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Job 11 – 19

Zophar Speaks: You Deserve Worse

11 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:

“Should a multitude of words go unanswered,
    and a man full of talk be judged right?
Should your babble silence men,
    and when you mock, shall no one shame you?
For you say, ‘My doctrine is pure,
    and I am clean in God’s eyes.’
But oh, that God would speak
    and open his lips to you,
and that he would tell you the secrets of wisdom!
    For he is manifold in understanding.
Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves.

“Can you find out the deep things of God?
    Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?
It is higher than heaven—what can you do?
    Deeper than Sheol—what can you know?
Its measure is longer than the earth
    and broader than the sea.
10 If he passes through and imprisons
    and summons the court, who can turn him back?
11 For he knows worthless men;
    when he sees iniquity, will he not consider it?
12 But a stupid man will get understanding
    when a wild donkey’s colt is born a man!

13 “If you prepare your heart,
    you will stretch out your hands toward him.
14 If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away,
    and let not injustice dwell in your tents.
15 Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish;
    you will be secure and will not fear.
16 You will forget your misery;
    you will remember it as waters that have passed away.
17 And your life will be brighter than the noonday;
    its darkness will be like the morning.
18 And you will feel secure, because there is hope;
    you will look around and take your rest in security.
19 You will lie down, and none will make you afraid;
    many will court your favor.
20 But the eyes of the wicked will fail;
    all way of escape will be lost to them,
    and their hope is to breathe their last.”

Job Replies: The Lord Has Done This

12 Then Job answered and said:

“No doubt you are the people,
    and wisdom will die with you.
But I have understanding as well as you;
    I am not inferior to you.
    Who does not know such things as these?
I am a laughingstock to my friends;
    I, who called to God and he answered me,
    a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock.
In the thought of one who is at ease there is contempt for misfortune;
    it is ready for those whose feet slip.
The tents of robbers are at peace,
    and those who provoke God are secure,
    who bring their god in their hand.

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
    the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;
or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;
    and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every living thing
    and the breath of all mankind.
11 Does not the ear test words
    as the palate tastes food?
12 Wisdom is with the aged,
    and understanding in length of days.

13 “With God are wisdom and might;
    he has counsel and understanding.
14 If he tears down, none can rebuild;
    if he shuts a man in, none can open.
15 If he withholds the waters, they dry up;
    if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land.
16 With him are strength and sound wisdom;
    the deceived and the deceiver are his.
17 He leads counselors away stripped,
    and judges he makes fools.
18 He looses the bonds of kings
    and binds a waistcloth on their hips.
19 He leads priests away stripped
    and overthrows the mighty.
20 He deprives of speech those who are trusted
    and takes away the discernment of the elders.
21 He pours contempt on princes
    and loosens the belt of the strong.
22 He uncovers the deeps out of darkness
    and brings deep darkness to light.
23 He makes nations great, and he destroys them;
    he enlarges nations, and leads them away.
24 He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth
    and makes them wander in a trackless waste.
25 They grope in the dark without light,
    and he makes them stagger like a drunken man.

Job Continues: Still I Will Hope in God

13 “Behold, my eye has seen all this,
    my ear has heard and understood it.
What you know, I also know;
    I am not inferior to you.
But I would speak to the Almighty,
    and I desire to argue my case with God.
As for you, you whitewash with lies;
    worthless physicians are you all.
Oh that you would keep silent,
    and it would be your wisdom!
Hear now my argument
    and listen to the pleadings of my lips.
Will you speak falsely for God
    and speak deceitfully for him?
Will you show partiality toward him?
    Will you plead the case for God?
Will it be well with you when he searches you out?
    Or can you deceive him, as one deceives a man?
10 He will surely rebuke you
    if in secret you show partiality.
11 Will not his majesty terrify you,
    and the dread of him fall upon you?
12 Your maxims are proverbs of ashes;
    your defenses are defenses of clay.

