Daily reading for Monday, October 7, 2013

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Job 8:1 - Job 24:25 (New International Version)

Job 8-24

Bildad

Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

“How long will you say such things?
    Your words are a blustering wind.
Does God pervert justice?
    Does the Almighty pervert what is right?
When your children sinned against him,
    he gave them over to the penalty of their sin.
But if you will seek God earnestly
    and plead with the Almighty,
if you are pure and upright,
    even now he will rouse himself on your behalf
    and restore you to your prosperous state.
Your beginnings will seem humble,
    so prosperous will your future be.

“Ask the former generation
    and find out what their ancestors learned,
for we were born only yesterday and know nothing,
    and our days on earth are but a shadow.
10 Will they not instruct you and tell you?
    Will they not bring forth words from their understanding?
11 Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh?
    Can reeds thrive without water?
12 While still growing and uncut,
    they wither more quickly than grass.
13 Such is the destiny of all who forget God;
    so perishes the hope of the godless.
14 What they trust in is fragile[a];
    what they rely on is a spider’s web.
15 They lean on the web, but it gives way;
    they cling to it, but it does not hold.
16 They are like a well-watered plant in the sunshine,
    spreading its shoots over the garden;
17 it entwines its roots around a pile of rocks
    and looks for a place among the stones.
18 But when it is torn from its spot,
    that place disowns it and says, ‘I never saw you.’
19 Surely its life withers away,
    and[b] from the soil other plants grow.

20 “Surely God does not reject one who is blameless
    or strengthen the hands of evildoers.
21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
    and your lips with shouts of joy.
22 Your enemies will be clothed in shame,
    and the tents of the wicked will be no more.”

Job

Then Job replied:

“Indeed, I know that this is true.
    But how can mere mortals prove their innocence before God?
Though they wished to dispute with him,
    they could not answer him one time out of a thousand.
His wisdom is profound, his power is vast.
    Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?
He moves mountains without their knowing it
    and overturns them in his anger.
He shakes the earth from its place
    and makes its pillars tremble.
He speaks to the sun and it does not shine;
    he seals off the light of the stars.
He alone stretches out the heavens
    and treads on the waves of the sea.
He is the Maker of the Bear[c] and Orion,
    the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
    miracles that cannot be counted.
11 When he passes me, I cannot see him;
    when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.
12 If he snatches away, who can stop him?
    Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’
13 God does not restrain his anger;
    even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet.

14 “How then can I dispute with him?
    How can I find words to argue with him?
15 Though I were innocent, I could not answer him;
    I could only plead with my Judge for mercy.
16 Even if I summoned him and he responded,
    I do not believe he would give me a hearing.
17 He would crush me with a storm
    and multiply my wounds for no reason.
18 He would not let me catch my breath
    but would overwhelm me with misery.
19 If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty!
    And if it is a matter of justice, who can challenge him[d]?
20 Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me;
    if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty.

21 “Although I am blameless,
    I have no concern for myself;
    I despise my own life.
22 It is all the same; that is why I say,
    ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’
23 When a scourge brings sudden death,
    he mocks the despair of the innocent.
24 When a land falls into the hands of the wicked,
    he blindfolds its judges.
    If it is not he, then who is it?

25 “My days are swifter than a runner;
    they fly away without a glimpse of joy.
26 They skim past like boats of papyrus,
    like eagles swooping down on their prey.
27 If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint,
    I will change my expression, and smile,’
28 I still dread all my sufferings,
    for I know you will not hold me innocent.
29 Since I am already found guilty,
    why should I struggle in vain?
30 Even if I washed myself with soap
    and my hands with cleansing powder,
31 you would plunge me into a slime pit
    so that even my clothes would detest me.

32 “He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him,
    that we might confront each other in court.
33 If only there were someone to mediate between us,
    someone to bring us together,
34 someone to remove God’s rod from me,
    so that his terror would frighten me no more.
35 Then I would speak up without fear of him,
    but as it now stands with me, I cannot.

