Eliphaz: Innocent Do Not Suffer
Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,
“If we dare to converse with you, will you be impatient [or offended]?
But who can restrain himself from speaking?
“Behold, you have admonished and instructed many,
And you have strengthened weak hands.
“Your words have helped the one who was stumbling to stand,
And you have strengthened feeble knees.
“But now [a]adversity comes upon you, and you are impatient and intolerant;
It touches you, and you are horrified.
“Is not your fear of God your confidence,
And [is not] the integrity and uprightness of your ways your hope?
“Remember now, who, being innocent, ever perished?
Or where [and in what circumstances] were those upright and in right standing with God destroyed?
“As I have seen, those who plow wickedness
And those who sow trouble and harm harvest it.
“By the breath of God they perish,
And by the blast of His anger they are consumed.
“The roaring of the lion and the voice of the fierce lion,
And the teeth of the young lions are broken.
“The lion perishes for lack of prey,
And the cubs of the lioness are scattered.
“Now a word was secretly brought to me,
And my ear received a whisper of it.
“Amid disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night,
When deep sleep falls on men,
Dread and trembling came upon me,
Which made all my bones shake.
“Then a spirit passed before my face;
The hair on my skin stood on end!
“The spirit stood still, but I could not discern its appearance;
A form was before my eyes;
There was silence, and then I heard a voice, saying:
‘Can [mortal] man be just before God or be more righteous than He?
Can a man be pure before his Maker or be more cleansed than He?
‘God puts no trust or confidence, even in His [heavenly] servants,
And He charges His angels with error.
‘How much more [will He blame and charge] those who dwell in houses (bodies) of clay,
Whose foundations are in the dust,
Who are crushed like a moth.
‘Between morning and evening they are broken in pieces and destroyed;
Unobserved and unnoticed, they perish forever.
‘Is not their tent-cord drawn up within them [so that the tent collapses]?
Do they not die, and yet without [acquiring] wisdom?’
- Job 4:5 Lit it.
God Is Just
“Call now —is there anyone who will answer you?
And to which of the holy ones (angels) will you turn?
“For anger slays the foolish man,
And jealousy kills the simple (naive).
“I have seen the foolish taking root [and outwardly prospering],
But I cursed his dwelling immediately [for his destruction was certain].
“His children are far from safety [and included in their father’s ruin],
They are oppressed and crushed in the [court of justice in the city’s] gate,
And there is no [a]one to rescue them.
“The hungry devour his harvest
And take it even [when it grows] among the thorns;
The trap opens for [his] wealth.
“For affliction does not come forth from the dust,
Nor does trouble spring forth from the ground.
“For man is born for trouble,
[As naturally] as sparks fly upward.
“As for me, I would seek God and inquire of Him,
And I would commit my cause to God;
Who does great and unsearchable things,
Marvelous things without number.
“He gives rain upon the earth
And sends waters upon the fields,
So that He sets on high those who are lowly,
And He lifts to safety those who mourn.
“He frustrates the devices and schemes of the crafty,
So that their hands cannot attain success or achieve anything of [lasting] worth.
“He catches the [so-called] wise in their own shrewdness,
And the advice of the devious is quickly thwarted.
“In the daytime they meet in darkness,
And at noon they grope as in the night.
“But God saves [the innocent] from the sword of the mouth of the devious,
And the poor from the hand of the mighty.
“So the helpless have hope,
And injustice shuts its mouth.
“Behold, how happy and fortunate is the man whom God reproves,
So do not despise or reject the discipline of the Almighty [subjecting you to trial and suffering].
“For He inflicts pain, but He binds up and gives relief;
He wounds, but His hands also heal.
“He will rescue you from six troubles;
Even in seven, evil will not touch you.
“In famine He will redeem you from death,
And in war from the power of the sword.
“You will be hidden from the scourge of the tongue,
And you will not be afraid of destruction when it comes.
“You will laugh at violence and famine,
And you will not be afraid of the wild beasts of the earth.
“For you will be in harmony with the stones of the field,
And the beasts of the field will be at peace with you.
“You will know also that your tent is secure and at peace,
And you will visit your dwelling and fear no loss [nor find anything amiss].
“You will know also that your descendants will be many,
And your offspring as the grass of the earth.
“You will come to your grave in old age,
Like the stacking of grain [on the threshing floor] in its season.
“Behold this; we have investigated it, and it is true.
Hear and heed it, and know for yourself [for your own good].”
- Job 5:4 Lit deliverer.
Job’s Friends Are No Help
Then Job answered and said,
“Oh, that my grief could actually be weighed
And placed in the balances together with my tragedy [to see if my grief is the grief of a coward]!
