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Job’s Dialogue Regarding the Wicked

21 Then Job answered and said,

“Listen carefully to my speech,
And let this be the consolation.

“Bear with me, and I also will speak;
And after I have spoken, you may [continue to] mock [me].

“As for me, is my complaint to man or about him?
And why should I not be impatient and my spirit troubled?

“Look at me and be astonished and appalled;
And put your hand over your mouth.

“Even when I remember, I am troubled and afraid;
Horror and trembling take hold of my flesh.

“Why do the wicked still live,
Become old, and become mighty in power?

“Their children and descendants are established with them in their sight,
And their offspring before their eyes.

“Their houses are safe from fear;
And the rod of God is not on them.
“His bull breeds and does not fail;
His cow calves and does not miscarry.
“They send forth their little ones like a flock,
And their children skip about.
“They lift up their voices and sing to the tambourine and the lyre
And rejoice to the sound of the flute.
“They fully enjoy their days in prosperity,
And so go down to Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) in a [peaceful] moment.
“Yet they say to God, ‘Depart from us,
For we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways.
‘Who [and what] is [a]the Almighty, that we should serve Him?
And what would we gain if we plead with Him?’(A)
But notice, the prosperity of the wicked is not in their hand (in their power);
The counsel of the wicked [and the mystery of God’s dealings with the ungodly] is far from my comprehension.

“How often [then] is it that the lamp of the wicked is put out,
And that their disaster falls on them?
Does God distribute pain and destruction and sorrow [to them] in His anger?(B)
“Are they like straw before the wind,
And like chaff that the storm steals and carries away?
You say, ‘God stores away [the punishment of] man’s wickedness for his children.’
Let God repay him so that he may know and experience it.
“Let his own eyes see his destruction,
And let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
“For what pleasure does he have in his house and family after he is dead,
When the number of his months [of life] is cut off?
“Can anyone teach God knowledge,
Seeing that He judges those on high?(C)
“One dies in his full strength,
Being wholly at ease and quiet and satisfied;
His pails are full of milk [his sides are filled out with fat],
And the marrow of his bones is moist,
Whereas another dies with a bitter soul,
Never even tasting pleasure or good fortune.
“Together they lie down in the dust,
And the worms cover them.

“Behold, I know your thoughts,
And the plots by which you would wrong me.
“For you say, ‘Where is the house of the noble man?
And where is the tent, the dwelling place of the wicked?’
“Have you not asked those who travel this way,
And do you not recognize their witness?
“That evil men are [now] reserved for the day of disaster and destruction,
They will be led away on the day of [God’s] wrath?
But who will confront him with his actions and rebuke him face to face,
And who will repay him for what he has done?
“When he is carried to his grave,
A guard will keep watch over his tomb.
“The [dirt] clods of the valley are sweet to him [and gently cover him],
Moreover, all men will follow after him [to a grave],
While countless ones go before him.
“How then can you vainly comfort me with empty words,
Since your answers remain untrue?”

Eliphaz Accuses and Exhorts Job

22 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,

“Can a vigorous man be of use to God,
Or a wise man be useful to himself?(D)

“Is it any pleasure or joy to [b]the Almighty that you are righteous?
Or is it of benefit to Him that you make your ways perfect?(E)

“Is it because of your fear of Him that He corrects you,
That He enters into judgment against you?

“Is not your wickedness great,
And your sins without end?

“For you have taken pledges of your brothers without cause,
And stripped men naked.

“You have not given water to the weary to drink,
And you have withheld bread from the hungry.(F)

“But the land is possessed by the man with power,
And the favored and honorable man dwells in it.

“You have sent widows away empty-handed,
And the arms (strength) of the fatherless have been broken.
“Therefore snares surround you,
And sudden dread terrifies and overwhelms you;
Or darkness, so that you cannot see,
And a flood of water covers you.

“Is not God in the height of heaven?
And behold the distant stars, how high they are!
“You say, ‘What does God know [about me]?
Can He judge through the thick darkness?
‘Thick clouds are a hiding place for Him, so that He cannot see,
And He walks on the vault (circle) of the heavens.’
“Will you keep to the ancient path
That wicked men walked [in the time of Noah],(G)
Men who were snatched away before their time,
Whose foundations were poured out like a river?
“They said to God, ‘Depart from us!
What can the Almighty do for us or to us?’
“Yet He filled their houses with good things;
But the counsel of the wicked and ungodly is far from me.
“The righteous see it and are glad;
And the innocent mock and laugh at them, saying,
‘Surely our adversaries are cut off and destroyed,
And fire has consumed their abundance.’

“Now yield and submit yourself to Him [agree with God and be conformed to His will] and be at peace;
In this way [you will prosper and great] good will come to you.
“Please receive the law and instruction from His mouth
And establish His words in your heart and keep them.(H)
“If you return to the Almighty [and submit and humble yourself before Him], you will be built up [and restored];
If you remove unrighteousness far from your tents,
And place your gold in the dust,
And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks [considering it of little value],
And make the Almighty your gold
And your precious silver,
Then you will have delight in the Almighty,
And you will lift up your face to God.
“You will pray to Him, and He will hear you,
And you will pay your vows.
“You will also decide and decree a thing, and it will be established for you;
And the light [of God’s favor] will shine upon your ways.
“When you are cast down and humbled, you will speak with confidence,
And the humble person He will lift up and save.
“He will even rescue the one [for whom you intercede] who is not innocent;
And he will be rescued through the cleanness of your hands.”(I)

Job Says He Longs for God

23 Then Job answered and said,

“Even today my complaint is contentious;
His hand is heavy despite my groaning.

“Oh, that I knew where I might find Him,
That I might [even] come to His seat!

“I would present my cause before Him
And fill my mouth with arguments.

“I would learn the words which He would answer,
And understand what He would say to me.

“Would He contend against me with His great power?
No, surely He would give attention to me.(J)

“There the righteous and upright could reason with Him;
So I would be acquitted forever by my Judge.

“Behold, I go forward (to the east), but He is not there;
I go backward (to the west), but I cannot perceive Him;

To the left (north) He turns, but I cannot behold Him;
He turns to the right hand (south), but I cannot see Him.
“But He knows the way that I take [and He pays attention to it].
When He has tried me, I will come forth as [refined] gold [pure and luminous].(K)
“My feet have carefully followed His steps;
I have kept His ways and not turned aside.
“I have not departed from the commandment of His lips;
I have kept the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.
“But He is unique and unchangeable, and who can turn Him?
And what His soul desires, that He does.
“For He performs what is planned (appointed) for me,
And He is mindful of many such things.
“Therefore I would be terrified at His presence;
When I consider [all of this], I tremble in dread of Him.
“For God has made my heart faint,
And the Almighty has terrified me,
But I am not silenced by the darkness [of these woes that fell on me],
Nor by the thick darkness which covers my face.


  1. Job 21:15 Heb Shaddai, also v 20.
  2. Job 22:3 Heb Shaddai, also vv 17, 23, 25, 26.

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