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“Don’t pass on malicious gossip. “Don’t link up with a wicked person and give corrupt testimony. Don’t go along with the crowd in doing evil and don’t fudge your testimony in a case just to please the crowd. And just because someone is poor, don’t show favoritism in a dispute.
“In famine, he’ll keep you from starving, in war, from being gutted by the sword. You’ll be protected from vicious gossip and live fearless through any catastrophe. You’ll shrug off disaster and famine, and stroll fearlessly among wild animals. You’ll be on good terms with rocks and mountains; wild animals will become your good friends. You’ll know that your place on earth is safe, you’ll look over your goods and find nothing amiss. You’ll see your children grow up, your family lovely and lissome as orchard grass. You’ll arrive at your grave ripe with many good years, like sheaves of golden grain at harvest.
[ Eliphaz Attacks Again ] [ You Trivialize Religion ] Eliphaz of Teman spoke a second time: “If you were truly wise, would you sound so much like a windbag, belching hot air? Would you talk nonsense in the middle of a serious argument, babbling baloney? Look at you! You trivialize religion, turn spiritual conversation into empty gossip. It’s your sin that taught you to talk this way. You chose an education in fraud. Your own words have exposed your guilt. It’s nothing I’ve said—you’ve incriminated yourself! Do you think you’re the first person to have to deal with these things? Have you been around as long as the hills? Were you listening in when God planned all this? Do you think you’re the only one who knows anything? What do you know that we don’t know? What insights do you have that we’ve missed? Gray beards and white hair back us up— old folks who’ve been around a lot longer than you. Are God’s promises not enough for you, spoken so gently and tenderly? Why do you let your emotions take over, lashing out and spitting fire, Pitting your whole being against God by letting words like this come out of your mouth? Do you think it’s possible for any mere mortal to be sinless in God’s sight, for anyone born of a human mother to get it all together? Why, God can’t even trust his holy angels. He sees the flaws in the very heavens themselves, So how much less we humans, smelly and foul, who lap up evil like water?
“Didn’t those who worked for me say, ‘He fed us well. There were always second helpings’? And no stranger ever had to spend a night in the street; my doors were always open to travelers. Did I hide my sin the way Adam did, or conceal my guilt behind closed doors Because I was afraid what people would say, fearing the gossip of the neighbors so much That I turned myself into a recluse? You know good and well that I didn’t.
I hate all this silly religion, but you, God, I trust. I’m leaping and singing in the circle of your love; you saw my pain, you disarmed my tormentors, You didn’t leave me in their clutches but gave me room to breathe. Be kind to me, God— I’m in deep, deep trouble again. I’ve cried my eyes out; I feel hollow inside. My life leaks away, groan by groan; my years fade out in sighs. My troubles have worn me out, turned my bones to powder. To my enemies I’m a monster; I’m ridiculed by the neighbors. My friends are horrified; they cross the street to avoid me. They want to blot me from memory, forget me like a corpse in a grave, discard me like a broken dish in the trash. The street-talk gossip has me “criminally insane”! Behind locked doors they plot how to ruin me for good.
What a stack of blessing you have piled up for those who worship you, Ready and waiting for all who run to you to escape an unkind world. You hide them safely away from the opposition. As you slam the door on those oily, mocking faces, you silence the poisonous gossip. Blessed God! His love is the wonder of the world. Trapped by a siege, I panicked. “Out of sight, out of mind,” I said. But you heard me say it, you heard and listened.
Don’t let these liars, my enemies, have a party at my expense, Those who hate me for no reason, winking and rolling their eyes. No good is going to come from that crowd; They spend all their time cooking up gossip against those who mind their own business. They open their mouths in ugly grins, Mocking, “Ha-ha, ha-ha, thought you’d get away with it? We’ve caught you hands down!”
I said, “God, be gracious! Put me together again— my sins have torn me to pieces.” My enemies are wishing the worst for me; they make bets on what day I will die. If someone comes to see me, he mouths empty platitudes, All the while gathering gossip about me to entertain the street-corner crowd. These “friends” who hate me whisper slanders all over town. They form committees to plan misery for me.
You made people on the street, urchins, poke fun and call us names. You made us a joke among the godless, a cheap joke among the rabble. Every day I’m up against it, my nose rubbed in my shame— Gossip and ridicule fill the air, people out to get me crowd the street.
[ A David Psalm, When Doeg the Edomite Reported to Saul, “David’s at Ahimelech’s House” ] Why do you brag of evil, “Big Man”? God’s mercy carries the day. You scheme catastrophe; your tongue cuts razor-sharp, artisan in lies. You love evil more than good, you call black white. You love malicious gossip, you foul-mouth.
Those who are out to get me are marked for doom, marked for death, bound for hell. They’ll die violent deaths; jackals will tear them limb from limb. But the king is glad in God; his true friends spread the joy, While small-minded gossips are gagged for good.
[ A David Prayer ] God! Please hurry to my rescue! God, come quickly to my side! Those who are out to get me— let them fall all over themselves. Those who relish my downfall— send them down a blind alley. Give them a taste of their own medicine, those gossips off clucking their tongues.
Just as each day brims with your beauty, my mouth brims with praise. But don’t turn me out to pasture when I’m old or put me on the shelf when I can’t pull my weight. My enemies are talking behind my back, watching for their chance to knife me. The gossip is: “God has abandoned him. Pounce on him now; no one will help him.”
[ A David Psalm ] My theme song is God’s love and justice, and I’m singing it right to you, God. I’m finding my way down the road of right living, but how long before you show up? I’m doing the very best I can, and I’m doing it at home, where it counts. I refuse to take a second look at corrupting people and degrading things. I reject made-in-Canaan gods, stay clear of contamination. The crooked in heart keep their distance; I refuse to shake hands with those who plan evil. I put a gag on the gossip who bad-mouths his neighbor; I can’t stand arrogance. But I have my eye on salt-of-the-earth people— they’re the ones I want working with me; Men and women on the straight and narrow— these are the ones I want at my side. But no one who traffics in lies gets a job with me; I have no patience with liars. I’ve rounded up all the wicked like cattle and herded them right out of the country. I purged God’s city of all who make a business of evil.
Hallelujah! Blessed man, blessed woman, who fear God, Who cherish and relish his commandments, Their children robust on the earth, And the homes of the upright—how blessed! Their houses brim with wealth And a generosity that never runs dry. Sunrise breaks through the darkness for good people— God’s grace and mercy and justice! The good person is generous and lends lavishly; No shuffling or stumbling around for this one, But a sterling and solid and lasting reputation. Unfazed by rumor and gossip, Heart ready, trusting in God, Spirit firm, unperturbed, Ever blessed, relaxed among enemies, They lavish gifts on the poor— A generosity that goes on, and on, and on. An honored life! A beautiful life! Someone wicked takes one look and rages, Blusters away but ends up speechless. There’s nothing to the dreams of the wicked. Nothing.
Be generous with me and I’ll live a full life; not for a minute will I take my eyes off your road. Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle-wonders. I’m a stranger in these parts; give me clear directions. My soul is starved and hungry, ravenous!— insatiable for your nourishing commands. And those who think they know so much, ignoring everything you tell them—let them have it! Don’t let them mock and humiliate me; I’ve been careful to do just what you said. While bad neighbors maliciously gossip about me, I’m absorbed in pondering your wise counsel. Yes, your sayings on life are what give me delight; I listen to them as to good neighbors!
Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.
The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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