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Home > Reading Thru the Bible > Chronological > Old Testament > Job

Final Summation: Job 29.1-37.24

Job Continues

Job said:
I long for the past, when God took care of me,
and the light from his lamp
    showed me the way through the dark.
I was in the prime of life,
God All-Powerful was my closest friend,
    and all of my children were nearby.
My herds gave enough milk to bathe my feet,
    and from my olive harvest flowed rivers of oil.
When I sat down at the meeting of the city council,
the young leaders stepped aside,
    while the older ones stood and remained silent.

Everyone was pleased with what I said and did.
When poor people or orphans cried out for help,
    I came to their rescue.
And I was highly praised for my generosity to widows
    and others in poverty.
Kindness and justice were my coat and hat;
    I was good to the blind and to the lame.
I was a father to the needy, and I defended them in court,
    even if they were strangers.
When criminals attacked, I broke their teeth
    and set their victims free.

I felt certain that I would live a long and happy life,
    then die in my own bed.
In those days I was strong
like a tree with deep roots and with plenty of water,
    or like an archer's new bow.
Everyone listened in silence to my welcome advice,
    and when I finished speaking, nothing needed to be said.
My words were eagerly accepted like the showers of spring,
    and the smile on my face renewed everyone's hopes.
My advice was followed
as though I were a king leading my troops,
    or someone comforting those in sorrow.

Job Continues

Young people now insult me, although their fathers
     would have been a disgrace to my sheep dogs.
And those who insult me are helpless themselves.
They must claw the desert sand in the dark
    for something to satisfy their hunger.
They gather tasteless shrubs for food and firewood,
    and they are run out of towns, as though they were thieves.
Their only homes are ditches or holes between rocks,
    where they bray like donkeys gathering around shrubs.
And like senseless donkeys they are chased away.

Those worthless nobodies make up jokes and songs
    to disgrace me.
They are hateful and keep their distance,
    even while spitting in my direction.
God has destroyed me,
    and so they don't care what they do.
Their attacks never stop,
    though I am defenseless, and my feet are trapped.
Without any help, they prevent my escape,
    destroying me completely and leaving me crushed.
Terror has me surrounded; my reputation and my riches
     have vanished like a cloud.

I am sick at heart! Pain has taken its toll.
Night chews on my bones, causing endless torment,
    and God has shrunk my skin, choking me to death.
I have been thrown in the dirt and now am dirt myself.
I beg God for help, but there is no answer;
    and when I stand up, he simply stares.
God has turned brutal,
    stirring up a windstorm to toss me about.
Soon he will send me home to the world of the dead,
    where we all must go.

No one refuses help to others, when disaster strikes.
    I mourned for the poor and those who suffered.
But when I beg for relief and light,
Soon he will send me home to the world of the dead,
    where we all must go. all I receive are disaster and darkness.
My stomach is tied in knots; pain is my daily companion.
    Suffering has scorched my skin,
and in the city council I stand and cry out,
    making mournful sounds like jackals and owls.
My skin is so parched, that it peels right off,
and my bones are burning.
    My only songs are sorrow and sadness.

Job Continues

I promised myself never to stare with desire
    at a young woman.
God All-Powerful punishes men who do that.
In fact, God sends disaster on all who sin,
    and he keeps a close watch on everything I do.

I am not dishonest or deceitful,
    and I beg God to prove my innocence.
If I have disobeyed him or even wanted to,
    then others can eat my harvest and uproot my crops.
If I have desired someone's wife and chased after her,
     then let some stranger steal my wife from me.
If I took someone's wife, it would be a horrible crime,
     sending me to destruction and my crops to the flames.

When my servants complained against me,
    I was fair to them.
Otherwise, what answer would I give to God
    when he judges me?
After all, God is the one who gave life to each of us
     before we were born.

I have never cheated widows or others in need,
     and I have always shared my food with orphans.
Since the time I was young,
    I have cared for orphans and helped widows.
I provided clothes for the poor, and I was praised
    for supplying woolen garments to keep them warm.
If I have ever raised my arm to threaten an orphan
when the power was mine,
     I hope that arm will fall from its socket.
I could not have been abusive; I was terrified at the thought
    that God might punish me.
I have never trusted the power of wealth,
     or taken pride in owning many possessions.
I have never openly or secretly worshiped the sun or moon.
Such horrible sins would have deserved
     punishment from God.

