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Job Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Chapter 1


Job and His Family
1Many years ago, a man named Job lived in the land of Uz. He was a truly good person, who respected God and refused to do evil. 2Job had seven sons
and three daughters. 3He owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred pair of oxen, five hundred donkeys, and a large number of servants. He was the richest person in the East.
4Job's sons took turns having feasts in their homes, and they always invited their three sisters to join in the eating and drinking. 5After each feast, Job would send for his children and perform a ceremony, as a way of asking God to forgive them of any wrongs they may have done. He would get up early the next morning and offer a sacrifice for each of them, just in case they had sinned or silently cursed God.


Angels, the LORD, and Satan
6One day, when the angels had gathered around the LORD, and Satan was there with them, 7the LORD asked, "Satan, where have you been?" Satan replied, "I have been going all over the earth."
8Then the LORD asked, "What do you think of my servant Job? No one on earth is like him--he is a truly good person, who respects me and refuses to do evil."
9"Why shouldn't he respect you?" Satan remarked. 10"You are like a wall protecting not only him, but his entire family and all his property. You make him successful in whatever he does, and his flocks and herds are everywhere. 11Try taking away everything he owns, and he will curse you to your face."
12The LORD replied, "All right, Satan, do what you want with anything that belongs to him, but don't harm Job."
Then Satan left.


Job Loses Everything
13Job's
sons and daughters were having a feast in the home of his oldest son, 14when someone rushed up to Job and said, "While your servants were plowing with your oxen, and your donkeys were nearby eating grass, 15a gang of Sabeans attacked and stole the oxen and donkeys! Your other servants were killed, and I was the only one who escaped to tell you." 16That servant was still speaking, when a second one came running up and saying, "God sent down a fire that killed your sheep and your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you."
17Before that servant finished speaking, a third one raced up and said, "Three gangs of Chaldeans attacked and stole your camels! All of your other servants were killed, and I am the only one who escaped to tell you." 18That servant was still speaking, when a fourth one dashed up and said, "Your children were having a feast
and drinking wine at the home of your oldest son, 19when suddenly a windstorm from the desert blew the house down, crushing all of your children. I am the only one who escaped to tell you."
20When Job heard this, he tore his clothes and
shaved his head because of his great sorrow. He knelt on the ground, then worshiped God 21and said:
"We bring nothing at birth;
we take nothing
with us at death.
The LORD alone gives and takes.
Praise
the name of the LORD!"
22In spite of everything, Job did not sin or accuse God of doing wrong.


Chapter 2


Job Loses His Health
1When the angels gathered around the LORD again, Satan was there with them, 2and the LORD asked, "Satan, where have you been?" Satan replied, "I have been going all over the earth."
3Then the LORD asked, "What do you think of my servant Job? No one on earth is like him--he is a truly good person, who respects me and refuses to do evil. And he hasn't changed, even though you persuaded me to destroy him for no reason."
4Satan answered, "There's no pain like your own. People will do anything to stay alive. 5Try striking Job's own body with pain, and he will curse you to your face." 6"All right!" the LORD replied. "Make Job suffer as much as you want, but just don't kill him." 7Satan left and caused painful sores to break out all over Job's body--from head to toe.
8Then Job sat on the ash-heap to show his sorrow. And while he was scraping his sores with a broken piece of pottery, 9his wife asked, "Why do you still trust God? Why don't you curse him and die?"
10Job replied, "Don't talk like a fool! If we accept blessings from God, we must accept trouble as well." In all that happened, Job never once said anything against God.


Job's Three Friends
11Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad from Shuah, and Zophar from Naamah were three of Job's friends, and they heard about his troubles. So they agreed to visit Job and comfort him. 12When they came near enough to see Job, they could hardly recognize him. And in their great sorrow, they tore their clothes, then sprinkled dust on their heads and cried bitterly. 13For
seven days and nights, they sat silently on the ground beside him, because they realized what terrible pain he was in.

Chapter 3


Job's First Speech


Blot Out the Day of My Birth
1Finally, Job cursed the day
of his birth
2by saying to God:
3Blot out the day of my birth
and the night when my parents
created a son.
4Forget about that day,
cover it
with darkness,
5and send thick, gloomy shadows
to fill it with dread.
6Erase that night from the calendar
and conceal it with darkness.
7Don't let children be created
or joyful shouts be heard
ever again in that night.
8Let those with magic powers place a curse on that day.
9Darken its morning stars
and remove all hope of light,
10because it let me be born
into a world of trouble.


Why Didn't I Die at Birth?
11Why didn't I die at birth?
12Why was I accepted and allowed to nurse
at my mother's breast?
13Now I would be at peace
in the silent world below
14with kings and their advisors
whose palaces lie in ruins,
15and with rulers once rich
with silver and gold.
16I wish I had been born dead
and then buried,
never to see
the light of day.
17In the world of the dead,
the wicked and the weary rest
without a worry.
18Everyone is there--
19where captives and slaves
are free at last.


Why Does God Let Me Live?
20Why does God let me live
when life is miserable
and so bitter?
21I keep longing for death
more than I would seek
a valuable treasure.
22Nothing could make me happier
than to be in the grave.
23Why do I go on living
when God has me surrounded,
and I can't see the road?
24Moaning and groaning
are my food and drink,
25and my worst fears
have all come true.
26I have no peace or rest--
only troubles and worries.


Chapter 4


Eliphaz's First Speech


Please Be Patient and Listen
1Eliphaz from Teman said: 2Please be patient and listen
to what I have to say.
3Remember how your words
4have guided and encouraged
many in need.
5But now you feel discouraged
when struck by trouble.
6You respect God and live right,
so don't lose hope!
7No truly innocent person
has ever died young.
8In my experience, only those
who plant seeds of evil
harvest trouble,
9and then they are swept away
by the angry breath of God.
10They may roar and growl
like powerful lions.
But when God breaks their teeth,
11they starve,
and their children
are scattered.


A Secret Was Told to Me
12A secret was told to me
in a faint whisper--
13I was overcome by sleep,
but disturbed by dreams;
14I trembled with fear,
15and my hair stood on end,
as a wind blew past my face.
16It stopped and stood still.
Then a form appeared--
a shapeless form.
And from the silence,
I heard a voice say,
17"No humans are innocent
in the eyes of God
their Creator.
18He finds fault with his servants
and even with his angels.
19Humans are formed from clay
and are fragile as moths,
so what chance do you have?
20Born after daybreak,
you die before nightfall
and disappear forever.
21Your tent pegs are pulled up,
and you leave this life,
having gained no wisdom."


Chapter 5


Eliphaz Continues


Call Out for Help
1Job, call out for help
and see if an angel comes!
2Envy and jealousy
will kill a stupid fool.
3I have seen fools take root.
But God sends a curse,
suddenly uprooting them
4and leaving their children
helpless in court.
5Then hungry and greedy people
gobble down their crops
and grab up their wealth.
6Our suffering isn't caused
by the failure of crops;
7it's all part of life,
like sparks shooting skyward.
8Job, if I were you,
I would ask God for help.
9His miracles are marvelous,
more than we can count.
10God sends showers on earth
and waters the fields.
11He protects the sorrowful
and lifts up those
who have been disgraced.
12God swiftly traps the wicked
13in their own evil schemes,
and their wisdom fails.
14Darkness is their only companion,
hiding their path at noon.
15God rescues the needy
from the words of the wicked
and the fist of the mighty.
16The poor are filled with hope,
and injustice is silenced.


Consider Yourself Fortunate
17Consider yourself fortunate
if God All-Powerful
chooses to correct you.
18He may cause injury and pain,
but he will bandage and heal
your cuts and bruises.
19God will protect you from harm,
no matter how often
trouble may strike.
20In times of war and famine,
God will keep you safe.
21You will be sheltered,
without fear of hurtful words
or any other weapon.
22You will laugh at the threat
of
destruction and famine.
And you won't be afraid
of wild animals--
23they will no longer be fierce,
and your rocky fields
will become friendly.
24Your home will be secure,
and your sheep will be safe.
25You will have more descendants
than there are blades of grass
on the face of the earth.
26You will live a long life,
and your body will be strong
until the day you die.
27Our experience has proven
these things to be true,
so listen and learn.


