Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found
1“Surely there is a mine for silver,
and a place for gold to be refined.2Iron is taken out of the earth,
and copper is smelted from ore.3Miners put an end to darkness,
and search out to the farthest bound
the ore in gloom and deep darkness.4They open shafts in a valley away from human habitation;
they are forgotten by travelers,
they sway suspended, remote from people.5As for the earth, out of it comes bread;
but underneath it is turned up as by fire.6Its stones are the place of sapphires,
and its dust contains gold.
7“That path no bird of prey knows,
and the falcon's eye has not seen it.8The proud wild animals have not trodden it;
the lion has not passed over it.
9“They put their hand to the flinty rock,
and overturn mountains by the roots.10They cut out channels in the rocks,
and their eyes see every precious thing.11The sources of the rivers they probe;
hidden things they bring to light.
12“But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?13Mortals do not know the way to it,
and it is not found in the land of the living.14The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’15It cannot be gotten for gold,
and silver cannot be weighed out as its price.16It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
in precious onyx or sapphire.17Gold and glass cannot equal it,
nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.18No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
the price of wisdom is above pearls.19The chrysolite of Ethiopia cannot compare with it,
nor can it be valued in pure gold.
20“Where then does wisdom come from?
And where is the place of understanding?21It is hidden from the eyes of all living,
and concealed from the birds of the air.22Abaddon and Death say,
‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’
23“God understands the way to it,
and he knows its place.24For he looks to the ends of the earth,
and sees everything under the heavens.25When he gave to the wind its weight,
and apportioned out the waters by measure;26when he made a decree for the rain,
and a way for the thunderbolt;27then he saw it and declared it;
he established it, and searched it out.28And he said to humankind,
‘Truly, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
and to depart from evil is understanding.’ ”
Chapter 29Job Finishes His Defense
1Job again took up his discourse and said:2“Oh, that I were as in the months of old,
as in the days when God watched over me;3when his lamp shone over my head,
and by his light I walked through darkness;4when I was in my prime,
when the friendship of God was upon my tent;5when the Almighty was still with me,
when my children were around me;6when my steps were washed with milk,
and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!7When I went out to the gate of the city,
when I took my seat in the square,8the young men saw me and withdrew,
and the aged rose up and stood;9the nobles refrained from talking,
and laid their hands on their mouths;10the voices of princes were hushed,
and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.11When the ear heard, it commended me,
and when the eye saw, it approved;12because I delivered the poor who cried,
and the orphan who had no helper.13The blessing of the wretched came upon me,
and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.14I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
my justice was like a robe and a turban.15I was eyes to the blind,
and feet to the lame.16I was a father to the needy,
and I championed the cause of the stranger.17I broke the fangs of the unrighteous,
and made them drop their prey from their teeth.18Then I thought, ‘I shall die in my nest,
and I shall multiply my days like the phoenix;19my roots spread out to the waters,
with the dew all night on my branches;20my glory was fresh with me,
and my bow ever new in my hand.’
21“They listened to me, and waited,
and kept silence for my counsel.22After I spoke they did not speak again,
and my word dropped upon them like dew.23They waited for me as for the rain;
they opened their mouths as for the spring rain.24I smiled on them when they had no confidence;
and the light of my countenance they did not extinguish.25I chose their way, and sat as chief,
and I lived like a king among his troops,
like one who comforts mourners.
Chapter 301“But now they make sport of me,
those who are younger than I,
whose fathers I would have disdained
to set with the dogs of my flock.2What could I gain from the strength of their hands?
All their vigor is gone.3Through want and hard hunger
they gnaw the dry and desolate ground,4they pick mallow and the leaves of bushes,
and to warm themselves the roots of broom.5They are driven out from society;
people shout after them as after a thief.6In the gullies of wadis they must live,
in holes in the ground, and in the rocks.7Among the bushes they bray;
under the nettles they huddle together.8A senseless, disreputable brood,
they have been whipped out of the land.
