The Third Controversy: Bildad Continues the Argument

Job 25-26

Highlights from this Passage

  • Bildad argues that no one is without sin in God’s sight.
  • Job shows that God does not need anyone’s help, and God proves it by his miracles.

†††††††

Then Bildad the Shuhite answered,

“Dominion and fear are with him.
    He makes peace in his high places.
Can his armies be counted?
    On whom does his light not arise?
How then can man be just with God?
    Or how can he who is born of a woman be clean?
Behold, even the moon has no brightness,
    and the stars are not pure in his sight;
How much less man, who is a worm,
    the son of man, who is a worm!”

Then Job answered,

“How have you helped him who is without power!
    How have you saved the arm that has no strength!
How have you counseled him who has no wisdom,
    and plentifully declared sound knowledge!
To whom have you uttered words?
    Whose spirit came out of you?

“The departed spirits tremble,
    those beneath the waters and all that live in them.
Sheol is naked before God,
    and Abaddon has no covering.
He stretches out the north over empty space,
    and hangs the earth on nothing.
He binds up the waters in his thick clouds,
    and the cloud is not burst under them.
He encloses the face of his throne,
    and spreads his cloud on it.
He has described a boundary on the surface of the waters,
    and to the confines of light and darkness.
The pillars of heaven tremble
    and are astonished at his rebuke.
He stirs up the sea with his power,
    and by his understanding he strikes through Rahab.
By his Spirit the heavens are garnished.
    His hand has pierced the swift serpent.
Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways.
    How small a whisper do we hear of him!
    But the thunder of his power who can understand?”

The Third Controversy: Eliphaz Begins the Third Argument

Job 22-24

Highlights from this Passage

  • Eliphaz accuses Job of being a sinner and calls him to repentance.
  • Job affirms that he knows and fears God’s power and sentence, and that he is not being punished only for his sins.
  • Job describes the wicked.
  • Job affirms God’s providence.
  • Job affirms the wicked’s destruction.

†††††††

Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered,

“Can a man be profitable to God?
    Surely he who is wise is profitable to himself.
Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that you are righteous?
    Or does it benefit him that you make your ways perfect?
Is it for your piety that he reproves you,
    that he enters with you into judgment?
Isn’t your wickedness great?
    Neither is there any end to your iniquities.
For you have taken pledges from your brother for nothing,
    and stripped the naked of their clothing.
You haven’t given water to the weary to drink,
    and you have withheld bread from the hungry.
But as for the mighty man, he had the earth.
    The honorable man, he lived in it.
You have sent widows away empty,
    and the arms of the fatherless have been broken.
Therefore snares are around you.
    Sudden fear troubles you,
or darkness, so that you can not see,
    and floods of waters cover you.

“Isn’t God in the heights of heaven?
    See the height of the stars, how high they are!
You say, ‘What does God know?
    Can he judge through the thick darkness?
Thick clouds are a covering to him, so that he doesn’t see.
    He walks on the vault of the sky.’
Will you keep the old way,
    which wicked men have trodden,
who were snatched away before their time,
    whose foundation was poured out as a stream,
who said to God, ‘Depart from us;’
    and, ‘What can the Almighty do for us?’
Yet he filled their houses with good things,
    but the counsel of the wicked is far from me.
The righteous see it, and are glad.
    The innocent ridicule them,
saying, ‘Surely those who rose up against us are cut off.
    The fire has consumed their remnant.’

“Acquaint yourself with him, now, and be at peace.
    By it, good will come to you.
Please receive instruction from his mouth,
    and lay up his words in your heart.
If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up,
    if you put away unrighteousness far from your tents.
Lay your treasure in the dust,
    the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks.
The Almighty will be your treasure,
    and precious silver to you.
For then you will delight yourself in the Almighty,
    and will lift up your face to God.
You will make your prayer to him, and he will hear you.
    You will pay your vows.
You will also decree a thing, and it will be established to you.
    Light will shine on your ways.
When they cast down, you will say, ‘be lifted up.’
    He will save the humble person.
He will even deliver him who is not innocent.
    Yes, he will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”

Then Job answered,

“Even today my complaint is rebellious.
    His hand is heavy in spite of my groaning.
Oh that I knew where I might find him!
    That I might come even to his seat!
I would set my cause in order before him,
    and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would know the words which he would answer me,
    and understand what he would tell me.
Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power?
    No, but he would listen to me.
There the upright might reason with him,
    so I should be delivered forever from my judge.

“If I go east, he is not there;
    if west, I can’t find him;
He works to the north, but I can’t see him.
    He turns south, but I can’t catch a glimpse of him.

But he knows the way that I take.
    When he has tried me, I will come out like gold.
My foot has held fast to his steps.
    I have kept his way, and not turned away.
I haven’t gone back from the commandment of his lips.
    I have treasured up the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
But he stands alone, and who can oppose him?
    What his soul desires, even that he does.
For he performs that which is appointed for me.
    Many such things are with him.
Therefore I am terrified at his presence.
    When I consider, I am afraid of him.
For God has made my heart faint.
    The Almighty has terrified me.
Because I was not cut off before the darkness,
    neither did he cover the thick darkness from my face.

“Why aren’t times laid up by the Almighty?
    Why don’t those who know him see his days?
There are people who remove the landmarks.
    They violently take away flocks, and feed them.
They drive away the donkey of the fatherless,
    and they take the widow’s ox for a pledge.
They turn the needy out of the way.
    The poor of the earth all hide themselves.
Behold, as wild donkeys in the desert,
    they go out to their work, seeking diligently for food.
The wilderness yields them bread for their children.
    They cut their food in the field.
They glean the vineyard of the wicked.
    They lie all night naked without clothing,
and have no covering in the cold.
    They are wet with the showers of the mountains,
and embrace the rock for lack of a shelter.
    There are those who pluck the fatherless from the breast,
and take a pledge of the poor,
    So that they go around naked without clothing.
    Being hungry, they carry the sheaves.
They make oil within the walls of these men.
    They tread wine presses, and suffer thirst.
From out of the populous city, men groan.
    The soul of the wounded cries out,
    yet God doesn’t regard the folly.