10 “I loathe my very life;
    therefore I will give free rein to my complaint
    and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.
I say to God: Do not declare me guilty,
    but tell me what charges you have against me.
Does it please you to oppress me,
    to spurn the work of your hands,
    while you smile on the plans of the wicked?
Do you have eyes of flesh?
    Do you see as a mortal sees?
Are your days like those of a mortal
    or your years like those of a strong man,
that you must search out my faults
    and probe after my sin
though you know that I am not guilty
    and that no one can rescue me from your hand?

“Your hands shaped me and made me.
    Will you now turn and destroy me?
Remember that you molded me like clay.
    Will you now turn me to dust again?
10 Did you not pour me out like milk
    and curdle me like cheese,
11 clothe me with skin and flesh
    and knit me together with bones and sinews?
12 You gave me life and showed me kindness,
    and in your providence watched over my spirit.

13 “But this is what you concealed in your heart,
    and I know that this was in your mind:
14 If I sinned, you would be watching me
    and would not let my offense go unpunished.
15 If I am guilty—woe to me!
    Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head,
for I am full of shame
    and drowned in[e] my affliction.
16 If I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion
    and again display your awesome power against me.
17 You bring new witnesses against me
    and increase your anger toward me;
    your forces come against me wave upon wave.

18 “Why then did you bring me out of the womb?
    I wish I had died before any eye saw me.
19 If only I had never come into being,
    or had been carried straight from the womb to the grave!
20 Are not my few days almost over?
    Turn away from me so I can have a moment’s joy
21 before I go to the place of no return,
    to the land of gloom and utter darkness,
22 to the land of deepest night,
    of utter darkness and disorder,
    where even the light is like darkness.”

Zophar

11 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:

“Are all these words to go unanswered?
    Is this talker to be vindicated?
Will your idle talk reduce others to silence?
    Will no one rebuke you when you mock?
You say to God, ‘My beliefs are flawless
    and I am pure in your sight.’
Oh, how I wish that God would speak,
    that he would open his lips against you
and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom,
    for true wisdom has two sides.
    Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.

“Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
    Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do?
    They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know?
Their measure is longer than the earth
    and wider than the sea.

10 “If he comes along and confines you in prison
    and convenes a court, who can oppose him?
11 Surely he recognizes deceivers;
    and when he sees evil, does he not take note?
12 But the witless can no more become wise
    than a wild donkey’s colt can be born human.[f]

13 “Yet if you devote your heart to him
    and stretch out your hands to him,
14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand
    and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
15 then, free of fault, you will lift up your face;
    you will stand firm and without fear.
16 You will surely forget your trouble,
    recalling it only as waters gone by.
17 Life will be brighter than noonday,
    and darkness will become like morning.
18 You will be secure, because there is hope;
    you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
19 You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid,
    and many will court your favor.
20 But the eyes of the wicked will fail,
    and escape will elude them;
    their hope will become a dying gasp.”

Job

12 Then Job replied:

“Doubtless you are the only people who matter,
    and wisdom will die with you!
But I have a mind as well as you;
    I am not inferior to you.
    Who does not know all these things?

“I have become a laughingstock to my friends,
    though I called on God and he answered
    a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless!
Those who are at ease have contempt for misfortune
    as the fate of those whose feet are slipping.
The tents of marauders are undisturbed,
    and those who provoke God are secure
    those God has in his hand.[g]

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
    or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
    or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every creature
    and the breath of all mankind.
11 Does not the ear test words
    as the tongue tastes food?
12 Is not wisdom found among the aged?
    Does not long life bring understanding?

