Job’s Final Defense

29 Job continued his discourse:(A)

“How I long for the months gone by,(B)
    for the days when God watched over me,(C)
when his lamp shone on my head
    and by his light I walked through darkness!(D)
Oh, for the days when I was in my prime,
    when God’s intimate friendship(E) blessed my house,(F)
when the Almighty was still with me
    and my children(G) were around me,(H)
when my path was drenched with cream(I)
    and the rock(J) poured out for me streams of olive oil.(K)

“When I went to the gate(L) of the city
    and took my seat in the public square,
the young men saw me and stepped aside(M)
    and the old men rose to their feet;(N)
the chief men refrained from speaking(O)
    and covered their mouths with their hands;(P)
10 the voices of the nobles were hushed,(Q)
    and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.(R)
11 Whoever heard me spoke well of me,
    and those who saw me commended me,(S)
12 because I rescued the poor(T) who cried for help,
    and the fatherless(U) who had none to assist them.(V)
13 The one who was dying blessed me;(W)
    I made the widow’s(X) heart sing.
14 I put on righteousness(Y) as my clothing;
    justice was my robe and my turban.(Z)
15 I was eyes(AA) to the blind
    and feet to the lame.(AB)
16 I was a father to the needy;(AC)
    I took up the case(AD) of the stranger.(AE)
17 I broke the fangs of the wicked
    and snatched the victims(AF) from their teeth.(AG)

18 “I thought, ‘I will die in my own house,
    my days as numerous as the grains of sand.(AH)
19 My roots will reach to the water,(AI)
    and the dew will lie all night on my branches.(AJ)
20 My glory will not fade;(AK)
    the bow(AL) will be ever new in my hand.’(AM)

21 “People listened to me expectantly,
    waiting in silence for my counsel.(AN)
22 After I had spoken, they spoke no more;(AO)
    my words fell gently on their ears.(AP)
23 They waited for me as for showers
    and drank in my words as the spring rain.(AQ)
24 When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;
    the light of my face(AR) was precious to them.[a](AS)
25 I chose the way for them and sat as their chief;(AT)
    I dwelt as a king(AU) among his troops;
    I was like one who comforts mourners.(AV)

30 “But now they mock me,(AW)
    men younger than I,
whose fathers I would have disdained
    to put with my sheep dogs.(AX)
Of what use was the strength of their hands to me,
    since their vigor had gone from them?
Haggard from want and hunger,
    they roamed[b] the parched land(AY)
    in desolate wastelands(AZ) at night.(BA)
In the brush they gathered salt herbs,(BB)
    and their food[c] was the root of the broom bush.(BC)
They were banished from human society,
    shouted at as if they were thieves.
They were forced to live in the dry stream beds,
    among the rocks and in holes in the ground.(BD)
They brayed(BE) among the bushes(BF)
    and huddled in the undergrowth.
A base and nameless brood,(BG)
    they were driven out of the land.(BH)

“And now those young men mock me(BI) in song;(BJ)
    I have become a byword(BK) among them.
10 They detest me(BL) and keep their distance;
    they do not hesitate to spit in my face.(BM)
11 Now that God has unstrung my bow(BN) and afflicted me,(BO)
    they throw off restraint(BP) in my presence.
12 On my right(BQ) the tribe[d] attacks;
    they lay snares(BR) for my feet,(BS)
    they build their siege ramps against me.(BT)
13 They break up my road;(BU)
    they succeed in destroying me.(BV)
    ‘No one can help him,’ they say.
14 They advance as through a gaping breach;(BW)
    amid the ruins they come rolling in.
15 Terrors(BX) overwhelm me;(BY)
    my dignity is driven away as by the wind,
    my safety vanishes like a cloud.(BZ)

16 “And now my life ebbs away;(CA)
    days of suffering grip me.(CB)
17 Night pierces my bones;
    my gnawing pains never rest.(CC)
18 In his great power(CD) God becomes like clothing to me[e];
    he binds me like the neck of my garment.
19 He throws me into the mud,(CE)
    and I am reduced to dust and ashes.(CF)