9“And now they mock me in song;
I am a byword to them.10They abhor me, they keep aloof from me;
they do not hesitate to spit at the sight of me.11Because God has loosed my bowstring and humbled me,
they have cast off restraint in my presence.12On my right hand the rabble rise up;
they send me sprawling,
and build roads for my ruin.13They break up my path,
they promote my calamity;
no one restrains them.14As through a wide breach they come;
amid the crash they roll on.15Terrors are turned upon me;
my honor is pursued as by the wind,
and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud.
16“And now my soul is poured out within me;
days of affliction have taken hold of me.17The night racks my bones,
and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.18With violence he seizes my garment;
he grasps me by the collar of my tunic.19He has cast me into the mire,
and I have become like dust and ashes.20I cry to you and you do not answer me;
I stand, and you merely look at me.21You have turned cruel to me;
with the might of your hand you persecute me.22You lift me up on the wind, you make me ride on it,
and you toss me about in the roar of the storm.23I know that you will bring me to death,
and to the house appointed for all living.
24“Surely one does not turn against the needy,
when in disaster they cry for help.25Did I not weep for those whose day was hard?
Was not my soul grieved for the poor?26But when I looked for good, evil came;
and when I waited for light, darkness came.27My inward parts are in turmoil, and are never still;
days of affliction come to meet me.28I go about in sunless gloom;
I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.29I am a brother of jackals,
and a companion of ostriches.30My skin turns black and falls from me,
and my bones burn with heat.31My lyre is turned to mourning,
and my pipe to the voice of those who weep.
Chapter 311“I have made a covenant with my eyes;
how then could I look upon a virgin?2What would be my portion from God above,
and my heritage from the Almighty on high?3Does not calamity befall the unrighteous,
and disaster the workers of iniquity?4Does he not see my ways,
and number all my steps?
5“If I have walked with falsehood,
and my foot has hurried to deceit—6let me be weighed in a just balance,
and let God know my integrity!—7if my step has turned aside from the way,
and my heart has followed my eyes,
and if any spot has clung to my hands;8then let me sow, and another eat;
and let what grows for me be rooted out.
9“If my heart has been enticed by a woman,
and I have lain in wait at my neighbor's door;10then let my wife grind for another,
and let other men kneel over her.11For that would be a heinous crime;
that would be a criminal offense;12for that would be a fire consuming down to Abaddon,
and it would burn to the root all my harvest.
13“If I have rejected the cause of my male or female slaves,
when they brought a complaint against me;14what then shall I do when God rises up?
When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him?15Did not he who made me in the womb make them?
And did not one fashion us in the womb?
16“If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,
or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,17or have eaten my morsel alone,
and the orphan has not eaten from it—18for from my youth I reared the orphan like a father,
and from my mother's womb I guided the widow —19if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,
or a poor person without covering,20whose loins have not blessed me,
and who was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;21if I have raised my hand against the orphan,
because I saw I had supporters at the gate;22then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder,
and let my arm be broken from its socket.23For I was in terror of calamity from God,
and I could not have faced his majesty.
24“If I have made gold my trust,
or called fine gold my confidence;25if I have rejoiced because my wealth was great,
or because my hand had gotten much;26if I have looked at the sun when it shone,
or the moon moving in splendor,27and my heart has been secretly enticed,
and my mouth has kissed my hand;28this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges,
for I should have been false to God above.
29“If I have rejoiced at the ruin of those who hated me,
or exulted when evil overtook them—30I have not let my mouth sin
by asking for their lives with a curse—31if those of my tent ever said,
‘O that we might be sated with his flesh!’ —32the stranger has not lodged in the street;
I have opened my doors to the traveler—33if I have concealed my transgressions as others do,
by hiding my iniquity in my bosom,34because I stood in great fear of the multitude,
and the contempt of families terrified me,
so that I kept silence, and did not go out of doors—35Oh, that I had one to hear me!