Chapter 6


Job's Reply to Eliphaz


It's Impossible
1Job said:
2It's impossible to weigh
my misery and grief!
3They outweigh the sand
along the beach,
and that's why I have spoken
without thinking first.
4The fearsome arrows
of God All-Powerful
have filled my soul
with their poison.
5Do oxen and wild donkeys
cry out in distress
unless they are hungry?
6What is food without salt?
What is more tasteless
than the white of an egg?
7That's how my food tastes,
and my appetite is gone.
8How I wish that God
would answer my prayer
9and do away with me.
10Then I would be comforted,
knowing that in all of my pain
I have never disobeyed God.
11Why should I patiently hope
when my strength is gone?
12I am not strong as stone
or bronze,
13and I have finally reached
the end of my rope.


My Friends, I Am Desperate
14My friends, I am desperate,
and you should help me,
even if I no longer respect
God All-Powerful.
15But you are treacherous
16as streams that swell
with melting snow,
17then suddenly disappear
in the summer heat.
18I am like a caravan,
lost in the desert
while searching for water.
19Caravans from Tema and Sheba 20thought they would find water.
But they were disappointed,
21just as I am with you. Only one look at my suffering,
and you run away scared.


What Have I Done Wrong?
22Have I ever asked any of you
to give me a gift
23or to purchase my freedom
from brutal enemies?
24What have I done wrong?
Show me,
and I will keep quiet.
25The truth is always painful,
but your arguments
prove nothing.
26Here I am desperate,
and you consider my words
as worthless as wind.
27Why, you would sell an orphan
or your own neighbor!
28Look me straight in the eye;
I won't lie to you.
29Stop accusing me falsely;
my reputation is at stake.
30I know right from wrong,
and I am not telling lies.


Chapter 7


Job Continues


Why Is Life So Hard?
1Why is life so hard?
Why do we suffer?
2We are slaves in search of shade;
we are laborers longing
for our wages.
3God has made my days drag on
and my nights miserable.
4I pray for night to end,
but it stretches out
while I toss and turn.
5My parched skin is covered
with worms, dirt, and sores,
6and my days are running out
quicker than the thread
of a fast-moving needle.


Don't Forget!
7I beg you, God, don't forget!
My life is just a breath,
and trouble lies ahead.
8I will vanish from sight,
and no one, including you,
will ever see me again.
9I will disappear in the grave
or vanish from sight
like a passing cloud.
10Never will I return home;
soon I will be forgotten.
11And so, I cry out to you
in agony and distress.
12Am I the sea or a sea monster?
Is that why you imprison me?
13I go to bed, hoping for rest,
14but you torture me
with terrible dreams.
15I'd rather choke to death
than live in this body.
16Leave me alone and let me die;
my life has no meaning.
17What makes you so concerned
about us humans?
18Why do you test us
from sunrise to sunset?
19Won't you look away
just long enough
for me to swallow?
20Why do you watch us so closely?
What's it to you, if I sin?
Why am I your target
and such a heavy burden?
21Why do you refuse to forgive?
Soon you won't find me,
because I'll be dead.


Chapter 8


Bildad's First Speech


How Long Will You Talk?
1Bildad from Shuah said: 2How long will you talk
and keep saying nothing?
3Does God All-Powerful
stand in the way of justice?
4He made your children pay
for their sins.
5So why don't you turn to him
6and start living right?
Then he will decide
to rescue and restore you
to your place of honor.
7Your future will be brighter
by far than your past.


Our Ancestors Were Wise
8Our ancestors were wise,
so learn from them.
9Our own time has been short,
like a fading shadow,
and we know very little.
10But they will instruct you
with great understanding.
11Papyrus reeds grow healthy
only in a swamp,
12and if the water dries up,
they die sooner than grass.
13Such is the hopeless future
of all who turn from God
14and trust in something as frail
as a spider's web--
15they take hold and fall
because it's so flimsy.
16Sinful people are like plants
with spreading roots
and plenty
of sun and water.
17They wrap their roots tightly
around rocks.
18But once they are pulled up,
they have no more place;
19their life slips away, and other plants grow there.
20We know God doesn't reject
an innocent person
or help a sinner.
21And so, he will make you happy
and give you something
to smile about.
22But your evil enemies
will be put to shame
and disappear forever.


Chapter 9


Job's Reply to Bildad


What You Say Is True
1Job said:
2What you say is true.
No human is innocent
in the sight of God.
3Not once in a thousand times
could we win our case
if we took him to court.
4God is wise and powerful--
who could possibly
oppose him and win?
5When God becomes angry,
he can move mountains
before they even know it.
6God can shake the earth loose
from its foundations
7or command the sun and stars
to hold back their light.
8God alone stretched out the sky,
stepped on the sea,
9and set the stars in place--
the Big Dipper and Orion,
the Pleiades and the stars
in the southern sky.
10Of all the miracles God works,
we cannot understand a one.
11God walks right past me,
without making a sound.
12And if he grabs something,
who can stop him
or raise a question?
13When God showed his anger,
the servants of the sea monster fell at his feet.
14How, then, could I possibly
argue my case with God?


Though I Am Innocent
15Even though I am innocent,
I can only beg for mercy.
16And if God came into court
when I called him,
he would not hear my case.
17He would strike me with a storm and increase my injuries
for no reason at all.
18Before I could get my breath,
my miseries would multiply.
19God is much stronger than I am,
and who would call me into court
to give me justice?
20Even if I were innocent,
God would prove me wrong.
21I am not guilty,
but I no longer care
what happens to me.
22What difference does it make?
God destroys the innocent
along with the guilty.
23When a good person dies
a sudden death,
God sits back and laughs.
24And who else but God
blindfolds the judges,
then lets the wicked
take over the earth?


My Life Is Speeding By
25My life is speeding by,
without a hope of happiness.
26Each day passes swifter
than a sailing ship
or an eagle swooping down.
27Sometimes I try to be cheerful
and to stop complaining,
28but my sufferings frighten me,
because I know that God
still considers me guilty.
29So what's the use of trying
to prove my innocence?
30Even if I washed myself
with the strongest soap,
31God would throw me into a pit
of stinking slime,
leaving me
disgusting to my clothes.
32God isn't a mere human like me.
I can't put him on trial.
33Who could possibly judge
between the two of us?
34Can someone snatch away
the stick God carries
to frighten me?
35Then I could speak up
without fear of him,
but for now, I cannot speak.

Chapter 10


Job Complains to God


I Am Sick of Life!
1I am sick of life!
And from my deep despair,
I complain to you, my God.
2Don't just condemn me!
Point out my sin.
3Why do you take such delight
in destroying those you created
and in smiling on sinners?
4Do you look at things
the way we humans do?
5Is your life as short as ours?
6Is that why you are so quick
to find fault with me?
7You know I am innocent,
but who can defend me
against you?
8Will you now destroy
someone you created?
9Remember that you molded me
like a piece of clay.
So don't turn me back
into dust once again.
10As cheese is made from milk,
you created my body
from a tiny drop.
11Then you tied my bones together
with muscles
and covered them
with flesh and skin.
12You, the source of my life,
showered me with kindness
and watched over me.


You Have Not Explained
13You have not explained
all of your mysteries,
14but you catch and punish me
each time I sin.
15Guilty or innocent,
I am condemned and ashamed
because of my troubles.
16No matter how hard I try,
you keep hunting me down
like a powerful lion.
17You never stop accusing me;
you become furious and attack
over and over again.
18Why did you let me be born?
I would rather have died
before birth
19and been carried to the grave
without ever breathing.
20I have only a few days left.
Why don't you leave me alone? Let me find some relief,
21before I travel to the land
22of darkness and despair,
the place of no return.