“These are of those who rebel against the light.
    They don’t know its ways,
    nor stay in its paths.
The murderer rises with the light.
    He kills the poor and needy.
    In the night he is like a thief.
The eye also of the adulterer waits for the twilight,
    saying, ‘No eye will see me.’
    He disguises his face.
In the dark they dig through houses.
    They shut themselves up in the daytime.
    They don’t know the light.
For the morning is to all of them like thick darkness,
    for they know the terrors of the thick darkness.

“They are foam on the surface of the waters.
    Their portion is cursed in the earth.
    They don’t turn into the way of the vineyards.
Drought and heat consume the snow waters,
    so does Sheol those who have sinned.
The womb will forget him.
    The worm will feed sweetly on him.
    He will be no more remembered.
    Unrighteousness will be broken as a tree.
He devours the barren who don’t bear.
    He shows no kindness to the widow.
Yet God preserves the mighty by his power.
    He rises up who has no assurance of life.
God gives them security, and they rest in it.
    His eyes are on their ways.
They are exalted; yet a little while, and they are gone.
    Yes, they are brought low, they are taken out of the way as all others,
    and are cut off as the tops of the ears of grain.
If it isn’t so now, who will prove me a liar,
    and make my speech worth nothing?”

The Second Controversy: Zophar Continues the Argument

Job 20-21

Highlights From This Passage

  • Zophar says that destruction awaits the wicked.
  • Job says that even the wicked are prosperous.

†††††††

Then Zophar the Naamathite answered,

“Therefore my thoughts answer me,
    even by reason of my haste that is in me.
I have heard the reproof which puts me to shame.
    The spirit of my understanding answers me.
Don’t you know this from old time,
    since man was placed on earth,
that the triumphing of the wicked is short,
    the joy of the godless but for a moment?
Though his height mount up to the heavens,
    and his head reach to the clouds,
yet he will perish forever like his own dung.
    Those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’
He will fly away as a dream, and will not be found.
    Yes, he will be chased away like a vision of the night.
The eye which saw him will see him no more,
    neither will his place see him any more.
His children will seek the favor of the poor.
    His hands will give back his wealth.
His bones are full of his youth,
    but youth will lie down with him in the dust.

“Though wickedness is sweet in his mouth,
    though he hide it under his tongue,
though he spare it, and will not let it go,
    but keep it still within his mouth;
yet his food in his bowels is turned.
    It is cobra venom within him.
He has swallowed down riches, and he will vomit them up again.
    God will cast them out of his belly.
He will suck cobra venom.
    The viper’s tongue will kill him.
He will not look at the rivers,
    the flowing streams of honey and butter.
He will restore that for which he labored, and will not swallow it down.
    He will not rejoice according to the substance that he has gotten.
For he has oppressed and forsaken the poor.
    He has violently taken away a house, and he will not build it up.

“Because he knew no quietness within him,
    he will not save anything of that in which he delights.
There was nothing left that he didn’t devour,
    therefore his prosperity will not endure.
In the fullness of his sufficiency, distress will overtake him.
    The hand of everyone who is in misery will come on him.
When he is about to fill his belly, God will cast the fierceness of his wrath on him.
    It will rain on him while he is eating.
He will flee from the iron weapon.
    The bronze arrow will strike him through.
He draws it out, and it comes out of his body.
    Yes, the glittering point comes out of his liver.
    Terrors are on him.
All darkness is laid up for his treasures.
    An unfanned fire will devour him.
    It will consume that which is left in his tent.
The heavens will reveal his iniquity.
    The earth will rise up against him.
The increase of his house will depart.
    They will rush away in the day of his wrath.
This is the portion of a wicked man from God,
    the heritage appointed to him by God.”

Then Job answered,

“Listen diligently to my speech.
    Let this be your consolation.
Allow me, and I also will speak;
    After I have spoken, mock on.
As for me, is my complaint to man?
    Why shouldn’t I be impatient?
Look at me, and be astonished.
    Lay your hand on your mouth.
When I remember, I am troubled.
    Horror takes hold of my flesh.

“Why do the wicked live,
    become old, yes, and grow mighty in power?
Their child is established with them in their sight,
    their offspring before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear,
    neither is the rod of God upon them.
Their bulls breed without fail.
    Their cows calve, and don’t miscarry.
They send out their little ones like a flock.
    Their children dance.
They sing to the tambourine and harp,
    and rejoice at the sound of the pipe.
They spend their days in prosperity.
    In an instant they go down to Sheol.
They tell God, ‘Depart from us,
    for we don’t want to know about your ways.
What is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
    What profit should we have, if we pray to him?’
Behold, their prosperity is not in their hand.
    The counsel of the wicked is far from me.

“How often is it that the lamp of the wicked is put out,
    that their calamity comes on them,
    that God distributes sorrows in his anger?
How often is it that they are as stubble before the wind,
    as chaff that the storm carries away?
You say, ‘God lays up his iniquity for his children.’
    Let him recompense it to himself, that he may know it.
Let his own eyes see his destruction.
    Let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
For what does he care for his house after him,
    when the number of his months is cut off?

“Shall any teach God knowledge,
    since he judges those who are high?
One dies in his full strength,
    being wholly at ease and quiet.
His pails are full of milk.
    The marrow of his bones is moistened.
Another dies in bitterness of soul,
    and never tastes of good.
They lie down alike in the dust.
    The worm covers them.

“Behold, I know your thoughts,
    the plans with which you would wrong me.
For you say, ‘Where is the house of the prince?
    Where is the tent in which the wicked lived?’
Haven’t you asked wayfaring men?
    Don’t you know their evidences,
that the evil man is reserved to the day of calamity,
    That they are led out to the day of wrath?
Who will declare his way to his face?
    Who will repay him what he has done?
Yet he will be borne to the grave.
    Men will keep watch over the tomb.
The clods of the valley will be sweet to him.
    All men will draw after him,
    as there were innumerable before him.
So how can you comfort me with nonsense,
    because in your answers there remains only falsehood?”

