Job 21 - Psalm 20 back to reading plan

Job Replies: The Wicked Do Prosper

21:1 Then Job answered and said:

“Keep listening to my words,
and let this be your comfort.
Bear with me, and I will speak,
and after I have spoken, mock on.
As for me, is my complaint against man?
Why should I not be impatient?
Look at me and be appalled,
and lay your hand over your mouth.
When I remember, I am dismayed,
and shuddering seizes my flesh.
Why do the wicked live,
reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
Their offspring are established in their presence,
and their descendants before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear,
and no rod of God is upon them.
Their bull breeds without fail;
their cow calves and does not miscarry.
They send out their little boys like a flock,
and their children dance.
They sing to the tambourine and the lyre
and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.
They spend their days in prosperity,
and in peace they go down to Sheol.
They say to God, ‘Depart from us!
We do not desire the knowledge of your ways.
What is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’
Behold, is not their prosperity in their hand?
The counsel of the wicked is far from me.

“How often is it that the lamp of the wicked is put out?
That their calamity comes upon them?
That God distributes pains in his anger?
That they are like straw before the wind,
and like chaff that the storm carries away?
You say, ‘God stores up their iniquity for their children.’
Let him pay it out to them, that they may know it.
Let their own eyes see their destruction,
and let them drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
For what do they care for their houses after them,
when the number of their months is cut off?
Will any teach God knowledge,
seeing that he judges those who are on high?
One dies in his full vigor,
being wholly at ease and secure,
his pails full of milk
and the marrow of his bones moist.
Another dies in bitterness of soul,
never having tasted of prosperity.
They lie down alike in the dust,
and the worms cover them.

“Behold, I know your thoughts
and your schemes to wrong me.
For you say, ‘Where is the house of the prince?
Where is the tent in which the wicked lived?’
Have you not asked those who travel the roads,
and do you not accept their testimony
that the evil man is spared in the day of calamity,
that he is rescued in the day of wrath?
Who declares his way to his face,
and who repays him for what he has done?
When he is carried to the grave,
watch is kept over his tomb.
The clods of the valley are sweet to him;
all mankind follows after him,
and those who go before him are innumerable.
How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?
There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”

Eliphaz Speaks: Job's Wickedness Is Great

22:1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

“Can a man be profitable to God?
Surely he who is wise is profitable to himself.
Is it any pleasure to the Almighty if you are in the right,
or is it gain to him if you make your ways blameless?
Is it for your fear of him that he reproves you
and enters into judgment with you?
Is not your evil abundant?
There is no end to your iniquities.
For you have exacted pledges of your brothers for nothing
and stripped the naked of their clothing.
You have given no water to the weary to drink,
and you have withheld bread from the hungry.
The man with power possessed the land,
and the favored man lived in it.
You have sent widows away empty,
and the arms of the fatherless were crushed.
Therefore snares are all around you,
and sudden terror overwhelms you,
or darkness, so that you cannot see,
and a flood of water covers you.

“Is not God high in the heavens?
See the highest stars, how lofty they are!
But you say, ‘What does God know?
Can he judge through the deep darkness?
Thick clouds veil him, so that he does not see,
and he walks on the vault of heaven.’
Will you keep to the old way
that wicked men have trod?
They were snatched away before their time;
their foundation was washed away.
They said to God, ‘Depart from us,’
and ‘What can the Almighty do to us?’
Yet he filled their houses with good things—
but the counsel of the wicked is far from me.
The righteous see it and are glad;
the innocent one mocks at them,
saying, ‘Surely our adversaries are cut off,
and what they left the fire has consumed.’

“Agree with God, and be at peace;
thereby good will come to you.
Receive instruction from his mouth,
and lay up his words in your heart.
If you return to the Almighty you will be built up;
if you remove injustice far from your tents,
if you lay gold in the dust,
and gold of Ophir among the stones of the torrent-bed,
then the Almighty will be your gold
and your precious silver.
For then you will delight yourself in the Almighty
and lift up your face to God.
You will make your prayer to him, and he will hear you,
and you will pay your vows.
You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you,
and light will shine on your ways.
For when they are humbled you say, ‘It is because of pride’;
but he saves the lowly.
He delivers even the one who is not innocent,
who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”

Job Replies: Where Is God?