I have never laughed
    when my enemies were struck by disaster.
Neither have I sinned by asking God to send down on them
    the curse of death.
No one ever went hungry at my house,
     and travelers were always welcome.
Many have attempted to hide their sinsfrom others—
    but I refused.
And the fear of public disgrace never forced me
    to keep silent about what I had done.

Why doesn't God All-Powerful listen and answer?
If God has something against me,
     let him speak up or put it in writing!
Then I would wear his charges on my clothes and forehead.
And with my head held high, I would tell him everything
     I have ever done.

I have never mistreated the land I farmed
    and made it mourn.
Nor have I cheated my workers and caused them pain.
If I had, I would pray for weeds instead of wheat
    to grow in my fields.
After saying these things,
    Job was silent.

Finally, these three men stopped arguing with Job, because he refused to admit that he was guilty.

Elihu from Buz was there, and he had become upset with Job for blaming God instead of himself. He was also angry with Job's three friends for not beingable to prove that Job was wrong. Elihu was younger than these three, and helet them speak first. But he became irritated when they could not answer Job,and he said to them:

I am much younger than you,
    so I have shown respect by keeping silent.
I once believed age was the source of wisdom;
     now I truly realize wisdom comes from God.
Age is no guarantee of wisdom and understanding.
     That's why I ask you to listen to me.

I eagerly listened to each of your arguments,
     but not one of you proved Job to be wrong.
You shouldn't say, "We know what's right!
    Let God punish him."
Job hasn't spoken against me,
     and so I won't answer him with your arguments.

All of you are shocked; you don't know what to say.
But am I to remain silent,
    just because you have stopped speaking?
No! I will give my opinion,
because I have so much to say,
    that I can't keep quiet.
I am like a swollen wineskin,
    and I will burst if I don't speak.
Idon't know how to be unfair or to flatter anyone—
     if I did, my Creator would quickly destroy me!

Elihu Speaks

Job, listen to me! Pay close attention.
     Everything I will say is true and sincere,
just as surely as the Spirit of God All-Powerful
    gave me the breath of life.
Now line up your arguments and prepare to face me.
We each were made from clay, and God has no favorites,
     so don't be afraid of me or what I might do.

I have heard you argue that you are innocent,
    guilty of nothing.
You claim that God has made you his enemy,
     that he has bound your feet and blocked your path.
But, Job, you're wrong—
    God is greater than any human.
So why do you challenge God to answer you?
God speaks in different ways,
    and we don't always recognize his voice.
Sometimes in the night, he uses terrifying dreams
     to give us warnings.
God does this to make us turn from sin and pride
and to protect us from being swept away
    to the world of the dead.

Sometimes we are punished with a serious illness
     and aching joints.
Merely the thought of our favorite food
     makes our stomachs sick,
and we become so skinny
    that our bones stick out.
We feel death and the grave taking us in their grip.

One of a thousand angels then comes to our rescue
    by saying we are innocent.
The angel shows kindness, commanding death to release us,
    because the price was paid.
Our health is restored, we feel young again,
     and we ask God to accept us.
Then we joyfully worship God,
    and we are rewarded because we are innocent.
When that happens, we tell everyone,
"I sinned and did wrong, but God forgave me
    and rescued me from death! Now I will see the light."

God gives each of us chance after chance
to be saved from death and brought into the light
     that gives life.
So, Job, pay attention and don't interrupt,
though I would gladly listen
    to anything you say that proves you are right.
Otherwise, listen in silence to my wisdom.

Elihu Continues

Elihu said:
You men think you are wise, but just listen to me!
Think about my words, as you would taste food.
     Then we can decide the case and give a just verdict.
Job claims he is innocent
     and God is guilty of mistreating him.
Job also argues that God considers him a liar
    and that he is suffering severely in spite of his innocence.
But to tell the truth, Job is shameless!
He spends his time with sinners, because he has said,
     "It doesn't pay to please God."

If any of you are smart, you will listen and learn
    that God All-Powerful does what is right.
God always treats everyone the way they deserve,
     and he is never unfair.
From the very beginning, God has been in control
    of all the world.

If God took back the breath that he breathed into us,
     we humans would die and return to the soil.
So be smart and listen!
The mighty God is the one who brings about justice,
    and you are condemning him.
Indeed, God is the one who condemns unfair rulers.
And God created us all; he has no favorites,
    whether rich or poor.
Even powerful rulers die in the darkness of night
    when they least expect it, just like the rest of us.

