Job 29; Job 30; Job 31

1 Job continued to speak. He said, 2 "How I long for the good old days! That's when God watched over me. 3 The light of his lamp shone on me. I walked through darkness by his light. 4 Those were the best days of my life. That's when God's friendship blessed my house. 5 The Mighty One was still with me. My children were all around me. 6 The path in front of me was like sweet cream. It was as if the rock poured out olive oil for me. 7 "In those days I went to the city gate. I took my seat as a member of the council. 8 Young people who saw me stepped to one side. Old people stood up as I approached. 9 The leaders stopped speaking. They covered their mouths with their hands. 10 The voices of the nobles became quiet. Their tongues stuck to the roofs of their mouths. 11 Everyone who heard me said good things about me. Those who saw me honored me. 12 That's because I saved poor people who cried out for help. I saved helpless children whose fathers had died. 13 Those who were dying gave me their blessing. I made the hearts of widows sing. 14 I put on a godly life as if it were my clothes. Fairness was my robe and my turban. 15 I was like eyes for those who were blind. I was like feet for those who couldn't walk. 16 I was like a father to needy people. I stood up for strangers in court. 17 Sinners are like animals that have powerful teeth. But I took from their mouths the people they had caught. 18 "I thought, 'I'll die in my own house. The days of my life will be as many as the grains of sand. 19 My roots will reach down to the water. The dew will lie all night on my branches. 20 I will remain healthy and strong. My bow will stay as good as new in my hand.' 21 "People wanted to hear what I had to say. They waited silently for the advice I gave them. 22 After I had spoken, they didn't speak anymore. My words fell gently on their ears. 23 They waited for me just as they would wait for showers. They drank my words just as they would drink the spring rain. 24 When I smiled at them, they could hardly believe it. The light of my face lifted their spirits. 25 I chose the way they should go. I sat as their chief. I lived as a king lives among his troops. I was like someone who comforts those who are sad.
1 "But now those who are younger than I am make fun of me. I wouldn't put even their parents with my sheep dogs! 2 Their strong hands couldn't give me any help. That's because their strength was gone. 3 They were weak because they were needy and hungry. They wandered through dry and empty deserts at night. 4 Among the bushes they gathered salty plants. They ate the roots of desert trees. 5 They were driven away from society. They were shouted at as if they were robbers. 6 They were forced to live in dry stream beds. They had to stay among rocks and in holes in the ground. 7 Like donkeys they cried out among the bushes. There they crowded together and hid. 8 They were so foolish that no one respected them. They were driven out of the land. 9 "Now their children laugh at me. They make fun of me with their songs. 10 They hate me. They stay away from me. They even dare to spit in my face. 11 God has made my body weak. It's like a tent that has fallen down. So those children do what they want to in front of me. 12 Many people attack me on my right side. They lay traps for my feet. They come at me from every direction. 13 They tear up the road I walk on. They succeed in destroying me. They do it without any help. 14 They attack me like troops smashing through a wall. Among the destroyed buildings they come rolling in. 15 Terrors sweep over me. My honor is driven away as if by the wind. My safety vanishes like a cloud. 16 "Now my life is slipping away. Days of suffering grab hold of me. 17 At night my bones hurt. My gnawing pains never stop. 18 God's great power becomes like clothes to me. He chokes me like the neck of my shirt. 19 He throws me down into the mud. I'm nothing but dust and ashes. 20 "God, I cry out to you. But you don't answer me. I stand up. But all you do is look at me. 21 You do mean things to me. Your mighty hand attacks me. 22 You pick me up and blow me away with the wind. You toss me around in the storm. 23 I know that you will bring me down to death. That's what you have appointed for everyone. 24 "No one would crush people when they cry out for help in their trouble. 25 Haven't I sobbed over those who are in trouble? Haven't I felt sorry for poor people? 26 I hoped good things would happen, but something evil came. I looked for light, but all I saw was darkness. 27 My insides are always churning. Nothing but days of suffering are ahead of me. 28 My skin has become dark, but the sun didn't do it. I stand up in the community and cry out for help. 29 I've become a brother to wild dogs. Owls are my companions. 30 My skin grows black and peels. My body burns with fever. 31 My harp is tuned to sadness. My flute makes a sound like sobbing.
1 "I made an agreement with my eyes. I promised not to look at another woman with sexual longing. 2 What do human beings receive from God above? What do they get from the Mighty One in heaven? 3 Sinful people are destroyed. Trouble comes to those who do what is wrong. 4 Doesn't God see how I live? Doesn't he count every step I take? 5 "I haven't told any lies. My feet haven't hurried to cheat others. 6 So let God weigh me in honest scales. Then he'll know I haven't done anything wrong. 7 Suppose my steps have turned away from the right path. Suppose my heart has longed for what my eyes have seen. Or suppose my hands have become 'unclean.' 8 Then may others eat what I've planted. May my crops be pulled up by the roots. 9 "Suppose my heart has been tempted by a woman. Or suppose I've prowled around my neighbor's door. 10 Then may my wife grind another man's grain. May other men have sex with her. 11 Wanting another woman would have been a shameful thing. It would have been a sin that should be judged. 12 It's like a fire that burns down to the grave. It would have caused my crops to be pulled up by the roots. 13 "Suppose I haven't treated my male and female servants fairly when they've brought charges against me. 14 Then what will I do when God opposes me? What answer will I give him when he asks me to explain myself? 15 Didn't he who made me make my servants also? Didn't the same God form us inside our mothers? 16 "I haven't said no to what poor people have wanted. I haven't let widows lose their hope. 17 I haven't kept my bread to myself. I've shared it with children whose fathers had died. 18 From the time I was young, I've helped those widows. I've raised those children as a father would. 19 Suppose I've seen people dying because they didn't have any clothes. I've seen needy people who had nothing to wear. 20 And they didn't give me their blessing when I warmed them with wool from my sheep. 21 Suppose I've raised my hand against children whose fathers have died. And I did it because I knew I had power in the courts. 22 Then let my arm fall from my shoulder. Let it be broken off at the joint. 23 I was afraid God would destroy me. His glory terrifies me. So I'd never do things like that. 24 "Suppose I've put my trust in gold. I've said to pure gold, 'You make me feel secure.' 25 And I'm happy because I'm so wealthy. I'm glad because my hands have earned so much. 26 Suppose I've worshiped the sun in all of its glory. I've bowed down to the moon in all of its beauty. 27 My heart has been secretly tempted. My hand has thrown kisses to the sun and moon. 28 Then those things would have been sins that should be judged. And I wouldn't have been faithful to God in heaven. 29 "I wasn't happy when hard times came to my enemies. I didn't enjoy seeing the trouble they had. 30 I didn't allow my mouth to sin by calling down curses on them. 31 The workers in my house always said, 'Job always gives plenty of food to everyone.' 32 No stranger ever had to spend the night in the street. My door was always open to travelers. 33 I didn't hide my sin as others do. I didn't hide my guilt in my heart. 34 I was never afraid of the crowd. I never worried that my relatives might hate me. I didn't have to keep quiet or stay inside. 35 "I wish someone would listen to me! I'm signing my name to everything I've said. I hope the Mighty One will give me his answer. I hope the one who brings charges against me will write them down. 36 I'll wear them on my shoulder. I'll put them on my head like a crown. 37 I'll give that person a report of every step I take. I'll approach him like a prince. 38 "Suppose my land cries out against me. And all of its soil is wet with tears. 39 Suppose I've used up its crops without paying for them. Or I've broken the spirit of its renters. 40 Then let thorns grow instead of wheat. Let weeds come up instead of barley." The words of Job end here.
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