The Second Controversy: Bildad Continues the Argument

Job 18-19

Highlights from this Passage

  • Bildad describes the pains of the unfaithful and wicked.
  • Job complains about his friends’ cruelty.
  • Job assures himself of the resurrection.

†††††††

Then Bildad the Shuhite answered,

“How long will you hunt for words?
    Consider, and afterwards we will speak.
Why are we counted as animals,
    which have become unclean in your sight?
You who tear yourself in your anger,
    will the earth be forsaken for you?
    Or will the rock be removed out of its place?

“Yes, the light of the wicked will be put out.
    The spark of his fire won’t shine.
The light will be dark in his tent.
    His lamp above him will be put out.
The steps of his strength will be shortened.
    His own counsel will cast him down.
For he is cast into a net by his own feet,
    and he wanders into its mesh.
A snare will take him by the heel.
    A trap will catch him.
A noose is hidden for him in the ground,
    a trap for him on the path.
Terrors will make him afraid on every side,
    and will chase him at his heels.
His strength will be famished.
    Calamity will be ready at his side.
The members of his body will be devoured.
    The firstborn of death will devour his members.
He will be rooted out of the security of his tent.
    He will be brought to the king of terrors.
There will dwell in his tent that which is none of his.
    Sulfur will be scattered on his habitation.
His roots will be dried up beneath.
    His branch will be cut off above.
His memory will perish from the earth.
    He will have no name in the street.
He will be driven from light into darkness,
    and chased out of the world.
He will have neither son nor grandson among his people,
    nor any remaining where he lived.
Those who come after will be astonished at his day,
    as those who went before were frightened.
Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous.
    This is the place of him who doesn’t know God.”

Then Job answered,

“How long will you torment me,
    and crush me with words?
You have reproached me ten times.
    You aren’t ashamed that you attack me.
If it is true that I have erred,
    my error remains with myself.
If indeed you will magnify yourselves against me,
    and plead against me my reproach,
know now that God has subverted me,
    and has surrounded me with his net.

“Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard.
    I cry for help, but there is no justice.
He has walled up my way so that I can’t pass,
    and has set darkness in my paths.
He has stripped me of my glory,
    and taken the crown from my head.
He has broken me down on every side, and I am gone.
    He has plucked my hope up like a tree.
He has also kindled his wrath against me.
    He counts me among his adversaries.
His troops come on together,
    build a siege ramp against me,
    and encamp around my tent.

“He has put my brothers far from me.
    My acquaintances are wholly estranged from me.
My relatives have gone away.
    My familiar friends have forgotten me.
Those who dwell in my house and my maids consider me a stranger.
    I am an alien in their sight.
I call to my servant, and he gives me no answer.
    I beg him with my mouth.
My breath is offensive to my wife.
    I am loathsome to the children of my own mother.
Even young children despise me.
    If I arise, they speak against me.
All my familiar friends abhor me.
    They whom I loved have turned against me.
My bones stick to my skin and to my flesh.
    I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.

“Have pity on me. Have pity on me, you my friends;
    for the hand of God has touched me.
Why do you persecute me as God,
    and are not satisfied with my flesh?

“Oh that my words were now written!
    Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
That with an iron pen and lead
    they were engraved in the rock forever!
But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives.
    In the end, he will stand upon the earth.
After my skin is destroyed,
    then I will see God in my flesh,
whom I, even I, will see on my side.
    My eyes will see, and not as a stranger.

“My heart is consumed within me.
If you say, ‘How we will persecute him!’
    because the root of the matter is found in me,
be afraid of the sword,
    for wrath brings the punishments of the sword,
    that you may know there is a judgment.”

The Second Controversy: Eliphaz Begins the Second Argument

Job 15-17

Highlights from this Passage

  • Eliphaz reprehends Job, because he ascribes wisdom and pureness to himself.
  • Eliphaz describes the curse that falls on the wicked, reckoning Job to be one of the number.
  • Job reaffirms his innocence and calls his friends “miserable comforters.”

†††††††

Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered,

“Should a wise man answer with vain knowledge,
    and fill himself with the east wind?
Should he reason with unprofitable talk,
    or with speeches with which he can do no good?
Yes, you do away with fear,
    and hinder devotion before God.
For your iniquity teaches your mouth,
    and you choose the language of the crafty.
Your own mouth condemns you, and not I.
    Yes, your own lips testify against you.

“Are you the first man who was born?
    Or were you brought out before the hills?
Have you heard the secret counsel of God?
    Do you limit wisdom to yourself?
What do you know that we don’t know?
    What do you understand which is not in us?
With us are both the gray-headed and the very aged men,
    much older than your father.
Are the consolations of God too small for you,
    even the word that is gentle toward you?
Why does your heart carry you away?
    Why do your eyes flash,
that you turn your spirit against God,
    and let such words go out of your mouth?
What is man, that he should be clean?
    What is he who is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
Behold, he puts no trust in his holy ones.
    Yes, the heavens are not clean in his sight;
how much less one who is abominable and corrupt,
    a man who drinks iniquity like water!

