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Job Continues

I Long for the Past

29 Job said:
I long for the past,
    when God took care of me,
and the light from his lamp
showed me the way
    through the dark.
I was in the prime of life,
God All-Powerful
    was my closest friend,
and all of my children
    were nearby.
My herds gave enough milk
    to bathe my feet,
and from my olive harvest
    flowed rivers of oil.
* When I sat down at the meeting
    of the city council,
the young leaders stepped aside,
* while the older ones stood
10     and remained silent.

Everyone Was Pleased

11 Everyone was pleased
    with what I said and did.
12 When poor people or orphans
cried out for help,
    I came to their rescue.
13 And I was highly praised
for my generosity to widows
    and others in poverty.
14 Kindness and justice
    were my coat and hat;
15 I was helpful to the blind
    and to the lame.
16 I was a father to the needy,
and I defended them in court,
    even if they were strangers.
17 When criminals attacked,
I broke their teeth
    and set their victims free.

18 I felt certain that I would live
a long and happy life,
    then die in my own bed.
19 In those days I was strong
    like a tree with deep roots
and with plenty of water,
20     or like an archer's new bow.
21 Everyone listened in silence
    to my welcome advice,
22 and when I finished speaking,
    nothing needed to be said.
23 My words were eagerly accepted
    like the showers of spring,
24 and the smile on my face
    renewed everyone's hopes.
25 My advice was followed
as though I were a king
    leading my troops,
or someone comforting
    those in sorrow.

Job Continues

Young People Now Insult Me

30 Young people now insult me,
    although their fathers
would have been a disgrace
    to my sheep dogs.
And those who insult me
    are helpless themselves.
They must claw the desert sand
in the dark for something
    to satisfy their hunger.[a]
They gather tasteless shrubs
    for food and firewood,
and they are run out of towns,
    as though they were thieves.
Their only homes are ditches
    or holes between rocks,
where they bray like donkeys
    gathering around shrubs.
And like senseless donkeys
    they are chased away.

Those Worthless Nobodies

Those worthless nobodies
make up jokes and songs
    to disgrace me.
10 They are hateful
    and keep their distance,
even while spitting
    in my direction.
11 God has destroyed me,
and so they don't care
    what they do.[b]
12 Their attacks never stop,
though I am defenseless,
    and my feet are trapped.[c]
13 Without any help,
    they prevent my escape,
destroying me completely[d]
14     and leaving me crushed.
15 Terror has me surrounded;
my reputation and my riches
    have vanished like a cloud.

I Am Sick at Heart

16 I am sick at heart!
    Pain has taken its toll.
17 Night chews on my bones,
    causing endless torment,
18 and God has shrunk my skin,
    choking me to death.[e]
19 I have been thrown in the dirt
    and now am dirt myself.
20 I beg God for help,
    but there is no answer;
and when I stand up,
    he simply stares.
21 God has turned brutal,
22 stirring up a windstorm
    to toss me about.
23 Soon he will send me home
to the world of the dead,
    where we all must go.

24 No one refuses help to others,
    when disaster strikes.[f]
25 I mourned for the poor
    and those who suffered.
26 But when I beg for relief
    and light,
all I receive are disaster
    and darkness.
27 My stomach is tied in knots;
    pain is my daily companion.
28 My days are dark and gloomy
and in the city council
    I stand and cry out,
29 making mournful sounds
    like jackals[g] and owls.
30 My skin is so parched,
that it peels right off,
    and my bones are burning.
31 My only songs are sorrow
    and sadness.

Job Continues

I Promised Myself

31 I promised myself
never to stare with desire
    at a young woman.
God All-Powerful punishes
    men who do that.
In fact, God sends disaster
    on all who sin,
and he keeps a close watch
    on everything I do.

I am not dishonest or deceitful,
and I beg God to prove
    my innocence.
If I have disobeyed him
    or even wanted to,
then others can eat my harvest
    and uproot my crops.
If I have desired someone's wife
    and chased after her,
10 then let some stranger
    steal my wife from me.
11 If I took someone's wife,
    it would be a horrible crime,
12 sending me to destruction
    and my crops to the flames.[h]

13 When my servants
complained against me,
    I was fair to them.
14 Otherwise, what answer
would I give to God
    when he judges me?
15 After all, God is the one
who gave life to each of us
    before we were born.

I Have Never Cheated Anyone

16 (A) I have never cheated widows
    or others in need,
17 and I have always shared
    my food with orphans.
18 Since the time I was young,
I have cared for orphans
    and helped widows.[i]
19 I provided clothes for the poor,
20     and I was praised
for supplying woolen garments
    to keep them warm.
21 If I have ever raised my arm
to threaten an orphan
    when the power was mine,
22 I hope that arm will fall
    from its socket.
23 I could not have been abusive;
I was terrified at the thought
    that God might punish me.
24 (B) I have never trusted
    the power of wealth,
25 or taken pride in owning
    many possessions.
* 26 I have never openly or secretly
27     worshiped the sun or moon.
28 Such horrible sins
would have deserved
    punishment from God.

29 I have never laughed
when my enemies
    were struck by disaster.
30 Neither have I sinned
    by asking God
to send down on them
    the curse of death.
31 No one ever went hungry[j]
    at my house,
32 and travelers
    were always welcome.
33 Many have attempted to hide
their sins from others—
    but I refused.
34 And the fear of public disgrace
never forced me to keep silent
    about what I had done.

Why Doesn't God Listen?

35 Why doesn't God All-Powerful
    listen and answer?
If God has something against me,
let him speak up
    or put it in writing!
36 Then I would wear his charges
    on my clothes and forehead.
37 And with my head held high,
I would tell him everything
    I have ever done.

38 I have never mistreated
the land I farmed
    and made it mourn.[k]
39 Nor have I cheated
my workers
    and caused them pain.[l]
40 If I had, I would pray
for weeds instead of wheat
    to grow in my fields.
After saying these things,
    Job was silent.


  1. 30.3 hunger: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 3.
  2. 30.11 God … do: Or “They have destroyed me, and so they don't care what else they do.”
  3. 30.12 trapped: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 12.
  4. 30.13 destroying … completely: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  5. 30.18 death: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 18.
  6. 30.24 strikes: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 24.
  7. 30.29 jackals: Desert animals related to wolves, but smaller.
  8. 31.12 flames: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 12.
  9. 31.18 widows: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 18.
  10. 31.31 ever went hungry: Or “was ever sexually abused” (see Genesis 19.1-11; Judges 17.22-30). In ancient Israel, the lives of one's guests were sacred and had to be protected at any cost.
  11. 31.38 mourn: In biblical times there were strict regulations for proper use of the land, and land that was abused was said to “mourn” and become no longer productive.
  12. 31.39 pain: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 39.

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