Job 15-21

Eliphaz Speaks: Job Undermines Religion 1Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered:2“Should the wise answer with windy knowledge, and fill themselves with the east wind?3Should they argue in unprofitable talk, or in words with which they can do no good?4But you are doing away with the fear of God, and hindering meditation before God.5For your iniquity teaches your mouth, and you choose the tongue of the crafty.6Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; your own lips testify against you. 7“Are you the firstborn of the human race? Were you brought forth before the hills?8Have you listened in the council of God? And do you limit wisdom to yourself?9What do you know that we do not know? What do you understand that is not clear to us?10The gray-haired and the aged are on our side, those older than your father.11Are the consolations of God too small for you, or the word that deals gently with you?12Why does your heart carry you away, and why do your eyes flash,13so that you turn your spirit against God, and let such words go out of your mouth?14What are mortals, that they can be clean? Or those born of woman, that they can be righteous?15God puts no trust even in his holy ones, and the heavens are not clean in his sight;16how much less one who is abominable and corrupt, one who drinks iniquity like water! 17“I will show you; listen to me; what I have seen I will declare—18what sages have told, and their ancestors have not hidden,19to whom alone the land was given, and no stranger passed among them.20The wicked writhe in pain all their days, through all the years that are laid up for the ruthless.21Terrifying sounds are in their ears; in prosperity the destroyer will come upon them.22They despair of returning from darkness, and they are destined for the sword.23They wander abroad for bread, saying, ‘Where is it?’ They know that a day of darkness is ready at hand;24distress and anguish terrify them; they prevail against them, like a king prepared for battle.25Because they stretched out their hands against God, and bid defiance to the Almighty,26running stubbornly against him with a thick-bossed shield;27because they have covered their faces with their fat, and gathered fat upon their loins,28they will live in desolate cities, in houses that no one should inhabit, houses destined to become heaps of ruins;29they will not be rich, and their wealth will not endure, nor will they strike root in the earth;30they will not escape from darkness; the flame will dry up their shoots, and their blossom will be swept away by the wind.31Let them not trust in emptiness, deceiving themselves; for emptiness will be their recompense.32It will be paid in full before their time, and their branch will not be green.33They will shake off their unripe grape, like the vine, and cast off their blossoms, like the olive tree.34For the company of the godless is barren, and fire consumes the tents of bribery.35They conceive mischief and bring forth evil and their heart prepares deceit.” Chapter 16Job Reaffirms His Innocence 1Then Job answered:2“I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all.3Have windy words no limit? Or what provokes you that you keep on talking?4I also could talk as you do, if you were in my place; I could join words together against you, and shake my head at you.5I could encourage you with my mouth, and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain. 6“If I speak, my pain is not assuaged, and if I forbear, how much of it leaves me?7Surely now God has worn me out; he has made desolate all my company.8And he has shriveled me up, which is a witness against me; my leanness has risen up against me, and it testifies to my face.9He has torn me in his wrath, and hated me; he has gnashed his teeth at me; my adversary sharpens his eyes against me.10They have gaped at me with their mouths; they have struck me insolently on the cheek; they mass themselves together against me.11God gives me up to the ungodly, and casts me into the hands of the wicked.12I was at ease, and he broke me in two; he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces; he set me up as his target;13his archers surround me. He slashes open my kidneys, and shows no mercy; he pours out my gall on the ground.14He bursts upon me again and again; he rushes at me like a warrior.15I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and have laid my strength in the dust.16My face is red with weeping, and deep darkness is on my eyelids,17though there is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure. 18“O earth, do not cover my blood; let my outcry find no resting place.19Even now, in fact, my witness is in heaven, and he that vouches for me is on high.20My friends scorn me; my eye pours out tears to God,21that he would maintain the right of a mortal with God, as one does for a neighbor.22For when a few years have come, I shall go the way from which I shall not return.Chapter 17Job Prays for Relief 1My spirit is broken, my days are extinct, the grave is ready for me.2Surely there are mockers around me, and my eye dwells on their provocation. 