Job Says God Seems to Ignore Wrongs
24 “Why does the Almighty not set seasons for judgment?
Why do those who know Him not see His days [for punishment of the wicked]?(A)
“Some remove the landmarks;
They [violently] seize and pasture flocks [appropriating land and flocks openly].
“They drive away the donkeys of the orphans;
They take the widow’s ox for a pledge.
“They crowd the needy off the road;
The poor of the land all hide themselves.
“Behold, as wild donkeys in the desert,
The poor go to their work, diligently seeking food;
As bread for their children in the desert.
“They harvest their fodder in a field [that is not their own],
And glean the vineyard of the wicked.
“They spend the night naked, without clothing,
And have no covering against the cold.
“They are wet from the rain of the mountains
And cling to the rock for lack of shelter.
“Others snatch the fatherless [infants] from the breast [to sell or make them slaves],
And against the poor they take a pledge [of clothing].
“They cause the poor to go about naked without clothing,
And they take away the sheaves [of grain] from the hungry.
“Within the walls [of the wicked] the poor make [olive] oil;
They tread [the grapes in] the wine presses, but thirst.
“From the [populous and crowded] city men groan,
And the souls of the wounded cry out for help;
Yet God [seemingly] does not pay attention to the wrong [done to them].
“Others have been with those who rebel against the light;
They do not want to know its ways
Nor stay in its paths.
“The murderer rises at dawn;
He kills the poor and the needy,
And at night he becomes a thief.
“The eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight,
Saying, ‘No eye will see me,’
And he covers his face.
“In the dark they dig into [the penetrable walls of] houses;
They shut themselves up by day;
They do not know the light [of day].
“For the morning is the same to him as the thick darkness [of midnight];
For he is familiar with the terrors of thick darkness.
“They are insignificant on the surface of the water;
Their portion is cursed on the earth;
They do not turn toward the vineyards.
“Drought and heat consume the snow waters;
So does Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) [consume] those who have sinned.
“A mother will forget him;
The worm feeds on him until he is no longer remembered.
And wickedness will be broken like a tree [which cannot be restored].(B)
“He preys on the barren (childless) woman
And does no good for the widow.
“Yet God draws away the mighty by His power;
He rises, but no one has assurance of life.
“God gives them security, and they are supported;
And His eyes are on their ways.
“They are exalted for a little while, and then they are gone;
Moreover, they are brought low and like everything [they are] gathered up and taken out of the way;
Even like the heads of grain they are cut off.
“And if this is not so, who can prove me a liar
And make my speech worthless?”
Bildad Says Man Is Inferior
25 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said,
“Dominion and awe belong to God;
He establishes peace and order in His high places.
“Is there any number to His [vast celestial] armies?
And upon whom does His light not rise?
“How then can man be justified and righteous with God?
Or how can he who is born of a woman be pure and clean?(C)
“Behold, even the moon has no brightness [compared to God’s majesty and glory]
And the stars are not pure in His sight,
How much less man, that maggot,
And the son of man, that worm!”
Job Rebukes Bildad
26 But Job answered and said,
“What a help you are to the weak (powerless)!
How you have saved the arm that is without strength!
“How you have counseled the one who has no wisdom!
And how abundantly you have provided sound wisdom and helpful insight!
“To whom have you uttered [these] words?
And whose spirit [inspired what] came forth from you?
The Greatness of God
“The spirits of the dead tremble
Underneath the waters and their inhabitants.
“Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) is naked before God,
And Abaddon (the place of destruction) has no covering [from His eyes].
“It is He who spreads out the north over emptiness
And [a]hangs the earth on nothing.
“He wraps the waters in His clouds [which otherwise would spill on earth all at once],
And the cloud does not burst under them.
“He covers the face of the [b]full moon
And spreads His cloud over it.
“He has inscribed a circular limit (the horizon) on the face of the waters
At the boundary between light and darkness.
“The pillars of the heavens tremble
And are terrified at His rebuke.
“He stirred up the sea by His power,
And by His understanding He smashed [proud] [c]Rahab.
“By His breath the heavens are cleared;
His hand has pierced the [swiftly] fleeing serpent.(D)
“Yet these are just the fringes of His ways [mere samples of His power],
The faintest whisper of His voice!
Who can contemplate the thunder of His [full] mighty power?”
