1 “Do not mortals have hard service on earth? Are not their days like those of hired laborers? 2 Like a slave longing for the evening shadows, or a hired laborer waiting to be paid, 3 so I have been allotted months of futility, and nights of misery have been assigned to me. 4 When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’ The night drags on, and I toss and turn until dawn. 5 My body is clothed with worms and scabs, my skin is broken and festering. 6 “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope. 7 Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again. 8 The eye that now sees me will see me no longer; you will look for me, but I will be no more. 9 As a cloud vanishes and is gone, so one who goes down to the grave does not return. 10 He will never come to his house again; his place will know him no more. 11 “Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. 12 Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep, that you put me under guard? 13 When I think my bed will comfort me and my couch will ease my complaint, 14 even then you frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions, 15 so that I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine. 16 I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning. 17 “What is mankind that you make so much of them, that you give them so much attention, 18 that you examine them every morning and test them every moment? 19 Will you never look away from me, or let me alone even for an instant? 20 If I have sinned, what have I done to you, you who see everything we do? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you? 21 Why do you not pardon my offenses and forgive my sins? For I will soon lie down in the dust; you will search for me, but I will be no more.”
1 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied: 2 “How long will you say such things? Your words are a blustering wind. 3 Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right? 4 When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penalty of their sin. 5 But if you will seek God earnestly and plead with the Almighty, 6 if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your prosperous state. 7 Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be. 8 “Ask the former generation and find out what their ancestors learned, 9 for we were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow. 10 Will they not instruct you and tell you? Will they not bring forth words from their understanding? 11 Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water? 12 While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass. 13 Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless. 14 What they trust in is fragile ; what they rely on is a spider’s web. 15 They lean on the web, but it gives way; they cling to it, but it does not hold. 16 They are like a well-watered plant in the sunshine, spreading its shoots over the garden; 17 it entwines its roots around a pile of rocks and looks for a place among the stones. 18 But when it is torn from its spot, that place disowns it and says, ‘I never saw you.’ 19 Surely its life withers away, and from the soil other plants grow. 20 “Surely God does not reject one who is blameless or strengthen the hands of evildoers. 21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. 22 Your enemies will be clothed in shame, and the tents of the wicked will be no more.”
1 Then Job replied: 2 “Indeed, I know that this is true. But how can mere mortals prove their innocence before God? 3 Though they wished to dispute with him, they could not answer him one time out of a thousand. 4 His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed? 5 He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in his anger. 6 He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble. 7 He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars. 8 He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. 9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. 10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. 11 When he passes me, I cannot see him; when he goes by, I cannot perceive him. 12 If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ 13 God does not restrain his anger; even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet. 14 “How then can I dispute with him? How can I find words to argue with him? 15 Though I were innocent, I could not answer him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy. 16 Even if I summoned him and he responded, I do not believe he would give me a hearing. 17 He would crush me with a storm and multiply my wounds for no reason. 18 He would not let me catch my breath but would overwhelm me with misery. 19 If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty! And if it is a matter of justice, who can challenge him ? 20 Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty. 21 “Although I am blameless, I have no concern for myself; I despise my own life. 22 It is all the same; that is why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’ 23 When a scourge brings sudden death, he mocks the despair of the innocent. 24 When a land falls into the hands of the wicked, he blindfolds its judges. If it is not he, then who is it? 25 “My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy. 26 They skim past like boats of papyrus, like eagles swooping down on their prey. 27 If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile,’ 28 I still dread all my sufferings, for I know you will not hold me innocent. 29 Since I am already found guilty, why should I struggle in vain? 30 Even if I washed myself with soap and my hands with cleansing powder, 31 you would plunge me into a slime pit so that even my clothes would detest me. 32 “He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. 33 If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, 34 someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. 35 Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.
44 “Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the covenant law with them in the wilderness. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45 After receiving the tabernacle, our ancestors under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for him. 48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says: 49 “ ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? 50 Has not my hand made all these things?’ 51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.” 54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.