"Hear my words, you wise men; listen to me, you who know a lot.
The ear tests words as the tongue tastes food.
Let's decide for ourselves what is right, and let's learn together what is good.
"Job says, 'I am not guilty, and God has refused me a fair trial.
Instead of getting a fair trial, I am called a liar. I have been seriously hurt, even though I have not sinned.'
There is no other man like Job; he takes insults as if he were drinking water.
He keeps company with those who do evil and spends time with wicked men,
because he says, 'It is no use to try to please God.'
"So listen to me, you who can understand. God can never do wrong! It is impossible for the Almighty to do evil.
God pays a person back for what he has done and gives him what his actions deserve.
Truly God will never do wrong; the Almighty will never twist what is right.
No one chose God to rule over the earth or put him in charge of the whole world.
If God should decide to take away life and breath,
then everyone would die together and turn back into dust.
"If you can understand, hear this; listen to what I have to say.
Can anyone govern who hates what is right? and powerful?
God is the one who says to kings, 'You are worthless,' or to important people, 'You are evil.'
He is not nicer to princes than other people, nor kinder to rich people than poor people, because he made them all with his own hands.
They can die in a moment, in the middle of the night. They are struck down, and then they pass away; powerful people die without help.
"God watches where people go; he sees every step they take.
There is no dark place or deep shadow where those who do evil can hide from him.
He does not set a time for people to come before him for judging.
Without asking questions, God breaks powerful people into pieces and puts others in their place.
Because God knows what people do, he defeats them in the night, and they are crushed.
He punishes them for the evil they do so that everyone else can watch,
because they stopped following God and did not care about any of his ways.
The cry of the poor comes to God; he hears the cry of the needy.
But if God keeps quiet, who can blame him? If he hides his face, who can see him? God still rules over both nations and persons alike.
He keeps the wicked from ruling and from trapping others.
"But suppose someone says to God, 'I am guilty, but I will not sin anymore.
Teach me what I cannot see. If I have done wrong, I will not do it again.'
So, Job, should God reward you as you want when you refuse to change? You must decide, not I, so tell me what you know.
"Those who understand speak, and the wise who hear me say,
'Job speaks without knowing what is true; his words show he does not understand.'
I wish Job would be tested completely, because he answered like an evil man!
Job now adds to his sin by turning against God. He claps his hands in protest, speaking more and more against God."
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.