Chapter 11


Zophar's First Speech


So Much Foolish Talk
1Zophar from Naamah said: 2So much foolish talk
cannot go unanswered.
3Your words have silenced others
and made them ashamed;
now it is only right for you
to be put to shame.
4You claim to be innocent
and argue that your beliefs
are acceptable to God.
5But I wish he would speak
6and let you know
that wisdom
has many different sides.
You would then discover
that God has punished you
less
than you deserve.
7Can you understand the mysteries
surrounding God All-Powerful?
8They are higher than the heavens
and deeper than the grave.
So what can you do
when you know so little,
9and these mysteries outreach
the earth and the ocean?
10If God puts you in prison
or drags you to court,
what can you do?
11God has the wisdom to know
when someone is worthless
and sinful,
12but it's easier to tame
a wild donkey
than to make a fool wise.

Surrender Your Heart to God
13Surrender your heart to God,
turn to him in prayer,
14and give up your sins--
even those you do in secret.
15Then you won't be ashamed;
you will be confident
and fearless.
16Your troubles will go away
like water beneath a bridge,
17and your darkest night
will be brighter than noon.
18You will rest safe and secure,
filled with hope
and emptied of worry.
19You will sleep without fear
and be greatly respected.
20But those who are evil
will go blind and lose their way.
Their only escape is death!


Chapter 12


Job's Reply to Zophar


You Think You Are So Great
1Job said to his friends:
2You think you are so great,
with all the answers.
3But I know as much as you do,
and so does everyone else.
4I have always lived right,
and God answered my prayers;
now friends make fun of me.
5It's easy to condemn
those who are suffering,
when you have no troubles.
6Robbers and other godless people
live safely at home
and say,
"God is in our hands!"

If You Want To Learn
7If you want to learn,
then go and ask
the wild animals and the birds,
8the flowers and the fish.
9Any of them can tell you
what the LORD has done.
10Every living creature
is in the hands of God.
11We hear with our ears,
taste with our tongues,
12and gain some wisdom from those
who have lived a long time.
13But God is the real source
of wisdom and strength.
14No one can rebuild
what he destroys,
or release
those he has imprisoned.
15God can hold back the rain
or send a flood,
16just as he rules over liars
and those they lie to.
17God destroys counselors,
turns judges into fools,
18and makes slaves of kings.
19God removes priests and others
who have great power--
20he confuses wise,
experienced advisors,
21puts mighty kings to shame,
and takes away their power.
22God turns darkness to light;
23he makes nations strong,
then shatters their strength.
24God strikes their rulers senseless,
then leaves them to roam
through barren deserts,
25lost in the dark, staggering
like someone drunk.


Chapter 13


Job Continues


I Know and Understand
1I know and understand
every bit of this.
2None of you are smarter
than I am;
there's nothing you know
that I don't.
3But I prefer to argue my case
with God All-Powerful--
4you are merely useless doctors,
who treat me with lies.
5The wisest thing you can do
is to keep quiet
6and listen
to my argument.
7Are you telling lies for God
8and not telling the whole truth
when you argue his case?
9If he took you to court,
could you fool him,
just as you fool others?
10If you were secretly unfair,
he would correct you,
11and his glorious splendor
would make you terrified.
12Your wisdom and arguments
are as delicate as dust.


Be Quiet While I Speak
13Be quiet while I speak,
then say what you will.
14I will be responsible
for what happens to me.
15God may kill me, but still
I will trust him and offer my defense.
16This may be what saves me,
because no guilty person
would come to his court.
17Listen carefully to my words!
18I have prepared my case well,
and I am certain to win.
19If you can prove me guilty,
I will give up and die.


Job Prays


I Ask Only Two Things
20I ask only two things
of you, my God,
and I will no longer
hide from you--
21stop punishing
and terrifying me!
22Then speak, and I will reply;
or else let me speak,
and you reply.
23Please point out my sins,
so I will know them.
24Why have you turned your back
and count me your enemy?
25Do you really enjoy
frightening a fallen leaf?
26Why do you accuse me
of horrible crimes
and make me pay for sins
I did in my youth?
27You have tied my feet down
and keep me surrounded;
28I am rotting away like cloth
eaten by worms.


Chapter 14


Job Continues his Prayer


Life Is Short and Sorrowful
1Life is short and sorrowful
for every living soul.
2We are flowers that fade
and shadows that vanish.
3And so, I ask you, God,
why pick on me?
4There's no way a human
can be completely pure.
5Our time on earth is brief;
the number of our days
is already decided by you.
6Why don't you leave us alone
and let us find some happiness
while we toil and labor?


When a Tree Is Chopped Down
7When a tree is chopped down,
there is always the hope
that it will sprout again.
8Its roots and stump may rot,
9but at the touch of water,
fresh twigs shoot up.
10Humans are different--
we die, and that's the end.
11We are like streams and lakes
after the water has gone;
12we fall into the sleep of death,
never to rise again,
until the sky disappears.
13Please hide me, God,
deep in the ground--
and when you are angry no more,
remember to rescue me.


Will We Humans Live Again?
14Will we humans live again?
I would gladly suffer
and wait for my time.
15My Creator, you would want me;
you would call out,
and I would answer.
16You would take care of me,
but not count my sins--
17you would put them in a bag,
tie it tight,
and toss them away.
18But in the real world,
mountains tumble,
and rocks crumble;
19streams wear away stones
and wash away soil.
And you destroy our hopes!
20You change the way we look,
then send us away,
wiped out forever.
21We never live to know
if our children are praised
or disgraced.
22We feel no pain but our own,
and when we mourn,
it's only for ourselves.


Chapter 15


Eliphaz's Second Speech


If You Had Any Sense
1Eliphaz from Teman said: 2Job, if you had any sense,
3you would stop spreading
all of this hot air.
4Your words are enough
to make others turn from God
and lead them to doubt.
5And your sinful, scheming mind
is the source of all you say.
6I am not here as your judge;
your own words are
witnesses
against
you.
7Were you the first human?
Are you older than the hills?
8Have you ever been present
when God's council meets? Do you alone have wisdom?
9Do you know and understand
something we don't?
10We have the benefit of wisdom
older than your father.
11And you have been offered
comforting words from God.
Isn't this enough?
12Your emotions are out of control,
making you look fierce;
13that's why you attack God
with everything you say.
14No human is pure and innocent,
15and neither are angels--
not in the sight of God.
If God doesn't trust his angels,
16what chance do humans have?
We are so terribly evil
that we thirst for sin.


Just Listen to What I Know
17Just listen to what I know,
and you will learn
18wisdom known by others
since ancient times.
19Those who gained such insights
also gained the land,
and they were not influenced
by foreign teachings.
20But suffering is in store
each day for those who sin.
21Even in times of success,
they constantly hear
the threat of doom.
22Darkness, despair, and death
are their destiny.
23They scrounge around for food,
all the while dreading
the approaching darkness.
24They are overcome with despair,
like a terrified king
about to go into battle.
25This is because they rebelled
against God All-Powerful
26and have attacked him
with their weapons.
27They may be rich and fat,
28but they will live in the ruins
of deserted towns.
29Their property and wealth
will shrink and disappear.
30They won't escape the darkness,
and the blazing breath of God
will set their future aflame.
31They have put their trust
in something worthless;
now they will become worthless
32like a date palm tree
without a leaf.
33Or like vineyards or orchards
whose blossoms and unripe fruit
drop to the ground.
34Yes, the godless and the greedy
will have nothing but flames
feasting on their homes,
35because they are the parents
of trouble and vicious lies.


Chapter 16


Job's Reply to Eliphaz


I Have Often Heard This
1Job said:
2I have often heard this,
and it offers no comfort.
3So why don't you keep quiet?
What's bothering you?
4If I were in your place,
it would be easy to criticize
or to give advice.
5But I would offer hope
and comfort instead.
6If I speak, or if I don't,
I hurt all the same.
My torment continues.
7God has worn me down
and destroyed my family;
8my shriveled up skin proves
that I am his prisoner.
9God is my hateful enemy,
glaring at me
and attacking
with his sharp teeth.
10Everyone is against me;
they sneer and slap my face.
11And God is the one
who handed me over
to this merciless mob.