13 “To God belong wisdom and power;
    counsel and understanding are his.
14 What he tears down cannot be rebuilt;
    those he imprisons cannot be released.
15 If he holds back the waters, there is drought;
    if he lets them loose, they devastate the land.
16 To him belong strength and insight;
    both deceived and deceiver are his.
17 He leads rulers away stripped
    and makes fools of judges.
18 He takes off the shackles put on by kings
    and ties a loincloth[h] around their waist.
19 He leads priests away stripped
    and overthrows officials long established.
20 He silences the lips of trusted advisers
    and takes away the discernment of elders.
21 He pours contempt on nobles
    and disarms the mighty.
22 He reveals the deep things of darkness
    and brings utter darkness into the light.
23 He makes nations great, and destroys them;
    he enlarges nations, and disperses them.
24 He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason;
    he makes them wander in a trackless waste.
25 They grope in darkness with no light;
    he makes them stagger like drunkards.

13 “My eyes have seen all this,
    my ears have heard and understood it.
What you know, I also know;
    I am not inferior to you.
But I desire to speak to the Almighty
    and to argue my case with God.
You, however, smear me with lies;
    you are worthless physicians, all of you!
If only you would be altogether silent!
    For you, that would be wisdom.
Hear now my argument;
    listen to the pleas of my lips.
Will you speak wickedly on God’s behalf?
    Will you speak deceitfully for him?
Will you show him partiality?
    Will you argue the case for God?
Would it turn out well if he examined you?
    Could you deceive him as you might deceive a mortal?
10 He would surely call you to account
    if you secretly showed partiality.
11 Would not his splendor terrify you?
    Would not the dread of him fall on you?
12 Your maxims are proverbs of ashes;
    your defenses are defenses of clay.

13 “Keep silent and let me speak;
    then let come to me what may.
14 Why do I put myself in jeopardy
    and take my life in my hands?
15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
    I will surely[i] defend my ways to his face.
16 Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance,
    for no godless person would dare come before him!
17 Listen carefully to what I say;
    let my words ring in your ears.
18 Now that I have prepared my case,
    I know I will be vindicated.
19 Can anyone bring charges against me?
    If so, I will be silent and die.

20 “Only grant me these two things, God,
    and then I will not hide from you:
21 Withdraw your hand far from me,
    and stop frightening me with your terrors.
22 Then summon me and I will answer,
    or let me speak, and you reply to me.
23 How many wrongs and sins have I committed?
    Show me my offense and my sin.
24 Why do you hide your face
    and consider me your enemy?
25 Will you torment a windblown leaf?
    Will you chase after dry chaff?
26 For you write down bitter things against me
    and make me reap the sins of my youth.
27 You fasten my feet in shackles;
    you keep close watch on all my paths
    by putting marks on the soles of my feet.

28 “So man wastes away like something rotten,
    like a garment eaten by moths.

14 “Mortals, born of woman,
    are of few days and full of trouble.
They spring up like flowers and wither away;
    like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.
Do you fix your eye on them?
    Will you bring them[j] before you for judgment?
Who can bring what is pure from the impure?
    No one!
A person’s days are determined;
    you have decreed the number of his months
    and have set limits he cannot exceed.
So look away from him and let him alone,
    till he has put in his time like a hired laborer.

“At least there is hope for a tree:
    If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
    and its new shoots will not fail.
Its roots may grow old in the ground
    and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of water it will bud
    and put forth shoots like a plant.
10 But a man dies and is laid low;
    he breathes his last and is no more.
11 As the water of a lake dries up
    or a riverbed becomes parched and dry,
12 so he lies down and does not rise;
    till the heavens are no more, people will not awake
    or be roused from their sleep.

13 “If only you would hide me in the grave
    and conceal me till your anger has passed!
If only you would set me a time
    and then remember me!
14 If someone dies, will they live again?
    All the days of my hard service
    I will wait for my renewal[k] to come.
15 You will call and I will answer you;
    you will long for the creature your hands have made.
16 Surely then you will count my steps
    but not keep track of my sin.
17 My offenses will be sealed up in a bag;
    you will cover over my sin.

18 “But as a mountain erodes and crumbles
    and as a rock is moved from its place,
19 as water wears away stones
    and torrents wash away the soil,
    so you destroy a person’s hope.
20 You overpower them once for all, and they are gone;
    you change their countenance and send them away.
21 If their children are honored, they do not know it;
    if their offspring are brought low, they do not see it.
22 They feel but the pain of their own bodies
    and mourn only for themselves.