“I will show you, listen to me;
    that which I have seen I will declare
(which wise men have told by their fathers,
    and have not hidden it;
to whom alone the land was given,
    and no stranger passed among them):
the wicked man writhes in pain all his days,
    even the number of years that are laid up for the oppressor.
A sound of terrors is in his ears.
    In prosperity the destroyer will come on him.
He doesn’t believe that he will return out of darkness.
    He is waited for by the sword.
He wanders abroad for bread, saying, ‘Where is it?’
    He knows that the day of darkness is ready at his hand.
Distress and anguish make him afraid.
    They prevail against him, as a king ready to the battle.
Because he has stretched out his hand against God,
    and behaves himself proudly against the Almighty,
he runs at him with a stiff neck,
    with the thick shields of his bucklers,
because he has covered his face with his fatness,
    and gathered fat on his thighs.
He has lived in desolate cities,
    in houses which no one inhabited,
    which were ready to become heaps.
He will not be rich, neither will his substance continue,
    neither will their possessions be extended on the earth.
He will not depart out of darkness.
    The flame will dry up his branches.
    He will go away by the breath of God’s mouth.
Let him not trust in emptiness, deceiving himself;
    for emptiness will be his reward.
It will be accomplished before his time.
    His branch will not be green.
He will shake off his unripe grape as the vine,
    and will cast off his flower as the olive tree.
For the company of the godless will be barren,
    and fire will consume the tents of bribery.
They conceive mischief and produce iniquity.
    Their heart prepares deceit.”

Then Job answered,

“I have heard many such things.
    You are all miserable comforters!
Shall vain words have an end?
    Or what provokes you that you answer?
I also could speak as you do.
    If your soul were in my soul’s place,
    I could join words together against you,
    and shake my head at you,
but I would strengthen you with my mouth.
    The solace of my lips would relieve you.

“Though I speak, my grief is not subsided.
    Though I forbear, what am I eased?
But now, God, you have surely worn me out.
    You have made all my company desolate.
You have shriveled me up. This is a witness against me.
    My leanness rises up against me.
    It testifies to my face.
He has torn me in his wrath and persecuted me.
    He has gnashed on me with his teeth.
    My adversary sharpens his eyes on me.
They have gaped on me with their mouth.
    They have struck me on the cheek reproachfully.
    They gather themselves together against me.
God delivers me to the ungodly,
    and casts me into the hands of the wicked.
I was at ease, and he broke me apart.
    Yes, he has taken me by the neck, and dashed me to pieces.
    He has also set me up for his target.
His archers surround me.
    He splits my kidneys apart, and does not spare.
    He pours out my bile on the ground.
He breaks me with breach on breach.
    He runs at me like a giant.
I have sewed sackcloth on my skin,
    and have thrust my horn in the dust.
My face is red with weeping.
    Deep darkness is on my eyelids,
although there is no violence in my hands,
    and my prayer is pure.

“Earth, don’t cover my blood.
    Let my cry have no place to rest.
Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven.
    He who vouches for me is on high.
My friends scoff at me.
    My eyes pour out tears to God,
that he would maintain the right of a man with God,
    of a son of man with his neighbor!
For when a few years have come,
    I will go the way of no return.

“My spirit is consumed.
    My days are extinct,
    and the grave is ready for me.
Surely there are mockers with me.
    My eye dwells on their provocation.

“Now give a pledge. Be collateral for me with yourself.
    Who is there who will strike hands with me?
For you have hidden their heart from understanding,
    Therefore you will not exalt them.
He who denounces his friends for plunder,
    Even the eyes of his children will fail.

“But he has made me a byword of the people.
    They spit in my face.
My eye also is dim by reason of sorrow.
    All my members are as a shadow.
Upright men will be astonished at this.
    The innocent will stir himself up against the godless.
Yet the righteous will hold to his way.
    He who has clean hands will grow stronger and stronger.
But as for you all, come back.
    I will not find a wise man among you.
My days are past.
    My plans are broken off,
    as are the thoughts of my heart.
They change the night into day,
    saying ‘The light is near’ in the presence of darkness.
If I look for Sheol as my house,
    if I have spread my couch in the darkness,
if I have said to corruption, ‘You are my father;’
    to the worm, ‘My mother,’ and ‘My sister,’
where then is my hope?
    As for my hope, who will see it?
Shall it go down with me to the gates of Sheol,
    or descend together into the dust?”

The First Controversy: Zophar Continues the Argument

Job 11-14

Highlights From this Passage

  • Zophar reprehends Job unjustly.
  • Job accuses his friends of ignorance.
  • Job declares God’s might and power.
  • Only God can change the course of events.
  • Job compares his knowledge with his friends.
  • Job prays to God and asks God not to handle him harshly.
  • Job describes the condition of life.

†††††††

Then Zophar, the Naamathite, answered,

“Shouldn’t the multitude of words be answered?
    Should a man full of talk be justified?
Should your boastings make men hold their peace?
    When you mock, will no man make you ashamed?
For you say, ‘My doctrine is pure.
    I am clean in your eyes.’
But oh that God would speak,
    and open his lips against you,
that he would show you the secrets of wisdom!
    For true wisdom has two sides.
    Know therefore that God exacts of you less than your iniquity deserves.

“Can you fathom the mystery of God?
    Or can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
They are high as heaven. What can you do?
    They are deeper than Sheol. What can you know?
Its measure is longer than the earth,
    and broader than the sea.
If he passes by, or confines,
    or convenes a court, then who can oppose him?
For he knows false men.
    He sees iniquity also, even though he doesn’t consider it.
An empty-headed man becomes wise
    when a man is born as a wild donkey’s colt.

“If you set your heart aright,
    stretch out your hands toward him.
If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away.
    Don’t let unrighteousness dwell in your tents.
Surely then you will lift up your face without spot;
    Yes, you will be steadfast, and will not fear:
for you will forget your misery.
    You will remember it like waters that have passed away.
Life will be clearer than the noonday.
    Though there is darkness, it will be as the morning.
You will be secure, because there is hope.
    Yes, you will search, and will take your rest in safety.
Also you will lie down, and no one will make you afraid.
    Yes, many will court your favor.
But the eyes of the wicked will fail.
    They will have no way to flee.
    Their hope will be the giving up of the spirit.”

Then Job answered,

“No doubt, but you are the people,
    and wisdom will die with you.
But I have understanding as well as you;
    I am not inferior to you.
    Yes, who doesn’t know such things as these?
I am like one who is a joke to his neighbor,
    I, who called on God, and he answered.
    The just, the blameless man is a joke.
In the thought of him who is at ease there is contempt for misfortune.
    It is ready for them whose foot slips.
The tents of robbers prosper.
    Those who provoke God are secure,
    who carry their god in their hands.