“For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea;
Therefore my words have been incoherent,
Because the arrows of the Almighty are within me,
My spirit drinks their poison;
The terrors of God are arrayed against me.
“Does the wild donkey bray when he has grass?
Or does the ox low over his fodder?
“Can something that has no taste to it be eaten without salt?
Or is there any flavor in the white of an egg?
“My soul refuses to touch them;
Such things are like loathsome food to me [sickening and repugnant].
“Oh that my request would come to pass,
And that God would grant me the thing that I long for!
“I wish that it would please God to crush me,
That He would let loose His hand and cut me off.
“Then I would still have consolation,
And I would jump for joy amid unsparing pain,
That I have not denied or hidden the words of the Holy One.
“What strength do I have left, that I should wait [and hope]?
And what is ahead of me, that I should be patient and endure?
“Is my strength and endurance that of stones,
Or is my flesh made of bronze?
“Is it that I have no help within myself,
And that success and wisdom have been driven from me?
“For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend;
So that he does not [a]abandon (turn away from) the fear of the Almighty.
“My brothers have acted deceitfully like a brook,
Like the torrents of brooks that vanish,
Which are dull and dirty because of ice,
And into which the snow melts and hides itself;
When it is warm, they are silent and cease to flow;
When it is hot, they vanish from their place.
“The paths of their course wind along,
They go up into nothing and perish.
[Your counsel is as helpful to me as a dry streambed in the heat of summer.]
“The caravans of [b]Tema looked [for water],
The caravans of [c]Sheba waited for them [in vain].
“They were put to shame and disappointed because they had trusted [that they would find water];
They came there and were ashamed.
“Indeed, you have now become like a dried-up stream,
You see a terror [believing me to be a victim of the wrath of God] and are afraid [to be compassionate].
“Did I ever say, ‘Give me something,’
Or, ‘Pay a bribe for me from your wealth,’
Or, ‘Rescue me from the adversary’s hand,’
Or, ‘Redeem me from the hand of the tyrants’?
“Teach me, and I will be silent;
And show me how I have erred.
“How painful are words of honesty.
But what does your argument prove?
“Do you intend to reprove my words [with a convincing argument],
When the words of one in despair belong to the wind [and go ignored]?
“You would cast lots (gamble) over the fatherless
And bargain away your friend.
“Now please look at me,
And see if I lie to your face [for you know that I would not].
“Turn away [from your suspicion], let there be no injustice;
Turn away, my righteousness and vindication is still in it.
“Is there injustice or malice on my tongue?
Can my palate not discern what is destructive?
- Job 6:14 Lit forsake.
- Job 6:19 Tema, tribal descendants of the ninth son of Ishmael.
- Job 6:19 Sheba, tribal descendants of Abraham and Keturah.
Job’s Life Seems Futile
“Is not man forced to labor on earth?
And are not his days like the days of a hired man?
“As a slave earnestly longs for the shade,
And as a hired man eagerly awaits his wages,
So am I allotted months of futility and suffering,
And [long] nights of trouble and misery are appointed to me.
“When I lie down I say,
‘When shall I arise [and the night be gone]?’
But the night continues,
And I am continually tossing until the dawning of day.
“My body is clothed with worms and a crust of dust;
My skin is hardened [and broken and loathsome], and [breaks out and] runs.
“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,
And are spent without hope.
“Remember that my life is but breath [a puff of wind, a sigh];
My eye will not see good again.
“The eye of him who sees me [now] will see me no more;
Your eyes will be upon me, but I will not be.
“As a cloud vanishes and is gone,
So he who goes down to Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) does not come up.
“He will not return again to his house,
Nor will his place know about him anymore.
“Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;
I will speak in the anguish of my spirit,
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul [O Lord].
“Am I the sea, or the sea monster,
That You set a guard over me?
“When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me,
My couch will ease my complaint,’
Then You frighten me with dreams
And terrify me through visions,
So that I would choose suffocation,
Death rather than my [a]pain.
“I waste away and loathe my life; I will not live forever.
Let me alone, for my days are but a breath [futile and without substance].
“What is man that You [should] magnify him [and think him important]?
And that You are concerned about him?
“And that You examine him every morning
And try and test him every moment?
“Will You never turn Your gaze away from me [it plagues me],
Nor let me alone until I swallow my spittle?
“If I have sinned, what [harm] have I done to You,
O Watcher of mankind?
Why have You set me as a target for You,
So that I am a burden to myself?
“Why then do You not pardon my transgression
And take away my sin and guilt?
For now I will lie down in the dust;
And You will seek me [diligently], but I will not be.”
- Job 7:15 Lit bones.