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Job 15; Job 16; Job 17; Job 18; Job 19; Job 20; Job 21

1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied: 2 “A wise man wouldn’t answer with such empty talk! You are nothing but a windbag. 3 The wise don’t engage in empty chatter. What good are such words? 4 Have you no fear of God, no reverence for him? 5 Your sins are telling your mouth what to say. Your words are based on clever deception. 6 Your own mouth condemns you, not I. Your own lips testify against you. 7 “Were you the first person ever born? Were you born before the hills were made? 8 Were you listening at God’s secret council? Do you have a monopoly on wisdom? 9 What do you know that we don’t? What do you understand that we do not? 10 On our side are aged, gray-haired men much older than your father! 11 “Is God’s comfort too little for you? Is his gentle word not enough? 12 What has taken away your reason? What has weakened your vision, 13 that you turn against God and say all these evil things? 14 Can any mortal be pure? Can anyone born of a woman be just? 15 Look, God does not even trust the angels. Even the heavens are not absolutely pure in his sight. 16 How much less pure is a corrupt and sinful person with a thirst for wickedness! 17 “If you will listen, I will show you. I will answer you from my own experience. 18 And it is confirmed by the reports of wise men who have heard the same thing from their fathers— 19 from those to whom the land was given long before any foreigners arrived. 20 “The wicked writhe in pain throughout their lives. Years of trouble are stored up for the ruthless. 21 The sound of terror rings in their ears, and even on good days they fear the attack of the destroyer. 22 They dare not go out into the darkness for fear they will be murdered. 23 They wander around, saying, ‘Where can I find bread?’ They know their day of destruction is near. 24 That dark day terrifies them. They live in distress and anguish, like a king preparing for battle. 25 For they shake their fists at God, defying the Almighty. 26 Holding their strong shields, they defiantly charge against him. 27 “These wicked people are heavy and prosperous; their waists bulge with fat. 28 But their cities will be ruined. They will live in abandoned houses that are ready to tumble down. 29 Their riches will not last, and their wealth will not endure. Their possessions will no longer spread across the horizon. 30 “They will not escape the darkness. The burning sun will wither their shoots, and the breath of God will destroy them. 31 Let them no longer fool themselves by trusting in empty riches, for emptiness will be their only reward. 32 They will be cut down in the prime of life; their branches will never again be green. 33 They will be like a vine whose grapes are harvested too early, like an olive tree that loses its blossoms before the fruit can form. 34 For the godless are barren. Their homes, enriched through bribery, will burn. 35 They conceive trouble and give birth to evil. Their womb produces deceit.”
1 Then Job spoke again: 2 “I have heard all this before. What miserable comforters you are! 3 Won’t you ever stop blowing hot air? What makes you keep on talking? 4 I could say the same things if you were in my place. I could spout off criticism and shake my head at you. 5 But if it were me, I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief. 6 Instead, I suffer if I defend myself, and I suffer no less if I refuse to speak. 7 “O God, you have ground me down and devastated my family. 8 As if to prove I have sinned, you’ve reduced me to skin and bones. My gaunt flesh testifies against me. 9 God hates me and angrily tears me apart. He snaps his teeth at me and pierces me with his eyes. 10 People jeer and laugh at me. They slap my cheek in contempt. A mob gathers against me. 11 God has handed me over to sinners. He has tossed me into the hands of the wicked. 12 “I was living quietly until he shattered me. He took me by the neck and broke me in pieces. Then he set me up as his target, 13 and now his archers surround me. His arrows pierce me without mercy. The ground is wet with my blood. 14 Again and again he smashes against me, charging at me like a warrior. 15 I wear burlap to show my grief. My pride lies in the dust. 16 My eyes are red with weeping; dark shadows circle my eyes. 17 Yet I have done no wrong, and my prayer is pure. 18 “O earth, do not conceal my blood. Let it cry out on my behalf. 19 Even now my witness is in heaven. My advocate is there on high. 20 My friends scorn me, but I pour out my tears to God. 21 I need someone to mediate between God and me, as a person mediates between friends. 22 For soon I must go down that road from which I will never return.