“But ask the animals, now, and they will teach you;
    the birds of the sky, and they will tell you.
Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you.
    The fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who doesn’t know that in all these,
    Yahweh’s hand has done this,
in whose hand is the life of every living thing,
    and the breath of all mankind?
Doesn’t the ear try words,
    even as the palate tastes its food?
With aged men is wisdom,
    in length of days understanding.

“With God is wisdom and might.
    He has counsel and understanding.
Behold, he breaks down, and it can’t be built again.
    He imprisons a man, and there can be no release.
Behold, he withholds the waters, and they dry up.
    Again, he sends them out, and they overturn the earth.
With him is strength and wisdom.
    The deceived and the deceiver are his.
He leads counselors away stripped.
    He makes judges fools.
He loosens the bond of kings.
    He binds their waist with a belt.
He leads priests away stripped,
    and overthrows the mighty.
He removes the speech of those who are trusted,
    and takes away the understanding of the elders.
He pours contempt on princes,
    and loosens the belt of the strong.
He uncovers deep things out of darkness,
    and brings out to light the shadow of death.
He increases the nations, and he destroys them.
    He enlarges the nations, and he leads them captive.
He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth,
    and causes them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way.
They grope in the dark without light.
    He makes them stagger like a drunken man.

“Behold, my eye has seen all this.
    My ear has heard and understood it.
What you know, I know also.
    I am not inferior to you.

“Surely I would speak to the Almighty.
    I desire to reason with God.
But you are forgers of lies.
    You are all physicians of no value.
Oh that you would be completely silent!
    Then you would be wise.
Hear now my reasoning.
    Listen to the pleadings of my lips.
Will you speak unrighteously for God,
    and talk deceitfully for him?
Will you show partiality to him?
    Will you contend for God?
Is it good that he should search you out?
    Or as one deceives a man, will you deceive him?
He will surely reprove you
    if you secretly show partiality.
Shall not his majesty make you afraid,
    and his dread fall on you?
Your memorable sayings are proverbs of ashes.
    Your defenses are defenses of clay.

“Be silent!
    Leave me alone, that I may speak.
    Let come on me what will.
Why should I take my flesh in my teeth,
    and put my life in my hand?
Behold, he will kill me.
    I have no hope.
    Nevertheless, I will maintain my ways before him.
This also will be my salvation,
    that a godless man will not come before him.
Listen carefully to my speech.
    Let my declaration be in your ears.
See now, I have set my cause in order.
    I know that I am righteous.
Who is he who will contend with me?
    For then would I hold my peace and give up the spirit.

“Only don’t do two things to me,
    then I will not hide myself from your face:
withdraw your hand far from me,
    and don’t let your terror make me afraid.
Then call, and I will answer,
    or let me speak, and you answer me.
How many are my iniquities and sins?
    Make me know my disobedience and my sin.
Why do you hide your face,
    and consider me your enemy?
Will you harass a driven leaf?
    Will you pursue the dry stubble?
For you write bitter things against me,
    and make me inherit the iniquities of my youth:
You also put my feet in the stocks,
    and mark all my paths.
    You set a bound to the soles of my feet,
though I am decaying like a rotten thing,
    like a garment that is moth-eaten.

“Man, who is born of a woman,
    is of few days, and full of trouble.
He grows up like a flower, and is cut down.
    He also flees like a shadow, and doesn’t continue.
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?
    Not one.
    Seeing his days are determined,
    the number of his months is with you,
    and you have appointed his bounds that he can’t pass;
Look away from him, that he may rest,
    until he accomplishes, as a hireling, his day.

“For there is hope for a tree if it is cut down,
    that it will sprout again,
    that the tender branch of it will not cease.
Though its root grows old in the earth,
    and its stock dies in the ground,
yet through the scent of water it will bud,
    and sprout boughs like a plant.
But man dies, and is laid low.
    Yes, man gives up the spirit, and where is he?
As the waters fail from the sea,
    and the river wastes and dries up,
so man lies down and doesn’t rise.
    Until the heavens are no more, they will not awake,
    nor be roused out of their sleep.

“Oh that you would hide me in Sheol,
    that you would keep me secret until your wrath is past,
    that you would appoint me a set time and remember me!
If a man dies, will he live again?
    I would wait all the days of my warfare,
    until my release should come.
You would call, and I would answer you.
    You would have a desire for the work of your hands.
But now you count my steps.
    Don’t you watch over my sin?
My disobedience is sealed up in a bag.
    You fasten up my iniquity.

“But the mountain falling comes to nothing.
    The rock is removed out of its place;
The waters wear the stones.
    The torrents of it wash away the dust of the earth.
    So you destroy the hope of man.
You forever prevail against him, and he departs.
    You change his face, and send him away.
His sons come to honor, and he doesn’t know it.
    They are brought low, but he doesn’t perceive it of them.
But his flesh on him has pain,
    and his soul within him mourns.”

The First Controversy: Bildad Continues With the Argument

Job 8-10

Highlights from This Passage

  • Bildad shows that Job is a sinner because God punishes the wicked and preserves the good.
  • Job declares the mighty power of God and that humankind’s righteousness is nothing.
  • Job is weary of his life and sets out his fragility before God.

†††††††

Then Bildad the Shuhite answered,

“How long will you speak these things?
    Shall the words of your mouth be a mighty wind?
Does God pervert justice?
    Or does the Almighty pervert righteousness?
If your children have sinned against him,
    he has delivered them into the hand of their disobedience.
If you want to seek God diligently,
    make your supplication to the Almighty.
If you were pure and upright,
    surely now he would awaken for you,
and make the habitation of your righteousness prosperous.
    Though your beginning was small,
yet your latter end would greatly increase.

“Please inquire of past generations.
    Find out about the learning of their fathers.
(For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing,
    because our days on earth are a shadow.)
Shall they not teach you, tell you,
    and utter words out of their heart?

