Job’s Friends Are No Help
6 Then Job answered and said,
“Oh, that my grief could actually be weighed
And placed in the balances together with my tragedy [to see if my grief is the grief of a coward]!
“For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea;
Therefore my words have been incoherent,
Because the arrows of the Almighty are within me,
My spirit drinks their poison;
The terrors of God are arrayed against me.
“Does the wild donkey bray when he has grass?
Or does the ox low over his fodder?
“Can something that has no taste to it be eaten without salt?
Or is there any flavor in the white of an egg?
“My soul refuses to touch them;
Such things are like loathsome food to me [sickening and repugnant].
“Oh that my request would come to pass,
And that God would grant me the thing that I long for!
“I wish that it would please God to crush me,
That He would let loose His hand and cut me off.
“Then I would still have consolation,
And I would jump for joy amid unsparing pain,
That I have not denied or hidden the words of the Holy One.
“What strength do I have left, that I should wait [and hope]?
And what is ahead of me, that I should be patient and endure?
“Is my strength and endurance that of stones,
Or is my flesh made of bronze?
“Is it that I have no help within myself,
And that success and wisdom have been driven from me?
“For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend;
So that he does not [a]abandon (turn away from) the fear of the Almighty.
“My brothers have acted deceitfully like a brook,
Like the torrents of brooks that vanish,
Which are dull and dirty because of ice,
And into which the snow melts and hides itself;
When it is warm, they are silent and cease to flow;
When it is hot, they vanish from their place.
“The paths of their course wind along,
They go up into nothing and perish.
[Your counsel is as helpful to me as a dry streambed in the heat of summer.]
“The caravans of [b]Tema looked [for water],
The caravans of [c]Sheba waited for them [in vain].
“They were put to shame and disappointed because they had trusted [that they would find water];
They came there and were ashamed.
“Indeed, you have now become like a dried-up stream,
You see a terror [believing me to be a victim of the wrath of God] and are afraid [to be compassionate].
“Did I ever say, ‘Give me something,’
Or, ‘Pay a bribe for me from your wealth,’
Or, ‘Rescue me from the adversary’s hand,’
Or, ‘Redeem me from the hand of the tyrants’?
“Teach me, and I will be silent;
And show me how I have erred.
“How painful are words of honesty.
But what does your argument prove?
“Do you intend to reprove my words [with a convincing argument],
When the words of one in despair belong to the wind [and go ignored]?
“You would cast lots (gamble) over the fatherless
And bargain away your friend.
“Now please look at me,
And see if I lie to your face [for you know that I would not].
“Turn away [from your suspicion], let there be no injustice;
Turn away, my righteousness and vindication is still in it.
“Is there injustice or malice on my tongue?
Can my palate not discern what is destructive?
Job’s Life Seems Futile
7 “Is not man forced to labor on earth?
And are not his days like the days of a hired man?
“As a slave earnestly longs for the shade,
And as a hired man eagerly awaits his wages,
So am I allotted months of futility and suffering,
And [long] nights of trouble and misery are appointed to me.
“When I lie down I say,
‘When shall I arise [and the night be gone]?’
But the night continues,
And I am continually tossing until the dawning of day.
“My body is clothed with worms and a crust of dust;
My skin is hardened [and broken and loathsome], and [breaks out and] runs.
“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,
And are spent without hope.
“Remember that my life is but breath [a puff of wind, a sigh];
My eye will not see good again.
“The eye of him who sees me [now] will see me no more;
Your eyes will be upon me, but I will not be.
“As a cloud vanishes and is gone,
So he who goes down to Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) does not come up.
“He will not return again to his house,
Nor will his place know about him anymore.
“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 [O Lord].
“Am I the sea, or the sea monster,
That You set a guard over me?
“When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me,
My couch will ease my complaint,’
Then You frighten me with dreams
And terrify me through visions,
So that I would choose suffocation,
Death rather than my [d]pain.
“I waste away and loathe my life; I will not live forever.
Let me alone, for my days are but a breath [futile and without substance].
“What is man that You [should] magnify him [and think him important]?
And that You are concerned about him?(A)
“And that You examine him every morning
And try and test him every moment?
“Will You never turn Your gaze away from me [it plagues me],
Nor let me alone until I swallow my spittle?
“If I have sinned, what [harm] have I done to You,
O Watcher of mankind?
Why have You set me as a target for You,
So that I am a burden to myself?
“Why then do You not pardon my transgression
And take away my sin and guilt?
For now I will lie down in the dust;
And You will seek me [diligently], but I will not be.”
Bildad Says God Rewards the Good
8 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said,
“How long will you say these things?
And will the words of your mouth be a mighty wind?
“Does God pervert justice?
Or does [e]the Almighty pervert righteousness?
