Job 17; Job 18; Job 19; Job 20

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Job 17

1 My spirit is broken; the days of my life are almost gone. The grave is waiting for me.
2 Those who laugh at me surround me; I watch them insult me.
3 "God, make me a promise. No one will make a pledge for me.
4 You have closed their minds to understanding. Do not let them win over me.
5 A person might speak against his friends for money, but if he does, the eyes of his children go blind.
6 "God has made my name a curse word; people spit in my face.
7 My sight has grown weak because of my sadness, and my body is as thin as a shadow.
8 Honest people are upset about this; innocent people are upset with those who do wrong.
9 But those who do right will continue to do right, and those whose hands are not dirty with sin will grow stronger.
10 "But, all of you, come and try again! I do not find a wise person among you.
11 My days are gone, and my plans have been destroyed, along with the desires of my heart.
12 These men think night is day; when it is dark, they say, 'Light is near.'
13 If the only home I hope for is the grave, if I spread out my bed in darkness,
14 if I say to the grave, 'You are my father,' and to the worm, 'You are my mother' or 'You are my sister,'
15 where, then, is my hope? Who can see any hope for me?
16 Will hope go down to the gates of death? Will we go down together into the dust?"
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Job 18

1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered:
2 "When will you stop these speeches? Be sensible, and then we can talk.
3 You think of us as cattle, as if we are stupid.
4 You tear yourself to pieces in your anger. Should the earth be vacant just for you? Should the rocks move from their places?
5 "The lamp of the wicked will be put out, and the flame in their lamps will stop burning.
6 The light in their tents will grow dark, and the lamps by their sides will go out.
7 Their strong steps will grow weak; they will fall into their own evil traps.
8 Their feet will be caught in a net when they walk into its web.
9 A trap will catch them by the heel and hold them tight.
10 A trap for them is hidden on the ground, right in their path.
11 Terrible things startle them from every side and chase them at every step.
12 Hunger takes away their strength, and disaster is at their side.
13 Disease eats away parts of their skin; death gnaws at their arms and legs.
14 They are torn from the safety of their tents and dragged off to Death, the King of Terrors.
15 Their tents are set on fire, and sulfur is scattered over their homes.
16 Their roots dry up below ground, and their branches die above ground.
17 People on earth will not remember them; their names will be forgotten in the land.
18 They will be driven from light into darkness and chased out of the world.
19 They have no children or descendants among their people, and no one will be left alive where they once lived.
20 People of the west will be shocked at what has happened to them, and people of the east will be very frightened.
21 Surely this is what will happen to the wicked; such is the place of one who does not know God."
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Job 19

1 Then Job answered:
2 "How long will you hurt me and crush me with your words?
3 You have insulted me ten times now and attacked me without shame.
4 Even if I have sinned, it is my worry alone.
5 If you want to make yourselves look better than I, you can blame me for my suffering.
6 Then know that God has wronged me and pulled his net around me.
7 "I shout, 'I have been wronged!' But I get no answer. I scream for help but I get no justice.
8 God has blocked my way so I cannot pass; he has covered my paths with darkness.
9 He has taken away my honor and removed the crown from my head.
10 He beats me down on every side until I am gone; he destroys my hope like a fallen tree.
11 His anger burns against me, and he treats me like an enemy.
12 His armies gather; they prepare to attack me. They camp around my tent.
13 "God has made my brothers my enemies, and my friends have become strangers.
14 My relatives have gone away, and my friends have forgotten me.
15 My guests and my female servants treat me like a stranger; they look at me as if I were a foreigner.
16 I call for my servant, but he does not answer, even when I beg him with my own mouth.
17 My wife can't stand my breath, and my own family dislikes me.
18 Even the little boys hate me and talk about me when I leave.
19 All my close friends hate me; even those I love have turned against me.
20 I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.
21 Pity me, my friends, pity me, because the hand of God has hit me.
22 Why do you chase me as God does? Haven't you hurt me enough?
23 "How I wish my words were written down, written on a scroll.
24 I wish they were carved with an iron pen into lead, or carved into stone forever.
25 I know that my Defender lives, and in the end he will stand upon the earth.
26 Even after my skin has been destroyed, in my flesh I will see God.
27 I will see him myself; I will see him with my very own eyes. How my heart wants that to happen!
28 "If you say, 'We will continue to trouble Job, because the problem lies with him,'
29 you should be afraid of the sword yourselves. God's anger will bring punishment by the sword. Then you will know there is judgment."
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Job 20

1 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered:
2 "My troubled thoughts cause me to answer, because I am very upset.
3 You correct me and I am insulted, but I understand how to answer you.
4 "You know how it has been for a long time, ever since people were first put on the earth.
5 The happiness of evil people is brief, and the joy of the wicked lasts only a moment.
6 Their pride may be as high as the heavens, and their heads may touch the clouds,
7 but they will be gone forever, like their own dung. People who knew them will say, 'Where are they?'
8 They will fly away like a dream and not be found again; they will be chased away like a vision in the night.
9 Those who saw them will not see them again; the places where they lived will see them no more.
10 Their children will have to pay back the poor, and they will have to give up their wealth.
11 They had the strength of their youth in their bones, but it will lie with them in the dust of death.
12 "Evil may taste sweet in their mouths, and they may hide it under their tongues.
13 They cannot stand to let go of it; they keep it in their mouths.
14 But their food will turn sour in their stomachs, like the poison of a snake inside them.
15 They have swallowed riches, but they will spit them out; God will make them vomit their riches up.
16 They will suck the poison of snakes, and the snake's fangs will kill them.
17 They will not admire the sparkling streams or the rivers flowing with honey and cream.
18 They must give back what they worked for without eating it; they will not enjoy the money they made from their trading,
19 because they troubled the poor and left them with nothing. They have taken houses they did not build.
20 "Evil people never lack an appetite, and nothing escapes their selfishness.
21 But nothing will be left for them to eat; their riches will not continue.
22 When they still have plenty, trouble will catch up to them, and great misery will come down on them.
23 When the wicked fill their stomachs, God will send his burning anger against them, and blows of punishment will fall on them like rain.
24 The wicked may run away from an iron weapon, but a bronze arrow will stab them.
25 They will pull the arrows out of their backs and pull the points out of their livers. Terrors will come over them;
26 total darkness waits for their treasure. A fire not fanned by people will destroy them and burn up what is left of their tents.
27 The heavens will show their guilt, and the earth will rise up against them.
28 A flood will carry their houses away, swept away on the day of God's anger.
29 This is what God plans for evil people; this is what he has decided they will receive."
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.