13 “Let me have silence, and I will speak,
    and let come on me what may.
14 Why should I take my flesh in my teeth
    and put my life in my hand?
15 Though he slay me, I will hope in him;
    yet I will argue my ways to his face.
16 This will be my salvation,
    that the godless shall not come before him.
17 Keep listening to my words,
    and let my declaration be in your ears.
18 Behold, I have prepared my case;
    I know that I shall be in the right.
19 Who is there who will contend with me?
    For then I would be silent and die.
20 Only grant me two things,
    then I will not hide myself from your face:
21 withdraw your hand far from me,
    and let not dread of you terrify me.
22 Then call, and I will answer;
    or let me speak, and you reply to me.
23 How many are my iniquities and my sins?
    Make me know my transgression and my sin.
24 Why do you hide your face
    and count me as your enemy?
25 Will you frighten a driven leaf
    and pursue dry chaff?
26 For you write bitter things against me
    and make me inherit the iniquities of my youth.
27 You put my feet in the stocks
    and watch all my paths;
    you set a limit for the soles of my feet.
28 Man wastes away like a rotten thing,
    like a garment that is moth-eaten.

Job Continues: Death Comes Soon to All

14 “Man who is born of a woman
    is few of days and full of trouble.
He comes out like a flower and withers;
    he flees like a shadow and continues not.
And do you open your eyes on such a one
    and bring me into judgment with you?
Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?
    There is not one.
Since his days are determined,
    and the number of his months is with you,
    and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,
look away from him and leave him alone,
    that he may enjoy, like a hired hand, his day.

“For there is hope for a tree,
    if it be cut down, that it will sprout again,
    and that its shoots will not cease.
Though its root grow old in the earth,
    and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of water it will bud
    and put out branches like a young plant.
10 But a man dies and is laid low;
    man breathes his last, and where is he?
11 As waters fail from a lake
    and a river wastes away and dries up,
12 so a man lies down and rises not again;
    till the heavens are no more he will not awake
    or be roused out of his sleep.
13 Oh that you would hide me in Sheol,
    that you would conceal me until your wrath be past,
    that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me!
14 If a man dies, shall he live again?
    All the days of my service I would wait,
    till my renewal should come.
15 You would call, and I would answer you;
    you would long for the work of your hands.
16 For then you would number my steps;
    you would not keep watch over my sin;
17 my transgression would be sealed up in a bag,
    and you would cover over my iniquity.

18 “But the mountain falls and crumbles away,
    and the rock is removed from its place;
19 the waters wear away the stones;
    the torrents wash away the soil of the earth;
    so you destroy the hope of man.
20 You prevail forever against him, and he passes;
    you change his countenance, and send him away.
21 His sons come to honor, and he does not know it;
    they are brought low, and he perceives it not.
22 He feels only the pain of his own body,
    and he mourns only for himself.”

Eliphaz Accuses: Job Does Not Fear God

15 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

“Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge,
    and fill his belly with the east wind?
Should he argue in unprofitable talk,
    or in words with which he can do no good?
But you are doing away with the fear of God
    and hindering meditation before God.
For your iniquity teaches your mouth,
    and you choose the tongue of the crafty.
Your own mouth condemns you, and not I;
    your own lips testify against you.

“Are you the first man who was born?
    Or were you brought forth before the hills?
Have you listened in the council of God?
    And do you limit wisdom to yourself?
What do you know that we do not know?
    What do you understand that is not clear to us?
10 Both the gray-haired and the aged are among us,
    older than your father.
11 Are the comforts of God too small for you,
    or the word that deals gently with you?
12 Why does your heart carry you away,
    and why do your eyes flash,
13 that you turn your spirit against God
    and bring such words out of your mouth?
14 What is man, that he can be pure?
    Or he who is born of a woman, that he can be righteous?
15 Behold, God puts no trust in his holy ones,
    and the heavens are not pure in his sight;
16 how much less one who is abominable and corrupt,
    a man who drinks injustice like water!

