1Then Zophar the Naamathite replied to Job:2“Shouldn’t someone answer this torrent of words? Is a person proved innocent just by a lot of talking?3Should I remain silent while you babble on? When you mock God, shouldn’t someone make you ashamed?4You claim, ‘My beliefs are pure,’ and ‘I am clean in the sight of God.’5If only God would speak; if only he would tell you what he thinks!6If only he would tell you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom is not a simple matter. Listen! God is doubtless punishing you far less than you deserve!7“Can you solve the mysteries of God? Can you discover everything about the Almighty?8Such knowledge is higher than the heavens— and who are you? It is deeper than the underworld — what do you know?9It is broader than the earth and wider than the sea.10If God comes and puts a person in prison or calls the court to order, who can stop him?11For he knows those who are false, and he takes note of all their sins.12An empty-headed person won’t become wise any more than a wild donkey can bear a human child.13“If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to him in prayer!14Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you.15Then your face will brighten with innocence. You will be strong and free of fear.16You will forget your misery; it will be like water flowing away.17Your life will be brighter than the noonday. Even darkness will be as bright as morning.18Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety.19You will lie down unafraid, and many will look to you for help.20But the wicked will be blinded. They will have no escape. Their only hope is death.”
1Then Job spoke again:2“You people really know everything, don’t you? And when you die, wisdom will die with you!3Well, I know a few things myself— and you’re no better than I am. Who doesn’t know these things you’ve been saying?4Yet my friends laugh at me, for I call on God and expect an answer. I am a just and blameless man, yet they laugh at me.5People who are at ease mock those in trouble. They give a push to people who are stumbling.6But robbers are left in peace, and those who provoke God live in safety— though God keeps them in his power.7“Just ask the animals, and they will teach you. Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you.8Speak to the earth, and it will instruct you. Let the fish in the sea speak to you.9For they all know that my disaster has come from the hand of the LORD .10For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being.11The ear tests the words it hears just as the mouth distinguishes between foods.12Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old.13“But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his.14What he destroys cannot be rebuilt. When he puts someone in prison, there is no escape.15If he holds back the rain, the earth becomes a desert. If he releases the waters, they flood the earth.16Yes, strength and wisdom are his; deceivers and deceived are both in his power.17He leads counselors away, stripped of good judgment; wise judges become fools.18He removes the royal robe of kings. They are led away with ropes around their waist.19He leads priests away, stripped of status; he overthrows those with long years in power.20He silences the trusted adviser and removes the insight of the elders.21He pours disgrace upon princes and disarms the strong.22“He uncovers mysteries hidden in darkness; he brings light to the deepest gloom.23He builds up nations, and he destroys them. He expands nations, and he abandons them.24He strips kings of understanding and leaves them wandering in a pathless wasteland.25They grope in the darkness without a light. He makes them stagger like drunkards.
1“Look, I have seen all this with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears, and now I understand.2I know as much as you do. You are no better than I am.3As for me, I would speak directly to the Almighty. I want to argue my case with God himself.4As for you, you smear me with lies. As physicians, you are worthless quacks.5If only you could be silent! That’s the wisest thing you could do.6Listen to my charge; pay attention to my arguments.7“Are you defending God with lies? Do you make your dishonest arguments for his sake?8Will you slant your testimony in his favor? Will you argue God’s case for him?9What will happen when he finds out what you are doing? Can you fool him as easily as you fool people?10No, you will be in trouble with him if you secretly slant your testimony in his favor.11Doesn’t his majesty terrify you? Doesn’t your fear of him overwhelm you?12Your platitudes are as valuable as ashes. Your defense is as fragile as a clay pot.13“Be silent now and leave me alone. Let me speak, and I will face the consequences.14Why should I put myself in mortal danger and take my life in my own hands?15God might kill me, but I have no other hope. I am going to argue my case with him.16But this is what will save me—I am not godless. If I were, I could not stand before him.17“Listen closely to what I am about to say. Hear me out.18I have prepared my case; I will be proved innocent.19Who can argue with me over this? And if you prove me wrong, I will remain silent and die.20“O God, grant me these two things, and then I will be able to face you.21Remove your heavy hand from me, and don’t terrify me with your awesome presence.22Now summon me, and I will answer! Or let me speak to you, and you reply.23Tell me, what have I done wrong? Show me my rebellion and my sin.24Why do you turn away from me? Why do you treat me as your enemy?25Would you terrify a leaf blown by the wind? Would you chase dry straw?26“You write bitter accusations against me and bring up all the sins of my youth.27You put my feet in stocks. You examine all my paths. You trace all my footprints.28I waste away like rotting wood, like a moth-eaten coat.