23:1 Then Job answered and said:

“Today also my complaint is bitter;
my hand is heavy on account of my groaning.
Oh, that I knew where I might find him,
that I might come even to his seat!
I would lay my case before him
and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would know what he would answer me
and understand what he would say to me.
Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power?
No; he would pay attention to me.
There an upright man could argue with him,
and I would be acquitted forever by my judge.

“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there,
and backward, but I do not perceive him;
on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him;
he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.
But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.
My foot has held fast to his steps;
I have kept his way and have not turned aside.
I have not departed from the commandment of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.
But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back?
What he desires, that he does.
For he will complete what he appoints for me,
and many such things are in his mind.
Therefore I am terrified at his presence;
when I consider, I am in dread of him.
God has made my heart faint;
the Almighty has terrified me;
yet I am not silenced because of the darkness,
nor because thick darkness covers my face.

24:1 “Why are not times of judgment kept by the Almighty,
and why do those who know him never see his days?
Some move landmarks;
they seize flocks and pasture them.
They drive away the donkey of the fatherless;
they take the widow's ox for a pledge.
They thrust the poor off the road;
the poor of the earth all hide themselves.
Behold, like wild donkeys in the desert
the poor go out to their toil, seeking game;
the wasteland yields food for their children.
They gather their fodder in the field,
and they glean the vineyard of the wicked man.
They lie all night naked, without clothing,
and have no covering in the cold.
They are wet with the rain of the mountains
and cling to the rock for lack of shelter.
(There are those who snatch the fatherless child from the breast,
and they take a pledge against the poor.)
They go about naked, without clothing;
hungry, they carry the sheaves;
among the olive rows of the wicked they make oil;
they tread the winepresses, but suffer thirst.
From out of the city the dying groan,
and the soul of the wounded cries for help;
yet God charges no one with wrong.

“There are those who rebel against the light,
who are not acquainted with its ways,
and do not stay in its paths.
The murderer rises before it is light,
that he may kill the poor and needy,
and in the night he is like a thief.
The eye of the adulterer also waits for the twilight,
saying, ‘No eye will see me’;
and he veils his face.
In the dark they dig through houses;
by day they shut themselves up;
they do not know the light.
For deep darkness is morning to all of them;
for they are friends with the terrors of deep darkness.

“You say, ‘Swift are they on the face of the waters;
their portion is cursed in the land;
no treader turns toward their vineyards.
Drought and heat snatch away the snow waters;
so does Sheol those who have sinned.
The womb forgets them;
the worm finds them sweet;
they are no longer remembered,
so wickedness is broken like a tree.’

“They wrong the barren, childless woman,
and do no good to the widow.
Yet God prolongs the life of the mighty by his power;
they rise up when they despair of life.
He gives them security, and they are supported,
and his eyes are upon their ways.
They are exalted a little while, and then are gone;
they are brought low and gathered up like all others;
they are cut off like the heads of grain.
If it is not so, who will prove me a liar
and show that there is nothing in what I say?”

Bildad Speaks: Man Cannot Be Righteous

25:1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

“Dominion and fear are with God;
he makes peace in his high heaven.
Is there any number to his armies?
Upon whom does his light not arise?
How then can man be in the right before God?
How can he who is born of woman be pure?
Behold, even the moon is not bright,
and the stars are not pure in his eyes;
how much less man, who is a maggot,
and the son of man, who is a worm!”