17 “I will show you; hear me,
    and what I have seen I will declare
18 (what wise men have told,
    without hiding it from their fathers,
19 to whom alone the land was given,
    and no stranger passed among them).
20 The wicked man writhes in pain all his days,
    through all the years that are laid up for the ruthless.
21 Dreadful sounds are in his ears;
    in prosperity the destroyer will come upon him.
22 He does not believe that he will return out of darkness,
    and he is marked for the sword.
23 He wanders abroad for bread, saying, ‘Where is it?’
    He knows that a day of darkness is ready at his hand;
24 distress and anguish terrify him;
    they prevail against him, like a king ready for battle.
25 Because he has stretched out his hand against God
    and defies the Almighty,
26 running stubbornly against him
    with a thickly bossed shield;
27 because he has covered his face with his fat
    and gathered fat upon his waist
28 and has lived in desolate cities,
    in houses that none should inhabit,
    which were ready to become heaps of ruins;
29 he will not be rich, and his wealth will not endure,
    nor will his possessions spread over the earth;
30 he will not depart from darkness;
    the flame will dry up his shoots,
    and by the breath of his mouth he will depart.
31 Let him not trust in emptiness, deceiving himself,
    for emptiness will be his payment.
32 It will be paid in full before his time,
    and his branch will not be green.
33 He will shake off his unripe grape like the vine,
    and cast off his blossom like the olive tree.
34 For the company of the godless is barren,
    and fire consumes the tents of bribery.
35 They conceive trouble and give birth to evil,
    and their womb prepares deceit.”

Job Replies: Miserable Comforters Are You

16 Then Job answered and said:

“I have heard many such things;
    miserable comforters are you all.
Shall windy words have an end?
    Or what provokes you that you answer?
I also could speak as you do,
    if you were in my place;
I could join words together against you
    and shake my head at you.
I could strengthen you with my mouth,
    and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain.

“If I speak, my pain is not assuaged,
    and if I forbear, how much of it leaves me?
Surely now God has worn me out;
    he has made desolate all my company.
And he has shriveled me up,
    which is a witness against me,
and my leanness has risen up against me;
    it testifies to my face.
He has torn me in his wrath and hated me;
    he has gnashed his teeth at me;
    my adversary sharpens his eyes against me.
10 Men have gaped at me with their mouth;
    they have struck me insolently on the cheek;
    they mass themselves together against me.
11 God gives me up to the ungodly
    and casts me into the hands of the wicked.
12 I was at ease, and he broke me apart;
    he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces;
he set me up as his target;
13     his archers surround me.
He slashes open my kidneys and does not spare;
    he pours out my gall on the ground.
14 He breaks me with breach upon breach;
    he runs upon me like a warrior.
15 I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin
    and have laid my strength in the dust.
16 My face is red with weeping,
    and on my eyelids is deep darkness,
17 although there is no violence in my hands,
    and my prayer is pure.

18 “O earth, cover not my blood,
    and let my cry find no resting place.
19 Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven,
    and he who testifies for me is on high.
20 My friends scorn me;
    my eye pours out tears to God,
21 that he would argue the case of a man with God,
    as a son of man does with his neighbor.
22 For when a few years have come
    I shall go the way from which I shall not return.

Job Continues: Where Then Is My Hope?

17 “My spirit is broken; my days are extinct;
    the graveyard is ready for me.
Surely there are mockers about me,
    and my eye dwells on their provocation.

“Lay down a pledge for me with you;
    who is there who will put up security for me?
Since you have closed their hearts to understanding,
    therefore you will not let them triumph.
He who informs against his friends to get a share of their property—
    the eyes of his children will fail.