Everything Was Going Well
12Everything was going well,
until God grabbed my neck
and shook me to pieces.
God set me up as the target
13for his arrows,
and without showing mercy,
he slashed my stomach open,
spilling out my insides.
14God never stops attacking,
15and so, in my sorrow
I dress in sackcloth and sit in the dust.
16My face is red with tears,
and dark shadows
circle my eyes,
17though I am not violent,
and my prayers are sincere.
18If I should die,
I beg the earth
not to cover
my cry for justice.
19Even now, God in heaven
is both my witness
and my protector.
20My friends have rejected me,
but God is the one I beg
21to show that I am right,
just as a friend should.
22Because in only a few years,
I will be dead and gone.


Chapter 17


Job Complains to God


My Hopes Have Died
1My hopes have died,
my time is up,
and the grave is ready.
2All I can see are angry crowds,
making fun of me.
3If you, LORD, don't help,
who will pay the price
for my release?
4My friends won't really listen,
all because of you,
and so you must be the one
to prove them wrong.
5They have condemned me,
just to benefit themselves;
now blind their children.
6You, God, are the reason
I am insulted and spit on.
7I am almost blind with grief;
my body is a mere shadow.
8People who are truly good
would feel so alarmed,
that they would become angry
at my worthless friends.
9They would do the right thing
and because they did,
they would grow stronger.
10But none of my friends
show any sense.
11My life is drawing to an end;
hope has disappeared.
12But all my friends can do
is offer empty hopes.
13I could tell the world below
to prepare me a bed.
14Then I could greet the grave
as my father
and say to the worms,
"Hello, mother and sisters!"
15But what kind of hope is that?
16Will it keep me company
in the world of the dead?


Chapter 18


Bildad's Second Speech


How Long Will You Talk?
1Bildad from Shuah said: 2How long will you talk?
Be sensible! Let us speak.
3Or do you think that we
are dumb animals?
4You cut yourself in anger.
Will that shake the earth
or even move the rocks?
5The lamps of sinful people
soon are snuffed out,
6leaving their tents dark.
7Their powerful legs become weak,
and they stumble on schemes
of their own doing.
8Before they know it,
9they are trapped
in a net,
10hidden along the path.
11Terror strikes and pursues
from every side.
12Starving, they run,
only to meet disaster,
13then afterwards to be eaten alive
by death itself.
14Those sinners are dragged
from the safety of their tents
to die a gruesome death.
15Then their tents and possessions
are burned to ashes,
16and they are left like trees,
dried up from the roots.
17They are gone and forgotten,
18thrown far from the light
into a world of darkness,
19without any children
to carry on their name.
20Everyone, from east to west,
is overwhelmed with horror.
21Such is the fate of sinners
and their families
who don't know God.


Chapter 19


Job's Reply to Bildad


How Long Will You Torture Me?
1Job said:
2How long will you torture me
with your words?
3Isn't ten times enough
for you to accuse me?
Aren't you ashamed?
4Even if I have sinned,
you haven't been harmed.
5You boast of your goodness,
claiming I am suffering
because I am guilty.
6But God is the one at fault
for finding fault with me.
7Though I pray to be rescued
from this torment,
no whisper of justice
answers me.
8God has me trapped
with a wall of darkness
9and stripped of respect.
10God rips me apart,
uproots my hopes,
11and attacks with fierce anger,
as though I were his enemy.
12His entire army advances,
then surrounds my tent.


I Am Forgotten
13God has turned relatives
and friends against me,
14and I am forgotten.
15My guests and my servants
consider me a stranger,
16and when I call my servants,
they pay no attention.
17My breath disgusts my wife;
everyone in my family
turns away.
18Young children can't stand me,
and when I come near,
they make fun.
19My best friends and loved ones
have turned from me.
20I am skin and bones--
just barely alive.
21My friends, I beg you for pity!
God has made me his target.
22Hasn't he already done enough?
Why do you join the attack?
23I wish that my words
could be written down
24or chiseled into rock.
25I know that my Savior lives, and at the end
he will stand on this earth.
26My flesh may be destroyed,
yet from this body
I will see God.
27Yes, I will see him for myself,
and I long for that moment.
28My friends, you think up ways
to blame and torment me,
saying
I brought it on myself.
29But watch out for the judgment,
when God will punish you!


Chapter 20


Zophar's Second Speech


Your Words Are Disturbing
1Zophar from Naamah said: 2Your words are disturbing;
now I must speak.
3You have accused
and insulted me,
and reason requires a reply.
4Since the time of creation,
everyone has known
5that sinful people are happy
for only a while.
6Though their pride and power
may reach to the sky,
7they will disappear like dust,
and those who knew them
will wonder what happened.
8They will be forgotten
like a dream
9and vanish from the sight
of family and friends.
10Their children will have to repay
what the parents took
from the poor.
11Indeed, the wicked will die
and go to their graves
in the prime of life.


Sinners Love the Taste of Sin
12Sinners love the taste of sin;
they relish every bite
13and swallow it slowly.
14But their food will turn sour
and poison their stomachs.
15Then God will make them lose
the wealth they gobbled down.
16They will die from the fangs
of poisonous snakes
17and never enjoy rivers flowing
with milk and honey.
18Their hard work will result
in nothing gained,
19because they cheated the poor
and took their homes.
20Greedy people want everything
and are never satisfied.
21But when nothing remains
for them to grab,
they will be nothing.
22Once they have everything,
distress and despair
will strike them down,
23and God will make them swallow
his blazing anger.
24While running from iron spears,
they will be killed
by arrows of bronze,
25whose shining tips go straight
through their bodies.
They will be trapped by terror,
26and what they treasure most
will be lost in the dark.
God will send flames
to destroy them in their tents
with all their property.
27The heavens and the earth
will testify against them,
28and all their possessions
will be dragged off
when God becomes angry.
29This is what God has decided
for those who are evil.

Chapter 21


Job's Reply to Zophar


If You Want To Offer Comfort
1Job said:
2If you want to offer comfort,
then listen to me.
3And when I have finished,
you can start your insults
all over again.
4My complaint is against God;
that's why I am impatient.
5Just looking at me is enough
to make you sick,
6and the very thought of myself
fills me with disgust.
7Why do evil people live so long
and gain such power?
8Why are they allowed to see
their children grow up?
9They have no worries at home,
and God never punishes them.
10Their cattle have lots of calves
without ever losing one;
11their children play and dance
safely by themselves.
12These people sing and celebrate
to the sound of tambourines,
small harps, and flutes,
13and they are successful,
without a worry,
until the day they die.


Leave Us Alone!
14Those who are evil say
to God All-Powerful,
"Leave us alone! Don't bother us
with your teachings.
15What do we gain from praying
and worshiping you?
16We succeeded all on our own."
And so, I keep away from them
and their evil schemes.
17How often does God become angry
and send disaster and darkness
to punish sinners?
18How often does he strike them
like a windstorm
that scatters straw?
19You say, "God will punish
those sinners' children
in place of those sinners."
But I say, "Let him punish
those sinners themselves
until they really feel it.
20Let God All-Powerful force them
to drink
their own destruction
from the cup of his anger.
21Because after they are dead,
they won't care what happens
to their children."


Who Can Tell God What To Do?
22Who can tell God what to do?
He judges powerful rulers.
23Some of us die prosperous,
24enjoying good health,
25while others die in poverty,
having known only pain.
26But we all end up dead,
beneath a blanket of worms.
27My friends, I know that you
are plotting against me.
28You ask, "Where is the home
of that important person
who does so much evil?"
29Everyone, near and far, agrees
30that those who do wrong
never suffer disaster,
when God becomes angry.
31No one points out their sin
or punishes them.
32Then at their funerals,
they are highly praised;
33the earth welcomes them home,
while crowds mourn.
34But empty, meaningless words
are the comfort you offer me.


Chapter 22


Eliphaz's Third Speech


What Use Are We Humans to God?
1Eliphaz from Teman said: 2What use are we humans
to God,
even the wisest of us?
3If you were completely sinless,
that would still mean nothing
to God All-Powerful.
4Is he correcting you
for worshiping him?
5No! It's because
of your terrible sins.
6To guarantee payment of a debt,
you have taken clothes
from the poor.
7And you refused bread and water
to the hungry and thirsty,
8although you were rich,
respected, and powerful.
9You have turned away widows
and have broken the arms
of orphans.
10That's why you were suddenly
trapped by terror,
11blinded by darkness,
and drowned in a flood.


