Eliphaz Attacks Again
You Trivialize Religion
Eliphaz of Teman spoke a second time:
“If you were truly wise, would you sound so much like a
windbag, belching hot air?
Would you talk nonsense in the middle of a serious argument,
Look at you! You trivialize religion,
turn spiritual conversation into empty gossip.
It’s your sin that taught you to talk this way.
You chose an education in fraud.
Your own words have exposed your guilt.
It’s nothing I’ve said—you’ve incriminated yourself!
Do you think you’re the first person to have to deal with
Have you been around as long as the hills?
Were you listening in when God planned all this?
Do you think you’re the only one who knows anything?
What do you know that we don’t know?
What insights do you have that we’ve missed?
Gray beards and white hair back us up—
old folks who’ve been around a lot longer than you.
Are God’s promises not enough for you,
spoken so gently and tenderly?
Why do you let your emotions take over,
lashing out and spitting fire,
Pitting your whole being against God
by letting words like this come out of your mouth?
Do you think it’s possible for any mere mortal to be sinless
in God’s sight,
for anyone born of a human mother to get it all together?
Why, God can’t even trust his holy angels.
He sees the flaws in the very heavens themselves,
So how much less we humans, smelly and foul,
who lap up evil like water?
Always at Odds with God
“I’ve a thing or two to tell you, so listen up!
I’m letting you in on my views;
It’s what wise men and women have always taught,
holding nothing back from what they were taught
By their parents, back in the days
when they had this land all to themselves:
Those who live by their own rules, not God’s, can expect
nothing but trouble,
and the longer they live, the worse it gets.
Every little sound terrifies them.
Just when they think they have it made, disaster strikes.
They despair of things ever getting better—
they’re on the list of people for whom things always turn out
for the worst.
They wander here and there,
never knowing where the next meal is coming from—
every day is doomsday!
They live in constant terror,
always with their backs up against the wall
Because they insist on shaking their fists at God,
defying God Almighty to his face,
Always and ever at odds with God,
always on the defensive.
“Even if they’re the picture of health,
trim and fit and youthful,
They’ll end up living in a ghost town
sleeping in a hovel not fit for a dog,
a ramshackle shack.
They’ll never get ahead,
never amount to a hill of beans.
And then death—don’t think they’ll escape that!
They’ll end up shriveled weeds,
brought down by a puff of God’s breath.
There’s a lesson here: Whoever invests in lies,
gets lies for interest,
Paid in full before the due date.
They’ll be like fruit frost-killed before it ripens,
like buds sheared off before they bloom.
The godless are fruitless—a barren crew;
a life built on bribes goes up in smoke.
They have sex with sin and give birth to evil.
Their lives are wombs for breeding deceit.”
Job Defends Himself
If You Were in My Shoes
Then Job defended himself:
“I’ve had all I can take of your talk.
What a bunch of miserable comforters!
Is there no end to your windbag speeches?
What’s your problem that you go on and on like this?
If you were in my shoes,
I could talk just like you.
I could put together a terrific harangue
and really let you have it.
But I’d never do that. I’d console and comfort,
make things better, not worse!
“When I speak up, I feel no better;
if I say nothing, that doesn’t help either.
I feel worn down.
God, you have wasted me totally—me and my family!
You’ve shriveled me like a dried prune,
showing the world that you’re against me.
My gaunt face stares back at me from the mirror,
a mute witness to your treatment of me.
Your anger tears at me,
your teeth rip me to shreds,
your eyes burn holes in me—God, my enemy!
People take one look at me and gasp.
Contemptuous, they slap me around
and gang up against me.
And God just stands there and lets them do it,
lets wicked people do what they want with me.
I was contentedly minding my business when God beat me up.
He grabbed me by the neck and threw me around.
He set me up as his target,
then rounded up archers to shoot at me.
Merciless, they shot me full of arrows;
bitter bile poured from my gut to the ground.
He burst in on me, onslaught after onslaught,
charging me like a mad bull.
“I sewed myself a shroud and wore it like a shirt;
I lay facedown in the dirt.
Now my face is blotched red from weeping;
look at the dark shadows under my eyes,
Even though I’ve never hurt a soul
and my prayers are sincere!
The One Who Represents Mortals Before God
“O Earth, don’t cover up the wrong done to me!
Don’t muffle my cry!
There must be Someone in heaven who knows the truth about me,
in highest heaven, some Attorney who can clear my name—
My Champion, my Friend,
while I’m weeping my eyes out before God.
I appeal to the One who represents mortals before God
as a neighbor stands up for a neighbor.
“Only a few years are left
before I set out on the road of no return.”
1-2 “My spirit is broken,
my days used up,
my grave dug and waiting.
See how these mockers close in on me?
How long do I have to put up with their insolence?
“O God, pledge your support for me.
Give it to me in writing, with your signature.
You’re the only one who can do it!
These people are so useless!
You know firsthand how stupid they can be.
You wouldn’t let them have the last word, would you?
Those who betray their own friends
leave a legacy of abuse to their children.
“God, you’ve made me the talk of the town—
people spit in my face;
I can hardly see from crying so much;
I’m nothing but skin and bones.
Decent people can’t believe what they’re seeing;
the good-hearted wake up and insist I’ve given up on God.
“But principled people hold tight, keep a firm grip on life,
sure that their clean, pure hands will get stronger and stronger!
“Maybe you’d all like to start over,
to try it again, the bunch of you.
So far I haven’t come across one scrap
of wisdom in anything you’ve said.
My life’s about over. All my plans are smashed,
all my hopes are snuffed out—
My hope that night would turn into day,
my hope that dawn was about to break.
If all I have to look forward to is a home in the graveyard,
if my only hope for comfort is a well-built coffin,
If a family reunion means going six feet under,
and the only family that shows up is worms,
Do you call that hope?
Who on earth could find any hope in that?
No. If hope and I are to be buried together,
I suppose you’ll all come to the double funeral!”
Bildad’s Second Attack
Plunged from Light into Darkness
Bildad from Shuhah chimed in:
“How monotonous these word games are getting!
Get serious! We need to get down to business.
Why do you treat your friends like slow-witted animals?
You look down on us as if we don’t know anything.
Why are you working yourself up like this?
Do you want the world redesigned to suit you?
Should reality be suspended to accommodate you?
“Here’s the rule: The light of the wicked is put out.
Their flame dies down and is extinguished.
Their house goes dark—
every lamp in the place goes out.
Their strong strides weaken, falter;
they stumble into their own traps.
They get all tangled up
in their own red tape,
Their feet are grabbed and caught,
their necks in a noose.
They trip on ropes they’ve hidden,
and fall into pits they’ve dug themselves.
Terrors come at them from all sides.
They run helter-skelter.
The hungry grave is ready
to gobble them up for supper,
To lay them out for a gourmet meal,
a treat for ravenous Death.
They are snatched from their home sweet home
and marched straight to the death house.
Their lives go up in smoke;
acid rain soaks their ruins.
Their roots rot
and their branches wither.
They’ll never again be remembered—
nameless in unmarked graves.
They are plunged from light into darkness,
banished from the world.
And they leave empty-handed—not one single child—
nothing to show for their life on this earth.
Westerners are aghast at their fate,
easterners are horrified:
‘Oh no! So this is what happens to perverse people.
This is how the God-ignorant end up!’”