Job Replies: God's Majesty Is Unsearchable

26:1 Then Job answered and said:

“How you have helped him who has no power!
How you have saved the arm that has no strength!
How you have counseled him who has no wisdom,
and plentifully declared sound knowledge!
With whose help have you uttered words,
and whose breath has come out from you?
The dead tremble
under the waters and their inhabitants.
Sheol is naked before God,
and Abaddon has no covering.
He stretches out the north over the void
and hangs the earth on nothing.
He binds up the waters in his thick clouds,
and the cloud is not split open under them.
He covers the face of the full moon
and spreads over it his cloud.
He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters
at the boundary between light and darkness.
The pillars of heaven tremble
and are astounded at his rebuke.
By his power he stilled the sea;
by his understanding he shattered Rahab.
By his wind the heavens were made fair;
his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways,
and how small a whisper do we hear of him!
But the thunder of his power who can understand?”

Job Continues: I Will Maintain My Integrity

27:1 And Job again took up his discourse, and said:

“As God lives, who has taken away my right,
and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter,
as long as my breath is in me,
and the spirit of God is in my nostrils,
my lips will not speak falsehood,
and my tongue will not utter deceit.
Far be it from me to say that you are right;
till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go;
my heart does not reproach me for any of my days.

“Let my enemy be as the wicked,
and let him who rises up against me be as the unrighteous.
For what is the hope of the godless when God cuts him off,
when God takes away his life?
Will God hear his cry
when distress comes upon him?
Will he take delight in the Almighty?
Will he call upon God at all times?
I will teach you concerning the hand of God;
what is with the Almighty I will not conceal.
Behold, all of you have seen it yourselves;
why then have you become altogether vain?

“This is the portion of a wicked man with God,
and the heritage that oppressors receive from the Almighty:
If his children are multiplied, it is for the sword,
and his descendants have not enough bread.
Those who survive him the pestilence buries,
and his widows do not weep.
Though he heap up silver like dust,
and pile up clothing like clay,
he may pile it up, but the righteous will wear it,
and the innocent will divide the silver.
He builds his house like a moth's,
like a booth that a watchman makes.
He goes to bed rich, but will do so no more;
he opens his eyes, and his wealth is gone.
Terrors overtake him like a flood;
in the night a whirlwind carries him off.
The east wind lifts him up and he is gone;
it sweeps him out of his place.
It hurls at him without pity;
he flees from its power in headlong flight.
It claps its hands at him
and hisses at him from its place.

Job Continues: Where Is Wisdom?

28:1 “Surely there is a mine for silver,
and a place for gold that they refine.
Iron is taken out of the earth,
and copper is smelted from the ore.
Man puts an end to darkness
and searches out to the farthest limit
the ore in gloom and deep darkness.
He opens shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives;
they are forgotten by travelers;
they hang in the air, far away from mankind; they swing to and fro.
As for the earth, out of it comes bread,
but underneath it is turned up as by fire.
Its stones are the place of sapphires,
and it has dust of gold.

“That path no bird of prey knows,
and the falcon's eye has not seen it.
The proud beasts have not trodden it;
the lion has not passed over it.

“Man puts his hand to the flinty rock
and overturns mountains by the roots.
He cuts out channels in the rocks,
and his eye sees every precious thing.
He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle,
and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light.

“But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
Man does not know its worth,
and it is not found in the land of the living.
The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
It cannot be bought for gold,
and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
in precious onyx or sapphire.
Gold and glass cannot equal it,
nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
the price of wisdom is above pearls.
The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
nor can it be valued in pure gold.

“From where, then, does wisdom come?
And where is the place of understanding?
It is hidden from the eyes of all living
and concealed from the birds of the air.
Abaddon and Death say,
‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’

“God understands the way to it,
and he knows its place.
For he looks to the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
When he gave to the wind its weight
and apportioned the waters by measure,
when he made a decree for the rain
and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
then he saw it and declared it;
he established it, and searched it out.
And he said to man,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”

Job's Summary Defense

29:1 And Job again took up his discourse, and said:

