Job Speaks of His Anguish
“But now I am mocked by people younger than I,
by young men whose fathers are not worthy to run with my sheepdogs.
A lot of good they are to me—
those worn-out wretches!
They are gaunt from poverty and hunger.
They claw the dry ground in desolate wastelands.
They pluck wild greens from among the bushes
and eat from the roots of broom trees.
They are driven from human society,
and people shout at them as if they were thieves.
So now they live in frightening ravines,
in caves and among the rocks.
They sound like animals howling among the bushes,
huddled together beneath the nettles.
They are nameless fools,
outcasts from society.
“And now they mock me with vulgar songs!
They taunt me!
They despise me and won’t come near me,
except to spit in my face.
For God has cut my bowstring.
He has humbled me,
so they have thrown off all restraint.
These outcasts oppose me to my face.
They send me sprawling
and lay traps in my path.
They block my road
and do everything they can to destroy me.
They know I have no one to help me.
They come at me from all directions.
They jump on me when I am down.
I live in terror now.
My honor has blown away in the wind,
and my prosperity has vanished like a cloud.
“And now my life seeps away.
Depression haunts my days.
At night my bones are filled with pain,
which gnaws at me relentlessly.
With a strong hand, God grabs my shirt.[a]
He grips me by the collar of my coat.
He has thrown me into the mud.
I’m nothing more than dust and ashes.
“I cry to you, O God, but you don’t answer.
I stand before you, but you don’t even look.
You have become cruel toward me.
You use your power to persecute me.
You throw me into the whirlwind
and destroy me in the storm.
And I know you are sending me to my death—
the destination of all who live.
“Surely no one would turn against the needy
when they cry for help in their trouble.
Did I not weep for those in trouble?
Was I not deeply grieved for the needy?
So I looked for good, but evil came instead.
I waited for the light, but darkness fell.
My heart is troubled and restless.
Days of suffering torment me.
I walk in gloom, without sunlight.
I stand in the public square and cry for help.
Instead, I am considered a brother to jackals
and a companion to owls.
My skin has turned dark,
and my bones burn with fever.
My harp plays sad music,
and my flute accompanies those who weep.
- 30:18 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads hand, my garment is disfigured.
Job’s Final Protest of Innocence
“I made a covenant with my eyes
not to look with lust at a young woman.
For what has God above chosen for us?
What is our inheritance from the Almighty on high?
Isn’t it calamity for the wicked
and misfortune for those who do evil?
Doesn’t he see everything I do
and every step I take?
“Have I lied to anyone
or deceived anyone?
Let God weigh me on the scales of justice,
for he knows my integrity.
If I have strayed from his pathway,
or if my heart has lusted for what my eyes have seen,
or if I am guilty of any other sin,
then let someone else eat the crops I have planted.
Let all that I have planted be uprooted.
“If my heart has been seduced by a woman,
or if I have lusted for my neighbor’s wife,
then let my wife serve[a] another man;
let other men sleep with her.
For lust is a shameful sin,
a crime that should be punished.
It is a fire that burns all the way to hell.[b]
It would wipe out everything I own.
“If I have been unfair to my male or female servants
when they brought their complaints to me,
how could I face God?
What could I say when he questioned me?
For God created both me and my servants.
He created us both in the womb.
“Have I refused to help the poor,
or crushed the hopes of widows?
Have I been stingy with my food
and refused to share it with orphans?
No, from childhood I have cared for orphans like a father,
and all my life I have cared for widows.
Whenever I saw the homeless without clothes
and the needy with nothing to wear,
did they not praise me
for providing wool clothing to keep them warm?
“If I raised my hand against an orphan,
knowing the judges would take my side,
then let my shoulder be wrenched out of place!
Let my arm be torn from its socket!
That would be better than facing God’s judgment.
For if the majesty of God opposes me, what hope is there?
“Have I put my trust in money
or felt secure because of my gold?
Have I gloated about my wealth
and all that I own?
“Have I looked at the sun shining in the skies,
or the moon walking down its silver pathway,
and been secretly enticed in my heart
to throw kisses at them in worship?
If so, I should be punished by the judges,
for it would mean I had denied the God of heaven.
“Have I ever rejoiced when disaster struck my enemies,
or become excited when harm came their way?
No, I have never sinned by cursing anyone
or by asking for revenge.
“My servants have never said,
‘He let others go hungry.’
I have never turned away a stranger
but have opened my doors to everyone.
“Have I tried to hide my sins like other people do,
concealing my guilt in my heart?
Have I feared the crowd
or the contempt of the masses,
so that I kept quiet and stayed indoors?
“If only someone would listen to me!
Look, I will sign my name to my defense.
Let the Almighty answer me.
Let my accuser write out the charges against me.
I would face the accusation proudly.
I would wear it like a crown.
For I would tell him exactly what I have done.
I would come before him like a prince.
“If my land accuses me
and all its furrows cry out together,
or if I have stolen its crops
or murdered its owners,
then let thistles grow on that land instead of wheat,
and weeds instead of barley.”
Job’s words are ended.
Elihu Responds to Job’s Friends
Job’s three friends refused to reply further to him because he kept insisting on his innocence.
Then Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the clan of Ram, became angry. He was angry because Job refused to admit that he had sinned and that God was right in punishing him. He was also angry with Job’s three friends, for they made God[a] appear to be wrong by their inability to answer Job’s arguments. Elihu had waited for the others to speak to Job because they were older than he. But when he saw that they had no further reply, he spoke out angrily. Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said,
“I am young and you are old,
so I held back from telling you what I think.
I thought, ‘Those who are older should speak,
for wisdom comes with age.’
But there is a spirit[b] within people,
the breath of the Almighty within them,
that makes them intelligent.
Sometimes the elders are not wise.
Sometimes the aged do not understand justice.
So listen to me,
and let me tell you what I think.
“I have waited all this time,
listening very carefully to your arguments,
listening to you grope for words.
I have listened,
but not one of you has refuted Job
or answered his arguments.
And don’t tell me, ‘He is too wise for us.
Only God can convince him.’
If Job had been arguing with me,
I would not answer with your kind of logic!
You sit there baffled,
with nothing more to say.
Should I continue to wait, now that you are silent?
Must I also remain silent?
No, I will say my piece.
I will speak my mind.
For I am full of pent-up words,
and the spirit within me urges me on.
I am like a cask of wine without a vent,
like a new wineskin ready to burst!
I must speak to find relief,
so let me give my answers.
I won’t play favorites
or try to flatter anyone.
For if I tried flattery,
my Creator would soon destroy me.
- 32:3 As in ancient Hebrew scribal tradition; the Masoretic Text reads Job.
- 32:8 Or Spirit; also in 32:18.