Then Job replied:
"How long will you torment me and crush me with words?
Ten times now you have reproached me; shamelessly you attack me.
If it is true that I have gone astray, my error remains my concern alone.
If indeed you would exalt yourselves above me and use my humiliation against me,
then know that God has wronged me and drawn his net around me.
"Though I cry, 'I've been wronged!' I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice.
He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; he has shrouded my paths in darkness.
He has stripped me of my honor and removed the crown from my head.
He tears me down on every side till I am gone; he uproots my hope like a tree.
His anger burns against me; he counts me among his enemies.
His troops advance in force; they build a siege ramp against me and encamp around my tent.
"He has alienated my brothers from me; my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.
My kinsmen have gone away; my friends have forgotten me.
My guests and my maidservants count me a stranger; they look upon me as an alien.
I summon my servant, but he does not answer, though I beg him with my own mouth.
My breath is offensive to my wife; I am loathsome to my own brothers.
Even the little boys scorn me; when I appear, they ridicule me.
All my intimate friends detest me; those I love have turned against me.
I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped with only the skin of my teeth.
"Have pity on me, my friends, have pity, for the hand of God has struck me.
Why do you pursue me as God does? Will you never get enough of my flesh?
"Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll,
that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever!
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him with my own eyes--I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
"If you say, 'How we will hound him, since the root of the trouble lies in him, '
you should fear the sword yourselves; for wrath will bring punishment by the sword, and then you will know that there is judgment. "
Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
"My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer because I am greatly disturbed.
I hear a rebuke that dishonors me, and my understanding inspires me to reply.
"Surely you know how it has been from of old, ever since man was placed on the earth,
that the mirth of the wicked is brief, the joy of the godless lasts but a moment.
Though his pride reaches to the heavens and his head touches the clouds,
he will perish forever, like his own dung; those who have seen him will say, 'Where is he?'
Like a dream he flies away, no more to be found, banished like a vision of the night.
The eye that saw him will not see him again; his place will look on him no more.
His children must make amends to the poor; his own hands must give back his wealth.
The youthful vigor that fills his bones will lie with him in the dust.
"Though evil is sweet in his mouth and he hides it under his tongue,
though he cannot bear to let it go and keeps it in his mouth,
yet his food will turn sour in his stomach; it will become the venom of serpents within him.
He will spit out the riches he swallowed; God will make his stomach vomit them up.
He will suck the poison of serpents; the fangs of an adder will kill him.
He will not enjoy the streams, the rivers flowing with honey and cream.
What he toiled for he must give back uneaten; he will not enjoy the profit from his trading.
For he has oppressed the poor and left them destitute; he has seized houses he did not build.
"Surely he will have no respite from his craving; he cannot save himself by his treasure.
Nothing is left for him to devour; his prosperity will not endure.
In the midst of his plenty, distress will overtake him; the full force of misery will come upon him.
When he has filled his belly, God will vent his burning anger against him and rain down his blows upon him.
Though he flees from an iron weapon, a bronze-tipped arrow pierces him.
He pulls it out of his back, the gleaming point out of his liver. Terrors will come over him;
total darkness lies in wait for his treasures. A fire unfanned will consume him and devour what is left in his tent.
The heavens will expose his guilt; the earth will rise up against him.
A flood will carry off his house, rushing waters on the day of God's wrath.
Such is the fate God allots the wicked, the heritage appointed for them by God."
Then Job replied:
"Listen carefully to my words; let this be the consolation you give me.
Bear with me while I speak, and after I have spoken, mock on.
"Is my complaint directed to man? Why should I not be impatient?
Look at me and be astonished; clap your hand over your mouth.
When I think about this, I am terrified; trembling seizes my body.
Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power?
They see their children established around them, their offspring before their eyes.
Their homes are safe and free from fear; the rod of God is not upon them.
Their bulls never fail to breed; their cows calve and do not miscarry.