Then Job replied [to his friends],
"Listen carefully to my words, and let that be the comfort you offer me.
Bear with me while I speak. Then after I've spoken, you may go on mocking.
Am I complaining about a person? Why shouldn't I be impatient?
Look at me, and be shocked, and put [your] hand over [your] mouth.
When I remember it, I'm terrified, and shuddering seizes my body.
"Why do the wicked go on living, grow old, and even become more powerful?
They see their children firmly established with them, and they get to see their descendants.
Their homes are free from fear, and God doesn't use his rod on them.
Their bulls are fertile when they breed. Their cows give birth to calves and never miscarry.
They send their little children out [to play] like a flock of lambs, and their children dance around.
They sing with the tambourine and lyre, and they are happy with the music of the flute.
They spend their days in happiness, and they go peacefully to the grave.
But they say to God, 'Leave us alone. We don't want to know your ways.
Who is the Almighty that we should serve him? What do we gain if we pray to him?'
Anyhow, isn't their happiness in their own power? (The plan of the wicked is foreign to my way of thinking.)
"How often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out? How often does disaster happen to them? How often does an angry God give them pain?
How often are they like straw in the wind or like husks that the storm sweeps away?
"[You say,] 'God saves a person's punishment for his children.' God should pay back that person so that he would know that it is a punishment.
His eyes should see his own ruin. He should drink from the wrath of the Almighty.
How can he be interested in his family after he's gone, when the number of his months is cut short?
"Can anyone teach God knowledge? Can anyone judge the Most High?
One person dies in his prime and feels altogether happy and contented.
His stomach is full of milk, and his bones are strong and healthy.
Another person, never having tasted happiness, dies with a bitter soul.
Together they lie down in the dust, and worms cover them.
"You see, I know your thoughts and the schemes you plot against me
because you ask, 'Where is the house of the influential person? Where is the tent where wicked people live?'
Haven't you asked travelers? But you didn't pay attention to their directions.
On the day of disaster the wicked person is spared. On the day of [God's] anger he is rescued.
Who will tell him to his face how he lived? Who will pay him back for what he did?
He is carried to the cemetery, and his grave is guarded.
The soil in the creekbed is sweet to him. Everyone follows him. Countless others went before him.
How can you comfort me with this nonsense when your answers continue to betray me?"