At last Job spoke, and he cursed the day of his birth.
"Cursed be the day of my birth, and cursed be the night when I was conceived.
Let that day be turned to darkness. Let it be lost even to God on high, and let it be shrouded in darkness.
Yes, let the darkness and utter gloom claim it for its own. Let a black cloud overshadow it, and let the darkness terrify it.
Let that night be blotted off the calendar, never again to be counted among the days of the year, never again to appear among the months.
Let that night be barren. Let it have no joy.
Let those who are experts at cursing -- those who are ready to rouse the sea monster -- curse that day.
Let its morning stars remain dark. Let it hope for light, but in vain; may it never see the morning light.
Curse it for its failure to shut my mother's womb, for letting me be born to all this trouble.
"Why didn't I die at birth as I came from the womb?
Why did my mother let me live? Why did she nurse me at her breasts?
For if I had died at birth, I would be at peace now, asleep and at rest.
I would rest with the world's kings and prime ministers, famous for their great construction projects.
I would rest with wealthy princes whose palaces were filled with gold and silver.
Why was I not buried like a stillborn child, like a baby who never lives to see the light?
For in death the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.
Even prisoners are at ease in death, with no guards to curse them.
Rich and poor are there alike, and the slave is free from his master.
"Oh, why should light be given to the weary, and life to those in misery?
They long for death, and it won't come. They search for death more eagerly than for hidden treasure.
It is a blessed relief when they finally die, when they find the grave.
Why is life given to those with no future, those destined by God to live in distress?
I cannot eat for sighing; my groans pour out like water.
What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come to be.
I have no peace, no quietness. I have no rest; instead, only trouble comes."
Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied to Job:
"Will you be patient and let me say a word? For who could keep from speaking out?
"In the past you have encouraged many a troubled soul to trust in God; you have supported those who were weak.
Your words have strengthened the fallen; you steadied those who wavered.
But now when trouble strikes, you faint and are broken.
Does your reverence for God give you no confidence? Shouldn't you believe that God will care for those who are upright?
"Stop and think! Does the innocent person perish? When has the upright person been destroyed?
My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same.
They perish by a breath from God. They vanish in a blast of his anger.
Though they are fierce young lions, they will all be broken and destroyed.
The fierce lion will starve, and the cubs of the lioness will be scattered.
"This truth was given me in secret, as though whispered in my ear.
It came in a vision at night as others slept.
Fear gripped me; I trembled and shook with terror.
A spirit swept past my face. Its wind sent shivers up my spine.
It stopped, but I couldn't see its shape. There was a form before my eyes, and a hushed voice said,
'Can a mortal be just and upright before God? Can a person be pure before the Creator?'
"If God cannot trust his own angels and has charged some of them with folly,
how much less will he trust those made of clay! Their foundation is dust, and they are crushed as easily as moths.
They are alive in the morning, but by evening they are dead, gone forever without a trace.
Their tent collapses; they die in ignorance.
"Our ancestors carried the Tabernacle with them through the wilderness. It was constructed in exact accordance with the plan shown to Moses by God.
Years later, when Joshua led the battles against the Gentile nations that God drove out of this land, the Tabernacle was taken with them into their new territory. And it was used there until the time of King David.
"David found favor with God and asked for the privilege of building a permanent Temple for the God of Jacob.
But it was Solomon who actually built it.
However, the Most High doesn't live in temples made by human hands. As the prophet says,
'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you ever build me a temple as good as that?' asks the Lord. 'Could you build a dwelling place for me?
Didn't I make everything in heaven and earth?'
"You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? But your ancestors did, and so do you!
Name one prophet your ancestors didn't persecute! They even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One -- the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered.
You deliberately disobeyed God's law, though you received it from the hands of angels. "
The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen's accusation, and they shook their fists in rage.
But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily upward into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God's right hand.
And he told them, "Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God's right hand!"
Then they put their hands over their ears, and drowning out his voice with their shouts, they rushed at him.
They dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. The official witnesses took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.
And as they stoned him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
And he fell to his knees, shouting, "Lord, don't charge them with this sin!" And with that, he died.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)