“Can the papyrus grow up without mire?
    Can the rushes grow without water?
While it is yet in its greenness, not cut down,
    it withers before any other reed.
So are the paths of all who forget God.
    The hope of the godless man will perish,
Whose confidence will break apart,
    Whose trust is a spider’s web.
He will lean on his house, but it will not stand.
    He will cling to it, but it will not endure.
He is green before the sun.
    His shoots go out along his garden.
His roots are wrapped around the rock pile.
    He sees the place of stones.
If he is destroyed from his place,
    then it will deny him, saying, ‘I have not seen you.’
Behold, this is the joy of his way:
    out of the earth, others will spring.

“Behold, God will not cast away a blameless man,
    neither will he uphold the evildoers.
He will still fill your mouth with laughter,
    your lips with shouting.
Those who hate you will be clothed with shame.
    The tent of the wicked will be no more.”

Then Job answered,

“Truly I know that it is so,
    but how can man be just with God?
If he is pleased to contend with him,
    he can’t answer him one time in a thousand.
God is wise in heart, and mighty in strength.
    Who has hardened himself against him and prospered?
He removes the mountains, and they don’t know it,
    when he overturns them in his anger.
He shakes the earth out of its place.
    Its pillars tremble.
He commands the sun and it doesn’t rise,
    and seals up the stars.
He alone stretches out the heavens,
    and treads on the waves of the sea.
He makes the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades,
    and the rooms of the south.
He does great things past finding out;
    yes, marvelous things without number.
Behold, he goes by me, and I don’t see him.
    He passes on also, but I don’t perceive him.
Behold, he snatches away.
    Who can hinder him?
    Who will ask him, ‘What are you doing?’

“God will not withdraw his anger.
    The helpers of Rahab stoop under him.
How much less will I answer him,
    And choose my words to argue with him?
Though I were righteous, yet I wouldn’t answer him.
    I would make supplication to my judge.
If I had called, and he had answered me,
    yet I wouldn’t believe that he listened to my voice.
For he breaks me with a storm,
    and multiplies my wounds without cause.
He will not allow me to catch my breath,
    but fills me with bitterness.
If it is a matter of strength, behold, he is mighty!
    If of justice, ‘Who,’ says he, ‘will summon me?’
Though I am righteous, my own mouth will condemn me.
    Though I am blameless, it will prove me perverse.
I am blameless.
    I don’t respect myself.
    I despise my life.

“It is all the same.
    Therefore I say he destroys the blameless and the wicked.
If the scourge kills suddenly,
    he will mock at the trial of the innocent.
The earth is given into the hand of the wicked.
    He covers the faces of its judges.
    If not he, then who is it?

“Now my days are swifter than a runner.
    They flee away. They see no good.
They have passed away as the swift ships,
    as the eagle that swoops on the prey.
If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint,
    I will put off my sad face, and cheer up;’
I am afraid of all my sorrows,
    I know that you will not hold me innocent.
I will be condemned.
    Why then do I labor in vain?
If I wash myself with snow,
    and cleanse my hands with lye,
yet you will plunge me in the ditch.
    My own clothes will abhor me.
For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him,
    that we should come together in judgment.
There is no umpire between us,
    that might lay his hand on us both.
Let him take his rod away from me.
    Let his terror not make me afraid;
then I would speak, and not fear him,
    for I am not so in myself.

“My soul is weary of my life.
    I will give free course to my complaint.
    I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
I will tell God, ‘Do not condemn me.
    Show me why you contend with me.
Is it good to you that you should oppress,
    that you should despise the work of your hands,
    and smile on the counsel of the wicked?
Do you have eyes of flesh?
    Or do you see as man sees?
Are your days as the days of mortals,
    or your years as man’s years,
that you inquire after my iniquity,
    and search after my sin?
Although you know that I am not wicked,
    there is no one who can deliver out of your hand.

“‘Your hands have framed me and fashioned me altogether,
    yet you destroy me.
Remember, I beg you, that you have fashioned me as clay.
    Will you bring me into dust again?
Haven’t you poured me out like milk,
    and curdled me like cheese?
You have clothed me with skin and flesh,
    and knit me together with bones and sinews.
You have granted me life and loving kindness.
    Your visitation has preserved my spirit.
Yet you hid these things in your heart.
    I know that this is with you:
if I sin, then you mark me.
    You will not acquit me from my iniquity.
If I am wicked, woe to me.
    If I am righteous, I still will not lift up my head,
    being filled with disgrace,
    and conscious of my affliction.
If my head is held high, you hunt me like a lion.
    Again you show yourself powerful to me.
You renew your witnesses against me,
    and increase your indignation on me.
    Changes and warfare are with me.

“‘Why, then, have you brought me out of the womb?
    I wish I had given up the spirit, and no eye had seen me.
I should have been as though I had not been.
    I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.
Aren’t my days few?
    Stop!
Leave me alone, that I may find a little comfort,
    before I go where I will not return from,
    to the land of darkness and of the shadow of death;
the land dark as midnight,
    of the shadow of death,
    without any order,
    where the light is as midnight.’”

The First Controversy: Eliphaz’s Argument

Job 4-7

Highlights from this Passage

  • Eliphaz reprehends Job of impatience, injustice, and the presumption of his own righteousness.
  • Eliphaz shows the difference between the children of God and the wicked. 
  • Job answers that his pain is more grievous than his fault. He wishes for death and complains about his friends.
  • Job shows the shortness and misery of life.

†††††††

Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered,

“If someone ventures to talk with you, will you be grieved?
    But who can withhold himself from speaking?
Behold, you have instructed many,
    you have strengthened the weak hands.
Your words have supported him who was falling,
    You have made the feeble knees firm.
But now it has come to you, and you faint.
    It touches you, and you are troubled.
Isn’t your piety your confidence?
    Isn’t the integrity of your ways your hope?

