2 It’s impossible to weigh my misery and grief! 3 They outweigh the sand along the beach, and that’s why I have spoken without thinking first. 4 The fearsome arrows of God All-Powerful have filled my soul with their poison. 5 Do oxen and wild donkeys cry out in distress unless they are hungry? 6 What is food without salt? What is more tasteless than the white of an egg?[a] 7 That’s how my food tastes, and my appetite is gone.
8 How I wish that God would answer my prayer 9 and do away with me. 10 Then I would be comforted, knowing that in all of my pain I have never disobeyed God. 11 Why should I patiently hope when my strength is gone? 12 I am not strong as stone or bronze, 13 and I have finally reached the end of my rope.
My Friends, I Am Desperate
14 My friends, I am desperate, and you should help me, even if I no longer respect God All-Powerful.[b] 15 But you are treacherous 16 as streams that swell with melting snow, 17 then suddenly disappear in the summer heat. 18 I am like a caravan, lost in the desert while searching for water. 19 Caravans from Tema and Sheba[c] 20 thought they would find water. But they were disappointed, 21 just as I am with you.[d] Only one look at my suffering, and you run away scared.
What Have I Done Wrong?
22 Have I ever asked any of you to give me a gift 23 or to purchase my freedom from brutal enemies? 24 What have I done wrong? Show me, and I will keep quiet. 25 The truth is always painful, but your arguments prove nothing. 26 Here I am desperate, and you consider my words as worthless as wind. 27 Why, you would sell an orphan or your own neighbor! 28 Look me straight in the eye; I won’t lie to you. 29 Stop accusing me falsely; my reputation is at stake. 30 I know right from wrong, and I am not telling lies.
Why Is Life So Hard?
7 Why is life so hard? Why do we suffer? 2 We are slaves in search of shade; we are laborers longing for our wages. 3 God has made my days drag on and my nights miserable. 4 I pray for night to end, but it stretches out while I toss and turn. 5 My parched skin is covered with worms, dirt, and sores, 6 and my days are running out quicker than the thread of a fast-moving needle.
7 I beg you, God, don’t forget! My life is just a breath, and trouble lies ahead. 8 I will vanish from sight, and no one, including you, will ever see me again. 9 I will disappear in the grave or vanish from sight like a passing cloud. 10 Never will I return home; soon I will be forgotten.
11 And so, I cry out to you in agony and distress. 12 Am I the sea or a sea monster? Is that why you imprison me?[e] 13 I go to bed, hoping for rest, 14 but you torture me with terrible dreams. 15 I’d rather choke to death than live in this body. 16 Leave me alone and let me die; my life has no meaning. 17 What makes you so concerned about us humans? 18 Why do you test us from sunrise to sunset? 19 Won’t you look away just long enough for me to swallow? 20 Why do you watch us so closely? What’s it to you, if I sin? Why am I your target and such a heavy burden? 21 Why do you refuse to forgive? Soon you won’t find me, because I’ll be dead.
2 How long will you talk and keep saying nothing? 3 Does God All-Powerful stand in the way of justice? 4 He made your children pay for their sins. 5 So why don’t you turn to him 6 and start living right? Then he will decide to rescue and restore you to your place of honor. 7 Your future will be brighter by far than your past.
Our Ancestors Were Wise
8 Our ancestors were wise, so learn from them. 9 Our own time has been short, like a fading shadow, and we know very little. 10 But they will instruct you with great understanding.
11 Papyrus reeds grow healthy only in a swamp, 12 and if the water dries up, they die sooner than grass. 13 Such is the hopeless future of all who turn from God 14 and trust in something as frail as a spider’s web— 15 they take hold and fall because it’s so flimsy. 16 Sinful people are like plants with spreading roots and plenty of sun and water. 17 They wrap their roots tightly around rocks.[g] 18 But once they are pulled up, they have no more place; 19 their life slips away,[h] and other plants grow there.
20 We know God doesn’t reject an innocent person or help a sinner. 21 And so, he will make you happy and give you something to smile about. 22 But your evil enemies will be put to shame and disappear forever.
Job’s Reply to Bildad
What You Say Is True
9 Job said:
2 What you say is true. No human is innocent in the sight of God. 3 Not once in a thousand times could we win our case if we took him to court. 4 God is wise and powerful— who could possibly oppose him and win? 5 When God becomes angry, he can move mountains before they even know it. 6 God can shake the earth loose from its foundations 7 or command the sun and stars to hold back their light. 8 God alone stretched out the sky, stepped on the sea,[i] 9 and set the stars in place— the Big Dipper and Orion, the Pleiades and the stars in the southern sky. 10 Of all the miracles God works, we cannot understand a one. 11 God walks right past me, without making a sound. 12 And if he grabs something, who can stop him or raise a question?
13 When God showed his anger, the servants of the sea monster[j] fell at his feet. 14 How, then, could I possibly argue my case with God?
Though I Am Innocent
15 Even though I am innocent, I can only beg for mercy. 16 And if God came into court when I called him, he would not hear my case. 17 He would strike me with a storm[k] and increase my injuries for no reason at all. 18 Before I could get my breath, my miseries would multiply. 19 God is much stronger than I am, and who would call me into court to give me justice?
20 Even if I were innocent, God would prove me wrong.[l] 21 I am not guilty, but I no longer care what happens to me. 22 What difference does it make? God destroys the innocent along with the guilty. 23 When a good person dies a sudden death, God sits back and laughs. 24 And who else but God blindfolds the judges, then lets the wicked take over the earth?
My Life Is Speeding By
25 My life is speeding by, without a hope of happiness. 26 Each day passes swifter than a sailing ship or an eagle swooping down. 27 Sometimes I try to be cheerful and to stop complaining, 28 but my sufferings frighten me, because I know that God still considers me guilty. 29 So what’s the use of trying to prove my innocence? 30 Even if I washed myself with the strongest soap, 31 God would throw me into a pit of stinking slime, leaving me disgusting to my clothes.
32 God isn’t a mere human like me. I can’t put him on trial. 33 Who could possibly judge between the two of us? 34 Can someone snatch away the stick God carries to frighten me? 35 Then I could speak up without fear of him, but for now, I cannot speak.[m]
6.6What is more tasteless. . . egg: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
6.14and you should help me. . . God All-Powerful: Or “and if you don’t help me, you no longer respect God All-Powerful.”
6.19Tema and Sheba: Tema was a region in northwest Arabia, and Sheba was probably a region in southwest Arabia.
6.21just. . . you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
7.12sea monster. . . imprison me: “Sea monster” translates the Hebrew word “Tannin,” which was possibly a sea monster similar to Leviathan (3.8), Rahab (9.13), and Behemoth (40.15). According to 38.8-11, God makes the sea his prisoner by setting its boundaries.
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