2 “Oh, that I were as in the months of old, As in the days when God watched over me, 3 When His lamp shone upon my head And by His light I walked through darkness; 4 As I was in the prime of my days, When the friendship and counsel of God were over my tent, 5 When [a]the Almighty was still with me And my boys were around me, 6 When my steps [through rich pastures] were washed with butter and cream [from my livestock], And the rock poured out for me streams of oil [from my olive groves]. 7 “When I went out to the gate of the city, When I took my seat [as a city father] in the square, 8 The young men saw me and hid themselves, The aged arose and stood [respectfully]; 9 The princes stopped talking And put their hands on their mouths; 10 The voices of the nobles were hushed, And their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths. 11 “For when an ear heard [my name mentioned], it called me happy and fortunate; And when an eye saw [me], it testified for me [approvingly], 12 Because I rescued the poor who cried for help, And the orphan who had no helper. 13 “The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me, And I made the widow’s heart sing for joy. 14 “I put on [b]righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban! 15 “I was eyes to the blind And I was feet to the lame. 16 “I was a father to the needy; I investigated the case I did not know [and assured justice]. 17 “And I smashed the jaws of the wicked And snatched the prey from his teeth. 18 “Then I said, ‘I shall die in my nest, And I shall multiply my days as the sand. 19 ‘My root is spread out and open to the waters, And the dew lies all night upon my branch. 20 ‘My glory and honor are fresh in me [being constantly renewed], And my bow gains [ever] new strength in my hand.’
21 “They listened to me and waited And kept silent for my counsel. 22 “After I spoke, they did not speak again, And my speech dropped upon them [like a refreshing shower]. 23 “They waited for me [and for my words] as for the rain, And they opened their mouths as for the spring rain. 24 “I smiled at them when they did not believe, And they did not diminish the light of my face. 25 “I chose a way for them and sat as chief, And dwelt as a king among his soldiers, As one who comforts mourners.
Job’s Present State Is Humiliating
30 “But now those younger than I mock and laugh at me, Whose fathers I refused to put with the sheepdogs of my flock. 2 “Indeed, how could the strength of their hands profit me? Vigor had perished from them. 3 “They are gaunt with want and famine; They gnaw the dry and barren ground by night in [the gloom of] waste and desolation. 4 “They pluck [and eat] [c]saltwort (mallows) among the bushes, And their food is the root of the broom shrub. 5 “They are driven from the community; They shout after them as after a thief. 6 “They must dwell on the slopes of [d]wadis And in holes in the ground and in rocks. 7 “Among the bushes they cry out [like wild animals]; Beneath the prickly scrub they gather and huddle together. 8 “They are the sons of [worthless and nameless] fools, They have been driven out of the land.
9 “And now I have become [the subject of] their taunting; Yes, I am a [e]byword and a laughingstock to them. 10 “They hate me, they stand aloof from me, And do not refrain from spitting in my face. 11 “For God has loosed His bowstring [attacking me] and [He has] afflicted and humbled me; They have cast off the bridle [of restraint] before me. 12 “On my right the [rabble] brood rises; They push my feet away, and they build up their ways of destruction against me [like an advancing army]. 13 “They break up and clutter my path [upsetting my plans], They profit from my destruction; No one restrains them. 14 “As through a wide breach they come, Amid the crash [of falling walls] they roll on [over me]. 15 “Terrors are turned upon me; They chase away my honor and reputation like the wind, And my prosperity has passed away like a cloud.
16 “And now my soul is poured out within me; The days of affliction have seized me. 17 “My bones are pierced [with aching] in the night season, And the pains that gnaw me take no rest. 18 “By the great force [of my disease] my garment (skin) is disfigured and blemished; It binds about me [choking me] like the collar of my coat. 19 “God has cast me into the mire [a swampland of crisis], And I have become [worthless] like dust and ashes. 20 “I cry to You for help, [Lord,] but You do not answer me; I stand up, but You [only] gaze [indifferently] at me. 21 “You have become harsh and cruel to me; With the might of Your hand You [keep me alive only to] persecute me. 22 “You lift me up on the wind and cause me to ride [upon it]; And You toss me about in the tempest and dissolve me in the storm. 23 “For I know that You will bring me to death And to the house of meeting [appointed] for all the living.
24 “However, does not one falling in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand? Or in his disaster [will he not] therefore cry out for help? 25 “Did I not weep for one whose life was hard and filled with trouble? Was not my heart grieved for the needy? 26 “When I expected good, then came evil [to me]; And when I waited for light, then came darkness. 27 “I am seething within and my heart is troubled and cannot rest; Days of affliction come to meet me. 28 “I go about mourning without comfort [my skin blackened by disease, not by the heat of the sun]; I stand up in the assembly and cry out for help. 29 “I am a brother to [howling] jackals, And a companion to ostriches [which scream dismally]. 30 “My skin falls from me in blackened flakes, And my bones are burned with fever. 31 “Therefore my lyre (harp) is used for [the sound of] mourning, And my flute for the [sound of the] voices of those who weep.
