Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
“Dominion and awe belong to God;
he establishes order in the heights of heaven.
Can his forces be numbered?
On whom does his light not rise?
How then can a mortal be righteous before God?
How can one born of woman be pure?
If even the moon is not bright
and the stars are not pure in his eyes,
how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot—
a human being, who is only a worm!”
Then Job replied:
“How you have helped the powerless!
How you have saved the arm that is feeble!
What advice you have offered to one without wisdom!
And what great insight you have displayed!
Who has helped you utter these words?
And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?
“The dead are in deep anguish,
those beneath the waters and all that live in them.
The realm of the dead is naked before God;
Destruction lies uncovered.
He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
he suspends the earth over nothing.
He wraps up the waters in his clouds,
yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.
He covers the face of the full moon,
spreading his clouds over it.
He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters
for a boundary between light and darkness.
The pillars of the heavens quake,
aghast at his rebuke.
By his power he churned up the sea;
by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces.
By his breath the skies became fair;
his hand pierced the gliding serpent.
And these are but the outer fringe of his works;
how faint the whisper we hear of him!
Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”
Job’s Final Word to His Friends
And Job continued his discourse:
“As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice,
the Almighty, who has made my life bitter,
as long as I have life within me,
the breath of God in my nostrils,
my lips will not say anything wicked,
and my tongue will not utter lies.
I will never admit you are in the right;
till I die, I will not deny my integrity.
I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it;
my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.
“May my enemy be like the wicked,
my adversary like the unjust!
For what hope have the godless when they are cut off,
when God takes away their life?
Does God listen to their cry
when distress comes upon them?
Will they find delight in the Almighty?
Will they call on God at all times?
“I will teach you about the power of God;
the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal.
You have all seen this yourselves.
Why then this meaningless talk?
“Here is the fate God allots to the wicked,
the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty:
However many his children, their fate is the sword;
his offspring will never have enough to eat.
The plague will bury those who survive him,
and their widows will not weep for them.
Though he heaps up silver like dust
and clothes like piles of clay,
what he lays up the righteous will wear,
and the innocent will divide his silver.
The house he builds is like a moth’s cocoon,
like a hut made by a watchman.
He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more;
when he opens his eyes, all is gone.
Terrors overtake him like a flood;
a tempest snatches him away in the night.
The east wind carries him off, and he is gone;
it sweeps him out of his place.
It hurls itself against him without mercy
as he flees headlong from its power.
It claps its hands in derision
and hisses him out of his place.”
Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found
There is a mine for silver
and a place where gold is refined.
Iron is taken from the earth,
and copper is smelted from ore.
Mortals put an end to the darkness;
they search out the farthest recesses
for ore in the blackest darkness.
Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,
in places untouched by human feet;
far from other people they dangle and sway.
The earth, from which food comes,
is transformed below as by fire;
lapis lazuli comes from its rocks,
and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
no falcon’s eye has seen it.
Proud beasts do not set foot on it,
and no lion prowls there.
People assault the flinty rock with their hands
and lay bare the roots of the mountains.
They tunnel through the rock;
their eyes see all its treasures.
They search the sources of the rivers
and bring hidden things to light.
But where can wisdom be found?
Where does understanding dwell?
No mortal comprehends its worth;
it cannot be found in the land of the living.
The deep says, “It is not in me”;
the sea says, “It is not with me.”
It cannot be bought with the finest gold,
nor can its price be weighed out in silver.
It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,
with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.
Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,
nor can it be had for jewels of gold.
Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention;
the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it;
it cannot be bought with pure gold.
Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?
It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
concealed even from the birds in the sky.
Destruction and Death say,
“Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”
God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,
when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,
then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.
And he said to the human race,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.”
Job’s Final Defense
Job continued his discourse:
“How I long for the months gone by,
for the days when God watched over me,
when his lamp shone on my head
and by his light I walked through darkness!
Oh, for the days when I was in my prime,
when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house,
when the Almighty was still with me
and my children were around me,
when my path was drenched with cream
and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.
“When I went to the gate of the city
and took my seat in the public square,
the young men saw me and stepped aside
and the old men rose to their feet;
the chief men refrained from speaking
and covered their mouths with their hands;
the voices of the nobles were hushed,
and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.
Whoever heard me spoke well of me,
and those who saw me commended me,
because I rescued the poor who cried for help,
and the fatherless who had none to assist them.
The one who was dying blessed me;
I made the widow’s heart sing.
I put on righteousness as my clothing;
justice was my robe and my turban.
I was eyes to the blind
and feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy;
I took up the case of the stranger.
I broke the fangs of the wicked
and snatched the victims from their teeth.
“I thought, ‘I will die in my own house,
my days as numerous as the grains of sand.
My roots will reach to the water,
and the dew will lie all night on my branches.
My glory will not fade;
the bow will be ever new in my hand.’
“People listened to me expectantly,
waiting in silence for my counsel.
After I had spoken, they spoke no more;
my words fell gently on their ears.
They waited for me as for showers
and drank in my words as the spring rain.
When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;
the light of my face was precious to them.
I chose the way for them and sat as their chief;
I dwelt as a king among his troops;
I was like one who comforts mourners.