God watches everything we do.
     No evil person can hide in the deepest darkness.
And so, God doesn't need to set a time for judgment.
Without asking for advice, God removes mighty leaders
    and puts others in their place.
He knows what they are like,
    and he wipes them out in the middle of the night.
And while others look on, he punishes them
    because they were evil and refused to obey him.
The persons they mistreated had prayed for help,
    until God answered their prayers.
When God does nothing,
can any person or nation find fault with him?
     But still, he punishes rulers who abuse their people.

Job, you should tell God that you are guilty
    and promise to do better.
Then ask him to point out what you did wrong,
    so you won't do it again.
Do you make the rules, or does God?
You have to decide—I can't do it for you;
    now make up your mind.
Job, anyone with good sense can easily see
     that you are speaking nonsense and lack good judgment.
So I pray for you to suffer as much as possible
    for talking like a sinner.
You have rebelled against God, time after time,
    and have even insulted us.

Elihu Continues

Elihu said:
Job, are you really innocent in the sight of God?
Don't you honestly believe it pays to obey him?
     I will give the answers to you and your friends.
Look up to the heavens and think!
     Do your sins hurt God?
Is any good you may have done at all helpful to him?
     The evil or good you do only affects other humans.

In times of trouble, everyone begs the mighty God
     to have mercy.
But after their Creator helps them through hard times,
they forget about him, though he makes us wiser
    than animals or birds.
God won't listen to the prayers of proud and evil people.
If God All-Powerful refuses
    to answer their empty prayers,
he will surely deny your impatient request
     to face him in court.
Job, you were wrong to say God doesn't punish sin.
     Everything you have said adds up to nonsense.

Elihu Continues

Elihu said:
Be patient a while longer;
     I have something else to say in God's defense.
God always does right—
     and this knowledge comes straight from God.
You can rest assured that what I say is true.
Although God is mighty, he cares about everyone
    and makes fair decisions.

The wicked are cut down,
     and those who are wronged receive justice.
God watches over good people and places them
     in positions of power and honor forever.
But when people are prisoners of suffering and pain,
God points out their sin and their pride,
     then he warns them to turn back to him.
And if they obey, they will be successful
    and happy from then on.
But if they foolishly refuse, they will be rewarded
    with a violent death.

Godless people are too angry
to ask God for help when he punishes them.
     So they die young in shameful disgrace.
Hard times and trouble
    are God's way of getting our attention!
And at this very moment,
God deeply desires to lead you from trouble
    and to spread your table with your favorite food.

Now that the judgment for your sins has fallen upon you,
don't let your anger and the pain you endured
    make you sneer at God.
Your reputation and riches cannot protect you from distress,
     nor can you find safety in the dark world below.
Be on guard! Don't turn to evil as a way of escape.
God's power is unlimited. He needs no teachers
     to guide or correct him.

Others have praised God for what he has done,
     so join with them.
From down here on earth, everyone has looked up
    and seen how great Godis—
God is more than we imagine;
    no one can count the years he has lived.
God gathers moisture into the clouds
    and supplies us with rain.
Who can understand how God scatters the clouds
    and speaks from his home in the thunderstorm?
And when God sends lightning,
     it can be seen at the bottom of the sea.
By producing such rainstorms, God rules the world
    and provides us with food.
Each flash of lightning is one of his arrows
    striking its target,
and the thunder tells of his anger against sin.

Elihu Continues

I am frightened and tremble all over,
when I hear the roaring voice of God in the thunder,
     and when I see his lightning flash across the sky.
God's majestic voice thunders his commands,
     creating miracles too marvelous for us to understand.
Snow and heavy rainstorms
make us stop and think about God's power,
     and they force animals to seek shelter.
The windstorms of winter strike,
     and the breath of God freezes streams and rivers.
Rain clouds filled with lightning appear at God's command,
traveling across the sky to releasetheir cargo—
    sometimes as punishment for sin, sometimes as kindness.

Job, consider carefully the many wonders of God.
Can you explain why lightning flashes
    at the orders of God who knows all things?
Or how he hangs the clouds in empty space?
You almost melt in the heat of fierce desert winds
    when the sky is like brass.
God can spread out the clouds to get relief from the heat,
    but can you?

Tell us what to say to God! Our minds are in the dark,
     and we don't know how to argue our case.
Should I risk my life by telling God that I want to speak?
No one can stare at the sun
    after a breeze has blown the clouds from the sky.
Yet the glorious splendor of God All-Powerful
     is brighter by far.
God cannot be seen—
    but his power is great, and he is always fair.
And so we humans fear God, because he shows no respect
     for those who are proud and think they know so much.

Old Testament



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