Then Eliphaz from Teman spoke up:
"Would you mind if I said something to you? Under the circumstances it's hard to keep quiet.
You yourself have done this plenty of times, spoken words that clarify, encouraged those who were about to quit.
Your words have put stumbling people on their feet, put fresh hope in people about to collapse.
But now you're the one in trouble - you're hurting! You've been hit hard and you're reeling from the blow.
But shouldn't your devout life give you confidence now? Shouldn't your exemplary life give you hope?
"Think! Has a truly innocent person ever ended up on the scrap heap? Do genuinely upright people ever lose out in the end?
It's my observation that those who plow evil and sow trouble reap evil and trouble.
One breath from God and they fall apart, one blast of his anger and there's nothing left of them.
The mighty lion, king of the beasts, roars mightily, but when he's toothless he's useless -
No teeth, no prey - and the cubs wander off to fend for themselves.
"A word came to me in secret - a mere whisper of a word, but I heard it clearly.
It came in a scary dream one night, after I had fallen into a deep, deep sleep.
Dread stared me in the face, and Terror. I was scared to death - I shook from head to foot.
A spirit glided right in front of me - the hair on my head stood on end.
I couldn't tell what it was that appeared there - a blur . . . and then I heard a muffled voice:
"'How can mere mortals be more righteous than God? How can humans be purer than their Creator?
Why, God doesn't even trust his own servants, doesn't even cheer his angels,
So how much less these bodies composed of mud, fragile as moths?
These bodies of ours are here today and gone tomorrow, and no one even notices - gone without a trace.
When the tent stakes are ripped up, the tent collapses - we die and are never the wiser for having lived.'
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)