20 “I cry out to you,(CG) God, but you do not answer;(CH)
    I stand up, but you merely look at me.
21 You turn on me ruthlessly;(CI)
    with the might of your hand(CJ) you attack me.(CK)
22 You snatch me up and drive me before the wind;(CL)
    you toss me about in the storm.(CM)
23 I know you will bring me down to death,(CN)
    to the place appointed for all the living.(CO)

24 “Surely no one lays a hand on a broken man(CP)
    when he cries for help in his distress.(CQ)
25 Have I not wept for those in trouble?(CR)
    Has not my soul grieved for the poor?(CS)
26 Yet when I hoped for good, evil came;
    when I looked for light, then came darkness.(CT)
27 The churning inside me never stops;(CU)
    days of suffering confront me.(CV)
28 I go about blackened,(CW) but not by the sun;
    I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.(CX)
29 I have become a brother of jackals,(CY)
    a companion of owls.(CZ)
30 My skin grows black(DA) and peels;(DB)
    my body burns with fever.(DC)
31 My lyre is tuned to mourning,(DD)
    and my pipe(DE) to the sound of wailing.

31 “I made a covenant with my eyes(DF)
    not to look lustfully at a young woman.(DG)
For what is our lot(DH) from God above,
    our heritage from the Almighty on high?(DI)
Is it not ruin(DJ) for the wicked,
    disaster(DK) for those who do wrong?(DL)
Does he not see my ways(DM)
    and count my every step?(DN)

“If I have walked with falsehood
    or my foot has hurried after deceit(DO)
let God weigh me(DP) in honest scales(DQ)
    and he will know that I am blameless(DR)
if my steps have turned from the path,(DS)
    if my heart has been led by my eyes,
    or if my hands(DT) have been defiled,(DU)
then may others eat what I have sown,(DV)
    and may my crops be uprooted.(DW)

“If my heart has been enticed(DX) by a woman,(DY)
    or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door,
10 then may my wife grind(DZ) another man’s grain,
    and may other men sleep with her.(EA)
11 For that would have been wicked,(EB)
    a sin to be judged.(EC)
12 It is a fire(ED) that burns to Destruction[f];(EE)
    it would have uprooted my harvest.(EF)

13 “If I have denied justice to any of my servants,(EG)
    whether male or female,
    when they had a grievance against me,(EH)
14 what will I do when God confronts me?(EI)
    What will I answer when called to account?(EJ)
15 Did not he who made me in the womb make them?(EK)
    Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?(EL)

16 “If I have denied the desires of the poor(EM)
    or let the eyes of the widow(EN) grow weary,(EO)
17 if I have kept my bread to myself,
    not sharing it with the fatherless(EP)
18 but from my youth I reared them as a father would,
    and from my birth I guided the widow(EQ)
19 if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing,(ER)
    or the needy(ES) without garments,
20 and their hearts did not bless me(ET)
    for warming them with the fleece(EU) from my sheep,
21 if I have raised my hand against the fatherless,(EV)
    knowing that I had influence in court,(EW)
22 then let my arm fall from the shoulder,
    let it be broken off at the joint.(EX)
23 For I dreaded destruction from God,(EY)
    and for fear of his splendor(EZ) I could not do such things.(FA)

24 “If I have put my trust in gold(FB)
    or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’(FC)
25 if I have rejoiced over my great wealth,(FD)
    the fortune my hands had gained,(FE)
26 if I have regarded the sun(FF) in its radiance
    or the moon(FG) moving in splendor,
27 so that my heart was secretly enticed(FH)
    and my hand offered them a kiss of homage,(FI)
28 then these also would be sins to be judged,(FJ)
    for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.(FK)

