Job 29; Job 30; Job 31

1 Job continued to speak: 2 "How I wish for the months that have passed and the days when God watched over me. 3 God's lamp shined on my head, and I walked through darkness by his light. 4 I wish for the days when I was strong, when God's close friendship blessed my house. 5 The Almighty was still with me, and my children were all around me. 6 It was as if my path were covered with cream and the rocks poured out olive oil for me. 7 I would go to the city gate and sit in the public square. 8 When the young men saw me, they would step aside, and the old men would stand up in respect. 9 The leading men stopped speaking and covered their mouths with their hands. 10 The voices of the important men were quiet, as if their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths. 11 Anyone who heard me spoke well of me, and those who saw me praised me, 12 because I saved the poor who called out and the orphan who had no one to help. 13 The dying person blessed me, and I made the widow's heart sing. 14 I put on right living as if it were clothing; I wore fairness like a robe and a turban. 15 I was eyes for the blind and feet for the lame. 16 I was like a father to needy people, and I took the side of strangers who were in trouble. 17 I broke the fangs of evil people and snatched the captives from their teeth. 18 "I thought, 'I will live for as many days as there are grains of sand, and I will die in my own house. 19 My roots will reach down to the water. The dew will lie on the branches all night. 20 New honors will come to me continually, and I will always have great strength.' 21 "People listened to me carefully and waited quietly for my advice. 22 After I finished speaking, they spoke no more. My words fell very gently on their ears. 23 They waited for me as they would for rain and drank in my words like spring rain. 24 I smiled at them when they doubted, and my approval was important to them. 25 I chose the way for them and was their leader. I lived like a king among his army, like a person who comforts sad people.
1 "But now men who are younger than I make fun of me. I would not have even let their fathers sit with my sheep dogs. 2 What use did I have for their strength since they had lost their strength to work? 3 They were thin from hunger and wandered the dry and ruined land at night. 4 They gathered desert plants among the brush and ate the root of the broom tree. 5 They were forced to live away from people; people shouted at them as if they were thieves. 6 They lived in dried up streambeds, in caves, and among the rocks. 7 They howled like animals among the bushes and huddled together in the brush. 8 They are worthless people without names and were forced to leave the land. 9 "Now they make fun of me with songs; my name is a joke among them. 10 They hate me and stay far away from me, but they do not mind spitting in my face. 11 God has taken away my strength and made me suffer, so they attack me with all their anger. 12 On my right side they rise up like a mob. They lay traps for my feet and prepare to attack me. 13 They break up my road and work to destroy me, and no one helps me. 14 They come at me as if through a hole in the wall, and they roll in among the ruins. 15 Great fears overwhelm me. They blow my honor away as if by a great wind, and my safety disappears like a cloud. 16 "Now my life is almost over; my days are full of suffering. 17 At night my bones ache; gnawing pains never stop. 18 In his great power God grabs hold of my clothing and chokes me with the collar of my coat. 19 He throws me into the mud, and I become like dirt and ashes. 20 "I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you just look at me. 21 You have turned on me without mercy; with your powerful hand you attacked me. 22 You snatched me up and threw me into the wind and tossed me about in the storm. 23 I know you will bring me down to death, to the place where all living people must go. 24 "Surely no one would hurt a ruined man when he cries for help in his time of trouble. 25 I cried for those who were in trouble; I have been very sad for poor people. 26 But when I hoped for good, only evil came to me; when I looked for light, darkness came. 27 I never stop being upset; days of suffering are ahead of me. 28 I have turned black, but not by the sun. I stand up in public and cry for help. 29 I have become a brother to wild dogs and a friend to ostriches. 30 My skin has become black and peels off, as my body burns with fever. 31 My harp is tuned to sing a sad song, and my flute is tuned to moaning.
1 "But I made an agreement with my eyes not to look with desire at a girl. 2 What has God above promised for people? 3 It is ruin for evil people and disaster for those who do wrong. 4 God sees my ways and counts every step I take. 5 "If I have been dishonest or lied to others, 6 then let God weigh me on honest scales. Then he will know I have done nothing wrong. 7 If I have turned away from doing what is right, or my heart has been led by my eyes to do wrong, or my hands have been made unclean, 8 then let other people eat what I have planted, and let my crops be plowed up. 9 "If I have desired another woman or have waited at my neighbor's door for his wife, 10 then let my wife grind another man's grain, and let other men have sexual relations with her. 11 That would be shameful, a sin to be punished. 12 It is like a fire that burns and destroys; all I have done would be plowed up. 13 "If I have been unfair to my male and female slaves when they had a complaint against me, 14 how could I tell God what I did? What will I answer when he asks me to explain what I've done? 15 God made me in my mother's womb, and he also made them; the same God formed both of us in our mothers' wombs. 16 "I have never refused the appeals of the poor or let widows give up hope while looking for help. 17 I have not kept my food to myself but have given it to the orphans. 18 Since I was young, I have been like a father to the orphans. From my birth I guided the widows. 19 I have not let anyone die for lack of clothes or let a needy person go without a coat. 20 That person's heart blessed me, because I warmed him with the wool of my sheep. 21 I have never hurt an orphan even when I knew I could win in court. 22 If I have, then let my arm fall off my shoulder and be broken at the joint. 23 I fear destruction from God, and I fear his majesty, so I could not do such things. 24 "I have not put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, 'You are my security.' 25 I have not celebrated my great wealth or the riches my hands had gained. 26 I have not thought about worshiping the sun in its brightness nor admired the moon moving in glory 27 so that my heart was pulled away from God. My hand has never offered the sun and moon a kiss of worship. 28 If I had, these also would have been sins to be punished, because I would have been unfaithful to God. 29 "I have not been happy when my enemy fell or laughed when he had trouble. 30 I have not let my mouth sin by cursing my enemy's life. 31 The men of my house have always said, 'Everyone has eaten all he wants of Job's food.' 32 No stranger ever had to spend the night in the street, because I always let travelers stay in my home. 33 I have not hidden my sin as others do, secretly keeping my guilt to myself. 34 I was not so afraid of the crowd that I kept quiet and stayed inside because I feared being hated by other families. 35 ("How I wish a court would hear my case! Here I sign my name to show I have told the truth. Now let the Almighty answer me; let the one who accuses me write it down. 36 I would wear the writing on my shoulder; I would put it on like a crown. 37 I would explain to God every step I took, and I would come near to him like a prince.) 38 "If my land cries out against me and its plowed rows are not wet with tears, 39 if I have taken the land's harvest without paying or have broken the spirit of those who worked the land, 40 then let thorns come up instead of wheat, and let weeds come up instead of barley." The words of Job are finished.