God Lives in the Heavens
12God lives in the heavens
above the highest stars,
where he sees everything.
13Do you think the deep darkness
hides you from God?
14Do thick clouds cover his eyes,
as he walks around heaven's dome
high above the earth?
15Give up those ancient ideas
believed by sinners,
16who were swept away
without warning.
17They rejected God All-Powerful,
feeling he was helpless,
18although he had been kind
to their families.
The beliefs of these sinners
are truly disgusting.
19When God's people see
the godless swept away,
they celebrate,
20saying,
"Our enemies are gone,
and fire has destroyed
their possessions."


Surrender to God All-Powerful
21Surrender to God All-Powerful!
You will find peace
and prosperity.
22Listen to his teachings
and take them to heart.
23If you return to God
and turn from sin,
all will go well for you.
24So get rid of your finest gold,
as though it were sand.
25Let God All-Powerful
be your silver and gold,
26and you will find happiness
by worshiping him.
27God will answer your prayers,
and you will keep the promises
you made to him.
28He will do whatever you ask,
and life will be bright.
29When others are disgraced,
God will clear their names
in answer to your prayers.
30Even those who are guilty
will be forgiven,
because you obey God.

Chapter 23


Job's Reply to Eliphaz


Today I Complain Bitterly
1Job said:
2Today I complain bitterly,
because God has been cruel
and made me suffer.
3If I knew where to find God,
I would go there
4and argue my case.
5Then I would discover
what he wanted to say.
6Would he overwhelm me
with his greatness?
No! He would listen
7because I am innocent,
and he would say,
"I now set you free!"
8I cannot find God anywhere--
in front or back of me,
9to my left or my right.
God is always at work,
though I never see him.
10But he knows what I am doing,
and when he tests me,
I will be pure as gold.
11I have never refused to follow
any of his commands,
12and I have always treasured
his teachings.
13But he alone is God,
and who can oppose him?
God does as he pleases,
14and he will do exactly
what he intends with me.
15Merely the thought
of God All-Powerful
16makes me tremble with fear.
17God has covered me
with darkness,
but I refuse to be silent.

Chapter 24


Job Continues


Why Doesn't God Set a Time?
1Why doesn't God
set a time for court?
Why don't his people know
where he can be found?
2Sinners remove boundary markers
and take care of sheep
they have stolen.
3They cheat orphans and widows
by taking their donkeys
and oxen.
4The poor are trampled
and forced to hide
5in the desert,
where they and their children
must live like wild donkeys
and search for food.
6If they want grain or grapes, they must go to the property
of these sinners.
7They sleep naked in the cold,
because they have no cover,
8and during a storm
their only shelters are caves
among the rocky cliffs.
9Children whose fathers have died
are taken from their mothers
as payment for a debt.
10Then they are forced to work
naked in the grain fields
because they have no clothes,
and they go hungry.
11They crush olives to make oil
and grapes to make wine--
but still they go thirsty.
12And along the city streets,
the wounded and dying cry out,
yet God does nothing.


Some Reject the Light
13Some rebel and refuse
to follow the light.
14Soon after sunset they murder
the poor and the needy,
and at night they steal.
15Others wait for the dark,
thinking they won't be seen
if they sleep with the wife
or husband of someone else.
16Robbers hide during the day,
then break in after dark
because they reject the light.
17They prefer night to day,
since the terrors of the night
are their friends.


Sinners Are Filthy Foam
18Those sinners are filthy foam
on the surface of the water.
And so, their fields and vineyards
will fall under a curse
and won't produce.
19Just as the heat of summer
swallows the snow,
the world of the dead
swallows those who sin.
20Forgotten here on earth,
and with their power broken,
they taste sweet to worms.
21Sinners take advantage of widows
and other helpless women.
22But God's mighty strength
destroys those in power.
Even if they seem successful,
they are doomed to fail.
23God may let them feel secure,
but they are never
out of his sight.
24Great for a while; gone forever!
Sinners are mowed down
like weeds,
then they wither and die.
25If I haven't spoken the truth,
then prove me wrong.


Chapter 25


Bildad's Third Speech


God Is the One To Fear
1Bildad from Shuah said: 2God is the one to fear,
because God is in control
and rules the heavens.
3Who can count his army of stars?
Isn't God the source of light?
4How can anyone be innocent
in the sight of God?
5To him, not even
the light
of the
moon and stars
can ever be pure.
6So how can we humans,
when we are merely worms?


Chapter 26


Job's Reply to Bildad


You Have Really Been Helpful
1Job said:
2You have really been helpful
to someone weak and weary.
3You have given great advice
and wonderful wisdom
to someone truly in need.
4How can anyone possibly speak
with such understanding?
5Remember the terrible trembling
of those in the world of the dead
below the mighty ocean.
6Nothing in that land
of death and destruction
is hidden from God,
7who hung the northern sky
and suspended the earth
on empty space.
8God stores water in clouds,
but they don't burst,
9and he wraps them around
the face of the moon.
10On the surface of the ocean,
God has drawn a boundary line
between light and darkness.
11And columns supporting the sky
tremble at his command.
12By his power and wisdom,
God conquered the force
of the mighty ocean.
13The heavens became bright
when he breathed,
and the escaping sea monster died at the hands of God.
14These things are merely a whisper
of God's power at work.
How little we would understand
if this whisper
ever turned into thunder!


Chapter 27


Job Continues


I Am Desperate
1Job said:
2I am desperate because
God All-Powerful
refuses
to do what is right.
As surely as God lives,
3and while he gives me breath,
4I will tell only the truth.
5Until the day I die,
I will refuse to do wrong
by saying you are right,
6because each day my conscience
agrees that I am innocent.
7I pray that my enemies
will suffer no less
than the wicked.
8Such people are hopeless,
and God All-Powerful
will cut them down,
9without listening
when they beg for mercy.
10And that is what God should do,
because they don't like him
or ever pray.
11Now I will explain in detail
what God All-Powerful does.
12All of you have seen these things
for yourselves.
So you have no excuse.


How God Treats the Wicked
13Here is how God All-Powerful
treats those who are wicked
and brutal.
14They may have many children,
but most of them
will go hungry
or suffer a violent death.
15Others will die of disease,
and their widows
won't be able to weep.
16The wicked may collect riches
and clothes in abundance
as easily as clay.
17But God's people will wear
clothes taken from them
and divide up their riches.
18No homes built by the wicked
will outlast a cocoon
or a shack.
19Those sinners may go to bed rich,
but they will wake up poor.
20Terror will strike at night
like a flood or a storm.
21Then a scorching wind
will sweep them away
22without showing mercy,
as they try to escape.
23At last, the wind will celebrate
because they are gone.


Chapter 28


Job Continues


Gold and Silver Are Mined
1Gold and silver are mined,
then purified;
2the same is done
with iron and copper.
3Miners carry lanterns
deep into the darkness
to search for these metals.
4They dig tunnels
in distant, unknown places,
where they dangle by ropes.
5Far beneath the grain fields,
fires are built
to break loose those rocks
6that have jewels or gold. 7Miners go to places unseen
by the eyes of hawks;
8they walk on soil unknown
to the proudest lions.
9With their own hands
they remove sharp rocks
and uproot mountains.
10They dig through the rocks
in search of jewels
and precious metals.
11They also uncover
the sources of rivers and discover secret places.


Where Is Wisdom Found?
12But where is wisdom found?
13No human knows the way. 14Nor can it be discovered
in the deepest sea.
15It is worth much more
than silver or pure gold
16or precious stones.
17Nothing is its equal--
not gold or costly glass.
18Wisdom is worth much more than
coral, jasper, or rubies.
19All the topaz of Ethiopia and the finest gold
cannot compare with it.
20Where then is wisdom?
21It is hidden from human eyes
and even from birds.
22Death and destruction
have merely heard rumors
about where it is found.
23God is the only one who knows
the way to wisdom,
24because he sees everything
beneath the heavens.
25When God divided out
the wind and the water,
26and when he decided the path
for rain and lightning,
27he also determined the truth
and defined wisdom.
28God told us, "Wisdom means
that you respect me, the Lord,
and turn from sin."