29 “If I have rejoiced at my enemy’s misfortune(FL)
    or gloated over the trouble that came to him(FM)
30 I have not allowed my mouth to sin
    by invoking a curse against their life(FN)
31 if those of my household have never said,
    ‘Who has not been filled with Job’s meat?’(FO)
32 but no stranger had to spend the night in the street,
    for my door was always open to the traveler(FP)
33 if I have concealed(FQ) my sin as people do,[g]
    by hiding(FR) my guilt in my heart
34 because I so feared the crowd(FS)
    and so dreaded the contempt of the clans
    that I kept silent(FT) and would not go outside—

35 (“Oh, that I had someone to hear me!(FU)
    I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me;
    let my accuser(FV) put his indictment in writing.
36 Surely I would wear it on my shoulder,(FW)
    I would put it on like a crown.(FX)
37 I would give him an account of my every step;(FY)
    I would present it to him as to a ruler.(FZ))—

38 “if my land cries out against me(GA)
    and all its furrows are wet(GB) with tears,
39 if I have devoured its yield without payment(GC)
    or broken the spirit of its tenants,(GD)
40 then let briers(GE) come up instead of wheat
    and stinkweed(GF) instead of barley.”

The words of Job are ended.(GG)


32 So these three men stopped answering Job,(GH) because he was righteous in his own eyes.(GI) But Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite,(GJ) of the family of Ram, became very angry with Job for justifying himself(GK) rather than God.(GL) He was also angry with the three friends,(GM) because they had found no way to refute Job,(GN) and yet had condemned him.[h](GO) Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he.(GP) But when he saw that the three men had nothing more to say, his anger was aroused.

So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said:

“I am young in years,
    and you are old;(GQ)
that is why I was fearful,
    not daring to tell you what I know.
I thought, ‘Age should speak;
    advanced years should teach wisdom.’(GR)
But it is the spirit[i](GS) in a person,
    the breath of the Almighty,(GT) that gives them understanding.(GU)
It is not only the old[j] who are wise,(GV)
    not only the aged(GW) who understand what is right.(GX)

10 “Therefore I say: Listen to me;(GY)
    I too will tell you what I know.(GZ)
11 I waited while you spoke,
    I listened to your reasoning;
while you were searching for words,
12     I gave you my full attention.
But not one of you has proved Job wrong;
    none of you has answered his arguments.(HA)
13 Do not say, ‘We have found wisdom;(HB)
    let God, not a man, refute(HC) him.’
14 But Job has not marshaled his words against me,(HD)
    and I will not answer him with your arguments.

15 “They are dismayed and have no more to say;
    words have failed them.(HE)
16 Must I wait, now that they are silent,
    now that they stand there with no reply?
17 I too will have my say;
    I too will tell what I know.(HF)
18 For I am full of words,
    and the spirit(HG) within me compels me;(HH)
19 inside I am like bottled-up wine,
    like new wineskins ready to burst.(HI)
20 I must speak and find relief;
    I must open my lips and reply.(HJ)
21 I will show no partiality,(HK)
    nor will I flatter anyone;(HL)
22 for if I were skilled in flattery,
    my Maker(HM) would soon take me away.(HN)

33 “But now, Job, listen(HO) to my words;
    pay attention to everything I say.(HP)
I am about to open my mouth;
    my words are on the tip of my tongue.
My words come from an upright heart;(HQ)
    my lips sincerely speak what I know.(HR)
The Spirit(HS) of God has made me;(HT)
    the breath of the Almighty(HU) gives me life.(HV)
Answer me(HW) then, if you can;
    stand up(HX) and argue your case before me.(HY)
I am the same as you in God’s sight;(HZ)
    I too am a piece of clay.(IA)
No fear of me should alarm you,
    nor should my hand be heavy on you.(IB)

“But you have said in my hearing—
    I heard the very words—
‘I am pure,(IC) I have done no wrong;(ID)
    I am clean and free from sin.(IE)
10 Yet God has found fault with me;
    he considers me his enemy.(IF)
11 He fastens my feet in shackles;(IG)
    he keeps close watch on all my paths.’(IH)