“Oh, that I were as in the months of old,
as in the days when God watched over me,
when his lamp shone upon my head,
and by his light I walked through darkness,
as I was in my prime,
when the friendship of God was upon my tent,
when the Almighty was yet with me,
when my children were all around me,
when my steps were washed with butter,
and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!
When I went out to the gate of the city,
when I prepared my seat in the square,
the young men saw me and withdrew,
and the aged rose and stood;
the princes refrained from talking
and laid their hand on their mouth;
the voice of the nobles was hushed,
and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.
When the ear heard, it called me blessed,
and when the eye saw, it approved,
because I delivered the poor who cried for help,
and the fatherless who had none to help him.
The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me,
and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
my justice was like a robe and a turban.
I was eyes to the blind
and feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy,
and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.
I broke the fangs of the unrighteous
and made him drop his prey from his teeth.
Then I thought, ‘I shall die in my nest,
and I shall multiply my days as the sand,
my roots spread out to the waters,
with the dew all night on my branches,
my glory fresh with me,
and my bow ever new in my hand.’

“Men listened to me and waited
and kept silence for my counsel.
After I spoke they did not speak again,
and my word dropped upon them.
They waited for me as for the rain,
and they opened their mouths as for the spring rain.
I smiled on them when they had no confidence,
and the light of my face they did not cast down.
I chose their way and sat as chief,
and I lived like a king among his troops,
like one who comforts mourners.

30:1 “But now they laugh at me,
men who are younger than I,
whose fathers I would have disdained
to set with the dogs of my flock.
What could I gain from the strength of their hands,
men whose vigor is gone?
Through want and hard hunger
they gnaw the dry ground by night in waste and desolation;
they pick saltwort and the leaves of bushes,
and the roots of the broom tree for their food.
They are driven out from human company;
they shout after them as after a thief.
In the gullies of the torrents they must dwell,
in holes of the earth and of the rocks.
Among the bushes they bray;
under the nettles they huddle together.
A senseless, a nameless brood,
they have been whipped out of the land.

“And now I have become their song;
I am a byword to them.
They abhor me; they keep aloof from me;
they do not hesitate to spit at the sight of me.
Because God has loosed my cord and humbled me,
they have cast off restraint in my presence.
On my right hand the rabble rise;
they push away my feet;
they cast up against me their ways of destruction.
They break up my path;
they promote my calamity;
they need no one to help them.
As through a wide breach they come;
amid the crash they roll on.
Terrors are turned upon me;
my honor is pursued as by the wind,
and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud.

“And now my soul is poured out within me;
days of affliction have taken hold of me.
The night racks my bones,
and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.
With great force my garment is disfigured;
it binds me about like the collar of my tunic.
God has cast me into the mire,
and I have become like dust and ashes.
I cry to you for help and you do not answer me;
I stand, and you only look at me.
You have turned cruel to me;
with the might of your hand you persecute me.
You lift me up on the wind; you make me ride on it,
and you toss me about in the roar of the storm.
For I know that you will bring me to death
and to the house appointed for all living.

“Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand,
and in his disaster cry for help?
Did not I weep for him whose day was hard?
Was not my soul grieved for the needy?
But when I hoped for good, evil came,
and when I waited for light, darkness came.
My inward parts are in turmoil and never still;
days of affliction come to meet me.
I go about darkened, but not by the sun;
I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.
I am a brother of jackals
and a companion of ostriches.
My skin turns black and falls from me,
and my bones burn with heat.
My lyre is turned to mourning,
and my pipe to the voice of those who weep.

Job's Final Appeal

31:1 “I have made a covenant with my eyes;
how then could I gaze at a virgin?
What would be my portion from God above
and my heritage from the Almighty on high?
Is not calamity for the unrighteous,
and disaster for the workers of iniquity?
Does not he see my ways
and number all my steps?

“If I have walked with falsehood
and my foot has hastened to deceit;
(Let me be weighed in a just balance,
and let God know my integrity!)
if my step has turned aside from the way
and my heart has gone after my eyes,
and if any spot has stuck to my hands,
then let me sow, and another eat,
and let what grows for me be rooted out.