Job Affirms His Righteousness
27 Job continued his discourse and said,
“As God lives, who has taken away my right and denied me justice,
And the Almighty, who has caused bitterness and grief for my soul,
As long as my life is within me,
And the breath of God is [still] in my nostrils,
My lips will not speak unjustly,
Nor will my tongue utter deceit.
“Far be it from me that I should admit you are right [in your accusations against me];
Until I die, I will not remove my integrity from me.
“I hold fast my uprightness and my right standing with God and I will not let them go;
My heart does not reproach me for any of my days.
The State of the Godless
“May my enemy be as the wicked,
And he who rises up against me be as the unrighteous (unjust).
“For what is the hope of the godless, even though he has gained [in this world],
When God takes his life?
“Will God hear his cry
When trouble and distress come upon him?
“Will he take delight in the Almighty?
Will he call on God at all times?
“I will teach you regarding the hand (power) of God;
I will not conceal what is with the Almighty [God’s actual treatment of the wicked].
“Behold, all of you have seen it;
Why then do you act vainly and foolishly [cherishing worthless concepts]?
“This [which I am about to explain] is the portion of a wicked man from God,
And the inheritance which tyrants and oppressors receive from the Almighty:
“Though his children are many, they are destined for the sword;
And his descendants will not have sufficient bread.
“Those who survive him will be buried because of the plague,
And [their] widows will not be able to weep.
“Though he heaps up silver like dust
And piles up clothing like clay,
He may prepare it, but the just will wear it
And the innocent will divide the silver.
“He builds his house like a spider’s web,
Like a (temporary) hut which a watchman makes.
“He lies down rich, but never will again;
He opens his eyes, and it is gone.
“Terrors overtake him like a [suddenly rising] flood;
A windstorm steals him away in the night.
“The east wind lifts him up, and he is gone;
It sweeps him out of his place.
“For it will hurl [thunderbolts of God’s wrath] at him unsparingly and without compassion;
He flees in haste from its power.
“People will clap their hands at him [to mock and ridicule him]
And hiss him out of his place.
Job Tells of Earth’s Treasures
28 “Surely there is a mine for silver,
And a place where they refine gold.
“Iron is taken out of the earth,
And copper is smelted from the stone ore.
“Man puts an end to darkness [by bringing in a light],
And to the farthest bounds he searches out
The rock buried in gloom and deep shadow.
“He breaks open (mine) shafts far away from where people live,
[In places] forgotten by the [human] foot;
They dangle [in the mines] and hang away from men.
“[As for] the earth, out of it comes food,
But underneath [its surface, down deep] it is turned over as fire.
“Its stones are the bed of sapphires;
It holds dust of gold.
“The path [deep within] no bird of prey knows,
And the falcon’s eye has not caught sight of it.
“The proud beasts [and their young] have not walked on it,
Nor has the fierce lion passed over it.
“Man puts his hand on [and tears apart] the flinty rock;
He overturns the mountains at the base [looking for treasure].
“He cuts out channels and passages among the rocks;
And his eye sees every precious thing.
“Man dams up the streams from flowing [so that they do not trickle into the mine],
And what is hidden he brings out to the light.
The Search for Wisdom Is Harder
“But where can wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
“Man does not know the value of it;
Nor is it found in the land of the living.
“The deep says, ‘It is not in me’;
And the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
“It cannot be obtained for pure gold,
Nor can silver be weighed as its price.
“It cannot be valued in [terms of] the gold of Ophir,
In the precious onyx or beryl, or the sapphire.
“Gold and glass cannot equal wisdom,
Nor can it be exchanged for articles of fine gold.
“No mention of coral and crystal can be made;
For the possession of wisdom is even above [that of] rubies or pearls.
“The topaz of Ethiopia cannot compare with it,
Nor can it be valued in pure gold.
“From where then does wisdom come?
And where is the place of understanding?
“It is hidden from the eyes of all the living
And concealed from the birds of the heavens.
“Abaddon (the place of destruction) and Death say,
‘We have [only] heard a report of it with our ears.’
“God understands the way [to wisdom]
And He knows its place [for wisdom is with God alone].
“For He looks to the ends of the earth
And sees everything under the heavens.
“When He gave weight and pressure to the wind
And allotted the waters by measure,
When He made a limit for the rain
And a way for the thunderbolt,
Then He saw wisdom and declared it;
He established it and searched it out.
“But to man He said, ‘Behold, the reverential and worshipful fear of the Lord—that is wisdom;
And to depart from evil is understanding.’”