12 “But I tell you, in this you are not right,
    for God is greater than any mortal.(II)
13 Why do you complain to him(IJ)
    that he responds to no one’s words[k]?(IK)
14 For God does speak(IL)—now one way, now another(IM)
    though no one perceives it.(IN)
15 In a dream,(IO) in a vision(IP) of the night,(IQ)
    when deep sleep(IR) falls on people
    as they slumber in their beds,
16 he may speak(IS) in their ears
    and terrify them(IT) with warnings,(IU)
17 to turn them from wrongdoing
    and keep them from pride,(IV)
18 to preserve them from the pit,(IW)
    their lives from perishing by the sword.[l](IX)

19 “Or someone may be chastened(IY) on a bed of pain(IZ)
    with constant distress in their bones,(JA)
20 so that their body finds food(JB) repulsive
    and their soul loathes the choicest meal.(JC)
21 Their flesh wastes away to nothing,
    and their bones,(JD) once hidden, now stick out.(JE)
22 They draw near to the pit,(JF)
    and their life to the messengers of death.[m](JG)
23 Yet if there is an angel at their side,
    a messenger,(JH) one out of a thousand,
    sent to tell them how to be upright,(JI)
24 and he is gracious to that person and says to God,
    ‘Spare them from going down to the pit;(JJ)
    I have found a ransom for them(JK)
25 let their flesh be renewed(JL) like a child’s;
    let them be restored as in the days of their youth’(JM)
26 then that person can pray to God and find favor with him,(JN)
    they will see God’s face and shout for joy;(JO)
    he will restore them to full well-being.(JP)
27 And they will go to others and say,
    ‘I have sinned,(JQ) I have perverted what is right,(JR)
    but I did not get what I deserved.(JS)
28 God has delivered(JT) me from going down to the pit,(JU)
    and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.’(JV)

29 “God does all these things to a person(JW)
    twice, even three times(JX)
30 to turn them back(JY) from the pit,(JZ)
    that the light of life(KA) may shine on them.(KB)

31 “Pay attention, Job, and listen(KC) to me;(KD)
    be silent,(KE) and I will speak.
32 If you have anything to say, answer me;(KF)
    speak up, for I want to vindicate you.(KG)
33 But if not, then listen to me;(KH)
    be silent,(KI) and I will teach you wisdom.(KJ)

34 Then Elihu said:

“Hear my words, you wise men;
    listen to me,(KK) you men of learning.
For the ear tests words
    as the tongue tastes food.(KL)
Let us discern for ourselves what is right;(KM)
    let us learn together what is good.(KN)

“Job says, ‘I am innocent,(KO)
    but God denies me justice.(KP)
Although I am right,
    I am considered a liar;(KQ)
although I am guiltless,(KR)
    his arrow inflicts an incurable wound.’(KS)
Is there anyone like Job,
    who drinks scorn like water?(KT)
He keeps company with evildoers;
    he associates with the wicked.(KU)
For he says, ‘There is no profit
    in trying to please God.’(KV)

10 “So listen to me,(KW) you men of understanding.(KX)
    Far be it from God to do evil,(KY)
    from the Almighty to do wrong.(KZ)
11 He repays everyone for what they have done;(LA)
    he brings on them what their conduct deserves.(LB)
12 It is unthinkable that God would do wrong,(LC)
    that the Almighty would pervert justice.(LD)
13 Who appointed(LE) him over the earth?
    Who put him in charge of the whole world?(LF)
14 If it were his intention
    and he withdrew his spirit[n](LG) and breath,(LH)
15 all humanity would perish(LI) together
    and mankind would return to the dust.(LJ)

16 “If you have understanding,(LK) hear this;
    listen to what I say.(LL)
17 Can someone who hates justice govern?(LM)
    Will you condemn the just and mighty One?(LN)
18 Is he not the One who says to kings, ‘You are worthless,’
    and to nobles,(LO) ‘You are wicked,’(LP)
19 who shows no partiality(LQ) to princes
    and does not favor the rich over the poor,(LR)
    for they are all the work of his hands?(LS)
20 They die in an instant, in the middle of the night;(LT)
    the people are shaken and they pass away;
    the mighty are removed without human hand.(LU)

