1 “How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble! 2 We blossom like a flower and then wither. Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear. 3 Must you keep an eye on such a frail creature and demand an accounting from me? 4 Who can bring purity out of an impure person? No one! 5 You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer. 6 So leave us alone and let us rest! We are like hired hands, so let us finish our work in peace. 7 “Even a tree has more hope! If it is cut down, it will sprout again and grow new branches. 8 Though its roots have grown old in the earth and its stump decays, 9 at the scent of water it will bud and sprout again like a new seedling. 10 “But when people die, their strength is gone. They breathe their last, and then where are they? 11 As water evaporates from a lake and a river disappears in drought, 12 people are laid to rest and do not rise again. Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up nor be roused from their sleep. 13 “I wish you would hide me in the grave and forget me there until your anger has passed. But mark your calendar to think of me again! 14 Can the dead live again? If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle, and I would eagerly await the release of death. 15 You would call and I would answer, and you would yearn for me, your handiwork. 16 For then you would guard my steps, instead of watching for my sins. 17 My sins would be sealed in a pouch, and you would cover my guilt. 18 “But instead, as mountains fall and crumble and as rocks fall from a cliff, 19 as water wears away the stones and floods wash away the soil, so you destroy people’s hope. 20 You always overpower them, and they pass from the scene. You disfigure them in death and send them away. 21 They never know if their children grow up in honor or sink to insignificance. 22 They suffer painfully; their life is full of trouble.”
1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied: 2 “A wise man wouldn’t answer with such empty talk! You are nothing but a windbag. 3 The wise don’t engage in empty chatter. What good are such words? 4 Have you no fear of God, no reverence for him? 5 Your sins are telling your mouth what to say. Your words are based on clever deception. 6 Your own mouth condemns you, not I. Your own lips testify against you. 7 “Were you the first person ever born? Were you born before the hills were made? 8 Were you listening at God’s secret council? Do you have a monopoly on wisdom? 9 What do you know that we don’t? What do you understand that we do not? 10 On our side are aged, gray-haired men much older than your father! 11 “Is God’s comfort too little for you? Is his gentle word not enough? 12 What has taken away your reason? What has weakened your vision, 13 that you turn against God and say all these evil things? 14 Can any mortal be pure? Can anyone born of a woman be just? 15 Look, God does not even trust the angels. Even the heavens are not absolutely pure in his sight. 16 How much less pure is a corrupt and sinful person with a thirst for wickedness! 17 “If you will listen, I will show you. I will answer you from my own experience. 18 And it is confirmed by the reports of wise men who have heard the same thing from their fathers— 19 from those to whom the land was given long before any foreigners arrived. 20 “The wicked writhe in pain throughout their lives. Years of trouble are stored up for the ruthless. 21 The sound of terror rings in their ears, and even on good days they fear the attack of the destroyer. 22 They dare not go out into the darkness for fear they will be murdered. 23 They wander around, saying, ‘Where can I find bread?’ They know their day of destruction is near. 24 That dark day terrifies them. They live in distress and anguish, like a king preparing for battle. 25 For they shake their fists at God, defying the Almighty. 26 Holding their strong shields, they defiantly charge against him. 27 “These wicked people are heavy and prosperous; their waists bulge with fat. 28 But their cities will be ruined. They will live in abandoned houses that are ready to tumble down. 29 Their riches will not last, and their wealth will not endure. Their possessions will no longer spread across the horizon. 30 “They will not escape the darkness. The burning sun will wither their shoots, and the breath of God will destroy them. 31 Let them no longer fool themselves by trusting in empty riches, for emptiness will be their only reward. 32 They will be cut down in the prime of life; their branches will never again be green. 33 They will be like a vine whose grapes are harvested too early, like an olive tree that loses its blossoms before the fruit can form. 34 For the godless are barren. Their homes, enriched through bribery, will burn. 35 They conceive trouble and give birth to evil. Their womb produces deceit.”
1 Then Job spoke again: 2 “I have heard all this before. What miserable comforters you are! 3 Won’t you ever stop blowing hot air? What makes you keep on talking? 4 I could say the same things if you were in my place. I could spout off criticism and shake my head at you. 5 But if it were me, I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief. 6 Instead, I suffer if I defend myself, and I suffer no less if I refuse to speak. 7 “O God, you have ground me down and devastated my family. 8 As if to prove I have sinned, you’ve reduced me to skin and bones. My gaunt flesh testifies against me. 9 God hates me and angrily tears me apart. He snaps his teeth at me and pierces me with his eyes. 10 People jeer and laugh at me. They slap my cheek in contempt. A mob gathers against me. 11 God has handed me over to sinners. He has tossed me into the hands of the wicked. 12 “I was living quietly until he shattered me. He took me by the neck and broke me in pieces. Then he set me up as his target, 13 and now his archers surround me. His arrows pierce me without mercy. The ground is wet with my blood. 14 Again and again he smashes against me, charging at me like a warrior. 15 I wear burlap to show my grief. My pride lies in the dust. 16 My eyes are red with weeping; dark shadows circle my eyes. 17 Yet I have done no wrong, and my prayer is pure. 18 “O earth, do not conceal my blood. Let it cry out on my behalf. 19 Even now my witness is in heaven. My advocate is there on high. 20 My friends scorn me, but I pour out my tears to God. 21 I need someone to mediate between God and me, as a person mediates between friends. 22 For soon I must go down that road from which I will never return.
22 Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. 23 After a while some of the Jews plotted together to kill him. 24 They were watching for him day and night at the city gate so they could murder him, but Saul was told about their plot. 25 So during the night, some of the other believers lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the city wall. 26 When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! 27 Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus. 28 So Saul stayed with the apostles and went all around Jerusalem with them, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He debated with some Greek-speaking Jews, but they tried to murder him. 30 When the believers heard about this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus, his hometown. 31 The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers. 32 Meanwhile, Peter traveled from place to place, and he came down to visit the believers in the town of Lydda. 33 There he met a man named Aeneas, who had been paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. 34 Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up, and roll up your sleeping mat!” And he was healed instantly. 35 Then the whole population of Lydda and Sharon saw Aeneas walking around, and they turned to the Lord. 36 There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas ). She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor. 37 About this time she became ill and died. Her body was washed for burial and laid in an upstairs room. 38 But the believers had heard that Peter was nearby at Lydda, so they sent two men to beg him, “Please come as soon as possible!” 39 So Peter returned with them; and as soon as he arrived, they took him to the upstairs room. The room was filled with widows who were weeping and showing him the coats and other clothes Dorcas had made for them. 40 But Peter asked them all to leave the room; then he knelt and prayed. Turning to the body he said, “Get up, Tabitha.” And she opened her eyes! When she saw Peter, she sat up! 41 He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then he called in the widows and all the believers, and he presented her to them alive. 42 The news spread through the whole town, and many believed in the Lord. 43 And Peter stayed a long time in Joppa, living with Simon, a tanner of hides.