"Job, listen now to my words. Pay attention to everything I say.
I'm about to open my mouth. My words are on the tip of my tongue.
What I say comes from an honest heart. My lips speak only what I know is true.
The Spirit of God has made me. The breath of the Mighty One gives me life.
So answer me if you can. Prepare yourself to face me.
In God's sight I'm just like you. I too have been made out of clay.
You don't have to be afraid of me. My hand won't be too heavy on you.
"But I heard what you said. And here are the exact words I heard.
You said, 'I'm pure. I haven't sinned in the ways you have charged. I'm clean. I'm not guilty of doing anything wrong.
But God has found fault with me. He thinks I'm his enemy.
He puts my feet in chains. He watches every step I take.'
"But I'm telling you that you aren't right when you talk like that. After all, God is greater than a mere man.
Why do you claim that God never answers any of our questions?
He speaks in one way and then another. We might not even realize it.
He might speak in a dream or in a vision at night. That's when people are sound asleep in their beds.
He might speak in their ears. His warnings might terrify them.
He warns men in order to turn them away from sinning. He wants to keep them from being proud.
He wants to stop them from going down into the grave. He doesn't want them to be killed with swords.
Someone might be punished by suffering in bed. The pain in his bones might never go away.
He might feel so bad he can't eat anything. He might even hate the finest food.
His body might waste away to nothing. His bones might have been hidden. But now they stick out.
He might approach the very edge of the grave. The messengers of death might come for him.
"But suppose there is an angel who will speak up for him. The angel is very special. He's one out of a thousand. He will tell that person what is right for him.
He'll be gracious to him. He'll say to God, 'Spare him from going down into the grave. I know a way that can set him free.'
Then his body is made like new again. He becomes as strong and healthy as when he was young.
He prays to God and finds favor with him. He sees God's face and shouts with joy. God makes him right with himself again.
Then the person comes to others and says, 'I sinned. I made what was wrong appear to be right. But I wasn't punished as I should have been.
God set me free. He kept me from going down into the grave. So I'll live to enjoy the light that leads to life.'
"God does all of those things to people. In fact, he does them again and again.
He wants to stop people from going down into the grave. Then the light that leads to life will shine on them.
"Pay attention, Job! Listen to me! Be quiet so I can speak.
If you have anything to say, answer me. Speak up. I want to help you be cleared of all charges.
But if you don't have anything to say, listen to me. Be quiet so I can teach you how to be wise."