Then Bildad the Shuhite answered:
"How long will you say such things? Your words are no more than wind.
God does not twist justice; the Almighty does not make wrong what is right.
Your children sinned against God, and he punished them for their sins.
But you should ask God for help and pray to the Almighty for mercy.
If you are good and honest, he will stand up for you and bring you back where you belong.
Where you began will seem unimportant, because your future will be so successful.
"Ask old people; find out what their ancestors learned,
because we were only born yesterday and know nothing. Our days on earth are only a shadow.
Those people will teach you and tell you and speak about what they know.
Papyrus plants cannot grow where there is no swamp, and reeds cannot grow tall without water.
While they are still growing and not yet cut, they will dry up quicker than grass.
That is what will happen to those who forget God; the hope of the wicked will be gone.
What they hope in is easily broken; what they trust is like a spider's web.
They lean on the spider's web, but it breaks. They grab it, but it does not hold up.
They are like well-watered plants in the sunshine that spread their roots all through the garden.
They wrap their roots around a pile of rocks and look for a place among the stones.
But if a plant is torn from its place, then that place rejects it and says, 'I never saw you.'
Now joy has gone away; other plants grow up from the same dirt.
"Surely God does not reject the innocent or give strength to those who do evil.
God will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.
Your enemies will be covered with shame, and the tents of the wicked will be gone."
Then Job answered:
"Yes, I know that this is true, but how can anyone be right in the presence of God?
Someone might want to argue with God, but no one could answer God, not one time out of a thousand.
God's wisdom is deep, and his power is great; no one can fight him without getting hurt.
God moves mountains without anyone knowing it and turns them over when he is angry.
He shakes the earth out of its place and makes its foundations tremble.
He commands the sun not to shine and shuts off the light of the stars.
He alone stretches out the skies and walks on the waves of the sea.
It is God who made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiadesn and the groups of stars in the southern sky.
He does wonders that cannot be understood; he does so many miracles they cannot be counted.
When he passes me, I cannot see him; when he goes by me, I do not recognize him.
If he snatches something away, no one can stop him or say to him, 'What are you doing?'
God will not hold back his anger. Even the helpers of the monster Rahab lie at his feet in fear.
So how can I argue with God, or even find words to argue with him?
Even if I were right, I could not answer him; I could only beg God, my Judge, for mercy.
If I called to him and he answered, I still don't believe he would listen to me.
He would crush me with a storm and multiply my wounds for no reason.
He would not let me catch my breath but would overwhelm me with misery.
When it comes to strength, God is stronger than I; when it comes to justice, no one can accuse him.
Even if I were right, my own mouth would say I was wrong; if I were innocent, my mouth would say I was guilty.
"I am innocent, but I don't care about myself. I hate my own life.
It is all the same. That is why I say, 'God destroys both the innocent and the guilty.'
If the whip brings sudden death, God will laugh at the suffering of the innocent.
When the land falls into the hands of evil people, he covers the judges' faces so they can't see it. If it is not God who does this, then who is it?
"My days go by faster than a runner; they fly away without my seeing any joy.
They glide past like paper boats. They attack like eagles swooping down to feed.
Even though I say, 'I will forget my complaint; I will change the look on my face and smile,'
I still dread all my suffering. I know you will hold me guilty.
I have already been found guilty, so why should I struggle for no reason?
I might wash myself with soap and scrub my hands with strong soap,
but you would push me into a dirty pit, and even my clothes would hate me.
"God is not a man like me, so I cannot answer him. We cannot meet each other in court.
I wish there were someone to make peace between us, someone to decide our case.
Maybe he could remove God's punishment so his terror would no longer frighten me.
Then I could speak without being afraid, but I am not able to do that.
"I hate my life, so I will complain without holding back; I will speak because I am so unhappy.
I will say to God: Do not hold me guilty, but tell me what you have against me.
Does it make you happy to trouble me? Don't you care about me, the work of your hands? Are you happy with the plans of evil people?
Do you have human eyes that see as we see?
Are your days like the days of humans, and your years like our years?
You look for the evil I have done and search for my sin.
You know I am not guilty, but no one can save me from your power.
"Your hands shaped and made me. Do you now turn around and destroy me?
Remember that you molded me like a piece of clay. Will you now turn me back into dust?
You formed me inside my mother like cheese formed from milk.
You dressed me with skin and flesh; you sewed me together with bones and muscles.
You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your care you watched over my life.
"But in your heart you hid other plans. I know this was in your mind.
If I sinned, you would watch me and would not let my sin go unpunished.
How terrible it will be for me if I am guilty! Even if I am right, I cannot lift my head. I am full of shame and experience only pain.
If I hold up my head, you hunt me like a lion and again show your terrible power against me.
You bring new witnesses against me and increase your anger against me. Your armies come against me.
"So why did you allow me to be born? I wish I had died before anyone saw me.
I wish I had never lived, but had been carried straight from birth to the grave.
The few days of my life are almost over. Leave me alone so I can have a moment of joy.
Soon I will leave; I will not return from the land of darkness and gloom,
the land of darkest night, from the land of gloom and confusion, where even the light is darkness."