Then Job defended himself:
"I've had all I can take of your talk. What a bunch of miserable comforters!
Is there no end to your windbag speeches? What's your problem that you go on and on like this?
If you were in my shoes, I could talk just like you. I could put together a terrific harangue and really let you have it.
But I'd never do that. I'd console and comfort, make things better, not worse!
"When I speak up, I feel no better; if I say nothing, that doesn't help either.
I feel worn down. God, you have wasted me totally - me and my family!
You've shriveled me like a dried prune, showing the world that you're against me. My gaunt face stares back at me from the mirror, a mute witness to your treatment of me.
Your anger tears at me, your teeth rip me to shreds, your eyes burn holes in me - God, my enemy!
People take one look at me and gasp. Contemptuous, they slap me around and gang up against me.
And God just stands there and lets them do it, lets wicked people do what they want with me.
I was contentedly minding my business when God beat me up. He grabbed me by the neck and threw me around. He set me up as his target,
then rounded up archers to shoot at me. Merciless, they shot me full of arrows; bitter bile poured from my gut to the ground.
He burst in on me, onslaught after onslaught, charging me like a mad bull.
"I sewed myself a shroud and wore it like a shirt; I lay face down in the dirt.
Now my face is blotched red from weeping; look at the dark shadows under my eyes,
Even though I've never hurt a soul and my prayers are sincere! The One Who Represents Mortals Before God
"O Earth, don't cover up the wrong done to me! Don't muffle my cry!
There must be Someone in heaven who knows the truth about me, in highest heaven, some Attorney who can clear my name -
My Champion, my Friend, while I'm weeping my eyes out before God.
I appeal to the One who represents mortals before God as a neighbor stands up for a neighbor.
"Only a few years are left before I set out on the road of no return.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)