(Here is my signature! let the Almighty answer me!)
Oh, that I had the indictment written by my adversary!36Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;
I would bind it on me like a crown;37I would give him an account of all my steps;
like a prince I would approach him.
38“If my land has cried out against me,
and its furrows have wept together;39if I have eaten its yield without payment,
and caused the death of its owners;40let thorns grow instead of wheat,
and foul weeds instead of barley.”
The words of Job are ended.
Chapter 32Elihu Rebukes Job's Friends
1So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.2Then Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became angry. He was angry at Job because he justified himself rather than God;3he was angry also at Job's three friends because they had found no answer, though they had declared Job to be in the wrong.4Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job, because they were older than he.5But when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouths of these three men, he became angry.6Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite answered:
“I am young in years,
and you are aged;
therefore I was timid and afraid
to declare my opinion to you.7I said, ‘Let days speak,
and many years teach wisdom.’8But truly it is the spirit in a mortal,
the breath of the Almighty, that makes for understanding.9It is not the old that are wise,
nor the aged that understand what is right.10Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me;
let me also declare my opinion.’
11“See, I waited for your words,
I listened for your wise sayings,
while you searched out what to say.12I gave you my attention,
but there was in fact no one that confuted Job,
no one among you that answered his words.13Yet do not say, ‘We have found wisdom;
God may vanquish him, not a human.’14He has not directed his words against me,
and I will not answer him with your speeches.
15“They are dismayed, they answer no more;
they have not a word to say.16And am I to wait, because they do not speak,
because they stand there, and answer no more?17I also will give my answer;
I also will declare my opinion.18For I am full of words;
the spirit within me constrains me.19My heart is indeed like wine that has no vent;
like new wineskins, it is ready to burst.20I must speak, so that I may find relief;
I must open my lips and answer.21I will not show partiality to any person
or use flattery toward anyone.22For I do not know how to flatter—
or my Maker would soon put an end to me!
Chapter 33Elihu Rebukes Job
1“But now, hear my speech, O Job,
and listen to all my words.2See, I open my mouth;
the tongue in my mouth speaks.3My words declare the uprightness of my heart,
and what my lips know they speak sincerely.4The spirit of God has made me,
and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.5Answer me, if you can;
set your words in order before me; take your stand.6See, before God I am as you are;
I too was formed from a piece of clay.7No fear of me need terrify you;
my pressure will not be heavy on you.
8“Surely, you have spoken in my hearing,
and I have heard the sound of your words.9You say, ‘I am clean, without transgression;
I am pure, and there is no iniquity in me.10Look, he finds occasions against me,
he counts me as his enemy;11he puts my feet in the stocks,
and watches all my paths.’
12“But in this you are not right. I will answer you:
God is greater than any mortal.13Why do you contend against him,
saying, ‘He will answer none of my words’?14For God speaks in one way,
and in two, though people do not perceive it.15In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on mortals,
while they slumber on their beds,16then he opens their ears,
and terrifies them with warnings,17that he may turn them aside from their deeds,
and keep them from pride,18to spare their souls from the Pit,
their lives from traversing the River.19They are also chastened with pain upon their beds,
and with continual strife in their bones,20so that their lives loathe bread,
and their appetites dainty food.21Their flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen;
and their bones, once invisible, now stick out.22Their souls draw near the Pit,
and their lives to those who bring death.23Then, if there should be for one of them an angel,
a mediator, one of a thousand,
one who declares a person upright,24and he is gracious to that person, and says,
‘Deliver him from going down into the Pit;
I have found a ransom;25let his flesh become fresh with youth;
let him return to the days of his youthful vigor.’26Then he prays to God, and is accepted by him,
he comes into his presence with joy,
and God repays him for his righteousness.27That person sings to others and says,
‘I sinned, and perverted what was right,
and it was not paid back to me.28He has redeemed my soul from going down to the Pit,
and my life shall see the light.’
