1 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied to Job: 2 “Shouldn’t someone answer this torrent of words? Is a person proved innocent just by a lot of talking? 3 Should I remain silent while you babble on? When you mock God, shouldn’t someone make you ashamed? 4 You claim, ‘My beliefs are pure,’ and ‘I am clean in the sight of God.’ 5 If only God would speak; if only he would tell you what he thinks! 6 If only he would tell you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom is not a simple matter. Listen! God is doubtless punishing you far less than you deserve! 7 “Can you solve the mysteries of God? Can you discover everything about the Almighty? 8 Such knowledge is higher than the heavens— and who are you? It is deeper than the underworld — what do you know? 9 It is broader than the earth and wider than the sea. 10 If God comes and puts a person in prison or calls the court to order, who can stop him? 11 For he knows those who are false, and he takes note of all their sins. 12 An empty-headed person won’t become wise any more than a wild donkey can bear a human child. 13 “If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to him in prayer! 14 Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you. 15 Then your face will brighten with innocence. You will be strong and free of fear. 16 You will forget your misery; it will be like water flowing away. 17 Your life will be brighter than the noonday. Even darkness will be as bright as morning. 18 Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety. 19 You will lie down unafraid, and many will look to you for help. 20 But the wicked will be blinded. They will have no escape. Their only hope is death.”
1 Then Job spoke again: 2 “You people really know everything, don’t you? And when you die, wisdom will die with you! 3 Well, I know a few things myself— and you’re no better than I am. Who doesn’t know these things you’ve been saying? 4 Yet my friends laugh at me, for I call on God and expect an answer. I am a just and blameless man, yet they laugh at me. 5 People who are at ease mock those in trouble. They give a push to people who are stumbling. 6 But robbers are left in peace, and those who provoke God live in safety— though God keeps them in his power. 7 “Just ask the animals, and they will teach you. Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you. 8 Speak to the earth, and it will instruct you. Let the fish in the sea speak to you. 9 For they all know that my disaster has come from the hand of the LORD . 10 For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being. 11 The ear tests the words it hears just as the mouth distinguishes between foods. 12 Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old. 13 “But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his. 14 What he destroys cannot be rebuilt. When he puts someone in prison, there is no escape. 15 If he holds back the rain, the earth becomes a desert. If he releases the waters, they flood the earth. 16 Yes, strength and wisdom are his; deceivers and deceived are both in his power. 17 He leads counselors away, stripped of good judgment; wise judges become fools. 18 He removes the royal robe of kings. They are led away with ropes around their waist. 19 He leads priests away, stripped of status; he overthrows those with long years in power. 20 He silences the trusted adviser and removes the insight of the elders. 21 He pours disgrace upon princes and disarms the strong. 22 “He uncovers mysteries hidden in darkness; he brings light to the deepest gloom. 23 He builds up nations, and he destroys them. He expands nations, and he abandons them. 24 He strips kings of understanding and leaves them wandering in a pathless wasteland. 25 They grope in the darkness without a light. He makes them stagger like drunkards.
1 “Look, I have seen all this with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears, and now I understand. 2 I know as much as you do. You are no better than I am. 3 As for me, I would speak directly to the Almighty. I want to argue my case with God himself. 4 As for you, you smear me with lies. As physicians, you are worthless quacks. 5 If only you could be silent! That’s the wisest thing you could do. 6 Listen to my charge; pay attention to my arguments. 7 “Are you defending God with lies? Do you make your dishonest arguments for his sake? 8 Will you slant your testimony in his favor? Will you argue God’s case for him? 9 What will happen when he finds out what you are doing? Can you fool him as easily as you fool people? 10 No, you will be in trouble with him if you secretly slant your testimony in his favor. 11 Doesn’t his majesty terrify you? Doesn’t your fear of him overwhelm you? 12 Your platitudes are as valuable as ashes. Your defense is as fragile as a clay pot. 13 “Be silent now and leave me alone. Let me speak, and I will face the consequences. 14 Why should I put myself in mortal danger and take my life in my own hands? 15 God might kill me, but I have no other hope. I am going to argue my case with him. 16 But this is what will save me—I am not godless. If I were, I could not stand before him. 17 “Listen closely to what I am about to say. Hear me out. 18 I have prepared my case; I will be proved innocent. 19 Who can argue with me over this? And if you prove me wrong, I will remain silent and die. 20 “O God, grant me these two things, and then I will be able to face you. 21 Remove your heavy hand from me, and don’t terrify me with your awesome presence. 22 Now summon me, and I will answer! Or let me speak to you, and you reply. 23 Tell me, what have I done wrong? Show me my rebellion and my sin. 24 Why do you turn away from me? Why do you treat me as your enemy? 25 Would you terrify a leaf blown by the wind? Would you chase dry straw? 26 “You write bitter accusations against me and bring up all the sins of my youth. 27 You put my feet in stocks. You examine all my paths. You trace all my footprints. 28 I waste away like rotting wood, like a moth-eaten coat.
1 Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. 2 He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains. 3 As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” 5 “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! 6 Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one! 8 Saul picked himself up off the ground, but when he opened his eyes he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus. 9 He remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink. 10 Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord!” he replied. 11 The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. 12 I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.” 13 “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! 14 And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.” 15 But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” 17 So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. 19 Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength. Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. 20 And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!” 21 All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?”