Chapter 29


Job Continues


I Long for the Past
1Job said:
2I long for the past,
when God took care of me,
3and the light from his lamp
showed me the way
through the dark.
4I was in the prime of life,
God All-Powerful
was my closest friend,
5and all of my children
were nearby.
6My herds gave enough milk
to bathe my feet,
and from my olive harvest
flowed rivers of oil.
7When I sat down at the meeting
of the city council,
8the young leaders stepped aside,
9while the older ones stood
10and remained silent.


Everyone Was Pleased
11Everyone was pleased
with what I said and did.
12When poor people or orphans
cried out for help,
I came to their rescue.
13And I was highly praised
for my generosity to widows
and others in poverty.
14Kindness and justice
were my coat and hat;
15I was good to the blind
and to the lame.
16I was a father to the needy,
and I defended them in court,
even if they were strangers.
17When criminals attacked,
I broke their teeth
and set their victims free.
18I felt certain that I would live
a long and happy life,
then die in my own bed.
19In those days I was strong
like a tree with deep roots
and with plenty of water,
20or like an archer's new bow.
21Everyone listened in silence
to my welcome advice,
22and when I finished speaking,
nothing needed to be said.
23My words were eagerly accepted
like the showers of spring,
24and the smile on my face
renewed everyone's hopes.
25My advice was followed
as though I were a king
leading my troops,
or someone comforting
those in sorrow.


Chapter 30


Job Continues


Young People Now Insult Me
1Young people now insult me,
although their fathers
would have been a disgrace
to my sheep dogs.
2And those who insult me
are helpless themselves.
3They must claw the desert sand
in the dark
for something
to satisfy their hunger.
4They gather tasteless shrubs
for food and firewood,
5and they are run out of towns,
as though they were thieves.
6Their only homes are ditches
or holes between rocks,
7where they bray like donkeys
gathering around shrubs.
8And like senseless donkeys
they are chased away.


Those Worthless Nobodies
9Those worthless nobodies
make up jokes and songs
to disgrace me.
10They are hateful
and keep their distance,
even while spitting
in my direction.
11God has destroyed me,
and so they don't care
what they do.
12Their attacks never stop,
though I am defenseless,
and my feet are trapped.
13Without any help,
they prevent my escape,
destroying me completely
14and leaving me crushed.
15Terror has me surrounded;
my reputation and my riches
have vanished like a cloud.


I Am Sick at Heart
16I am sick at heart!
Pain has taken its toll.
17Night chews on my bones,
causing endless torment,
18and God has shrunk my skin,
choking me to death.
19I have been thrown in the dirt
and now am dirt myself.
20I beg God for help,
but there is no answer;
and when I stand up,
he simply stares.
21God has turned brutal,
22stirring up a windstorm
to toss me about.
23Soon he will send me home
to the world of the dead,
where we all must go.
24No one refuses help to others,
when disaster strikes.
25I mourned for the poor
and those who suffered.
26But when I beg for relief
and light,
all I receive are disaster
and darkness.
27My stomach is tied in knots;
pain is my daily companion.
28Suffering has scorched my skin,
and in the city council
I stand and cry out,
29making mournful sounds
like jackals and owls.
30My skin is so parched,
that it peels right off,
and my bones are burning.
31My only songs are sorrow
and sadness.


Chapter 31


Job Continues


I Promised Myself
1I promised myself
never to stare with desire
at a young woman.
2God All-Powerful punishes
men who do that.
3In fact, God sends disaster
on all who sin,
4and he keeps a close watch
on everything I do.
5I am not dishonest or deceitful,
6and I beg God to prove
my innocence.
7If I have disobeyed him
or even wanted to,
8then others can eat my harvest
and uproot my crops.
9If I have desired someone's wife
and chased after her,
10then let some stranger
steal my wife from me.
11If I took someone's wife,
it would be a horrible crime,
12sending me to
destruction
and
my crops to the flames.
13When my servants
complained against me,
I was fair to them.
14Otherwise, what answer
would I give to God
when he judges me?
15After all, God is the one
who gave life to each of us
before we were born.


I Have Never Cheated Anyone
16I have never cheated widows
or others in need,
17and I have always shared
my food with orphans.
18Since the time I was young,
I have cared for orphans
and helped widows.
19I provided clothes for the poor,
20and I was praised
for supplying woolen garments
to keep them warm.
21If I have ever raised my arm
to threaten an orphan
when the power was mine,
22I hope that arm will fall
from its socket.
23I could not have been abusive;
I was terrified at the thought
that God might punish me.
24I have never trusted
the power of wealth,
25or taken pride in owning
many possessions.
26I have never openly or secretly
27worshiped the sun or moon.
28Such horrible sins
would have deserved
punishment from God.
29I have never laughed
when my enemies
were struck by disaster.
30Neither have I sinned
by asking God
to send down on them
the curse of death.
31No one ever went hungry at my house,
32and travelers
were always welcome.
33Many have attempted to hide
their sins from others--
but I refused.
34And the fear of public disgrace
never forced me
to keep silent
about what I had done.


Why Doesn't God Listen?
35Why doesn't God All-Powerful
listen and answer?
If God has something against me,
let him speak up
or put it in writing!
36Then I would wear his charges
on my clothes and forehead.
37And with my head held high,
I would tell him everything
I have ever done.
38I have never mistreated
the land I farmed
and made it mourn.
39Nor have I cheated
my workers
and caused them pain.
40If I had, I would pray
for weeds instead of wheat
to grow in my fields.
After saying these things,
Job was silent.


Chapter 32


Elihu Is Upset with Job's Friends
1Finally,
these three men stopped arguing with Job, because he refused to admit that he was guilty.
2Elihu from Buz was there, and he had become upset with Job for blaming God instead of himself. 3He was also angry with Job's three friends for not being able to prove that Job was wrong. 4Elihu was younger than these three, and he let them speak first. 5But he became irritated when they could not answer Job, 6and he said to them: I am much younger than you,
so I have shown respect
by keeping silent.
7I once believed age
was the source of wisdom;
8now I truly realize
wisdom comes from God.
9Age is no guarantee of wisdom
and
understanding.
10That's why I ask you
to listen to me.


I Eagerly Listened
11I eagerly listened
to each of your arguments,
12but
not one of you proved
Job to be wrong.
13You shouldn't say,
"We know what's right!
Let God punish him."
14Job hasn't spoken against me,
and so I won't answer him
with your arguments.
15All of you are shocked;
you don't know what to say.
16But am I to remain silent,
just because you
have stopped speaking?
17No! I will give my opinion,
18because I have so much to say,
that I can't keep quiet.
19I am like a swollen wineskin,
and I will burst
20if I don't speak.
21I don't know how to be unfair
or to flatter anyone--
22if I did, my Creator
would quickly destroy me!


Chapter 33


Elihu Speaks


Job, Listen to Me!
1Job, listen to me!
Pay close attention.
2Everything I will say
3is true and sincere,
4just as surely as the Spirit
of God All-Powerful gave me the breath of life.
5Now line up your arguments
and prepare to face me.
6We each were made from clay,
and God has no favorites,
7so don't be afraid of me
or what I might do.


