‘But now, Job, listen to my words;
pay attention to everything I say.
I am about to open my mouth;
my words are on the tip of my tongue.
My words come from an upright heart;
my lips sincerely speak what I know.
The Spirit of God has made me;
the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Answer me then, if you can;
stand up and argue your case before me.
I am the same as you; in God’s sight;
I too am a piece of clay.
No fear of me should alarm you,
nor should my hand be heavy on you.
‘But you have said in my hearing –
I heard the very words –
“I am pure, I have done no wrong;
I am clean and free from sin.
Yet God has found fault with me;
he considers me his enemy.
He fastens my feet in shackles;
he keeps close watch on all my paths.”
‘But I tell you, in this you are not right,
for God is greater than any mortal.
Why do you complain to him
that he responds to no one’s words[a]?
For God does speak – now one way, now another –
though no one perceives it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on people
as they slumber in their beds,
he may speak in their ears
and terrify them with warnings,
to turn them from wrongdoing
and keep them from pride,
to preserve them from the pit,
their lives from perishing by the sword.[b]
‘Or someone may be chastened on a bed of pain
with constant distress in their bones,
so that their body finds food repulsive
and their soul loathes the choicest meal.
Their flesh wastes away to nothing,
and their bones, once hidden, now stick out.
They draw near to the pit,
and their life to the messengers of death.[c]
Yet if there is an angel at their side,
a messenger, one out of a thousand,
sent to tell them how to be upright,
and he is gracious to that person and says to God,
“Spare them from going down to the pit;
I have found a ransom for them –
let their flesh be renewed like a child’s;
let them be restored as in the days of their youth”–
then that person can pray to God and find favour with him,
they will see God’s face and shout for joy;
he will restore them to full well-being.
And they will go to others and say,
“I have sinned, and I have perverted what is right,
but I did not get what I deserved.
God has delivered me from going down to the pit,
and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.”
‘God does all these things to a person –
twice, even three times –
to turn them back from the pit,
that the light of life may shine on them.
‘Pay attention, Job, and listen to me;
be silent, and I will speak.
If you have anything to say, answer me;
speak up, for I want to vindicate you.
But if not, then listen to me;
be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.’
- Job 33:13 Or that he does not answer for any of his actions
- Job 33:18 Or from crossing the river
- Job 33:22 Or to the place of the dead
Then Elihu said:
‘Hear my words, you wise men;
listen to me, you men of learning.
For the ear tests words
as the tongue tastes food.
Let us discern for ourselves what is right;
let us learn together what is good.
‘Job says, “I am innocent,
but God denies me justice.
Although I am right,
I am considered a liar;
although I am guiltless,
his arrow inflicts an incurable wound.”
Is there anyone like Job,
who drinks scorn like water?
He keeps company with evildoers;
he associates with the wicked.
For he says, “There is no profit
in trying to please God.”
‘So listen to me, you men of understanding.
Far be it from God to do evil,
from the Almighty to do wrong.
He repays everyone for what they have done;
he brings on them what their conduct deserves.
It is unthinkable that God would do wrong,
that the Almighty would pervert justice.
Who appointed him over the earth?
Who put him in charge of the whole world?
If it were his intention
and he withdrew his spirit[a] and breath,
all humanity would perish together
and mankind would return to the dust.
‘If you have understanding, hear this;
listen to what I say.
Can someone who hates justice govern?
Will you condemn the just and mighty One?
Is he not the One who says to kings, “You are worthless,”
and to nobles, “You are wicked,”
who shows no partiality to princes
and does not favour the rich over the poor,
for they are all the work of his hands?
They die in an instant, in the middle of the night;
the people are shaken and they pass away;
the mighty are removed without human hand.
‘His eyes are on the ways of mortals;
he sees their every step.
There is no deep shadow, no utter darkness,
where evildoers can hide.
God has no need to examine men further,
that they should come before him for judgment.
Without enquiry he shatters the mighty
and sets up others in their place.
Because he takes note of their deeds,
he overthrows them in the night and they are crushed.
He punishes them for their wickedness
where everyone can see them,
because they turned from following him
and had no regard for any of his ways.
They caused the cry of the poor to come before him,
so that he heard the cry of the needy.
But if he remains silent, who can condemn him?
If he hides his face, who can see him?
Yet he is over individual and nation alike,
to keep the godless from ruling,
from laying snares for the people.
‘Suppose someone says to God,
“I am guilty but will offend no more.
Teach me what I cannot see;
if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.”
Should God then reward you on your terms,
when you refuse to repent?
You must decide, not I;
so tell me what you know.
‘Men of understanding declare,
wise men who hear me say to me,
“Job speaks without knowledge;
his words lack insight.”
Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost
for answering like a wicked man!
To his sin he adds rebellion;
scornfully he claps his hands among us
and multiplies his words against God.’
- Job 34:14 Or Spirit