Eliphaz

15 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:

“Would a wise person answer with empty notions
    or fill their belly with the hot east wind?
Would they argue with useless words,
    with speeches that have no value?
But you even undermine piety
    and hinder devotion to God.
Your sin prompts your mouth;
    you adopt the tongue of the crafty.
Your own mouth condemns you, not mine;
    your own lips testify against you.

“Are you the first man ever born?
    Were you brought forth before the hills?
Do you listen in on God’s council?
    Do you have a monopoly on wisdom?
What do you know that we do not know?
    What insights do you have that we do not have?
10 The gray-haired and the aged are on our side,
    men even older than your father.
11 Are God’s consolations not enough for you,
    words spoken gently to you?
12 Why has your heart carried you away,
    and why do your eyes flash,
13 so that you vent your rage against God
    and pour out such words from your mouth?

14 “What are mortals, that they could be pure,
    or those born of woman, that they could be righteous?
15 If God places no trust in his holy ones,
    if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes,
16 how much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt,
    who drink up evil like water!

17 “Listen to me and I will explain to you;
    let me tell you what I have seen,
18 what the wise have declared,
    hiding nothing received from their ancestors
19 (to whom alone the land was given
    when no foreigners moved among them):
20 All his days the wicked man suffers torment,
    the ruthless man through all the years stored up for him.
21 Terrifying sounds fill his ears;
    when all seems well, marauders attack him.
22 He despairs of escaping the realm of darkness;
    he is marked for the sword.
23 He wanders about for food like a vulture;
    he knows the day of darkness is at hand.
24 Distress and anguish fill him with terror;
    troubles overwhelm him, like a king poised to attack,
25 because he shakes his fist at God
    and vaunts himself against the Almighty,
26 defiantly charging against him
    with a thick, strong shield.

27 “Though his face is covered with fat
    and his waist bulges with flesh,
28 he will inhabit ruined towns
    and houses where no one lives,
    houses crumbling to rubble.
29 He will no longer be rich and his wealth will not endure,
    nor will his possessions spread over the land.
30 He will not escape the darkness;
    a flame will wither his shoots,
    and the breath of God’s mouth will carry him away.
31 Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless,
    for he will get nothing in return.
32 Before his time he will wither,
    and his branches will not flourish.
33 He will be like a vine stripped of its unripe grapes,
    like an olive tree shedding its blossoms.
34 For the company of the godless will be barren,
    and fire will consume the tents of those who love bribes.
35 They conceive trouble and give birth to evil;
    their womb fashions deceit.”

Job

16 Then Job replied:

“I have heard many things like these;
    you are miserable comforters, all of you!
Will your long-winded speeches never end?
    What ails you that you keep on arguing?
I also could speak like you,
    if you were in my place;
I could make fine speeches against you
    and shake my head at you.
But my mouth would encourage you;
    comfort from my lips would bring you relief.

“Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved;
    and if I refrain, it does not go away.
Surely, God, you have worn me out;
    you have devastated my entire household.
You have shriveled me up—and it has become a witness;
    my gauntness rises up and testifies against me.
God assails me and tears me in his anger
    and gnashes his teeth at me;
    my opponent fastens on me his piercing eyes.
10 People open their mouths to jeer at me;
    they strike my cheek in scorn
    and unite together against me.
11 God has turned me over to the ungodly
    and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked.
12 All was well with me, but he shattered me;
    he seized me by the neck and crushed me.
He has made me his target;
13     his archers surround me.
Without pity, he pierces my kidneys
    and spills my gall on the ground.
14 Again and again he bursts upon me;
    he rushes at me like a warrior.

15 “I have sewed sackcloth over my skin
    and buried my brow in the dust.
16 My face is red with weeping,
    dark shadows ring my eyes;
17 yet my hands have been free of violence
    and my prayer is pure.