29“God indeed does all these things,
twice, three times, with mortals,30to bring back their souls from the Pit,
so that they may see the light of life.31Pay heed, Job, listen to me;
be silent, and I will speak.32If you have anything to say, answer me;
speak, for I desire to justify you.33If not, listen to me;
be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”
Chapter 34Elihu Proclaims God's Justice
1Then Elihu continued and said:2“Hear my words, you wise men,
and give ear to me, you who know;3for the ear tests words
as the palate tastes food.4Let us choose what is right;
let us determine among ourselves what is good.5For Job has said, ‘I am innocent,
and God has taken away my right;6in spite of being right I am counted a liar;
my wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.’7Who is there like Job,
who drinks up scoffing like water,8who goes in company with evildoers
and walks with the wicked?9For he has said, ‘It profits one nothing
to take delight in God.’
10“Therefore, hear me, you who have sense,
far be it from God that he should do wickedness,
and from the Almighty that he should do wrong.11For according to their deeds he will repay them,
and according to their ways he will make it befall them.12Of a truth, God will not do wickedly,
and the Almighty will not pervert justice.13Who gave him charge over the earth
and who laid on him the whole world?14If he should take back his spirit to himself,
and gather to himself his breath,15all flesh would perish together,
and all mortals return to dust.
16“If you have understanding, hear this;
listen to what I say.17Shall one who hates justice govern?
Will you condemn one who is righteous and mighty,18who says to a king, ‘You scoundrel!’
and to princes, ‘You wicked men!’;19who shows no partiality to nobles,
nor regards the rich more than the poor,
for they are all the work of his hands?20In a moment they die;
at midnight the people are shaken and pass away,
and the mighty are taken away by no human hand.
21“For his eyes are upon the ways of mortals,
and he sees all their steps.22There is no gloom or deep darkness
where evildoers may hide themselves.23For he has not appointed a time for anyone
to go before God in judgment.24He shatters the mighty without investigation,
and sets others in their place.25Thus, knowing their works,
he overturns them in the night, and they are crushed.26He strikes them for their wickedness
while others look on,27because they turned aside from following him,
and had no regard for any of his ways,28so that they caused the cry of the poor to come to him,
and he heard the cry of the afflicted—29When he is quiet, who can condemn?
When he hides his face, who can behold him,
whether it be a nation or an individual?—30so that the godless should not reign,
or those who ensnare the people.
31“For has anyone said to God,
‘I have endured punishment; I will not offend any more;32teach me what I do not see;
if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more’?33Will he then pay back to suit you,
because you reject it?
For you must choose, and not I;
therefore declare what you know.34Those who have sense will say to me,
and the wise who hear me will say,35‘Job speaks without knowledge,
his words are without insight.’36Would that Job were tried to the limit,
because his answers are those of the wicked.37For he adds rebellion to his sin;
he claps his hands among us,
and multiplies his words against God.”
Chapter 35Elihu Condemns Self-Righteousness
1Elihu continued and said:2“Do you think this to be just?
You say, ‘I am in the right before God.’3If you ask, ‘What advantage have I?
How am I better off than if I had sinned?’4I will answer you
and your friends with you.5Look at the heavens and see;
observe the clouds, which are higher than you.6If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against him?
And if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to him?7If you are righteous, what do you give to him;
or what does he receive from your hand?8Your wickedness affects others like you,
and your righteousness, other human beings.
9“Because of the multitude of oppressions people cry out;
they call for help because of the arm of the mighty.10But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker,
who gives strength in the night,11who teaches us more than the animals of the earth,
and makes us wiser than the birds of the air?’12There they cry out, but he does not answer,
because of the pride of evildoers.13Surely God does not hear an empty cry,
nor does the Almighty regard it.14How much less when you say that you do not see him,
that the case is before him, and you are waiting for him!15And now, because his anger does not punish,
and he does not greatly heed transgression,16Job opens his mouth in empty talk,
he multiplies words without knowledge.”