21 “His eyes are on the ways of mortals;(LV)
    he sees their every step.(LW)
22 There is no deep shadow,(LX) no utter darkness,(LY)
    where evildoers can hide.(LZ)
23 God has no need to examine people further,(MA)
    that they should come before him for judgment.(MB)
24 Without inquiry he shatters(MC) the mighty(MD)
    and sets up others in their place.(ME)
25 Because he takes note of their deeds,(MF)
    he overthrows them in the night(MG) and they are crushed.(MH)
26 He punishes them for their wickedness(MI)
    where everyone can see them,
27 because they turned from following him(MJ)
    and had no regard for any of his ways.(MK)
28 They caused the cry of the poor to come before him,
    so that he heard the cry of the needy.(ML)
29 But if he remains silent,(MM) who can condemn him?(MN)
    If he hides his face,(MO) who can see him?
Yet he is over individual and nation alike,(MP)
30     to keep the godless(MQ) from ruling,(MR)
    from laying snares for the people.(MS)

31 “Suppose someone says to God,
    ‘I am guilty(MT) but will offend no more.
32 Teach me what I cannot see;(MU)
    if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.’(MV)
33 Should God then reward you on your terms,
    when you refuse to repent?(MW)
You must decide, not I;
    so tell me what you know.

34 “Men of understanding declare,
    wise men who hear me say to me,
35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge;(MX)
    his words lack insight.’(MY)
36 Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost
    for answering like a wicked man!(MZ)
37 To his sin he adds rebellion;
    scornfully he claps his hands(NA) among us
    and multiplies his words(NB) against God.”(NC)

35 Then Elihu said:

“Do you think this is just?
    You say, ‘I am in the right,(ND) not God.’(NE)
Yet you ask him, ‘What profit is it to me,[o]
    and what do I gain by not sinning?’(NF)

“I would like to reply to you
    and to your friends with you.
Look up at the heavens(NG) and see;
    gaze at the clouds so high above you.(NH)
If you sin, how does that affect him?
    If your sins are many, what does that do to him?(NI)
If you are righteous, what do you give to him,(NJ)
    or what does he receive(NK) from your hand?(NL)
Your wickedness only affects humans like yourself,(NM)
    and your righteousness only other people.(NN)

“People cry out(NO) under a load of oppression;(NP)
    they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful.(NQ)
10 But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker,(NR)
    who gives songs(NS) in the night,(NT)
11 who teaches(NU) us(NV) more than he teaches[p] the beasts of the earth
    and makes us wiser than[q] the birds in the sky?’
12 He does not answer(NW) when people cry out
    because of the arrogance(NX) of the wicked.(NY)
13 Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea;
    the Almighty pays no attention to it.(NZ)
14 How much less, then, will he listen
    when you say that you do not see him,(OA)
that your case(OB) is before him
    and you must wait for him,(OC)
15 and further, that his anger never punishes(OD)
    and he does not take the least notice of wickedness.[r](OE)
16 So Job opens his mouth with empty talk;(OF)
    without knowledge he multiplies words.”(OG)


  1. Job 29:24 The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.
  2. Job 30:3 Or gnawed
  3. Job 30:4 Or fuel
  4. Job 30:12 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  5. Job 30:18 Hebrew; Septuagint power he grasps my clothing
  6. Job 31:12 Hebrew Abaddon
  7. Job 31:33 Or as Adam did
  8. Job 32:3 Masoretic Text; an ancient Hebrew scribal tradition Job, and so had condemned God
  9. Job 32:8 Or Spirit; also in verse 18
  10. Job 32:9 Or many; or great
  11. Job 33:13 Or that he does not answer for any of his actions
  12. Job 33:18 Or from crossing the river
  13. Job 33:22 Or to the place of the dead
  14. Job 34:14 Or Spirit
  15. Job 35:3 Or you
  16. Job 35:11 Or night, / 11 who teaches us by
  17. Job 35:11 Or us wise by
  18. Job 35:15 Symmachus, Theodotion and Vulgate; the meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.

Bible Gateway Recommends