Job 29; Job 30; Job 31

1 Job continued speaking: 2 “I long for the years gone by when God took care of me, 3 when he lit up the way before me and I walked safely through the darkness. 4 When I was in my prime, God’s friendship was felt in my home. 5 The Almighty was still with me, and my children were around me. 6 My steps were awash in cream, and the rocks gushed olive oil for me. 7 “Those were the days when I went to the city gate and took my place among the honored leaders. 8 The young stepped aside when they saw me, and even the aged rose in respect at my coming. 9 The princes stood in silence and put their hands over their mouths. 10 The highest officials of the city stood quietly, holding their tongues in respect. 11 “All who heard me praised me. All who saw me spoke well of me. 12 For I assisted the poor in their need and the orphans who required help. 13 I helped those without hope, and they blessed me. And I caused the widows’ hearts to sing for joy. 14 Everything I did was honest. Righteousness covered me like a robe, and I wore justice like a turban. 15 I served as eyes for the blind and feet for the lame. 16 I was a father to the poor and assisted strangers who needed help. 17 I broke the jaws of godless oppressors and plucked their victims from their teeth. 18 “I thought, ‘Surely I will die surrounded by my family after a long, good life. 19 For I am like a tree whose roots reach the water, whose branches are refreshed with the dew. 20 New honors are constantly bestowed on me, and my strength is continually renewed.’ 21 “Everyone listened to my advice. They were silent as they waited for me to speak. 22 And after I spoke, they had nothing to add, for my counsel satisfied them. 23 They longed for me to speak as people long for rain. They drank my words like a refreshing spring rain. 24 When they were discouraged, I smiled at them. My look of approval was precious to them. 25 Like a chief, I told them what to do. I lived like a king among his troops and comforted those who mourned.
1 “But now I am mocked by people younger than I, by young men whose fathers are not worthy to run with my sheepdogs. 2 A lot of good they are to me— those worn-out wretches! 3 They are gaunt from poverty and hunger. They claw the dry ground in desolate wastelands. 4 They pluck wild greens from among the bushes and eat from the roots of broom trees. 5 They are driven from human society, and people shout at them as if they were thieves. 6 So now they live in frightening ravines, in caves and among the rocks. 7 They sound like animals howling among the bushes, huddled together beneath the nettles. 8 They are nameless fools, outcasts from society. 9 “And now they mock me with vulgar songs! They taunt me! 10 They despise me and won’t come near me, except to spit in my face. 11 For God has cut my bowstring. He has humbled me, so they have thrown off all restraint. 12 These outcasts oppose me to my face. They send me sprawling and lay traps in my path. 13 They block my road and do everything they can to destroy me. They know I have no one to help me. 14 They come at me from all directions. They jump on me when I am down. 15 I live in terror now. My honor has blown away in the wind, and my prosperity has vanished like a cloud. 16 “And now my life seeps away. Depression haunts my days. 17 At night my bones are filled with pain, which gnaws at me relentlessly. 18 With a strong hand, God grabs my shirt. He grips me by the collar of my coat. 19 He has thrown me into the mud. I’m nothing more than dust and ashes. 20 “I cry to you, O God, but you don’t answer. I stand before you, but you don’t even look. 21 You have become cruel toward me. You use your power to persecute me. 22 You throw me into the whirlwind and destroy me in the storm. 23 And I know you are sending me to my death— the destination of all who live. 24 “Surely no one would turn against the needy when they cry for help in their trouble. 25 Did I not weep for those in trouble? Was I not deeply grieved for the needy? 26 So I looked for good, but evil came instead. I waited for the light, but darkness fell. 27 My heart is troubled and restless. Days of suffering torment me. 28 I walk in gloom, without sunlight. I stand in the public square and cry for help. 29 Instead, I am considered a brother to jackals and a companion to owls. 30 My skin has turned dark, and my bones burn with fever. 31 My harp plays sad music, and my flute accompanies those who weep.
1 “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman. 2 For what has God above chosen for us? What is our inheritance from the Almighty on high? 3 Isn’t it calamity for the wicked and misfortune for those who do evil? 4 Doesn’t he see everything I do and every step I take? 5 “Have I lied to anyone or deceived anyone? 6 Let God weigh me on the scales of justice, for he knows my integrity. 7 If I have strayed from his pathway, or if my heart has lusted for what my eyes have seen, or if I am guilty of any other sin, 8 then let someone else eat the crops I have planted. Let all that I have planted be uprooted. 9 “If my heart has been seduced by a woman, or if I have lusted for my neighbor’s wife, 10 then let my wife serve another man; let other men sleep with her. 11 For lust is a shameful sin, a crime that should be punished. 12 It is a fire that burns all the way to hell. It would wipe out everything I own. 13 “If I have been unfair to my male or female servants when they brought their complaints to me, 14 how could I face God? What could I say when he questioned me? 15 For God created both me and my servants. He created us both in the womb. 16 “Have I refused to help the poor, or crushed the hopes of widows? 17 Have I been stingy with my food and refused to share it with orphans? 18 No, from childhood I have cared for orphans like a father, and all my life I have cared for widows. 19 Whenever I saw the homeless without clothes and the needy with nothing to wear, 20 did they not praise me for providing wool clothing to keep them warm? 21 “If I raised my hand against an orphan, knowing the judges would take my side, 22 then let my shoulder be wrenched out of place! Let my arm be torn from its socket! 23 That would be better than facing God’s judgment. For if the majesty of God opposes me, what hope is there? 24 “Have I put my trust in money or felt secure because of my gold? 25 Have I gloated about my wealth and all that I own? 26 “Have I looked at the sun shining in the skies, or the moon walking down its silver pathway, 27 and been secretly enticed in my heart to throw kisses at them in worship? 28 If so, I should be punished by the judges, for it would mean I had denied the God of heaven. 29 “Have I ever rejoiced when disaster struck my enemies, or become excited when harm came their way? 30 No, I have never sinned by cursing anyone or by asking for revenge. 31 “My servants have never said, ‘He let others go hungry.’ 32 I have never turned away a stranger but have opened my doors to everyone. 33 “Have I tried to hide my sins like other people do, concealing my guilt in my heart? 34 Have I feared the crowd or the contempt of the masses, so that I kept quiet and stayed indoors? 35 “If only someone would listen to me! Look, I will sign my name to my defense. Let the Almighty answer me. Let my accuser write out the charges against me. 36 I would face the accusation proudly. I would wear it like a crown. 37 For I would tell him exactly what I have done. I would come before him like a prince. 38 “If my land accuses me and all its furrows cry out together, 39 or if I have stolen its crops or murdered its owners, 40 then let thistles grow on that land instead of wheat, and weeds instead of barley.” Job’s words are ended.