Job 19-21 (Listen)
Job Replies: My Redeemer Lives
Then Job answered and said:
“How long will you torment me
and break me in pieces with words?
These ten times you have cast reproach upon me;
are you not ashamed to wrong me?
A0nd even if it be true that I have erred,
my error remains with myself.
If indeed you magnify yourselves against me
and make my disgrace an argument against me,
know then that God has put me in the wrong
and closed his net about me.
Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered;
I call for help, but there is no justice.
He has walled up my way, so that I cannot pass,
and he has set darkness upon my paths.
He has stripped from me my glory
and taken the crown from my head.
He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone,
and my hope has he pulled up like a tree.
He has kindled his wrath against me
and counts me as his adversary.
His troops come on together;
they have cast up their siege ramp against me
and encamp around my tent.
“He has put my brothers far from me,
and those who knew me are wholly estranged from me.
My relatives have failed me,
my close friends have forgotten me.
The guests in my house and my maidservants count me as a stranger;
I have become a foreigner in their eyes.
I call to my servant, but he gives me no answer;
I must plead with him with my mouth for mercy.
My breath is strange to my wife,
and I am a stench to the children of my own mother.
Even young children despise me;
when I rise they talk against me.
All my intimate friends abhor me,
and those whom I loved have turned against me.
My bones stick to my skin and to my flesh,
and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.
Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends,
for the hand of God has touched me!
Why do you, like God, pursue me?
Why are you not satisfied with my flesh?
“Oh that my words were written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
Oh that with an iron pen and lead
they were engraved in the rock forever!
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me!
If you say, ‘How we will pursue him!’
and, ‘The root of the matter is found in him,’
be afraid of the sword,
for wrath brings the punishment of the sword,
that you may know there is a judgment.”
Zophar Speaks: The Wicked Will Suffer
Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:
“Therefore my thoughts answer me,
because of my haste within me.
I hear censure that insults me,
and out of my understanding a spirit answers me.
Do you not know this from of old,
since man was placed on earth,
that the exulting of the wicked is short,
and the joy of the godless but for a moment?
Though his height mount up to the heavens,
and his head reach to the clouds,
he will perish forever like his own dung;
those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’
He will fly away like a dream and not be found;
he will be chased away like a vision of the night.
The eye that saw him will see him no more,
nor will his place any more behold him.
His children will seek the favor of the poor,
and his hands will give back his wealth.
His bones are full of his youthful vigor,
but it will lie down with him in the dust.
“Though evil is sweet in his mouth,
though he hides it under his tongue,
though he is loath to let it go
and holds it in his mouth,
yet his food is turned in his stomach;
it is the venom of cobras within him.
He swallows down riches and vomits them up again;
God casts them out of his belly.
He will suck the poison of cobras;
the tongue of a viper will kill him.
He will not look upon the rivers,
the streams flowing with honey and curds.
He will give back the fruit of his toil
and will not swallow it down;
from the profit of his trading
he will get no enjoyment.
For he has crushed and abandoned the poor;
he has seized a house that he did not build.
“Because he knew no contentment in his belly,
he will not let anything in which he delights escape him.
There was nothing left after he had eaten;
therefore his prosperity will not endure.
In the fullness of his sufficiency he will be in distress;
the hand of everyone in misery will come against him.
To fill his belly to the full,
God will send his burning anger against him
and rain it upon him into his body.
He will flee from an iron weapon;
a bronze arrow will strike him through.
It is drawn forth and comes out of his body;
the glittering point comes out of his gallbladder;
terrors come upon him.
Utter darkness is laid up for his treasures;
a fire not fanned will devour him;
what is left in his tent will be consumed.
The heavens will reveal his iniquity,
and the earth will rise up against him.
The possessions of his house will be carried away,
dragged off in the day of God's wrath.
This is the wicked man's portion from God,
the heritage decreed for him by God.”
Job Replies: The Wicked Do Prosper
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.”