Job 21:1-23:7 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Job Replies: The Wicked Often Go Unpunished
21 Then Job answered:
2 “Listen carefully to my words,
and let this be your consolation.
3 Bear with me, and I will speak,
and after I have spoken, mock on.
4 As for me, is my complaint against man?
Why should I not be impatient?
5 Look at me, and be appalled,
and lay your hand upon your mouth.
6 When I think of it I am dismayed,
and shuddering seizes my flesh.
7 Why do the wicked live,
reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
8 Their children are established in their presence,
and their offspring before their eyes.
9 Their houses are safe from fear,
and no rod of God is upon them.
10 Their bull breeds without fail;
their cow calves, and does not cast her calf.
11 They send forth their little ones like a flock,
and their children dance.
12 They sing to the tambourine and the lyre,
and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.
13 They spend their days in prosperity,
and in peace they go down to Sheol.
14 They say to God, ‘Depart from us!
We do not desire the knowledge of thy ways.
15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’
16 Behold, is not their prosperity in their hand?
The counsel of the wicked is far from me.
17 “How often is it that the lamp of the wicked is put out?
That their calamity comes upon them?
That God distributes pains in his anger?
18 That they are like straw before the wind,
and like chaff that the storm carries away?
19 You say, ‘God stores up their iniquity for their sons.’
Let him recompense it to themselves, that they may know it.
20 Let their own eyes see their destruction,
and let them drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
21 For what do they care for their houses after them,
when the number of their months is cut off?
22 Will any teach God knowledge,
seeing that he judges those that are on high?
23 One dies in full prosperity,
being wholly at ease and secure,
24 his body full of fat
and the marrow of his bones moist.
25 Another dies in bitterness of soul,
never having tasted of good.
26 They lie down alike in the dust,
and the worms cover them.
27 “Behold, I know your thoughts,
and your schemes to wrong me.
28 For you say, ‘Where is the house of the prince?
Where is the tent in which the wicked dwelt?’
29 Have you not asked those who travel the roads,
and do you not accept their testimony
30 that the wicked man is spared in the day of calamity,
that he is rescued in the day of wrath?
31 Who declares his way to his face,
and who requites him for what he has done?
32 When he is borne to the grave,
watch is kept over his tomb.
33 The clods of the valley are sweet to him;
all men follow after him,
and those who go before him are innumerable.
34 How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?
There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”
Eliphaz Speaks: Job’s Wickedness Is Great
22 Then Eli′phaz the Te′manite answered:
2 “Can a man be profitable to God?
Surely he who is wise is profitable to himself.
3 Is it any pleasure to the Almighty if you are righteous,
or is it gain to him if you make your ways blameless?
4 Is it for your fear of him that he reproves you,
and enters into judgment with you?
5 Is not your wickedness great?
There is no end to your iniquities.
6 For you have exacted pledges of your brothers for nothing,
and stripped the naked of their clothing.
7 You have given no water to the weary to drink,
and you have withheld bread from the hungry.
8 The man with power possessed the land,
and the favored man dwelt in it.
9 You have sent widows away empty,
and the arms of the fatherless were crushed.
10 Therefore snares are round about you,
and sudden terror overwhelms you;
11 your light is darkened, so that you cannot see,
and a flood of water covers you.
12 “Is not God high in the heavens?
See the highest stars, how lofty they are!
13 Therefore you say, ‘What does God know?
Can he judge through the deep darkness?
14 Thick clouds enwrap him, so that he does not see,
and he walks on the vault of heaven.’
15 Will you keep to the old way
which wicked men have trod?
16 They were snatched away before their time;
their foundation was washed away.
17 They said to God, ‘Depart from us,’
and ‘What can the Almighty do to us?’
18 Yet he filled their houses with good things—
but the counsel of the wicked is far from me.
19 The righteous see it and are glad;
the innocent laugh them to scorn,
20 saying, ‘Surely our adversaries are cut off,
and what they left the fire has consumed.’
21 “Agree with God, and be at peace;
thereby good will come to you.
22 Receive instruction from his mouth,
and lay up his words in your heart.
23 If you return to the Almighty and humble yourself,
if you remove unrighteousness far from your tents,
24 if you lay gold in the dust,
and gold of Ophir among the stones of the torrent bed,
25 and if the Almighty is your gold,
and your precious silver;
26 then you will delight yourself in the Almighty,
and lift up your face to God.
27 You will make your prayer to him, and he will hear you;
and you will pay your vows.
28 You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you,
and light will shine on your ways.
29 For God abases the proud,
but he saves the lowly.
30 He delivers the innocent man;
you will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”
Job Replies: My Complaint Is Bitter
23 Then Job answered:
2 “Today also my complaint is bitter,
his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning.
3 Oh, that I knew where I might find him,
that I might come even to his seat!
4 I would lay my case before him
and fill my mouth with arguments.
5 I would learn what he would answer me,
and understand what he would say to me.
6 Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power?
No; he would give heed to me.
7 There an upright man could reason with him,
and I should be acquitted for ever by my judge.
Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.