“If my heart has been enticed toward a woman,
and I have lain in wait at my neighbor's door,
then let my wife grind for another,
and let others bow down on her.
For that would be a heinous crime;
that would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges;
for that would be a fire that consumes as far as Abaddon,
and it would burn to the root all my increase.

“If I have rejected the cause of my manservant or my maidservant,
when they brought a complaint against me,
what then shall I do when God rises up?
When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him?
Did not he who made me in the womb make him?
And did not one fashion us in the womb?

“If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,
or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
or have eaten my morsel alone,
and the fatherless has not eaten of it
(for from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father,
and from my mother's womb I guided the widow),
if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,
or the needy without covering,
if his body has not blessed me,
and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep,
if I have raised my hand against the fatherless,
because I saw my help in the gate,
then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder,
and let my arm be broken from its socket.
For I was in terror of calamity from God,
and I could not have faced his majesty.

“If I have made gold my trust
or called fine gold my confidence,
if I have rejoiced because my wealth was abundant
or because my hand had found much,
if I have looked at the sun when it shone,
or the moon moving in splendor,
and my heart has been secretly enticed,
and my mouth has kissed my hand,
this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges,
for I would have been false to God above.

“If I have rejoiced at the ruin of him who hated me,
or exulted when evil overtook him
(I have not let my mouth sin
by asking for his life with a curse),
if the men of my tent have not said,
‘Who is there that has not been filled with his meat?’
(the sojourner has not lodged in the street;
I have opened my doors to the traveler),
if I have concealed my transgressions as others do
by hiding my iniquity in my bosom,
because I stood in great fear of the multitude,
and the contempt of families terrified me,
so that I kept silence, and did not go out of doors—
Oh, that I had one to hear me!
(Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me!)
Oh, that I had the indictment written by my adversary!
Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;
I would bind it on me as a crown;
I would give him an account of all my steps;
like a prince I would approach him.

“If my land has cried out against me
and its furrows have wept together,
if I have eaten its yield without payment
and made its owners breathe their last,
let thorns grow instead of wheat,
and foul weeds instead of barley.”

The words of Job are ended.

Elihu Rebukes Job's Three Friends

32:1 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, burned with anger. He burned with anger at Job because he justified himself rather than God. He burned with anger also at Job's three friends because they had found no answer, although they had declared Job to be in the wrong. Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were older than he. And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, he burned with anger.

And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said:

“I am young in years,
and you are aged;
therefore I was timid and afraid
to declare my opinion to you.
I said, ‘Let days speak,
and many years teach wisdom.’
But it is the spirit in man,
the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.
It is not the old who are wise,
nor the aged who understand what is right.
Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me;
let me also declare my opinion.’

“Behold, I waited for your words,
I listened for your wise sayings,
while you searched out what to say.
I gave you my attention,
and, behold, there was none among you who refuted Job
or who answered his words.
Beware lest you say, ‘We have found wisdom;
God may vanquish him, not a man.’
He has not directed his words against me,
and I will not answer him with your speeches.

“They are dismayed; they answer no more;
they have not a word to say.
And shall I wait, because they do not speak,
because they stand there, and answer no more?
I also will answer with my share;
I also will declare my opinion.
For I am full of words;
the spirit within me constrains me.
Behold, my belly is like wine that has no vent;
like new wineskins ready to burst.
I must speak, that I may find relief;
I must open my lips and answer.
I will not show partiality to any man
or use flattery toward any person.
For I do not know how to flatter,
else my Maker would soon take me away.

Elihu Rebukes Job

33:1 “But now, hear my speech, O Job,
and listen to all my words.
Behold, I open my mouth;
the tongue in my mouth speaks.
My words declare the uprightness of my heart,
and what my lips know they speak sincerely.
The Spirit of God has made me,
and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Answer me, if you can;
set your words in order before me; take your stand.
Behold, I am toward God as you are;
I too was pinched off from a piece of clay.
Behold, no fear of me need terrify you;
my pressure will not be heavy upon you.

