1 “Cry for help, but will anyone answer you? Which of the angels will help you? 2 Surely resentment destroys the fool, and jealousy kills the simple. 3 I have seen that fools may be successful for the moment, but then comes sudden disaster. 4 Their children are abandoned far from help; they are crushed in court with no one to defend them. 5 The hungry devour their harvest, even when it is guarded by brambles. The thirsty pant after their wealth. 6 But evil does not spring from the soil, and trouble does not sprout from the earth. 7 People are born for trouble as readily as sparks fly up from a fire. 8 “If I were you, I would go to God and present my case to him. 9 He does great things too marvelous to understand. He performs countless miracles. 10 He gives rain for the earth and water for the fields. 11 He gives prosperity to the poor and protects those who suffer. 12 He frustrates the plans of schemers so the work of their hands will not succeed. 13 He traps the wise in their own cleverness so their cunning schemes are thwarted. 14 They find it is dark in the daytime, and they grope at noon as if it were night. 15 He rescues the poor from the cutting words of the strong, and rescues them from the clutches of the powerful. 16 And so at last the poor have hope, and the snapping jaws of the wicked are shut. 17 “But consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin. 18 For though he wounds, he also bandages. He strikes, but his hands also heal. 19 From six disasters he will rescue you; even in the seventh, he will keep you from evil. 20 He will save you from death in time of famine, from the power of the sword in time of war. 21 You will be safe from slander and have no fear when destruction comes. 22 You will laugh at destruction and famine; wild animals will not terrify you. 23 You will be at peace with the stones of the field, and its wild animals will be at peace with you. 24 You will know that your home is safe. When you survey your possessions, nothing will be missing. 25 You will have many children; your descendants will be as plentiful as grass! 26 You will go to the grave at a ripe old age, like a sheaf of grain harvested at the proper time! 27 “We have studied life and found all this to be true. Listen to my counsel, and apply it to yourself.”
1 Then Job spoke again: 2 “If my misery could be weighed and my troubles be put on the scales, 3 they would outweigh all the sands of the sea. That is why I spoke impulsively. 4 For the Almighty has struck me down with his arrows. Their poison infects my spirit. God’s terrors are lined up against me. 5 Don’t I have a right to complain? Don’t wild donkeys bray when they find no grass, and oxen bellow when they have no food? 6 Don’t people complain about unsalted food? Does anyone want the tasteless white of an egg? 7 My appetite disappears when I look at it; I gag at the thought of eating it! 8 “Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant my desire. 9 I wish he would crush me. I wish he would reach out his hand and kill me. 10 At least I can take comfort in this: Despite the pain, I have not denied the words of the Holy One. 11 But I don’t have the strength to endure. I have nothing to live for. 12 Do I have the strength of a stone? Is my body made of bronze? 13 No, I am utterly helpless, without any chance of success. 14 “One should be kind to a fainting friend, but you accuse me without any fear of the Almighty. 15 My brothers, you have proved as unreliable as a seasonal brook that overflows its banks in the spring 16 when it is swollen with ice and melting snow. 17 But when the hot weather arrives, the water disappears. The brook vanishes in the heat. 18 The caravans turn aside to be refreshed, but there is nothing to drink, so they die. 19 The caravans from Tema search for this water; the travelers from Sheba hope to find it. 20 They count on it but are disappointed. When they arrive, their hopes are dashed. 21 You, too, have given no help. You have seen my calamity, and you are afraid. 22 But why? Have I ever asked you for a gift? Have I begged for anything of yours for myself? 23 Have I asked you to rescue me from my enemies, or to save me from ruthless people? 24 Teach me, and I will keep quiet. Show me what I have done wrong. 25 Honest words can be painful, but what do your criticisms amount to? 26 Do you think your words are convincing when you disregard my cry of desperation? 27 You would even send an orphan into slavery or sell a friend. 28 Look at me! Would I lie to your face? 29 Stop assuming my guilt, for I have done no wrong. 30 Do you think I am lying? Don’t I know the difference between right and wrong?
1 “Is not all human life a struggle? Our lives are like that of a hired hand, 2 like a worker who longs for the shade, like a servant waiting to be paid. 3 I, too, have been assigned months of futility, long and weary nights of misery. 4 Lying in bed, I think, ‘When will it be morning?’ But the night drags on, and I toss till dawn. 5 My body is covered with maggots and scabs. My skin breaks open, oozing with pus. 6 “My days fly faster than a weaver’s shuttle. They end without hope. 7 O God, remember that my life is but a breath, and I will never again feel happiness. 8 You see me now, but not for long. You will look for me, but I will be gone. 9 Just as a cloud dissipates and vanishes, those who die will not come back. 10 They are gone forever from their home— never to be seen again. 11 “I cannot keep from speaking. I must express my anguish. My bitter soul must complain. 12 Am I a sea monster or a dragon that you must place me under guard? 13 I think, ‘My bed will comfort me, and sleep will ease my misery,’ 14 but then you shatter me with dreams and terrify me with visions. 15 I would rather be strangled— rather die than suffer like this. 16 I hate my life and don’t want to go on living. Oh, leave me alone for my few remaining days. 17 “What are people, that you should make so much of us, that you should think of us so often? 18 For you examine us every morning and test us every moment. 19 Why won’t you leave me alone, at least long enough for me to swallow! 20 If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watcher of all humanity? Why make me your target? Am I a burden to you? 21 Why not just forgive my sin and take away my guilt? For soon I will lie down in the dust and die. When you look for me, I will be gone.”
1 Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. Persecution Scatters the Believers A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria. 2 (Some devout men came and buried Stephen with great mourning.) 3 But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison. 4 But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went. 5 Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah. 6 Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did. 7 Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city. 9 A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great. 10 Everyone, from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as “the Great One—the Power of God.” 11 They listened closely to him because for a long time he had astounded them with his magic. 12 But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the signs and great miracles Philip performed. 14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. 15 As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. 16 The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power. 19 “Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!” 20 But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! 21 You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God. 22 Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive your evil thoughts, 23 for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin.” 24 “Pray to the Lord for me,” Simon exclaimed, “that these terrible things you’ve said won’t happen to me!” 25 After testifying and preaching the word of the Lord in Samaria, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem. And they stopped in many Samaritan villages along the way to preach the Good News.