“Remember, now, whoever perished, being innocent?
    Or where were the upright cut off?
According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity,
    and sow trouble,
    reap the same.
By the breath of God they perish.
    By the blast of his anger are they consumed.
The roaring of the lion,
    and the voice of the fierce lion,
    the teeth of the young lions, are broken.
The old lion perishes for lack of prey.
    The cubs of the lioness are scattered abroad.

“Now a thing was secretly brought to me.
    My ear received a whisper of it.
In thoughts from the visions of the night,
    when deep sleep falls on men,
fear came on me, and trembling,
    which made all my bones shake.
Then a spirit passed before my face.
    The hair of my flesh stood up.
It stood still, but I couldn’t discern its appearance.
    A form was before my eyes.
    Silence, then I heard a voice, saying,
‘Shall mortal man be more just than God?
    Shall a man be more pure than his Maker?
Behold, he puts no trust in his servants.
    He charges his angels with error.
How much more, those who dwell in houses of clay,
    whose foundation is in the dust,
    who are crushed before the moth!
Between morning and evening they are destroyed.
    They perish forever without any regarding it.
Isn’t their tent cord plucked up within them?
    They die, and that without wisdom.’

“Call now; is there any who will answer you?
    To which of the holy ones will you turn?
For resentment kills the foolish man,
    and jealousy kills the simple.
I have seen the foolish taking root,
    but suddenly I cursed his habitation.
His children are far from safety.
    They are crushed in the gate.
    Neither is there any to deliver them,
whose harvest the hungry eats up,
    and take it even out of the thorns.
    The snare gapes for their substance.
For affliction doesn’t come out of the dust,
    neither does trouble spring out of the ground;
but man is born to trouble,
    as the sparks fly upward.

“But as for me, I would seek God.
    I would commit my cause to God,
who does great things that can’t be fathomed,
    marvelous things without number;
who gives rain on the earth,
    and sends waters on the fields;
so that he sets up on high those who are low,
    those who mourn are exalted to safety.
He frustrates the plans of the crafty,
    So that their hands can’t perform their enterprise.
He takes the wise in their own craftiness;
    the counsel of the cunning is carried headlong.
They meet with darkness in the day time,
    and grope at noonday as in the night.
But he saves from the sword of their mouth,
    even the needy from the hand of the mighty.
So the poor has hope,
    and injustice shuts her mouth.

“Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects.
    Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.
For he wounds and binds up.
    He injures and his hands make whole.
He will deliver you in six troubles;
    yes, in seven no evil will touch you.
In famine he will redeem you from death;
    in war, from the power of the sword.
You will be hidden from the scourge of the tongue,
    neither will you be afraid of destruction when it comes.
You will laugh at destruction and famine,
    neither will you be afraid of the animals of the earth.
For you will be allied with the stones of the field.
    The animals of the field will be at peace with you.
You will know that your tent is in peace.
    You will visit your fold, and will miss nothing.
You will know also that your offspring will be great,
    Your offspring as the grass of the earth.
You will come to your grave in a full age,
    like a shock of grain comes in its season.
Look at this. We have searched it. It is so.
    Hear it, and know it for your good.”

Then Job answered,

“Oh that my anguish were weighed,
    and all my calamity laid in the balances!
For now it would be heavier than the sand of the seas,
    therefore my words have been rash.
For the arrows of the Almighty are within me.
    My spirit drinks up their poison.
The terrors of God set themselves in array against me.
    Does the wild donkey bray when he has grass?
Or does the ox low over his fodder?
    Can that which has no flavor be eaten without salt?
Or is there any taste in the white of an egg?
    My soul refuses to touch them.
They are as loathsome food to me.

“Oh that I might have my request,
    that God would grant the thing that I long for,
even that it would please God to crush me;
    that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off!
Let it still be my consolation,
    yes, let me exult in pain that doesn’t spare,
    that I have not denied the words of the Holy One.
What is my strength, that I should wait?
    What is my end, that I should be patient?
Is my strength the strength of stones?
    Or is my flesh of bronze?
Isn’t it that I have no help in me,
    that wisdom is driven away from me?

“To him who is ready to faint, kindness should be shown from his friend;
    even to him who forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
My brothers have dealt deceitfully as a brook,
    as the channel of brooks that pass away;
Which are black by reason of the ice,
    in which the snow hides itself.
In the dry season, they vanish.
    When it is hot, they are consumed out of their place.
The caravans that travel beside them turn away.
    They go up into the waste, and perish.
The caravans of Tema looked.
    The companies of Sheba waited for them.
They were distressed because they were confident.
    They came there, and were confounded.
For now you are nothing.
    You see a terror, and are afraid.
Did I say, ‘Give to me?’
    or, ‘Offer a present for me from your substance?’
or, ‘Deliver me from the adversary’s hand?’
    or, ‘Redeem me from the hand of the oppressors?’

“Teach me, and I will hold my peace.
    Cause me to understand my error.
How forcible are words of uprightness!
    But your reproof, what does it reprove?
Do you intend to reprove words,
    since the speeches of one who is desperate are as wind?
Yes, you would even cast lots for the fatherless,
    and make merchandise of your friend.
Now therefore be pleased to look at me,
    for surely I will not lie to your face.
Please return.
    Let there be no injustice.
    Yes, return again.
    My cause is righteous.
Is there injustice on my tongue?
    Can’t my taste discern mischievous things?

“Isn’t a man forced to labor on earth?
    Aren’t his days like the days of a hired hand?
As a servant who earnestly desires the shadow,
    as a hireling who looks for his wages,
so I am made to possess months of misery,
    wearisome nights are appointed to me.
When I lie down, I say,
    ‘When will I arise, and the night be gone?’
    I toss and turn until the dawning of the day.
My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust.
    My skin closes up, and breaks out afresh.
My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,
    and are spent without hope.
Oh remember that my life is a breath.
    My eye will no more see good.
The eye of him who sees me will see me no more.
    Your eyes will be on me, but I will not be.
As the cloud is consumed and vanishes away,
    so he who goes down to Sheol will come up no more.
He will return no more to his house,
    neither will his place know him any more.