3“Lay down a pledge for me with yourself; who is there that will give surety for me?4Since you have closed their minds to understanding, therefore you will not let them triumph.5Those who denounce friends for reward— the eyes of their children will fail. 6“He has made me a byword of the peoples, and I am one before whom people spit.7My eye has grown dim from grief, and all my members are like a shadow.8The upright are appalled at this, and the innocent stir themselves up against the godless.9Yet the righteous hold to their way, and they that have clean hands grow stronger and stronger.10But you, come back now, all of you, and I shall not find a sensible person among you.11My days are past, my plans are broken off, the desires of my heart.12They make night into day; ‘The light,’ they say, ‘is near to the darkness.’13If I look for Sheol as my house, if I spread my couch in darkness,14if I say to the Pit, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’15where then is my hope? Who will see my hope?16Will it go down to the bars of Sheol? Shall we descend together into the dust?” Chapter 18Bildad Speaks: God Punishes the Wicked 1Then Bildad the Shuhite answered:2“How long will you hunt for words? Consider, and then we shall speak.3Why are we counted as cattle? Why are we stupid in your sight?4You who tear yourself in your anger— shall the earth be forsaken because of you, or the rock be removed out of its place? 5“Surely the light of the wicked is put out, and the flame of their fire does not shine.6The light is dark in their tent, and the lamp above them is put out.7Their strong steps are shortened, and their own schemes throw them down.8For they are thrust into a net by their own feet, and they walk into a pitfall.9A trap seizes them by the heel; a snare lays hold of them.10A rope is hid for them in the ground, a trap for them in the path.11Terrors frighten them on every side, and chase them at their heels.12Their strength is consumed by hunger, and calamity is ready for their stumbling.13By disease their skin is consumed, the firstborn of Death consumes their limbs.14They are torn from the tent in which they trusted, and are brought to the king of terrors.15In their tents nothing remains; sulfur is scattered upon their habitations.16Their roots dry up beneath, and their branches wither above.17Their memory perishes from the earth, and they have no name in the street.18They are thrust from light into darkness, and driven out of the world.19They have no offspring or descendant among their people, and no survivor where they used to live.20They of the west are appalled at their fate, and horror seizes those of the east.21Surely such are the dwellings of the ungodly, such is the place of those who do not know God.” Chapter 19Job Replies: I Know That My Redeemer Lives 1Then Job answered:2“How long will you torment me, and break me in pieces with words?3These ten times you have cast reproach upon me; are you not ashamed to wrong me?4And even if it is true that I have erred, my error remains with me.5If indeed you magnify yourselves against me, and make my humiliation an argument against me,6know then that God has put me in the wrong, and closed his net around me.7Even when I cry out, ‘Violence!’ I am not answered; I call aloud, but there is no justice.8He has walled up my way so that I cannot pass, and he has set darkness upon my paths.9He has stripped my glory from me, and taken the crown from my head.10He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone, he has uprooted my hope like a tree.11He has kindled his wrath against me, and counts me as his adversary.12His troops come on together; they have thrown up siegeworks against me, and encamp around my tent. 13“He has put my family far from me, and my acquaintances are wholly estranged from me.14My relatives and my close friends have failed me;15the guests in my house have forgotten me; my serving girls count me as a stranger; I have become an alien in their eyes.16I call to my servant, but he gives me no answer; I must myself plead with him.17My breath is repulsive to my wife; I am loathsome to my own family.18Even young children despise me; when I rise, they talk against me.19All my intimate friends abhor me, and those whom I loved have turned against me.20My bones cling to my skin and to my flesh, and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.21Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has touched me!22Why do you, like God, pursue me, never satisfied with my flesh? 