1 “My spirit is crushed, and my life is nearly snuffed out. The grave is ready to receive me. 2 I am surrounded by mockers. I watch how bitterly they taunt me. 3 “You must defend my innocence, O God, since no one else will stand up for me. 4 You have closed their minds to understanding, but do not let them triumph. 5 They betray their friends for their own advantage, so let their children faint with hunger. 6 “God has made a mockery of me among the people; they spit in my face. 7 My eyes are swollen with weeping, and I am but a shadow of my former self. 8 The virtuous are horrified when they see me. The innocent rise up against the ungodly. 9 The righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger. 10 “As for all of you, come back with a better argument, though I still won’t find a wise man among you. 11 My days are over. My hopes have disappeared. My heart’s desires are broken. 12 These men say that night is day; they claim that the darkness is light. 13 What if I go to the grave and make my bed in darkness? 14 What if I call the grave my father, and the maggot my mother or my sister? 15 Where then is my hope? Can anyone find it? 16 No, my hope will go down with me to the grave. We will rest together in the dust!”
1 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied: 2 “How long before you stop talking? Speak sense if you want us to answer! 3 Do you think we are mere animals? Do you think we are stupid? 4 You may tear out your hair in anger, but will that destroy the earth? Will it make the rocks tremble? 5 “Surely the light of the wicked will be snuffed out. The sparks of their fire will not glow. 6 The light in their tent will grow dark. The lamp hanging above them will be quenched. 7 The confident stride of the wicked will be shortened. Their own schemes will be their downfall. 8 The wicked walk into a net. They fall into a pit. 9 A trap grabs them by the heel. A snare holds them tight. 10 A noose lies hidden on the ground. A rope is stretched across their path. 11 “Terrors surround the wicked and trouble them at every step. 12 Hunger depletes their strength, and calamity waits for them to stumble. 13 Disease eats their skin; death devours their limbs. 14 They are torn from the security of their homes and are brought down to the king of terrors. 15 The homes of the wicked will burn down; burning sulfur rains on their houses. 16 Their roots will dry up, and their branches will wither. 17 All memory of their existence will fade from the earth; no one will remember their names. 18 They will be thrust from light into darkness, driven from the world. 19 They will have neither children nor grandchildren, nor any survivor in the place where they lived. 20 People in the west are appalled at their fate; people in the east are horrified. 21 They will say, ‘This was the home of a wicked person, the place of one who rejected God.’”
1 Then Job spoke again: 2 “How long will you torture me? How long will you try to crush me with your words? 3 You have already insulted me ten times. You should be ashamed of treating me so badly. 4 Even if I have sinned, that is my concern, not yours. 5 You think you’re better than I am, using my humiliation as evidence of my sin. 6 But it is God who has wronged me, capturing me in his net. 7 “I cry out, ‘Help!’ but no one answers me. I protest, but there is no justice. 8 God has blocked my way so I cannot move. He has plunged my path into darkness. 9 He has stripped me of my honor and removed the crown from my head. 10 He has demolished me on every side, and I am finished. He has uprooted my hope like a fallen tree. 11 His fury burns against me; he counts me as an enemy. 12 His troops advance. They build up roads to attack me. They camp all around my tent. 13 “My relatives stay far away, and my friends have turned against me. 14 My family is gone, and my close friends have forgotten me. 15 My servants and maids consider me a stranger. I am like a foreigner to them. 16 When I call my servant, he doesn’t come; I have to plead with him! 17 My breath is repulsive to my wife. I am rejected by my own family. 18 Even young children despise me. When I stand to speak, they turn their backs on me. 19 My close friends detest me. Those I loved have turned against me. 20 I have been reduced to skin and bones and have escaped death by the skin of my teeth. 21 “Have mercy on me, my friends, have mercy, for the hand of God has struck me. 22 Must you also persecute me, like God does? Haven’t you chewed me up enough? 23 “Oh, that my words could be recorded. Oh, that they could be inscribed on a monument, 24 carved with an iron chisel and filled with lead, engraved forever in the rock. 25 “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. 26 And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! 27 I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought! 28 “How dare you go on persecuting me, saying, ‘It’s his own fault’? 29 You should fear punishment yourselves, for your attitude deserves punishment. Then you will know that there is indeed a judgment.”
