Job Says His Friends’ Proverbs Are Ashes
1[Job continued:] “Behold, my eye has seen all this,
My ear has heard and understood it.
“What you know I also know;
I am not inferior to you.
“But I wish to speak to [a]the Almighty,
And I desire to argue with God.
“But you smear me with lies [you defame my character most untruthfully];
You are all worthless physicians and have no remedy to offer.
“Oh, that you would be completely silent,
And that silence would be your wisdom!
“Please hear my argument
And listen to the pleadings of my lips.
“Will you speak what is unjust for God,
And speak what is deceitful for Him?
“Will you show partiality for Him [and be unjust to me so that you may gain favor with Him]?
Will you contend and plead for God?
“Will it be well for you when He investigates you [and your tactics against me]?
Or will you deceive Him as one deceives a man?
“He will surely reprimand you
If you secretly show partiality.
“Will not His majesty terrify you,
And will not the dread of Him fall upon you?
“Your memorable sayings are [worthless, merely] proverbs of ashes;
Your defenses are defenses of [crumbling] clay.
Job Is Sure He Will Be Vindicated
“Be silent before me so that I may speak;
And let happen to me what may.
“Why should I take my flesh in my teeth
And put my life in my hands [incurring the wrath of God]?
“Even though He kills me;
I will hope in Him.
Nevertheless, I will argue my ways to His face.
“This also will be my salvation,
For a godless man may not come before Him.
“Listen diligently to my speech,
And let my declaration fill your ears.
“Behold now, I have prepared my case;
I know that I will be vindicated.
“Who will argue and contend with me?
For then I would be silent and die.
“Only [O Lord,] do not do two things to me,
And then I will not hide myself from Your face:
Withdraw Your hand from me and remove this bodily suffering,
And let not the dread of You terrify me.
“Then [Lord,] call, and I will answer;
Or let me speak, and then reply to me.
“How many are my iniquities and sins [that so much sorrow should come to me]?
Make me recognize and understand my transgression and my sin.
“Why do You hide Your face [as if offended]
And consider me Your enemy?
“Will You cause a windblown leaf to tremble?
Will You pursue the chaff of the dry stubble?
“For You write bitter things against me [in Your indictment]
And make me inherit and suffer for the iniquities of my youth.
“You also put my feet in the stocks [as punishment]
And [critically] observe all my paths;
You set a circle and limit around the soles of my feet [which I must not overstep],
While I waste away like a rotten thing,
Like a garment that is moth-eaten.