“Surely you have spoken in my ears,
and I have heard the sound of your words.
You say, ‘I am pure, without transgression;
I am clean, and there is no iniquity in me.
Behold, he finds occasions against me,
he counts me as his enemy,
he puts my feet in the stocks
and watches all my paths.’

“Behold, in this you are not right. I will answer you,
for God is greater than man.
Why do you contend against him,
saying, ‘He will answer none of man's words’?
For God speaks in one way,
and in two, though man does not perceive it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on men,
while they slumber on their beds,
then he opens the ears of men
and terrifies them with warnings,
that he may turn man aside from his deed
and conceal pride from a man;
he keeps back his soul from the pit,
his life from perishing by the sword.

“Man is also rebuked with pain on his bed
and with continual strife in his bones,
so that his life loathes bread,
and his appetite the choicest food.
His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen,
and his bones that were not seen stick out.
His soul draws near the pit,
and his life to those who bring death.
If there be for him an angel,
a mediator, one of the thousand,
to declare to man what is right for him,
and he is merciful to him, and says,
‘Deliver him from going down into the pit;
I have found a ransom;
let his flesh become fresh with youth;
let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’;
then man prays to God, and he accepts him;
he sees his face with a shout of joy,
and he restores to man his righteousness.
He sings before men and says:
‘I sinned and perverted what was right,
and it was not repaid to me.
He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit,
and my life shall look upon the light.’

“Behold, God does all these things,
twice, three times, with a man,
to bring back his soul from the pit,
that he may be lighted with the light of life.
Pay attention, O Job, listen to me;
be silent, and I will speak.
If you have any words, answer me;
speak, for I desire to justify you.
If not, listen to me;
be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”

Elihu Asserts God's Justice

34:1 Then Elihu answered and said:

“Hear my words, you wise men,
and give ear to me, you who know;
for the ear tests words
as the palate tastes food.
Let us choose what is right;
let us know among ourselves what is good.
For Job has said, ‘I am in the right,
and God has taken away my right;
in spite of my right I am counted a liar;
my wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.’
What man is like Job,
who drinks up scoffing like water,
who travels in company with evildoers
and walks with wicked men?
For he has said, ‘It profits a man nothing
that he should take delight in God.’

“Therefore, hear me, you men of understanding:
far be it from God that he should do wickedness,
and from the Almighty that he should do wrong.
For according to the work of a man he will repay him,
and according to his ways he will make it befall him.
Of a truth, God will not do wickedly,
and the Almighty will not pervert justice.
Who gave him charge over the earth,
and who laid on him the whole world?
If he should set his heart to it
and gather to himself his spirit and his breath,
all flesh would perish together,
and man would return to dust.

“If you have understanding, hear this;
listen to what I say.
Shall one who hates justice govern?
Will you condemn him who is righteous and mighty,
who says to a king, ‘Worthless one,’
and to nobles, ‘Wicked man,’
who shows no partiality to princes,
nor regards the rich more than the poor,
for they are all the work of his hands?
In a moment they die;
at midnight the people are shaken and pass away,
and the mighty are taken away by no human hand.

“For his eyes are on the ways of a man,
and he sees all his steps.
There is no gloom or deep darkness
where evildoers may hide themselves.
For God has no need to consider a man further,
that he should go before God in judgment.
He shatters the mighty without investigation
and sets others in their place.
Thus, knowing their works,
he overturns them in the night, and they are crushed.
He strikes them for their wickedness
in a place for all to see,
because they turned aside from following him
and had no regard for any of his ways,
so that they caused the cry of the poor to come to him,
and he heard the cry of the afflicted—
When he is quiet, who can condemn?
When he hides his face, who can behold him,
whether it be a nation or a man?—
that a godless man should not reign,
that he should not ensnare the people.