18 “Earth, do not cover my blood;
    may my cry never be laid to rest!
19 Even now my witness is in heaven;
    my advocate is on high.
20 My intercessor is my friend[l]
    as my eyes pour out tears to God;
21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God
    as one pleads for a friend.

22 “Only a few years will pass
    before I take the path of no return.

17 My spirit is broken,
    my days are cut short,
    the grave awaits me.
Surely mockers surround me;
    my eyes must dwell on their hostility.

“Give me, O God, the pledge you demand.
    Who else will put up security for me?
You have closed their minds to understanding;
    therefore you will not let them triumph.
If anyone denounces their friends for reward,
    the eyes of their children will fail.

“God has made me a byword to everyone,
    a man in whose face people spit.
My eyes have grown dim with grief;
    my whole frame is but a shadow.
The upright are appalled at this;
    the innocent are aroused against the ungodly.
Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways,
    and those with clean hands will grow stronger.

10 “But come on, all of you, try again!
    I will not find a wise man among you.
11 My days have passed, my plans are shattered.
    Yet the desires of my heart
12 turn night into day;
    in the face of the darkness light is near.
13 If the only home I hope for is the grave,
    if I spread out my bed in the realm of darkness,
14 if I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’
    and to the worm, ‘My mother’ or ‘My sister,’
15 where then is my hope—
    who can see any hope for me?
16 Will it go down to the gates of death?
    Will we descend together into the dust?”

Bildad

18 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

“When will you end these speeches?
    Be sensible, and then we can talk.
Why are we regarded as cattle
    and considered stupid in your sight?
You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger,
    is the earth to be abandoned for your sake?
    Or must the rocks be moved from their place?

“The lamp of a wicked man is snuffed out;
    the flame of his fire stops burning.
The light in his tent becomes dark;
    the lamp beside him goes out.
The vigor of his step is weakened;
    his own schemes throw him down.
His feet thrust him into a net;
    he wanders into its mesh.
A trap seizes him by the heel;
    a snare holds him fast.
10 A noose is hidden for him on the ground;
    a trap lies in his path.
11 Terrors startle him on every side
    and dog his every step.
12 Calamity is hungry for him;
    disaster is ready for him when he falls.
13 It eats away parts of his skin;
    death’s firstborn devours his limbs.
14 He is torn from the security of his tent
    and marched off to the king of terrors.
15 Fire resides[m] in his tent;
    burning sulfur is scattered over his dwelling.
16 His roots dry up below
    and his branches wither above.
17 The memory of him perishes from the earth;
    he has no name in the land.
18 He is driven from light into the realm of darkness
    and is banished from the world.
19 He has no offspring or descendants among his people,
    no survivor where once he lived.
20 People of the west are appalled at his fate;
    those of the east are seized with horror.
21 Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man;
    such is the place of one who does not know God.”

Job

19 Then Job replied:

“How long will you torment me
    and crush me with words?
Ten times now you have reproached me;
    shamelessly you attack me.
If it is true that I have gone astray,
    my error remains my concern alone.
If indeed you would exalt yourselves above me
    and use my humiliation against me,
then know that God has wronged me
    and drawn his net around me.

“Though I cry, ‘Violence!’ I get no response;
    though I call for help, there is no justice.
He has blocked my way so I cannot pass;
    he has shrouded my paths in darkness.
He has stripped me of my honor
    and removed the crown from my head.
10 He tears me down on every side till I am gone;
    he uproots my hope like a tree.
11 His anger burns against me;
    he counts me among his enemies.
12 His troops advance in force;
    they build a siege ramp against me
    and encamp around my tent.

13 “He has alienated my family from me;
    my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.
14 My relatives have gone away;
    my closest friends have forgotten me.
15 My guests and my female servants count me a foreigner;
    they look on me as on a stranger.
16 I summon my servant, but he does not answer,
    though I beg him with my own mouth.
17 My breath is offensive to my wife;
    I am loathsome to my own family.
18 Even the little boys scorn me;
    when I appear, they ridicule me.
19 All my intimate friends detest me;
    those I love have turned against me.
20 I am nothing but skin and bones;
    I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.[n]

21 “Have pity on me, my friends, have pity,
    for the hand of God has struck me.
22 Why do you pursue me as God does?
    Will you never get enough of my flesh?

