Job 19

Job’s Sixth Speech: A Response to Bildad

Then Job spoke again:

“How long will you torture me?
    How long will you try to crush me with your words?
You have already insulted me ten times.
    You should be ashamed of treating me so badly.
Even if I have sinned,
    that is my concern, not yours.
You think you’re better than I am,
    using my humiliation as evidence of my sin.
But it is God who has wronged me,
    capturing me in his net.[a]

“I cry out, ‘Help!’ but no one answers me.
    I protest, but there is no justice.
God has blocked my way so I cannot move.
    He has plunged my path into darkness.
He has stripped me of my honor
    and removed the crown from my head.
He has demolished me on every side, and I am finished.
    He has uprooted my hope like a fallen tree.
His fury burns against me;
    he counts me as an enemy.
His troops advance.
    They build up roads to attack me.
    They camp all around my tent.

“My relatives stay far away,
    and my friends have turned against me.
My family is gone,
    and my close friends have forgotten me.
My servants and maids consider me a stranger.
    I am like a foreigner to them.
When I call my servant, he doesn’t come;
    I have to plead with him!
My breath is repulsive to my wife.
    I am rejected by my own family.
Even young children despise me.
    When I stand to speak, they turn their backs on me.
My close friends detest me.
    Those I loved have turned against me.
I have been reduced to skin and bones
    and have escaped death by the skin of my teeth.

“Have mercy on me, my friends, have mercy,
    for the hand of God has struck me.
Must you also persecute me, like God does?
    Haven’t you chewed me up enough?

“Oh, that my words could be recorded.
    Oh, that they could be inscribed on a monument,
carved with an iron chisel and filled with lead,
    engraved forever in the rock.

“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
    and he will stand upon the earth at last.
And after my body has decayed,
    yet in my body I will see God![b]
I will see him for myself.
    Yes, I will see him with my own eyes.
    I am overwhelmed at the thought!

“How dare you go on persecuting me,
    saying, ‘It’s his own fault’?
You should fear punishment yourselves,
    for your attitude deserves punishment.
    Then you will know that there is indeed a judgment.”


Footnotes
  1. 19:6 Or for I am like a city under siege.
  2. 19:26 Or without my body I will see God. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.

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Job 20

Zophar’s Second Response to Job

Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:

“I must reply
    because I am greatly disturbed.
I’ve had to endure your insults,
    but now my spirit prompts me to reply.

“Don’t you realize that from the beginning of time,
    ever since people were first placed on the earth,
the triumph of the wicked has been short lived
    and the joy of the godless has been only temporary?
Though the pride of the godless reaches to the heavens
    and their heads touch the clouds,
yet they will vanish forever,
    thrown away like their own dung.
Those who knew them will ask,
    ‘Where are they?’
They will fade like a dream and not be found.
    They will vanish like a vision in the night.
Those who once saw them will see them no more.
    Their families will never see them again.
Their children will beg from the poor,
    for they must give back their stolen riches.
Though they are young,
    their bones will lie in the dust.

“They enjoyed the sweet taste of wickedness,
    letting it melt under their tongue.
They savored it,
    holding it long in their mouths.
But suddenly the food in their bellies turns sour,
    a poisonous venom in their stomach.
They will vomit the wealth they swallowed.
    God won’t let them keep it down.
They will suck the poison of cobras.
    The viper will kill them.
They will never again enjoy streams of olive oil
    or rivers of milk and honey.
They will give back everything they worked for.
    Their wealth will bring them no joy.
For they oppressed the poor and left them destitute.
    They foreclosed on their homes.
They were always greedy and never satisfied.
    Nothing remains of all the things they dreamed about.
Nothing is left after they finish gorging themselves.
    Therefore, their prosperity will not endure.

“In the midst of plenty, they will run into trouble
    and be overcome by misery.
May God give them a bellyful of trouble.
    May God rain down his anger upon them.
When they try to escape an iron weapon,
    a bronze-tipped arrow will pierce them.
The arrow is pulled from their back,
    and the arrowhead glistens with blood.[a]
The terrors of death are upon them.
    Their treasures will be thrown into deepest darkness.
A wildfire will devour their goods,
    consuming all they have left.
The heavens will reveal their guilt,
    and the earth will testify against them.
A flood will sweep away their house.
    God’s anger will descend on them in torrents.
This is the reward that God gives the wicked.
    It is the inheritance decreed by God.”


Footnotes
  1. 20:25 Hebrew with gall.

Read More of Job 20

Job 21

Job’s Seventh Speech: A Response to Zophar

Then Job spoke again:

“Listen closely to what I am saying.
    That’s one consolation you can give me.
Bear with me, and let me speak.
    After I have spoken, you may resume mocking me.

“My complaint is with God, not with people.
    I have good reason to be so impatient.
Look at me and be stunned.
    Put your hand over your mouth in shock.
When I think about what I am saying, I shudder.
    My body trembles.

“Why do the wicked prosper,
    growing old and powerful?
They live to see their children grow up and settle down,
    and they enjoy their grandchildren.
Their homes are safe from every fear,
    and God does not punish them.
Their bulls never fail to breed.
    Their cows bear calves and never miscarry.
They let their children frisk about like lambs.
    Their little ones skip and dance.
They sing with tambourine and harp.
    They celebrate to the sound of the flute.
They spend their days in prosperity,
    then go down to the grave[a] in peace.
And yet they say to God, ‘Go away.
    We want no part of you and your ways.
Who is the Almighty, and why should we obey him?
    What good will it do us to pray?’
(They think their prosperity is of their own doing,
    but I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking.)

“Yet the light of the wicked never seems to be extinguished.
    Do they ever have trouble?
    Does God distribute sorrows to them in anger?
Are they driven before the wind like straw?
    Are they carried away by the storm like chaff?
    Not at all!

“‘Well,’ you say, ‘at least God will punish their children!’
    But I say he should punish the ones who sin,
    so that they understand his judgment.
Let them see their destruction with their own eyes.
    Let them drink deeply of the anger of the Almighty.
For they will not care what happens to their family
    after they are dead.

“But who can teach a lesson to God,
    since he judges even the most powerful?
One person dies in prosperity,
    completely comfortable and secure,
the picture of good health,
    vigorous and fit.
Another person dies in bitter poverty,
    never having tasted the good life.
But both are buried in the same dust,
    both eaten by the same maggots.

“Look, I know what you’re thinking.
    I know the schemes you plot against me.
You will tell me of rich and wicked people
    whose houses have vanished because of their sins.
But ask those who have been around,
    and they will tell you the truth.
Evil people are spared in times of calamity
    and are allowed to escape disaster.
No one criticizes them openly
    or pays them back for what they have done.
When they are carried to the grave,
    an honor guard keeps watch at their tomb.
A great funeral procession goes to the cemetery.
    Many pay their respects as the body is laid to rest,
    and the earth gives sweet repose.

“How can your empty clichés comfort me?
    All your explanations are lies!”


Footnotes
  1. 21:13 Hebrew to Sheol.

Read More of Job 21