I Have Heard You Argue
8I have heard you argue
9that you are innocent,
guilty of nothing.
10You claim that God
has made you his enemy,
11that he has bound your feet
and blocked your path.
12But, Job, you're wrong--
God is greater
than any human.
13So why do you challenge God
to answer you?
14God speaks in different ways,
and we don't always
recognize his voice.
15Sometimes in the night,
he uses terrifying dreams
16to give us warnings.
17God does this to make us turn
from sin and pride
18and to protect us
from being swept away
to the world of the dead.
19Sometimes we are punished
with a serious illness
and aching joints.
20Merely the thought
of our favorite food
makes our stomachs sick,
21and we become so skinny
that our bones stick out.
22We feel death and the grave
taking us in their grip.
23One of a thousand angels
then comes to our rescue
by saying we are innocent.
24The angel shows kindness,
commanding death to release us,
because the price was paid.
25Our health is restored,
we feel young again,
26and we ask God to accept us.
Then we joyfully worship God,
and we are rewarded
because we are innocent.
27When that happens,
we tell everyone,
"I sinned and did wrong,
but God forgave me
28and rescued me from death!
Now I will see the light."
29God gives each of us
chance after chance
30to be saved from death
and brought into the light
that gives life.
31So, Job, pay attention
and don't interrupt,
32though I would gladly listen
to anything you say
that proves you are right.
33Otherwise, listen in silence
to my wisdom.


Chapter 34


Elihu Continues


You Men Think You Are Wise
1Elihu said:
2You men think you are wise,
but just listen to me!
3Think about my words,
as you would taste food.
4Then we can decide the case
and give a just verdict.
5Job claims he is innocent
and God is guilty
of mistreating him.
6Job also argues that God
considers him a liar
and that he is suffering severely
in spite of his innocence.
7But to tell the truth,
Job is shameless!
8He spends his time with sinners,
9because he has said,
"It doesn't pay to please God."


If Any of You Are Smart
10If any of you are smart,
you will listen and learn
that God All-Powerful
does what is right.
11God always treats everyone
the way they deserve,
12and he is never unfair.
13From the very beginning,
God has been in control
of all the world.
14If God took back the breath
that he breathed into us,
15we humans would die
and return to the soil.
16So be smart and listen!
17The mighty God is the one
who brings about justice,
and you are condemning him.
18Indeed, God is the one
who condemns unfair rulers.
19And God created us all;
he has no favorites,
whether rich or poor.
20Even powerful rulers die
in the darkness of night
when they least expect it,
just like the rest of us.


God Watches Everything We Do
21God watches everything we do.
22No evil person can hide
in the deepest darkness.
23And so, God doesn't need
to set a time for judgment.
24Without asking for advice,
God removes mighty leaders
and puts others in their place.
25He knows what they are like,
and he wipes them out
in the middle of the night.
26And while others look on,
he punishes them
because they were evil
27and refused to obey him.
28The persons they mistreated
had prayed for help,
until God answered
their prayers.
29When God does nothing,
can any person or nation
find fault with him?
30But still, he punishes rulers
who abuse their people.
31Job, you should tell God
that you are guilty
and promise to do better.
32Then ask him to point out
what you did wrong,
so you won't do it again.
33Do you make the rules,
or does God?
You have to decide--
I can't do it for you;
now make up your mind.
34Job, anyone with good sense
can easily see
35that you are speaking nonsense
and lack good judgment.
36So I pray for you to suffer
as much as possible
for talking like a sinner.
37You have rebelled against God,
time after time,
and have even insulted us.


Chapter 35


Elihu Continues


Are You Really Innocent?
1Elihu said:
2Job, are you really innocent
in the sight of God?
3Don't you honestly believe
it pays to obey him?
4I will give the answers
to you and your friends.
5Look up to the heavens
6and think!
Do your sins hurt God?
7Is any good you may have done
at all helpful to him?
8The evil or good you do
only affects other humans.
9In times of trouble,
everyone begs the mighty God
to have mercy.
10But after their Creator
helps them through hard times,
they forget about him,
11though he makes us wiser
than animals or birds.
12God won't listen to the prayers
of proud and evil people.
13If God All-Powerful refuses
to answer their empty prayers,
14he will surely deny
your impatient request
to face him in court.
15Job, you were wrong to say
God doesn't punish sin.
16Everything you have said
adds up to nonsense.


Chapter 36


Elihu Continues


Be Patient a While Longer
1Elihu said:
2Be patient a while longer;
I have something else to say
in God's defense.
3God always does right--
and this knowledge
comes straight from God.
4You can rest assured
that what I say is true.
5Although God is mighty,
he cares about everyone
and makes fair decisions.
6The wicked are cut down,
and those who are wronged
receive justice.
7God watches over good people
and places them
in positions
of power and honor forever.
8But when people are prisoners
of suffering and pain,
9God points out their sin
and their pride,
10then he warns them
to turn back to him.
11And if they obey,
they will be successful
and happy from then on.
12But if they foolishly refuse,
they will be rewarded
with a violent death.


Godless People Are Too Angry
13Godless people are too angry
to ask God for help
when he punishes them.
14So they die young
in shameful disgrace.
15Hard times and trouble
are God's way
of getting our attention!
16And at this very moment,
God deeply desires
to lead you from trouble
and to spread your table
with your favorite food.
17Now that the judgment
for your sins
has fallen upon you,
18don't let your anger
and the pain you endured
make you sneer at God.
19Your reputation and riches
cannot protect you
from distress,
20nor can you find safety
in the dark world below.
21Be on guard! Don't turn to evil
as a way of escape.
22God's power is unlimited.
He needs no teachers
23to guide or correct him.


Others Have Praised God
24Others have praised God
for what he has done,
so join with them.
25From down here on earth,
everyone has looked up
and seen
26how great God is--
God is more than we imagine;
no one can count the years
he has lived.
27God gathers moisture
into the clouds
28and supplies us with rain.
29Who can understand
how God scatters the clouds
and speaks from his home
in the thunderstorm?
30And when God sends lightning,
it can be seen
at the bottom of the sea.
31By producing such rainstorms,
God rules the world
and provides us with food.
32Each flash of lightning
is one of his arrows
striking its target,
33and the thunder tells
of his anger against sin.

Chapter 37


Elihu Continues


I Am Frightened
1I am frightened
and tremble all over,
2when I hear the roaring voice
of God in the thunder,
3and when I see his lightning
flash across the sky.
4God's majestic voice
thunders his commands,
5creating miracles too marvelous
for us to understand.
6Snow and heavy rainstorms
7make us stop and think
about God's power,
8and they force animals
to seek shelter.
9The windstorms of winter strike,
10and
the breath of God
freezes streams and rivers.
11Rain clouds filled with lightning
appear at God's command,
12traveling across the sky
13to release their cargo--
sometimes as punishment for sin,
sometimes as kindness.


Consider Carefully
14Job, consider carefully
the many wonders of God.
15Can you explain why lightning
flashes
at the orders
16of God who knows all things?
Or how he hangs the clouds
in empty space?
17You almost melt in the heat
of fierce desert winds
when the sky is like brass.
18God
can spread out the clouds
to get relief from the heat,
but can you?
19Tell us what to say to God!
Our minds are in the dark,
and we don't know how
to argue our case.
20Should I risk my life
by telling God
that I want to speak?
21No one can stare at the sun
after a breeze has blown
the clouds from the sky.
22Yet the glorious splendor
of God All-Powerful
is brighter by far.
23God cannot be seen--
but his power is great,
and he is always fair.
24And so we humans fear God,
because he shows no respect
for those who are proud
and think they know so much.


Chapter 38


The LORD Speaks


From Out of a Storm
1From out of a storm,
the LORD said to Job:
2Why do you talk so much
when you know so little?
3Now get ready to face me!
Can you answer
the questions I ask?
4How did I lay the foundation
for the earth?
Were you there?
5Doubtless you know who decided
its length and width.
6What supports the foundation?
Who placed the cornerstone,
7while
morning stars sang,
and angels rejoiced?
8When the ocean was born,
I set its boundaries
9and wrapped it in blankets
of thickest fog.
10Then I built a wall around it,
locked the gates,
11and said,
"Your powerful waves stop here!
They can go no farther."


