forms of life], and it will teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare [this truth] to you.
“Who among all these does not recognize [in all these things that good and evil are randomly scattered throughout nature and human life]
That the hand of the Lord has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
“Does the ear not put words to the test,
Just as the palate tastes its food [distinguishing between the desirable and the undesirable]?
“With the aged [you say] is wisdom,
And with [d]long life is understanding.
Job Speaks of the Power of God
“But [only] with Him are [perfect] wisdom and might;
He [alone] has [true] counsel and understanding.
“Behold, He tears down, and it cannot be rebuilt;
He imprisons a man, and there can be no release.
“Behold, He restrains the waters, and they dry up;
Again, He sends the waters out, and they overwhelm and devastate the earth.
“With Him are might and sound wisdom,
The misled and the misleader are His [and in His power].
“He makes [great and scheming] counselors walk barefoot
And makes fools of judges.
“He loosens the bond of kings
And binds their loins with a loincloth.
“He makes priests walk barefoot,
And He overturns men firmly seated and secure.
“He deprives the trusted ones of speech
And takes away the discernment and discretion of the aged.
“He pours contempt on princes and nobles
And loosens the belt of the strong [disabling them].
“He uncovers mysteries [that are difficult to grasp and understand] out of the darkness
And brings black gloom and the shadow of death into light.
“He makes nations great, and He destroys them;
He enlarges nations, and leads them away [captive].
“He removes intelligence and understanding from the leaders of the people of the earth
And makes them wander and move blindly in a pathless waste.
“They grope in darkness without light,
And He makes them stagger like a drunken man.”
Job Says His Friends’ Proverbs Are Ashes
13 [Job continued:] “Behold, my eye has seen all this,
My ear has heard and understood it.
“What you know I also know;
I am not inferior to you.
“But I wish to speak to [e]the Almighty,
And I desire to argue with God.
“But you smear me with lies [you defame my character most untruthfully];
You are all worthless physicians and have no remedy to offer.
“Oh, that you would be completely silent,
And that silence would be your wisdom!
“Please hear my argument
And listen to the pleadings of my lips.
“Will you speak what is unjust for God,
And speak what is deceitful for Him?
“Will you show partiality for Him [and be unjust to me so that you may gain favor with Him]?
Will you contend and plead for God?
“Will it be well for you when He investigates you [and your tactics against me]?
Or will you deceive Him as one deceives a man?
“He will surely reprimand you
If you secretly show partiality.
“Will not His majesty terrify you,
And will not the dread of Him fall upon you?
“Your memorable sayings are [worthless, merely] proverbs of ashes;
Your defenses are defenses of [crumbling] clay.
Job Is Sure He Will Be Vindicated
“Be silent before me so that I may speak;
And let happen to me what may.
“Why should I take my flesh in my teeth
And put my life in my hands [incurring the wrath of God]?
“Even though He kills me;
I will hope in Him.
Nevertheless, I will argue my ways to His face.
“This also will be my salvation,
For a godless man may not come before Him.
“Listen diligently to my speech,
And let my declaration fill your ears.
“Behold now, I have prepared my case;
I know that I will be vindicated.
“Who will argue and contend with me?
For then I would be silent and die.
“Only [O Lord,] do not do two things to me,
And then I will not hide myself from Your face:
Withdraw Your hand from me and remove this bodily suffering,
And let not the dread of You terrify me.
“Then [Lord,] call, and I will answer;
Or let me speak, and then reply to me.
“How many are my iniquities and sins [that so much sorrow should come to me]?
Make me recognize and understand my transgression and my sin.(B)
“Why do You hide Your face [as if offended]
And consider me Your enemy?
“Will You cause a windblown leaf to tremble?
Will You pursue the chaff of the dry stubble?
“For You write bitter things against me [in Your indictment]
And make me inherit and suffer for the iniquities of my youth.
“You also put my feet in the stocks [as punishment]
And [critically] observe all my paths;
You set a circle and limit around the soles of my feet [which I must not overstep],
While I waste away like a rotten thing,
Like a garment that is moth-eaten.