“He has made me a byword of the peoples,
    and I am one before whom men spit.
My eye has grown dim from vexation,
    and all my members are like a shadow.
The upright are appalled at this,
    and the innocent stirs himself up against the godless.
Yet the righteous holds to his way,
    and he who has clean hands grows stronger and stronger.
10 But you, come on again, all of you,
    and I shall not find a wise man among you.
11 My days are past; my plans are broken off,
    the desires of my heart.
12 They make night into day:
    ‘The light,’ they say, ‘is near to the darkness.’
13 If I hope for Sheol as my house,
    if I make my bed in darkness,
14 if I say to the pit, ‘You are my father,’
    and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’
15 where then is my hope?
    Who will see my hope?
16 Will it go down to the bars of Sheol?
    Shall we descend together into the dust?”

Bildad Speaks: God Punishes the Wicked

18 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

“How long will you hunt for words?
    Consider, and then we will speak.
Why are we counted as cattle?
    Why are we stupid in your sight?
You who tear yourself in your anger,
    shall the earth be forsaken for you,
    or the rock be removed out of its place?

“Indeed, the light of the wicked is put out,
    and the flame of his fire does not shine.
The light is dark in his tent,
    and his lamp above him is put out.
His strong steps are shortened,
    and his own schemes throw him down.
For he is cast into a net by his own feet,
    and he walks on its mesh.
A trap seizes him by the heel;
    a snare lays hold of him.
10 A rope is hidden for him in the ground,
    a trap for him in the path.
11 Terrors frighten him on every side,
    and chase him at his heels.
12 His strength is famished,
    and calamity is ready for his stumbling.
13 It consumes the parts of his skin;
    the firstborn of death consumes his limbs.
14 He is torn from the tent in which he trusted
    and is brought to the king of terrors.
15 In his tent dwells that which is none of his;
    sulfur is scattered over his habitation.
16 His roots dry up beneath,
    and his branches wither above.
17 His memory perishes from the earth,
    and he has no name in the street.
18 He is thrust from light into darkness,
    and driven out of the world.
19 He has no posterity or progeny among his people,
    and no survivor where he used to live.
20 They of the west are appalled at his day,
    and horror seizes them of the east.
21 Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous,
    such is the place of him who knows not God.”

Job Replies: My Redeemer Lives

19 Then Job answered and said:

“How long will you torment me
    and break me in pieces with words?
These ten times you have cast reproach upon me;
    are you not ashamed to wrong me?
And even if it be true that I have erred,
    my error remains with myself.
If indeed you magnify yourselves against me
    and make my disgrace an argument against me,
know then that God has put me in the wrong
    and closed his net about me.
Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered;
    I call for help, but there is no justice.
He has walled up my way, so that I cannot pass,
    and he has set darkness upon my paths.
He has stripped from me my glory
    and taken the crown from my head.
10 He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone,
    and my hope has he pulled up like a tree.
11 He has kindled his wrath against me
    and counts me as his adversary.
12 His troops come on together;
    they have cast up their siege ramp against me
    and encamp around my tent.

13 “He has put my brothers far from me,
    and those who knew me are wholly estranged from me.
14 My relatives have failed me,
    my close friends have forgotten me.
15 The guests in my house and my maidservants count me as a stranger;
    I have become a foreigner in their eyes.
16 I call to my servant, but he gives me no answer;
    I must plead with him with my mouth for mercy.
17 My breath is strange to my wife,
    and I am a stench to the children of my own mother.
18 Even young children despise me;
    when I rise they talk against me.
19 All my intimate friends abhor me,
    and those whom I loved have turned against me.
20 My bones stick to my skin and to my flesh,
    and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.
21 Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends,
    for the hand of God has touched me!
22 Why do you, like God, pursue me?
    Why are you not satisfied with my flesh?

23 “Oh that my words were written!
    Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
24 Oh that with an iron pen and lead
    they were engraved in the rock forever!
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
    and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I shall see God,
27 whom I shall see for myself,
    and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
    My heart faints within me!
28 If you say, ‘How we will pursue him!’
    and, ‘The root of the matter is found in him,’
29 be afraid of the sword,
    for wrath brings the punishment of the sword,
    that you may know there is a judgment.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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