1 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied: 2 “I must reply because I am greatly disturbed. 3 I’ve had to endure your insults, but now my spirit prompts me to reply. 4 “Don’t you realize that from the beginning of time, ever since people were first placed on the earth, 5 the triumph of the wicked has been short lived and the joy of the godless has been only temporary? 6 Though the pride of the godless reaches to the heavens and their heads touch the clouds, 7 yet they will vanish forever, thrown away like their own dung. Those who knew them will ask, ‘Where are they?’ 8 They will fade like a dream and not be found. They will vanish like a vision in the night. 9 Those who once saw them will see them no more. Their families will never see them again. 10 Their children will beg from the poor, for they must give back their stolen riches. 11 Though they are young, their bones will lie in the dust. 12 “They enjoyed the sweet taste of wickedness, letting it melt under their tongue. 13 They savored it, holding it long in their mouths. 14 But suddenly the food in their bellies turns sour, a poisonous venom in their stomach. 15 They will vomit the wealth they swallowed. God won’t let them keep it down. 16 They will suck the poison of cobras. The viper will kill them. 17 They will never again enjoy streams of olive oil or rivers of milk and honey. 18 They will give back everything they worked for. Their wealth will bring them no joy. 19 For they oppressed the poor and left them destitute. They foreclosed on their homes. 20 They were always greedy and never satisfied. Nothing remains of all the things they dreamed about. 21 Nothing is left after they finish gorging themselves. Therefore, their prosperity will not endure. 22 “In the midst of plenty, they will run into trouble and be overcome by misery. 23 May God give them a bellyful of trouble. May God rain down his anger upon them. 24 When they try to escape an iron weapon, a bronze-tipped arrow will pierce them. 25 The arrow is pulled from their back, and the arrowhead glistens with blood. The terrors of death are upon them. 26 Their treasures will be thrown into deepest darkness. A wildfire will devour their goods, consuming all they have left. 27 The heavens will reveal their guilt, and the earth will testify against them. 28 A flood will sweep away their house. God’s anger will descend on them in torrents. 29 This is the reward that God gives the wicked. It is the inheritance decreed by God.”
1 Then Job spoke again: 2 “Listen closely to what I am saying. That’s one consolation you can give me. 3 Bear with me, and let me speak. After I have spoken, you may resume mocking me. 4 “My complaint is with God, not with people. I have good reason to be so impatient. 5 Look at me and be stunned. Put your hand over your mouth in shock. 6 When I think about what I am saying, I shudder. My body trembles. 7 “Why do the wicked prosper, growing old and powerful? 8 They live to see their children grow up and settle down, and they enjoy their grandchildren. 9 Their homes are safe from every fear, and God does not punish them. 10 Their bulls never fail to breed. Their cows bear calves and never miscarry. 11 They let their children frisk about like lambs. Their little ones skip and dance. 12 They sing with tambourine and harp. They celebrate to the sound of the flute. 13 They spend their days in prosperity, then go down to the grave in peace. 14 And yet they say to God, ‘Go away. We want no part of you and your ways. 15 Who is the Almighty, and why should we obey him? What good will it do us to pray?’ 16 (They think their prosperity is of their own doing, but I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking.) 17 “Yet the light of the wicked never seems to be extinguished. Do they ever have trouble? Does God distribute sorrows to them in anger? 18 Are they driven before the wind like straw? Are they carried away by the storm like chaff? Not at all! 19 “‘Well,’ you say, ‘at least God will punish their children!’ But I say he should punish the ones who sin, so that they understand his judgment. 20 Let them see their destruction with their own eyes. Let them drink deeply of the anger of the Almighty. 21 For they will not care what happens to their family after they are dead. 22 “But who can teach a lesson to God, since he judges even the most powerful? 23 One person dies in prosperity, completely comfortable and secure, 24 the picture of good health, vigorous and fit. 25 Another person dies in bitter poverty, never having tasted the good life. 26 But both are buried in the same dust, both eaten by the same maggots. 27 “Look, I know what you’re thinking. I know the schemes you plot against me. 28 You will tell me of rich and wicked people whose houses have vanished because of their sins. 29 But ask those who have been around, and they will tell you the truth. 30 Evil people are spared in times of calamity and are allowed to escape disaster. 31 No one criticizes them openly or pays them back for what they have done. 32 When they are carried to the grave, an honor guard keeps watch at their tomb. 33 A great funeral procession goes to the cemetery. Many pay their respects as the body is laid to rest, and the earth gives sweet repose. 34 “How can your empty clichés comfort me? All your explanations are lies!”
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