23 “Oh, that my words were recorded,
    that they were written on a scroll,
24 that they were inscribed with an iron tool on[o] lead,
    or engraved in rock forever!
25 I know that my redeemer[p] lives,
    and that in the end he will stand on the earth.[q]
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
    yet[r] in[s] my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
    with my own eyes—I, and not another.
    How my heart yearns within me!

28 “If you say, ‘How we will hound him,
    since the root of the trouble lies in him,[t]
29 you should fear the sword yourselves;
    for wrath will bring punishment by the sword,
    and then you will know that there is judgment.[u]

Zophar

20 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:

“My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer
    because I am greatly disturbed.
I hear a rebuke that dishonors me,
    and my understanding inspires me to reply.

“Surely you know how it has been from of old,
    ever since mankind[v] was placed on the earth,
that the mirth of the wicked is brief,
    the joy of the godless lasts but a moment.
Though the pride of the godless person reaches to the heavens
    and his head touches the clouds,
he will perish forever, like his own dung;
    those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’
Like a dream he flies away, no more to be found,
    banished like a vision of the night.
The eye that saw him will not see him again;
    his place will look on him no more.
10 His children must make amends to the poor;
    his own hands must give back his wealth.
11 The youthful vigor that fills his bones
    will lie with him in the dust.

12 “Though evil is sweet in his mouth
    and he hides it under his tongue,
13 though he cannot bear to let it go
    and lets it linger in his mouth,
14 yet his food will turn sour in his stomach;
    it will become the venom of serpents within him.
15 He will spit out the riches he swallowed;
    God will make his stomach vomit them up.
16 He will suck the poison of serpents;
    the fangs of an adder will kill him.
17 He will not enjoy the streams,
    the rivers flowing with honey and cream.
18 What he toiled for he must give back uneaten;
    he will not enjoy the profit from his trading.
19 For he has oppressed the poor and left them destitute;
    he has seized houses he did not build.

20 “Surely he will have no respite from his craving;
    he cannot save himself by his treasure.
21 Nothing is left for him to devour;
    his prosperity will not endure.
22 In the midst of his plenty, distress will overtake him;
    the full force of misery will come upon him.
23 When he has filled his belly,
    God will vent his burning anger against him
    and rain down his blows on him.
24 Though he flees from an iron weapon,
    a bronze-tipped arrow pierces him.
25 He pulls it out of his back,
    the gleaming point out of his liver.
Terrors will come over him;
26     total darkness lies in wait for his treasures.
A fire unfanned will consume him
    and devour what is left in his tent.
27 The heavens will expose his guilt;
    the earth will rise up against him.
28 A flood will carry off his house,
    rushing waters[w] on the day of God’s wrath.
29 Such is the fate God allots the wicked,
    the heritage appointed for them by God.”

Job

21 Then Job replied:

“Listen carefully to my words;
    let this be the consolation you give me.
Bear with me while I speak,
    and after I have spoken, mock on.

“Is my complaint directed to a human being?
    Why should I not be impatient?
Look at me and be appalled;
    clap your hand over your mouth.
When I think about this, I am terrified;
    trembling seizes my body.
Why do the wicked live on,
    growing old and increasing in power?
They see their children established around them,
    their offspring before their eyes.
Their homes are safe and free from fear;
    the rod of God is not on them.
10 Their bulls never fail to breed;
    their cows calve and do not miscarry.
11 They send forth their children as a flock;
    their little ones dance about.
12 They sing to the music of timbrel and lyre;
    they make merry to the sound of the pipe.
13 They spend their years in prosperity
    and go down to the grave in peace.[x]
14 Yet they say to God, ‘Leave us alone!
    We have no desire to know your ways.
15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
    What would we gain by praying to him?’
16 But their prosperity is not in their own hands,
    so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked.