“For has anyone said to God,
‘I have borne punishment; I will not offend any more;
teach me what I do not see;
if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more’?
Will he then make repayment to suit you,
because you reject it?
For you must choose, and not I;
therefore declare what you know.
Men of understanding will say to me,
and the wise man who hears me will say:
‘Job speaks without knowledge;
his words are without insight.’
Would that Job were tried to the end,
because he answers like wicked men.
For he adds rebellion to his sin;
he claps his hands among us
and multiplies his words against God.”

Elihu Condemns Job

35:1 And Elihu answered and said:

“Do you think this to be just?
Do you say, ‘It is my right before God,’
that you ask, ‘What advantage have I?
How am I better off than if I had sinned?’
I will answer you
and your friends with you.
Look at the heavens, and see;
and behold the clouds, which are higher than you.
If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against him?
And if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to him?
If you are righteous, what do you give to him?
Or what does he receive from your hand?
Your wickedness concerns a man like yourself,
and your righteousness a son of man.

“Because of the multitude of oppressions people cry out;
they call for help because of the arm of the mighty.
But none says, ‘Where is God my Maker,
who gives songs in the night,
who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth
and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?’
There they cry out, but he does not answer,
because of the pride of evil men.
Surely God does not hear an empty cry,
nor does the Almighty regard it.
How much less when you say that you do not see him,
that the case is before him, and you are waiting for him!
And now, because his anger does not punish,
and he does not take much note of transgression,
Job opens his mouth in empty talk;
he multiplies words without knowledge.”

Elihu Extols God's Greatness

36:1 And Elihu continued, and said:

“Bear with me a little, and I will show you,
for I have yet something to say on God's behalf.
I will get my knowledge from afar
and ascribe righteousness to my Maker.
For truly my words are not false;
one who is perfect in knowledge is with you.

“Behold, God is mighty, and does not despise any;
he is mighty in strength of understanding.
He does not keep the wicked alive,
but gives the afflicted their right.
He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous,
but with kings on the throne
he sets them forever, and they are exalted.
And if they are bound in chains
and caught in the cords of affliction,
then he declares to them their work
and their transgressions, that they are behaving arrogantly.
He opens their ears to instruction
and commands that they return from iniquity.
If they listen and serve him,
they complete their days in prosperity,
and their years in pleasantness.
But if they do not listen, they perish by the sword
and die without knowledge.

“The godless in heart cherish anger;
they do not cry for help when he binds them.
They die in youth,
and their life ends among the cult prostitutes.
He delivers the afflicted by their affliction
and opens their ear by adversity.
He also allured you out of distress
into a broad place where there was no cramping,
and what was set on your table was full of fatness.

“But you are full of the judgment on the wicked;
judgment and justice seize you.
Beware lest wrath entice you into scoffing,
and let not the greatness of the ransom turn you aside.
Will your cry for help avail to keep you from distress,
or all the force of your strength?
Do not long for the night,
when peoples vanish in their place.
Take care; do not turn to iniquity,
for this you have chosen rather than affliction.
Behold, God is exalted in his power;
who is a teacher like him?
Who has prescribed for him his way,
or who can say, ‘You have done wrong’?

“Remember to extol his work,
of which men have sung.
All mankind has looked on it;
man beholds it from afar.
Behold, God is great, and we know him not;
the number of his years is unsearchable.
For he draws up the drops of water;
they distill his mist in rain,
which the skies pour down
and drop on mankind abundantly.
Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds,
the thunderings of his pavilion?
Behold, he scatters his lightning about him
and covers the roots of the sea.
For by these he judges peoples;
he gives food in abundance.
He covers his hands with the lightning
and commands it to strike the mark.
Its crashing declares his presence;
the cattle also declare that he rises.

