Job 27:12-23; Job 28; Job 29; Job 30:1-2
You have all seen this yourselves. Why then this meaningless talk?
"Here is the fate God allots to the wicked, the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty:
However many his children, their fate is the sword; his offspring will never have enough to eat.
The plague will bury those who survive him, and their widows will not weep for them.
Though he heaps up silver like dust and clothes like piles of clay,
what he lays up the righteous will wear, and the innocent will divide his silver.
The house he builds is like a moth's cocoon, like a hut made by a watchman.
He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more; when he opens his eyes, all is gone.
Terrors overtake him like a flood; a tempest snatches him away in the night.
The east wind carries him off, and he is gone; it sweeps him out of his place.
It hurls itself against him without mercy as he flees headlong from its power.
It claps its hands in derision and hisses him out of his place.
"There is a mine for silver and a place where gold is refined.
Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore.
Man puts an end to the darkness; he searches the farthest recesses for ore in the blackest darkness.
Far from where people dwell he cuts a shaft, in places forgotten by the foot of man; far from men he dangles and sways.
The earth, from which food comes, is transformed below as by fire;
sapphires come from its rocks, and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
No bird of prey knows that hidden path, no falcon's eye has seen it.
Proud beasts do not set foot on it, and no lion prowls there.
Man's hand assaults the flinty rock and lays bare the roots of the mountains.
He tunnels through the rock; his eyes see all its treasures.
He searches the sources of the rivers and brings hidden things to light.
"But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell?
Man does not comprehend its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living.
The deep says, 'It is not in me'; the sea says, 'It is not with me.'
It cannot be bought with the finest gold, nor can its price be weighed in silver.
It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir, with precious onyx or sapphires.
Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it, nor can it be had for jewels of gold.
Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention; the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it; it cannot be bought with pure gold.
"Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell?
It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing, concealed even from the birds of the air.
Destruction and Death say, 'Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.'
God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells,
for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.
When he established the force of the wind and measured out the waters,
when he made a decree for the rain and a path for the thunderstorm,
then he looked at wisdom and appraised it; he confirmed it and tested it.
And he said to man, 'The fear of the Lord--that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.' "
Job continued his discourse:
"How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me,
when his lamp shone upon my head and by his light I walked through darkness!
Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God's intimate friendship blessed my house,
when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me,
when my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.
"When I went to the gate of the city and took my seat in the public square,
the young men saw me and stepped aside and the old men rose to their feet;
the chief men refrained from speaking and covered their mouths with their hands;
the voices of the nobles were hushed, and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.
Whoever heard me spoke well of me, and those who saw me commended me,
because I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist him.
The man who was dying blessed me; I made the widow's heart sing.
I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban.
I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger.
I broke the fangs of the wicked and snatched the victims from their teeth.
"I thought, 'I will die in my own house, my days as numerous as the grains of sand.
My roots will reach to the water, and the dew will lie all night on my branches.
My glory will remain fresh in me, the bow ever new in my hand.'
"Men listened to me expectantly, waiting in silence for my counsel.
After I had spoken, they spoke no more; my words fell gently on their ears.
They waited for me as for showers and drank in my words as the spring rain.
When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them.
I chose the way for them and sat as their chief; I dwelt as a king among his troops; I was like one who comforts mourners.
"But now they mock me, men younger than I, whose fathers I would have disdained to put with my sheep dogs.
Of what use was the strength of their hands to me, since their vigor had gone from them?