17 “Yet how often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out?
    How often does calamity come upon them,
    the fate God allots in his anger?
18 How often are they like straw before the wind,
    like chaff swept away by a gale?
19 It is said, ‘God stores up the punishment of the wicked for their children.’
    Let him repay the wicked, so that they themselves will experience it!
20 Let their own eyes see their destruction;
    let them drink the cup of the wrath of the Almighty.
21 For what do they care about the families they leave behind
    when their allotted months come to an end?

22 “Can anyone teach knowledge to God,
    since he judges even the highest?
23 One person dies in full vigor,
    completely secure and at ease,
24 well nourished in body,[y]
    bones rich with marrow.
25 Another dies in bitterness of soul,
    never having enjoyed anything good.
26 Side by side they lie in the dust,
    and worms cover them both.

27 “I know full well what you are thinking,
    the schemes by which you would wrong me.
28 You say, ‘Where now is the house of the great,
    the tents where the wicked lived?’
29 Have you never questioned those who travel?
    Have you paid no regard to their accounts—
30 that the wicked are spared from the day of calamity,
    that they are delivered from[z] the day of wrath?
31 Who denounces their conduct to their face?
    Who repays them for what they have done?
32 They are carried to the grave,
    and watch is kept over their tombs.
33 The soil in the valley is sweet to them;
    everyone follows after them,
    and a countless throng goes[aa] before them.

34 “So how can you console me with your nonsense?
    Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!”

Eliphaz

22 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:

“Can a man be of benefit to God?
    Can even a wise person benefit him?
What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous?
    What would he gain if your ways were blameless?

“Is it for your piety that he rebukes you
    and brings charges against you?
Is not your wickedness great?
    Are not your sins endless?
You demanded security from your relatives for no reason;
    you stripped people of their clothing, leaving them naked.
You gave no water to the weary
    and you withheld food from the hungry,
though you were a powerful man, owning land
    an honored man, living on it.
And you sent widows away empty-handed
    and broke the strength of the fatherless.
10 That is why snares are all around you,
    why sudden peril terrifies you,
11 why it is so dark you cannot see,
    and why a flood of water covers you.

12 “Is not God in the heights of heaven?
    And see how lofty are the highest stars!
13 Yet you say, ‘What does God know?
    Does he judge through such darkness?
14 Thick clouds veil him, so he does not see us
    as he goes about in the vaulted heavens.’
15 Will you keep to the old path
    that the wicked have trod?
16 They were carried off before their time,
    their foundations washed away by a flood.
17 They said to God, ‘Leave us alone!
    What can the Almighty do to us?’
18 Yet it was he who filled their houses with good things,
    so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked.
19 The righteous see their ruin and rejoice;
    the innocent mock them, saying,
20 ‘Surely our foes are destroyed,
    and fire devours their wealth.’

21 “Submit to God and be at peace with him;
    in this way prosperity will come to you.
22 Accept instruction from his mouth
    and lay up his words in your heart.
23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored:
    If you remove wickedness far from your tent
24 and assign your nuggets to the dust,
    your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines,
25 then the Almighty will be your gold,
    the choicest silver for you.
26 Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty
    and will lift up your face to God.
27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you,
    and you will fulfill your vows.
28 What you decide on will be done,
    and light will shine on your ways.
29 When people are brought low and you say, ‘Lift them up!’
    then he will save the downcast.
30 He will deliver even one who is not innocent,
    who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”

Job

23 Then Job replied:

“Even today my complaint is bitter;
    his hand[ab] is heavy in spite of[ac] my groaning.
If only I knew where to find him;
    if only I could go to his dwelling!
I would state my case before him
    and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would find out what he would answer me,
    and consider what he would say to me.
Would he vigorously oppose me?
    No, he would not press charges against me.
There the upright can establish their innocence before him,
    and there I would be delivered forever from my judge.

“But if I go to the east, he is not there;
    if I go to the west, I do not find him.
When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
    when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
    when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
11 My feet have closely followed his steps;
    I have kept to his way without turning aside.
12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
    I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.

