2 Job, are you really innocent in the sight of God?[a] 3 Don’t you honestly believe it pays to obey him? 4 I will give the answers to you and your friends. 5 Look up to the heavens 6 and think! Do your sins hurt God? 7 Is any good you may have done at all helpful to him? 8 The evil or good you do only affects other humans.
9 In times of trouble, everyone begs the mighty God to have mercy. 10 But after their Creator helps them through hard times, they forget about him, 11 though he makes us wiser than animals or birds. 12 God won’t listen to the prayers of proud and evil people. 13 If God All-Powerful refuses to answer their empty prayers, 14 he will surely deny your impatient request to face him in court. 15 Job, you were wrong to say God doesn’t punish sin. 16 Everything you have said adds up to nonsense.
Be Patient a While Longer
36 Elihu said:
2 Be patient a while longer; I have something else to say in God’s defense. 3 God always does right— and this knowledge comes straight from God.[b] 4 You can rest assured that what I say is true. 5 Although God is mighty, he cares about everyone and makes fair decisions.
6 The wicked are cut down, and those who are wronged receive justice. 7 God watches over good people and places them in positions of power and honor forever. 8 But when people are prisoners of suffering and pain, 9 God points out their sin and their pride, 10 then he warns them to turn back to him. 11 And if they obey, they will be successful and happy from then on. 12 But if they foolishly refuse, they will be rewarded with a violent death.
Godless People Are Too Angry
13 Godless people are too angry to ask God for help when he punishes them. 14 So they die young in shameful disgrace. 15 Hard times and trouble are God’s way of getting our attention! 16 And at this very moment, God deeply desires to lead you from trouble and to spread your table with your favorite food.
17 Now that the judgment for your sins has fallen upon you, 18 don’t let your anger and the pain you endured make you sneer at God. 19 Your reputation and riches cannot protect you from distress, 20 nor can you find safety in the dark world below.[c] 21 Be on guard! Don’t turn to evil as a way of escape. 22 God’s power is unlimited. He needs no teachers 23 to guide or correct him.
Others Have Praised God
24 Others have praised God for what he has done, so join with them. 25 From down here on earth, everyone has looked up and seen 26 how great God is— God is more than we imagine; no one can count the years he has lived. 27 God gathers moisture into the clouds 28 and supplies us with rain. 29 Who can understand how God scatters the clouds and speaks from his home in the thunderstorm? 30 And when God sends lightning, it can be seen at the bottom of the sea. 31 By producing such rainstorms, God rules the world and provides us with food. 32 Each flash of lightning is one of his arrows striking its target, 33 and the thunder tells of his anger against sin.[d]
I Am Frightened
37 I am frightened and tremble all over, 2 when I hear the roaring voice of God in the thunder, 3 and when I see his lightning flash across the sky. 4 God’s majestic voice thunders his commands,[e] 5 creating miracles too marvelous for us to understand. 6 Snow and heavy rainstorms 7 make us stop and think about God’s power, 8 and they force animals to seek shelter. 9 The windstorms of winter strike, 10 and the breath of God freezes streams and rivers. 11 Rain clouds filled with lightning appear at God’s command, 12 traveling across the sky 13 to release their cargo— sometimes as punishment for sin, sometimes as kindness.
14 Job, consider carefully the many wonders of God. 15 Can you explain why lightning flashes at the orders 16 of God who knows all things? Or how he hangs the clouds in empty space? 17 You almost melt in the heat of fierce desert winds when the sky is like brass. 18 God can spread out the clouds to get relief from the heat, but can you?
19 Tell us what to say to God! Our minds are in the dark, and we don’t know how to argue our case. 20 Should I risk my life by telling God that I want to speak? 21 No one can stare at the sun after a breeze has blown the clouds from the sky. 22 Yet the glorious splendor of God All-Powerful is brighter by far. 23 God cannot be seen— but his power is great, and he is always fair. 24 And so we humans fear God, because he shows no respect for those who are proud and think they know so much.
35.2are. . . God: Or “is it right for you to accuse God?”
36.3comes straight from God: The Hebrew text has “comes from a distant place,” which refers to the place where God lives; Elihu is claiming that he learned this from God.
36.20below: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verses 18-20.
36.33sin: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 33.
37.4commands: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 4.
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