Elihu Proclaims God's Majesty

37:1 “At this also my heart trembles
and leaps out of its place.
Keep listening to the thunder of his voice
and the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
Under the whole heaven he lets it go,
and his lightning to the corners of the earth.
After it his voice roars;
he thunders with his majestic voice,
and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard.
God thunders wondrously with his voice;
he does great things that we cannot comprehend.
For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’
likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.
He seals up the hand of every man,
that all men whom he made may know it.
Then the beasts go into their lairs,
and remain in their dens.
From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
and cold from the scattering winds.
By the breath of God ice is given,
and the broad waters are frozen fast.
He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
the clouds scatter his lightning.
They turn around and around by his guidance,
to accomplish all that he commands them
on the face of the habitable world.
Whether for correction or for his land
or for love, he causes it to happen.

“Hear this, O Job;
stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
Do you know how God lays his command upon them
and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?
Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge,
you whose garments are hot
when the earth is still because of the south wind?
Can you, like him, spread out the skies,
hard as a cast metal mirror?
Teach us what we shall say to him;
we cannot draw up our case because of darkness.
Shall it be told him that I would speak?
Did a man ever wish that he would be swallowed up?

“And now no one looks on the light
when it is bright in the skies,
when the wind has passed and cleared them.
Out of the north comes golden splendor;
God is clothed with awesome majesty.
The Almighty—we cannot find him;
he is great in power;
justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate.
Therefore men fear him;
he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.”

The Lord Answers Job

38:1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

“Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb,
when I made clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed limits for it
and set bars and doors,
and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?

“Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
and caused the dawn to know its place,
that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
and the wicked be shaken out of it?
It is changed like clay under the seal,
and its features stand out like a garment.
From the wicked their light is withheld,
and their uplifted arm is broken.

“Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
Declare, if you know all this.

“Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
and where is the place of darkness,
that you may take it to its territory
and that you may discern the paths to its home?
You know, for you were born then,
and the number of your days is great!

“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war?
What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?

“Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain
and a way for the thunderbolt,
to bring rain on a land where no man is,
on the desert in which there is no man,
to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
and to make the ground sprout with grass?

“Has the rain a father,
or who has begotten the drops of dew?
From whose womb did the ice come forth,
and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?
The waters become hard like stone,
and the face of the deep is frozen.

“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades
or loose the cords of Orion?
Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,
or can you guide the Bear with its children?
Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
Can you establish their rule on the earth?

“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
that a flood of waters may cover you?
Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go
and say to you, ‘Here we are’?
Who has put wisdom in the inward parts
or given understanding to the mind?
Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
when the dust runs into a mass
and the clods stick fast together?

“Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
when they crouch in their dens
or lie in wait in their thicket?
Who provides for the raven its prey,
when its young ones cry to God for help,
and wander about for lack of food?

39:1 “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
Do you observe the calving of the does?
Can you number the months that they fulfill,
and do you know the time when they give birth,
when they crouch, bring forth their offspring,
and are delivered of their young?
Their young ones become strong; they grow up in the open;
they go out and do not return to them.

“Who has let the wild donkey go free?
Who has loosed the bonds of the swift donkey,
to whom I have given the arid plain for his home
and the salt land for his dwelling place?
He scorns the tumult of the city;
he hears not the shouts of the driver.
He ranges the mountains as his pasture,
and he searches after every green thing.

“Is the wild ox willing to serve you?
Will he spend the night at your manger?
Can you bind him in the furrow with ropes,
or will he harrow the valleys after you?
Will you depend on him because his strength is great,
and will you leave to him your labor?
Do you have faith in him that he will return your grain
and gather it to your threshing floor?

“The wings of the ostrich wave proudly,
but are they the pinions and plumage of love?
For she leaves her eggs to the earth
and lets them be warmed on the ground,
forgetting that a foot may crush them
and that the wild beast may trample them.
She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers;
though her labor be in vain, yet she has no fear,
because God has made her forget wisdom
and given her no share in understanding.
When she rouses herself to flee,
she laughs at the horse and his rider.

“Do you give the horse his might?
Do you clothe his neck with a mane?
Do you make him leap like the locust?
His majestic snorting is terrifying.
He paws in the valley and exults in his strength;
he goes out to meet the weapons.