Job 17; Job 18; Job 19; Job 20

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Job 17

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!”

Job 18

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.’”

Job 19

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.”

Job 20

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.”