23“O that my words were written down! O that they were inscribed in a book!24O that with an iron pen and with lead they were engraved on a rock forever!25For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;26and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God,27whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!28If you say, ‘How we will persecute him!’ and, ‘The root of the matter is found in him’;29be afraid of the sword, for wrath brings the punishment of the sword, so that you may know there is a judgment.” Chapter 20Zophar Speaks: Wickedness Receives Just Retribution 1Then Zophar the Naamathite answered:2“Pay attention! My thoughts urge me to answer, because of the agitation within me.3I hear censure that insults me, and a spirit beyond my understanding answers me.4Do you not know this from of old, ever since mortals were placed on earth,5that the exulting of the wicked is short, and the joy of the godless is but for a moment?6Even though they mount up high as the heavens, and their head reaches to the clouds,7they will perish forever like their own dung; those who have seen them will say, ‘Where are they?’8They will fly away like a dream, and not be found; they will be chased away like a vision of the night.9The eye that saw them will see them no more, nor will their place behold them any longer.10Their children will seek the favor of the poor, and their hands will give back their wealth.11Their bodies, once full of youth, will lie down in the dust with them. 12“Though wickedness is sweet in their mouth, though they hide it under their tongues,13though they are loath to let it go, and hold it in their mouths,14yet their food is turned in their stomachs; it is the venom of asps within them.15They swallow down riches and vomit them up again; God casts them out of their bellies.16They will suck the poison of asps; the tongue of a viper will kill them.17They will not look on the rivers, the streams flowing with honey and curds.18They will give back the fruit of their toil, and will not swallow it down; from the profit of their trading they will get no enjoyment.19For they have crushed and abandoned the poor, they have seized a house that they did not build. 20“They knew no quiet in their bellies; in their greed they let nothing escape.21There was nothing left after they had eaten; therefore their prosperity will not endure.22In full sufficiency they will be in distress; all the force of misery will come upon them.23To fill their belly to the full God will send his fierce anger into them, and rain it upon them as their food.24They will flee from an iron weapon; a bronze arrow will strike them through.25It is drawn forth and comes out of their body, and the glittering point comes out of their gall; terrors come upon them.26Utter darkness is laid up for their treasures; a fire fanned by no one will devour them; what is left in their tent will be consumed.27The heavens will reveal their iniquity, and the earth will rise up against them.28The possessions of their house will be carried away, dragged off in the day of God's wrath.29This is the portion of the wicked from God, the heritage decreed for them by God.” Chapter 21Job Replies: The Wicked Often Go Unpunished 1Then Job answered:2“Listen carefully to my words, and let this be your consolation.3Bear with me, and I will speak; then after I have spoken, mock on.4As for me, is my complaint addressed to mortals? Why should I not be impatient?5Look at me, and be appalled, and lay your hand upon your mouth.6When I think of it I am dismayed, and shuddering seizes my flesh.7Why do the wicked live on, reach old age, and grow mighty in power?8Their children are established in their presence, and their offspring before their eyes.9Their houses are safe from fear, and no rod of God is upon them.10Their bull breeds without fail; their cow calves and never miscarries.11They send out their little ones like a flock, and their children dance around.12They sing to the tambourine and the lyre, and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.13They spend their days in prosperity, and in peace they go down to Sheol.14They say to God, ‘Leave us alone! We do not desire to know your ways.15What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’16Is not their prosperity indeed their own achievement? The plans of the wicked are repugnant to me. 17“How often is the lamp of the wicked put out? How often does calamity come upon them? How often does God distribute pains in his anger?18How often are they like straw before the wind, and like chaff that the storm carries away?19You say, ‘God stores up their iniquity for their children.’ Let it be paid back to them, so that they may know it.20Let their own eyes see their destruction, and let them drink of the wrath of the Almighty.21For what do they care for their household after them, when the number of their months is cut off?22Will any teach God knowledge, seeing that he judges those that are on high?23One dies in full prosperity, being wholly at ease and secure,24his loins full of milk and the marrow of his bones moist.25Another dies in bitterness of soul, never having tasted of good.26They lie down alike in the dust, and the worms cover them. 27“Oh, I know your thoughts, and your schemes to wrong me.28For you say, ‘Where is the house of the prince? Where is the tent in which the wicked lived?’29Have you not asked those who travel the roads, and do you not accept their testimony,30that the wicked are spared in the day of calamity, and are rescued in the day of wrath?31Who declares their way to their face, and who repays them for what they have done?32When they are carried to the grave, a watch is kept over their tomb.33The clods of the valley are sweet to them; everyone will follow after, and those who went before are innumerable.34How then will you comfort me with empty nothings? There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”