Did You Ever Tell the Sun To Rise?
12Did you ever tell the sun to rise?
And did it obey?
13Did it
take hold of the earth
and shake out the wicked
like dust from a rug?
14Early dawn outlines the hills
like stitches on clothing
or sketches on clay.
15But its light is too much
for those who are evil,
and their power is broken.
16Job, have you ever walked
on the ocean floor?
17Have you seen the gate
to the world of the dead?
18And how large is the earth?
Tell me, if you know!
19Where is the home of light,
and where does darkness live?
20Can you lead them home?
21I'm certain you must be able to,
since you were already born
when I created everything.
22Have you been to the places
where I keep snow and hail,
23until I use them to punish
and conquer nations?
24From where does lightning leap,
or the east wind blow?
25Who carves out a path
for thunderstorms?
Who sends torrents of rain
26on empty deserts
where no one lives?
27Rain that changes barren land
to meadows green with grass.
28Who
is the father of the dew
and of the rain?
29Who gives birth to the sleet
and the frost
30that fall in winter,
when streams and lakes
freeze solid as a rock?


Can You Arrange Stars?
31Can you arrange stars in groups
such as Orion
and the Pleiades?
32Do you control the stars
or set in place the Big Dipper
and the Little Dipper?
33Do you know the laws
that govern the heavens,
and can you make them rule
the earth?
34Can you order the clouds
to send a downpour,
35or will lightning flash
at your command?
36Did you teach birds to know
that rain or floods
are on their way?
37Can you count the clouds
or pour out their water
38on the dry, lumpy soil?
39When lions are hungry,
do you help them hunt?
40Do you send an animal
into their den?
41And when starving young ravens
cry out to me for food,
do you satisfy their hunger?

Chapter 39


The LORD Continues


When Do Mountain Goats Give Birth?
1When do mountain goats
and deer give birth?
Have you been there
when their young are born?
2How long are they pregnant
3before they deliver?
4Soon their young grow strong
and then leave
to be on their own.
5Who set wild donkeys free?
6I alone help them survive
in salty desert sand.
7They stay far from crowded cities
and refuse to be tamed.
8Instead, they roam the hills,
searching for pastureland.
9Would a wild ox agree
to live in your barn
and labor for you?
10Could you force him to plow
or to drag a heavy log
to smooth out the soil?
11Can you depend on him
to use his great strength
and do your heavy work?
12Can you trust him
to harvest your grain
or take it to your barn
from the threshing place?


An Ostrich Proudly Flaps Her Wings
13An ostrich proudly
flaps her wings,
but not because
she loves her young.
14She abandons her eggs
and lets the dusty ground
keep them warm.
15And she doesn't seem to worry
that the feet of an animal
could crush them all.
16She treats her eggs
as though
they were not
her own,
unconcerned that her work
might be for nothing.
17I myself made her foolish
and without common sense.
18But once she starts running, she laughs at a rider
on the fastest horse.


Did You Give Horses Their Strength?
19Did you give horses their strength
and the flowing hair
along their necks?
20Did you make them able
to jump like grasshoppers
or to frighten people
with their snorting?
21Before horses are ridden
into battle,
they paw at the ground,
proud of their strength.
22Laughing at fear, they rush
toward the fighting,
23while the weapons of their riders
rattle and flash in the sun.
24Unable to stand still,
they gallop eagerly into battle
when trumpets blast.
25Stirred by the distant smells
and sounds of war,
they snort
in reply to the trumpet.
26Did you teach hawks to fly south
for the winter?
27Did you train eagles to build 28their nests on rocky cliffs,
29where they can look down
to spot their next meal?
30Then their young gather to feast
wherever the victim lies.


Chapter 40


The LORD Continues


I Am the LORD All-Powerful
1I am the LORD All-Powerful,
2but you have argued
that I am wrong.
Now you must answer me.
3Job said to the LORD:
4Who am I to answer you?
5I did speak once or twice,
but never again.
6Then
out of the storm 
the LORD said to Job:
7Face me and answer
the questions I ask!
8Are you trying to prove
that you are innocent
by accusing me of injustice?
9Do you have a powerful arm
and a thundering voice
that compare with mine?
10If so, then surround yourself
with glory and majesty.
11Show your furious anger!
Throw down and crush
12all who are proud and evil.
13Wrap them in grave clothes
and bury them together
in the dusty soil.
14Do this, and I will agree
that you have won
this argument.


I Created You
15I created both you
and the hippopotamus. It eats only grass like an ox,
16but look at the mighty muscles
in its body
17and legs.
Its tail is like a cedar tree,
and its thighs are thick.
18The bones in its legs
are like bronze or iron.
19I made it more powerful
than any other creature,
yet I am stronger still.
20Undisturbed, it eats grass
while the other animals
play nearby.
21It rests in the shade of trees
along the riverbank
22or hides among reeds
in the swamp.
23It remains calm and unafraid
with the Jordan River rushing
and splashing in its face.
24There is no way to capture
a hippopotamus--
not even by hooking its nose
or blinding its eyes.


Chapter 41


The LORD Continues


Can You Catch a Sea Monster?
1Can you catch a sea monster by using a fishhook?
Can you tie its mouth shut
with a rope?
2Can it be led around
by a ring in its nose
or a hook in its jaw?
3Will it beg for mercy?
4Will it surrender
as a slave for life?
5Can it be tied by the leg
like a pet bird
for little girls?
6Is it ever chopped up
and its pieces bargained for
in the fish-market?
7Can it be killed
with harpoons or spears?
8Wrestle it just once--
that will be the end.
9Merely a glimpse of this monster
makes all courage melt.
10And if it is too fierce
for anyone to attack,
who would dare oppose me?
11I am in command of the world
and in debt to no one.
12What powerful legs,
what a stout body
this monster possesses!
13Who could strip off its armor
or bring it under control
with a harness?
14Who would try to open its jaws,
full of fearsome teeth?
15Its back
is covered with shield after shield,
16firmly bound and closer together
17than breath to breath.


When This Monster Sneezes
18When this monster sneezes,
lightning flashes,
and its eyes
glow like the dawn.
19Sparks and fiery flames
explode from its mouth.
20And smoke spews from its nose
like steam
from a boiling pot,
21while its blazing breath
scorches everything in sight.
22Its neck is so tremendous
that everyone trembles,
23the weakest parts of its body
are harder than iron,
24and its heart is stone.
25When this noisy monster appears,
even the most powerful turn and run in fear.
26No sword or spear can harm it,
27and weapons of bronze or iron
are as useless
as straw
or rotten wood.
28Rocks thrown from a sling
cause it no more harm
than husks of grain.
This monster fears no arrows,
29it simply smiles at spears,
and striking it with a stick
is like slapping it with straw.
30As it crawls through the mud,
its sharp and spiny hide
tears the ground apart.
31And when it swims down deep,
the sea starts churning
like boiling oil,
32and it leaves behind a trail
of shining white foam.
33No other creature on earth
is so fearless.
34It is king of all proud creatures,
and it looks upon the others
as nothing.


Chapter 42


Job's Reply to the LORD


No One Can Oppose You
1Job said:
2No one can oppose you,
because you have the power
to do what you want.
3You asked why I talk so much
when I know so little.
I have talked about
things
that are
far beyond
my
understanding.
4You told me to listen
and answer your questions.
5I heard about you from others;
now I have seen you
with my own eyes.
6That's why I hate myself
and sit here in dust and ashes
to show my sorrow.


The LORD Corrects Job's Friends
7The LORD said to Eliphaz:
What
my servant Job has said about me is true, but I am angry at you and your two friends for not telling the truth. 8So I want you to go over to Job and offer seven bulls and seven goats on an altar as a sacrifice to please me. After this, Job will pray, and I will agree not to punish you for your foolishness. 9Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar obeyed the LORD, and he answered Job's prayer.


A Happy Ending
10After Job had
prayed for his three friends, the LORD made Job twice as rich as he had been before. 11Then Job gave a feast for his brothers and sisters and for his old friends. They expressed their sorrow for the suffering the LORD had brought on him, and they each gave Job some silver and a gold ring.
12The LORD now blessed Job more than ever; he gave him
fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand pair of oxen, and a thousand donkeys.
13In addition to seven sons, Job had three daughters, 14whose names were Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren Happuch. 15They were the most beautiful women in that part of the world, and Job gave them shares of his property, along with their brothers.
16Job lived for another one hundred forty years--long enough to see his great-grandchildren have children of their own-- 17and when he finally died, he was very old.