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Job 20; Job 21; Acts 10:24-48 (Common English Bible)

Traditional belief

1 Zophar from Naamah said: 2 Therefore, my troubled thoughts make me turn back— because of my inner turmoil. 3 I hear teaching that insults me, but I am forced to answer based on my own understanding. 4 Do you know this from long ago— from when humans were placed on earth— 5 that the rejoicing of the wicked is short, the joy of the godless, brief? 6 Though their height reaches heaven and their heads touch the clouds, 7 they will perish forever like their dung; those who saw them will say, "Where are they?" 8 They will disappear like a dream, and none will find them, carried away like a nighttime vision. 9 The eye that saw them will do so no more; they won't be seen again at home. 10 Their children will repay the poor; their hands will give back their wealth. 11 Vigor filled their bones and now sleeps with them in the dust. 12 Though wickedness is sweet in their mouths, they hide it under their tongues; 13 they like it, won't let it go; they hold it in their cheeks. 14 Food turns their stomachs, becoming a cobra's poison inside. 15 They swallow wealth and vomit it; God dislodges it from their belly. 16 They suck cobra's poison; a viper's tongue kills them. 17 They won't experience streams, rivers of honey, and brooks of cream. 18 They won't receive the reward for their labor; they won't enjoy the wealth from their business. 19 They crushed and abandoned the poor; stole a house they didn't build; 20 didn't know contentment in their belly; couldn't escape with their treasure. 21 Nothing remained of their food, so their riches will not endure. 22 Even in their plenty, they are hard-pressed; all sorts of trouble come on them. 23 Let God fill their belly, unleash his burning anger on them, rain punishing blows on them. 24 If they flee an iron weapon, a bronze bow pierces them. 25 They pull it out, but it sticks out from their backs; its shaft in their liver brings terror. 26 Complete darkness waits for their treasured possessions; fire that no one stoked consumes them; what's left in their tent is ruined. 27 Heaven exposes their guilt; earth opposes them. 28 Their household wealth will be carried off by rushing streams on the day of his anger. 29 This is a wicked person's lot from God, their heritage decreed by God.

Grant me a hearing

1 Then Job answered: 2 Listen carefully to my remarks and let that comfort you. 3 Bear with me so I can speak, I myself; and after my reply you can mock. 4 Are my complaints against another human; why is my patience short? 5 Turn to me and be appalled; lay your hand over your mouth. 6 If I recall it, I'm scared; shaking seizes my body.

The success of the wicked

7 Why do the wicked live, grow old, and even become strong? 8 Their children are always with them, their offspring in their sight, 9 their houses safe from dread, God's punishing stick not upon them. 10 Their bull always breeds successfully; their cows give birth and never miscarry. 11 They send forth their little ones like sheep; their infants bounce around. 12 They raise drum and lyre, rejoice at the sound of a flute. 13 They spend their days contentedly, go down to the grave peacefully. 14 They say to God, "Turn away from us; we take no pleasure in knowing your ways; 15 who is the Almighty that we should serve him, and what can we gain if we meet him?" 16 Look, isn't their well-being the work of their own hands? A sinner's logic is beyond me.

Desired vindication

17 How often does the lamp of the wicked flicker or disaster come upon them, with its fury inflicting pain on them? 18 Let them be like straw in the wind, like dry grass stolen by a storm. 19 God stores up his punishment for his children. Let him destroy them so they know. 20 Let their own eyes witness their doom. Let them drink from the Almighty's wrath. 21 What do they care about their household after they die, when their numbered days are cut off?

A common fate

22 Will they instruct God— he who judges the most powerful? 23 Someone dies in wonderful health, completely comfortable and well, 24 their buckets full of milk, their bones marrow-filled and sound. 25 Another dies in bitter spirit, never having tasted the good things. 26 They lie together in the dust and worms cover them.

Further disagreement

27 Look, I know your thoughts; your plans harm me. 28 You say, "Where is the official's house? Where is the tent, the dwelling of the wicked?" 29 Haven't you asked travelers or paid attention to their reports? 30 On the day of disaster the wicked are spared; on the day of fury they are rescued. 31 Who can criticize their behavior to their faces; they act, and who can avenge them? 32 They are carried to their graves; someone keeps guard over their tombs. 33 The soil near the desert streambed is sweet to them; everyone marches after them— those before them, beyond counting. 34 How empty is your comfort to me; only deceit remains in your responses. 24 They arrived in Caesarea the following day. Anticipating their arrival, Cornelius had gathered his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in order to honor him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, "Get up! Like you, I'm just a human." 27 As they continued to talk, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them, "You all realize that it is forbidden for a Jew to associate or visit with outsiders. However, God has shown me that I should never call a person impure or unclean. 29 For this reason, when you sent for me, I came without objection. I want to know, then, why you sent for me." 30 Cornelius answered, "Four days ago at this same time, three o'clock in the afternoon, I was praying at home. Suddenly a man in radiant clothing stood before me. 31 He said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayers, and your compassionate acts are like a memorial offering to him. 32 Therefore, send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is known as Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, located near the seacoast.' 33 I sent for you right away, and you were kind enough to come. Now, here we are, gathered in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has directed you to say." 34 Peter said, "I really am learning that God doesn't show partiality to one group of people over another. 35 Rather, in every nation, whoever worships him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 This is the message of peace he sent to the Israelites by proclaiming the good news through Jesus Christ: He is Lord of all! 37 You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism John preached. 38 You know about Jesus of Nazareth, whom God anointed with the Holy Spirit and endowed with power. Jesus traveled around doing good and healing everyone oppressed by the devil because God was with him. 39 We are witnesses of everything he did, both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him up on the third day and allowed him to be seen, 41 not by everyone but by us. We are witnesses whom God chose beforehand, who ate and drank with him after God raised him from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." 44 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell on everyone who heard the word. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 They heard them speaking in other languages and praising God. Peter asked, 47 "These people have received the Holy Spirit just as we have. Surely no one can stop them from being baptized with water, can they?" 48 He directed that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited Peter to stay for several days.
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