Job 22

Eliphaz’s Third Response to Job

Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:

“Can a person do anything to help God?
    Can even a wise person be helpful to him?
Is it any advantage to the Almighty if you are righteous?
    Would it be any gain to him if you were perfect?
Is it because you’re so pious that he accuses you
    and brings judgment against you?
No, it’s because of your wickedness!
    There’s no limit to your sins.

“For example, you must have lent money to your friend
    and demanded clothing as security.
    Yes, you stripped him to the bone.
You must have refused water for the thirsty
    and food for the hungry.
You probably think the land belongs to the powerful
    and only the privileged have a right to it!
You must have sent widows away empty-handed
    and crushed the hopes of orphans.
That is why you are surrounded by traps
    and tremble from sudden fears.
That is why you cannot see in the darkness,
    and waves of water cover you.

“God is so great—higher than the heavens,
    higher than the farthest stars.
But you reply, ‘That’s why God can’t see what I am doing!
    How can he judge through the thick darkness?
For thick clouds swirl about him, and he cannot see us.
    He is way up there, walking on the vault of heaven.’

“Will you continue on the old paths
    where evil people have walked?
They were snatched away in the prime of life,
    the foundations of their lives washed away.
For they said to God, ‘Leave us alone!
    What can the Almighty do to us?’
Yet he was the one who filled their homes with good things,
    so I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking.

“The righteous will be happy to see the wicked destroyed,
    and the innocent will laugh in contempt.
They will say, ‘See how our enemies have been destroyed.
    The last of them have been consumed in the fire.’

“Submit to God, and you will have peace;
    then things will go well for you.
Listen to his instructions,
    and store them in your heart.
If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored—
    so clean up your life.
If you give up your lust for money
    and throw your precious gold into the river,
the Almighty himself will be your treasure.
    He will be your precious silver!

“Then you will take delight in the Almighty
    and look up to God.
You will pray to him, and he will hear you,
    and you will fulfill your vows to him.
You will succeed in whatever you choose to do,
    and light will shine on the road ahead of you.
If people are in trouble and you say, ‘Help them,’
    God will save them.
Even sinners will be rescued;
    they will be rescued because your hands are pure.”

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Job 23

Job’s Eighth Speech: A Response to Eliphaz

Then Job spoke again:

“My complaint today is still a bitter one,
    and I try hard not to groan aloud.
If only I knew where to find God,
    I would go to his court.
I would lay out my case
    and present my arguments.
Then I would listen to his reply
    and understand what he says to me.
Would he use his great power to argue with me?
    No, he would give me a fair hearing.
Honest people can reason with him,
    so I would be forever acquitted by my judge.
I go east, but he is not there.
    I go west, but I cannot find him.
I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden.
    I look to the south, but he is concealed.

“But he knows where I am going.
    And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.
For I have stayed on God’s paths;
    I have followed his ways and not turned aside.
I have not departed from his commands,
    but have treasured his words more than daily food.
But once he has made his decision, who can change his mind?
    Whatever he wants to do, he does.
So he will do to me whatever he has planned.
    He controls my destiny.
No wonder I am so terrified in his presence.
    When I think of it, terror grips me.
God has made me sick at heart;
    the Almighty has terrified me.
Darkness is all around me;
    thick, impenetrable darkness is everywhere.

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Job 24

Job Asks Why the Wicked Are Not Punished

“Why doesn’t the Almighty bring the wicked to judgment?
    Why must the godly wait for him in vain?
Evil people steal land by moving the boundary markers.
    They steal livestock and put them in their own pastures.
They take the orphan’s donkey
    and demand the widow’s ox as security for a loan.
The poor are pushed off the path;
    the needy must hide together for safety.
Like wild donkeys in the wilderness,
    the poor must spend all their time looking for food,
    searching even in the desert for food for their children.
They harvest a field they do not own,
    and they glean in the vineyards of the wicked.
All night they lie naked in the cold,
    without clothing or covering.
They are soaked by mountain showers,
    and they huddle against the rocks for want of a home.

“The wicked snatch a widow’s child from her breast,
    taking the baby as security for a loan.
The poor must go about naked, without any clothing.
    They harvest food for others while they themselves are starving.
They press out olive oil without being allowed to taste it,
    and they tread in the winepress as they suffer from thirst.
The groans of the dying rise from the city,
    and the wounded cry for help,
    yet God ignores their moaning.

“Wicked people rebel against the light.
    They refuse to acknowledge its ways
    or stay in its paths.
The murderer rises in the early dawn
    to kill the poor and needy;
    at night he is a thief.
The adulterer waits for the twilight,
    saying, ‘No one will see me then.’
    He hides his face so no one will know him.
Thieves break into houses at night
    and sleep in the daytime.
    They are not acquainted with the light.
The black night is their morning.
    They ally themselves with the terrors of the darkness.

“But they disappear like foam down a river.
    Everything they own is cursed,
    and they are afraid to enter their own vineyards.
The grave[a] consumes sinners
    just as drought and heat consume snow.
Their own mothers will forget them.
    Maggots will find them sweet to eat.
No one will remember them.
    Wicked people are broken like a tree in the storm.
They cheat the woman who has no son to help her.
    They refuse to help the needy widow.

“God, in his power, drags away the rich.
    They may rise high, but they have no assurance of life.
They may be allowed to live in security,
    but God is always watching them.
And though they are great now,
    in a moment they will be gone like all others,
    cut off like heads of grain.
Can anyone claim otherwise?
    Who can prove me wrong?”


Footnotes
  1. 24:19 Hebrew Sheol.

Read More of Job 24