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.
They send forth their children as a flock; their little ones dance about.
They sing to the music of tambourine and harp; they make merry to the sound of the flute.
They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace.
Yet they say to God, 'Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways.
Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?'
But their prosperity is not in their own hands, so I stand aloof from the counsel of the wicked.
"Yet how often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out? How often does calamity come upon them, the fate God allots in his anger?
How often are they like straw before the wind, like chaff swept away by a gale?
[It is said, ] 'God stores up a man's punishment for his sons.' Let him repay the man himself, so that he will know it!
Let his own eyes see his destruction; let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
For what does he care about the family he leaves behind when his allotted months come to an end?
"Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since he judges even the highest?
One man dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease,
his body well nourished, his bones rich with marrow.
Another man dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good.
Side by side they lie in the dust, and worms cover them both.
"I know full well what you are thinking, the schemes by which you would wrong me.
You say, 'Where now is the great man's house, the tents where wicked men lived?'
Have you never questioned those who travel? Have you paid no regard to their accounts--
that the evil man is spared from the day of calamity, that he is delivered from the day of wrath?
Who denounces his conduct to his face? Who repays him for what he has done?
He is carried to the grave, and watch is kept over his tomb.
The soil in the valley is sweet to him; all men follow after him, and a countless throng goes before him.
"So how can you console me with your nonsense? Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!"