“If your children have sinned against Him,
Then He has handed them over to the power of their transgression and punished them.
“If you would [diligently] seek God
And implore the compassion and favor of the Almighty,
Then, if you are pure and upright,
Surely now He will awaken for you
And restore your righteous place.
“Though your beginning was insignificant,
Yet your end will greatly increase.
“Inquire, please, of past generations,
And consider and apply yourself to the things searched out by their fathers.
“For we are only of yesterday and know nothing,
Because our days on earth are [like] a shadow [just a breath or a vapor].
“Will they (the fathers) not teach you and tell you,
And utter words from their hearts [the deepest part of their nature]?
“Can the papyrus grow up without a marsh?
Can the rushes or reed grass grow without water?
“While it is still green (in flower) and not cut down,
Yet it withers before any other plant [when without water].
“So are the paths of all who forget God;
And the hope of the godless will perish,
For his confidence is fragile and breaks,
And his trust is [like] a spider’s web.
“He trusts in his house, but it does not stand;
He holds tightly to it, but it does not endure.
“He thrives and prospers [like a green plant] before the sun,
And his branches spread out over his garden.
“His [godless] roots are wrapped around a pile of rocks,
And he gazes at a house of stones.
“If he is snatched from his place [in the garden],
Then his place will forget him, saying, ‘I have never seen you.’
“Behold, this is the joy of His way;
And from out of the dust others will spring up and grow [to take his place].
“Behold, God will not reject a man of integrity,
Nor will He strengthen or support evildoers.
“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
And your lips with joyful shouting [if you are found blameless].
“Those who hate you will be clothed with shame,
And the tents of the wicked will be no longer.”
Job Says There Is No Arbitrator between God and Man
9 Then Job answered and said,
“Yes, I know it is true.
But how can a mortal man be right before God?
“If one should want to contend or dispute with Him,
He could not answer Him once in a thousand times.
“God is wise in heart and mighty in strength;
Who has [ever] defied or challenged Him and remained unharmed?
“It is God who removes the mountains, and they do not know it,
When He overturns them in His anger;
Who shakes the earth out of its place,
And its pillars tremble;
Who commands the sun, and it does not shine;
Who seals up the stars [from view];
Who alone stretches out the heavens
And tramples down the [f]waves of the sea;
Who made [the constellations] the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades,
And the [vast starry] spaces of the south;
Who does great things, [beyond understanding,] unfathomable,
Yes, marvelous and wondrous things without number.
“Behold, He passes by me, and I do not see Him;
He moves past me, but I do not perceive Him.
“Behold, He snatches away; who can restrain or turn Him back?
Who will say to Him, ‘What are You doing?’
“God will not turn back His anger;
The [proud] helpers of Rahab [the arrogant monster of the sea] bow under Him.
“How can I answer Him [and plead my case],
Choosing my words [to reason] with Him?
For though I were righteous, I could not answer.
I must appeal for mercy to my Opponent and Judge.
“If I called and He answered me,
I could not believe that He was listening to my voice.
“For He bruises me with a tempest
And multiplies my wounds without cause.
“He will not allow me to catch my breath,
But fills and saturates me with bitterness.
“If it is a matter of strength and power, behold, He is mighty!
And if of justice, who can summon and challenge Him?
“Though I am innocent and in the right, my own mouth would pronounce me guilty;
Though I am blameless, He would denounce me as guilty.
“[Though] I am blameless,
I do not care about myself;
I despise my life.
“It is all one; therefore I say,
‘He destroys [both] the blameless and the wicked.’
“When [His] scourge kills suddenly,
He mocks at the despair of the innocent.
“The earth is given into the hands of the wicked;
He covers the faces of its judges [so that they are blind to justice].
If it is not He, then who is it [that is responsible for all this injustice]?
“Now my days are swifter than a runner;
They vanish, they see no good.
“They pass by like the [swift] boats made of reeds,
Like an eagle that swoops down on its prey.
“If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint,
I will leave off my sad appearance, and be cheerful and brighten up,’
I am afraid of all my pains and worries [yet to come];
I know that You will not acquit me and leave me unpunished.
“I am accounted wicked and held guilty;
Why then should I labor in vain [to appear innocent]?
“If I were to wash myself with snow
And cleanse my hands with lye,
You would still plunge me into the pit,
And my own clothes would hate me [and refuse to cover my foul body].
“For God is not a [mere] man, as I am, that I may answer Him,
That we may go to court and judgment together.
“There is no arbitrator between us,
Who could lay his hand upon us both [would that there were].(B)
“Let Him take His rod away from me,
And let not the dread and fear of Him terrify me.
“Then I would speak [my defense] and not fear Him;
But I am not like that in myself.