Chapter 36Elihu Exalts God's Goodness
1Elihu continued and said:2“Bear with me a little, and I will show you,
for I have yet something to say on God's behalf.3I will bring my knowledge from far away,
and ascribe righteousness to my Maker.4For truly my words are not false;
one who is perfect in knowledge is with you.
5“Surely God is mighty and does not despise any;
he is mighty in strength of understanding.6He does not keep the wicked alive,
but gives the afflicted their right.7He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous,
but with kings on the throne
he sets them forever, and they are exalted.8And if they are bound in fetters
and caught in the cords of affliction,9then he declares to them their work
and their transgressions, that they are behaving arrogantly.10He opens their ears to instruction,
and commands that they return from iniquity.11If they listen, and serve him,
they complete their days in prosperity,
and their years in pleasantness.12But if they do not listen, they shall perish by the sword,
and die without knowledge.
13“The godless in heart cherish anger;
they do not cry for help when he binds them.14They die in their youth,
and their life ends in shame.15He delivers the afflicted by their affliction,
and opens their ear by adversity.16He also allured you out of distress
into a broad place where there was no constraint,
and what was set on your table was full of fatness.
17“But you are obsessed with the case of the wicked;
judgment and justice seize you.18Beware that wrath does not entice you into scoffing,
and do not let the greatness of the ransom turn you aside.19Will your cry avail to keep you from distress,
or will all the force of your strength?20Do not long for the night,
when peoples are cut off in their place.21Beware! Do not turn to iniquity;
because of that you have been tried by affliction.22See, God is exalted in his power;
who is a teacher like him?23Who has prescribed for him his way,
or who can say, ‘You have done wrong’?
Elihu Proclaims God's Majesty
24“Remember to extol his work,
of which mortals have sung.25All people have looked on it;
everyone watches it from far away.26Surely God is great, and we do not know him;
the number of his years is unsearchable.27For he draws up the drops of water;
he distills his mist in rain,28which the skies pour down
and drop upon mortals abundantly.29Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds,
the thunderings of his pavilion?30See, he scatters his lightning around him
and covers the roots of the sea.31For by these he governs peoples;
he gives food in abundance.32He covers his hands with the lightning,
and commands it to strike the mark.33Its crashing tells about him;
he is jealous with anger against iniquity.
Chapter 371“At this also my heart trembles,
and leaps out of its place.2Listen, listen to the thunder of his voice
and the rumbling that comes from his mouth.3Under the whole heaven he lets it loose,
and his lightning to the corners of the earth.4After it his voice roars;
he thunders with his majestic voice
and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard.5God thunders wondrously with his voice;
he does great things that we cannot comprehend.6For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth’;
and the shower of rain, his heavy shower of rain,7serves as a sign on everyone's hand,
so that all whom he has made may know it.8Then the animals go into their lairs
and remain in their dens.9From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
and cold from the scattering winds.10By the breath of God ice is given,
and the broad waters are frozen fast.11He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
the clouds scatter his lightning.12They turn round and round by his guidance,
to accomplish all that he commands them
on the face of the habitable world.13Whether for correction, or for his land,
or for love, he causes it to happen.
14“Hear this, O Job;
stop and consider the wondrous works of God.15Do you know how God lays his command upon them,
and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?16Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
the wondrous works of the one whose knowledge is perfect,17you whose garments are hot
when the earth is still because of the south wind?18Can you, like him, spread out the skies,
hard as a molten mirror?19Teach us what we shall say to him;
we cannot draw up our case because of darkness.20Should he be told that I want to speak?
Did anyone ever wish to be swallowed up?21Now, no one can look on the light
when it is bright in the skies,
when the wind has passed and cleared them.22Out of the north comes golden splendor;
around God is awesome majesty.23The Almighty —we cannot find him;
he is great in power and justice,
and abundant righteousness he will not violate.24Therefore mortals fear him;
he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.”