Job Asserts His Integrity
31 “I have made a covenant (agreement) with my eyes; How then could I gaze [lustfully] at a virgin? 2 “For what is the portion I would have from God above, And what heritage from the Almighty on high? 3 “Does not tragedy fall [justly] on the unjust And disaster to those who work wickedness? 4 “Does not God see my ways And count all my steps?
5 “If I have walked with falsehood, Or if my foot has chased after deceit, 6 Oh, let Him weigh me with accurate scales, And let God know my integrity. 7 “If my step has turned away from the way [of God], Or if my heart has [covetously] followed my eyes, Or if any spot [of guilt] has stained my hands, 8 Then let me plant and [let] another eat [from the results of my labor], And let my crops be uprooted and ruined.
9 “If my heart has been enticed and I was made a fool by a woman, Or if I have [covetously] lurked at my neighbor’s door [until his departure], 10 Let my wife grind [meal, like a bond slave] for another [man], And let others [f]kneel down over her. 11 “For adultery is a heinous and lustful crime; Moreover, it would be a sin punishable by the judges. 12 “For it is a fire which consumes to Abaddon (destruction, ruin, final torment); And [illicit passion] would burn and rage and uproot all my [life’s] increase [destroying everything].
13 “If I have despised and rejected the claim of my male or female servants When they filed a complaint against me, 14 What then could I do when God arises [to judge me]? When He calls me to account, what will I answer Him? 15 “Did not He who made me in the womb make my servant, And did not the same One fashion us both in the womb?
16 “If I have withheld from the poor what they desired, Or have caused the eyes of the widow to look in vain [for relief], 17 Or have eaten my morsel [of food] alone, And did not share it with the orphan 18 (But from my youth the orphan grew up with me as with a father, And from my mother’s womb I have been the widow’s guide), 19 If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, Or any poor person without covering, 20 If his loins have not thanked and blessed me [for clothing them], And if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep, 21 If I have lifted my hand against the orphan, Because I saw [that the judges would be] my help at the [council] gate, 22 Then let my shoulder fall away from its socket, And my arm be broken off at the elbow. 23 “For tragedy from God is a terror to me, And because of His majesty and exaltation I can do nothing [nor endure facing Him].
24 “If I have put my trust and confidence in gold, Or have declared fine gold my hope and assurance, 25 If I gloated and rejoiced because my wealth was great, And because my [powerful] hand [alone] had obtained so much, 26 If I beheld the sun [as an object of worship] when it shone Or the moon going in its splendor, 27 And my heart became secretly enticed [by them], And my hand threw a kiss from my mouth [in respect to them], 28 This also would have been [a heinous] sin calling for judgment, For I would have denied God above.
29 “Have I rejoiced at the destruction of the enemy [who hated me], Or exulted [in malicious triumph] when evil overtook him? 30 “No, I have not allowed my mouth to sin By cursing my enemy and asking for his life. 31 “I assure you, the men of my tent have said, ‘Who can find one [in need] who has not been satisfied with his meat’? 32 “The stranger has not lodged in the street, Because I have opened my door to the traveler. 33 “Have I concealed my transgressions like Adam or like other men, By hiding my wickedness in my bosom, 34 Because I feared the great multitude, And the contempt of families terrified me, So that I kept silence and did not acknowledge my sin and did not go out of the door? 35 “Oh, that I had one to listen to me! Look, here is my signature (mark); Let the Almighty answer me! Let my adversary write out His indictment [and put His vague accusations in tangible form]. 36 “Surely I would [proudly] bear it on my shoulder, And bind the scroll around my head like a crown. 37 “I would count out to Him the number of my steps [with every detail of my life], Approaching His presence as if I were a prince.
38 “For if my land has cried out against me, And its furrows weep together; 39 If I have eaten its fruits without paying for them, Or have caused its [rightful] owners to lose their lives, 40 Let thorns grow instead of wheat, And stinkweed and cockleburs instead of barley.”
So the words of Job [with his friends] are finished.
Job 29:14Blameless and upright as Job had been—and God had so pronounced him—his misunderstood afflictions had caused him to get dangerously off-center. Instead of keeping his mind focused on God and justifying Him, he is giving his whole thought to justifying himself. Instead of humility there is self-righteousness. In this chapter he uses pronouns referring to himself fifty times. But when he was able to see himself as God saw him, he loathed himself and repented “in dust and ashes” (42:6).
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