“Therefore I will not keep silent.
    I will speak in the anguish of my spirit.
    I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
Am I a sea, or a sea monster,
    that you put a guard over me?
When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me.
    My couch will ease my complaint;’
then you scare me with dreams,
    and terrify me through visions:
so that my soul chooses strangling,
    death rather than my bones.
I loathe my life.
    I don’t want to live forever.
    Leave me alone, for my days are but a breath.
What is man, that you should magnify him,
    that you should set your mind on him,
that you should visit him every morning,
    and test him every moment?
How long will you not look away from me,
    nor leave me alone until I swallow down my spittle?
If I have sinned, what do I do to you, you watcher of men?
    Why have you set me as a mark for you,
    so that I am a burden to myself?
Why do you not pardon my disobedience, and take away my iniquity?
    For now will I lie down in the dust.
    You will seek me diligently, but I will not be.”

Job’s Friends Visit Him

Job 2:11-3:26

Highlights from this Passage

  • Job’s friends come to visit him after they hear the news.
  • Job complains, and he curses the day he was born.
  • Job desires to die.

†††††††

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come on him, they each came from his own place: Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite; and they made an appointment together to come to sympathize with him and to comfort him. When they lifted up their eyes from a distance, and didn’t recognize him, they raised their voices, and wept; and they each tore his robe, and sprinkled dust on their heads toward the sky. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.

After this Job opened his mouth, and cursed the day of his birth. Job answered:

“Let the day perish in which I was born,
    the night which said, ‘There is a boy conceived.’
Let that day be darkness.
    Don’t let God from above seek for it,
    neither let the light shine on it.
Let darkness and the shadow of death claim it for their own.
    Let a cloud dwell on it.
    Let all that makes the day black terrify it.
As for that night, let thick darkness seize on it.
    Let it not rejoice among the days of the year.
    Let it not come into the number of the months.
Behold, let that night be barren.
    Let no joyful voice come therein.
Let them curse it who curse the day,
    who are ready to rouse up leviathan.
Let the stars of its twilight be dark.
    Let it look for light, but have none,
    neither let it see the eyelids of the morning,
because it didn’t shut up the doors of my mother’s womb,
    nor did it hide trouble from my eyes.

“Why didn’t I die from the womb?
    Why didn’t I give up the spirit when my mother bore me?
Why did the knees receive me?
    Or why the breast, that I should nurse?
For now I should have lain down and been quiet.
    I should have slept, then I would have been at rest,
with kings and counselors of the earth,
    who built up waste places for themselves;
or with princes who had gold,
    who filled their houses with silver:
or as a hidden untimely birth I had not been,
    as infants who never saw light.
There the wicked cease from troubling.
    There the weary are at rest.
There the prisoners are at ease together.
    They don’t hear the voice of the taskmaster.
The small and the great are there.
    The servant is free from his master.

“Why is light given to him who is in misery,
    life to the bitter in soul,
Who long for death, but it doesn’t come;
    and dig for it more than for hidden treasures,
who rejoice exceedingly,
    and are glad, when they can find the grave?
Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,
    whom God has hedged in?
For my sighing comes before I eat.
    My groanings are poured out like water.
For the thing which I fear comes on me,
    That which I am afraid of comes to me.
I am not at ease, neither am I quiet, neither do I have rest;
    but trouble comes.”

Job and His Trials

Job 1:1-2:10

Highlights from this Passage

  • Though the period in which Job is set is uncertain, some scholars think it occurs somewhere within the narrative of Genesis 11. We now turn our attention to the book of Job to continue our chronological Bible reading.
  • Job is a righteous and blameless person who was blessed.
  • God gives Satan permission to tempt Job.
  • Satan takes away Job’s possessions and children.
  • Job is a man of integrity, and he displays great patience and faith.
  • Throughout his trials, Job never sins or renounces God.

†††††††

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God, and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. His possessions also were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the children of the east. His sons went and held a feast in the house of each one on his birthday; and they sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. It was so, when the days of their feasting had run their course, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned, and renounced God in their hearts.” Job did so continually.

Now on the day when God’s sons came to present themselves before Yahweh, Satan also came among them. Yahweh said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Then Satan answered Yahweh, and said, “From going back and forth in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”

Yahweh said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant, Job? For there is no one like him in the earth, a blameless and an upright man, one who fears God, and turns away from evil.”

Then Satan answered Yahweh, and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Haven’t you made a hedge around him, and around his house, and around all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But stretch out your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will renounce you to your face.”

Yahweh said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power. Only on himself don’t stretch out your hand.”

So Satan went out from the presence of Yahweh. It fell on a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, that a messenger came to Job, and said, “The oxen were plowing, and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans attacked, and took them away. Yes, they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God has fallen from the sky, and has burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans made three bands, and swept down on the camels, and have taken them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

While he was still speaking, there came also another, and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young men, and they are dead. I alone have escaped to tell you.”

Then Job arose, and tore his robe, and shaved his head, and fell down on the ground, and worshiped. He said, “Naked I came out of my mother’s womb, and naked will I return there. Yahweh gave, and Yahweh has taken away. Blessed be Yahweh’s name.” In all this, Job didn’t sin, nor charge God with wrongdoing.

Again, on the day when God’s sons came to present themselves before Yahweh, Satan came also among them to present himself before Yahweh. Yahweh said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered Yahweh, and said, “From going back and forth in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”

Yahweh said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him in the earth, a blameless and an upright man, one who fears God, and turns away from evil. He still maintains his integrity, although you incited me against him, to ruin him without cause.”

Satan answered Yahweh, and said, “Skin for skin. Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will renounce you to your face.”

Yahweh said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand. Only spare his life.”

So Satan went out from the presence of Yahweh, and struck Job with painful sores from the sole of his foot to his head. He took for himself a potsherd to scrape himself with, and he sat among the ashes. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still maintain your integrity? Renounce God, and die.”

But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?”

In all this Job didn’t sin with his lips.