13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him?
    He does whatever he pleases.
14 He carries out his decree against me,
    and many such plans he still has in store.
15 That is why I am terrified before him;
    when I think of all this, I fear him.
16 God has made my heart faint;
    the Almighty has terrified me.
17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness,
    by the thick darkness that covers my face.

24 “Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment?
    Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?
There are those who move boundary stones;
    they pasture flocks they have stolen.
They drive away the orphan’s donkey
    and take the widow’s ox in pledge.
They thrust the needy from the path
    and force all the poor of the land into hiding.
Like wild donkeys in the desert,
    the poor go about their labor of foraging food;
    the wasteland provides food for their children.
They gather fodder in the fields
    and glean in the vineyards of the wicked.
Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked;
    they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold.
They are drenched by mountain rains
    and hug the rocks for lack of shelter.
The fatherless child is snatched from the breast;
    the infant of the poor is seized for a debt.
10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked;
    they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry.
11 They crush olives among the terraces[ad];
    they tread the winepresses, yet suffer thirst.
12 The groans of the dying rise from the city,
    and the souls of the wounded cry out for help.
    But God charges no one with wrongdoing.

13 “There are those who rebel against the light,
    who do not know its ways
    or stay in its paths.
14 When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up,
    kills the poor and needy,
    and in the night steals forth like a thief.
15 The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk;
    he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’
    and he keeps his face concealed.
16 In the dark, thieves break into houses,
    but by day they shut themselves in;
    they want nothing to do with the light.
17 For all of them, midnight is their morning;
    they make friends with the terrors of darkness.

18 “Yet they are foam on the surface of the water;
    their portion of the land is cursed,
    so that no one goes to the vineyards.
19 As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow,
    so the grave snatches away those who have sinned.
20 The womb forgets them,
    the worm feasts on them;
the wicked are no longer remembered
    but are broken like a tree.
21 They prey on the barren and childless woman,
    and to the widow they show no kindness.
22 But God drags away the mighty by his power;
    though they become established, they have no assurance of life.
23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security,
    but his eyes are on their ways.
24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone;
    they are brought low and gathered up like all others;
    they are cut off like heads of grain.

25 “If this is not so, who can prove me false
    and reduce my words to nothing?”

Footnotes:

  1. Job 8:14 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  2. Job 8:19 Or Surely all the joy it has / is that
  3. Job 9:9 Or of Leo
  4. Job 9:19 See Septuagint; Hebrew me.
  5. Job 10:15 Or and aware of
  6. Job 11:12 Or wild donkey can be born tame
  7. Job 12:6 Or those whose god is in their own hand
  8. Job 12:18 Or shackles of kings / and ties a belt
  9. Job 13:15 Or He will surely slay me; I have no hope — / yet I will
  10. Job 14:3 Septuagint, Vulgate and Syriac; Hebrew me
  11. Job 14:14 Or release
  12. Job 16:20 Or My friends treat me with scorn
  13. Job 18:15 Or Nothing he had remains
  14. Job 19:20 Or only by my gums
  15. Job 19:24 Or and
  16. Job 19:25 Or vindicator
  17. Job 19:25 Or on my grave
  18. Job 19:26 Or And after I awake, / though this body has been destroyed, / then
  19. Job 19:26 Or destroyed, / apart from
  20. Job 19:28 Many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Vulgate; most Hebrew manuscripts me
  21. Job 19:29 Or sword, / that you may come to know the Almighty
  22. Job 20:4 Or Adam
  23. Job 20:28 Or The possessions in his house will be carried off, / washed away
  24. Job 21:13 Or in an instant
  25. Job 21:24 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  26. Job 21:30 Or wicked are reserved for the day of calamity, / that they are brought forth to
  27. Job 21:33 Or them, / as a countless throng went
  28. Job 23:2 Septuagint and Syriac; Hebrew / the hand on me
  29. Job 23:2 Or heavy on me in
  30. Job 24:11 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

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