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Job 21 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

Job Replies: The Wicked Often Go Unpunished

21 Then Job answered:

“Listen carefully to my words,
    and let this be your consolation.
Bear with me, and I will speak;
    then after I have spoken, mock on.
As for me, is my complaint addressed to mortals?
    Why should I not be impatient?
Look at me, and be appalled,
    and lay your hand upon your mouth.
When I think of it I am dismayed,
    and shuddering seizes my flesh.
Why do the wicked live on,
    reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
Their children are established in their presence,
    and their offspring before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear,
    and no rod of God is upon them.
10 Their bull breeds without fail;
    their cow calves and never miscarries.
11 They send out their little ones like a flock,
    and their children dance around.
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, ‘Leave us alone!
    We do not desire to know your ways.
15 What is the Almighty,[a] that we should serve him?
    And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’
16 Is not their prosperity indeed their own achievement?[b]
    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[c] distribute pains in his anger?
18 How often are they like straw before the wind,
    and like chaff that the storm carries away?
19 You say, ‘God stores up their iniquity for their children.’
    Let it be paid back to them, so that they may know it.
20 Let their own eyes see their destruction,
    and let them drink of the wrath of the Almighty.[d]
21 For what do they care for their household 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 loins full of milk
    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 “Oh, 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 lived?’
29 Have you not asked those who travel the roads,
    and do you not accept their testimony,
30 that the wicked are spared in the day of calamity,
    and are rescued in the day of wrath?
31 Who declares their way to their face,
    and who repays them for what they have done?
32 When they are carried to the grave,
    a watch is kept over their tomb.
33 The clods of the valley are sweet to them;
    everyone will follow after,
    and those who went before are innumerable.
34 How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?
    There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”

Footnotes:

  1. Job 21:15 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  2. Job 21:16 Heb in their hand
  3. Job 21:17 Heb he
  4. Job 21:20 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 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.

Job 21 New International Version (NIV)

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.[a]
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,[b]
    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[c] 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[d] before them.

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

Footnotes:

  1. Job 21:13 Or in an instant
  2. Job 21:24 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  3. Job 21:30 Or wicked are reserved for the day of calamity, / that they are brought forth to
  4. Job 21:33 Or them, / as a countless throng went
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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