The Hebrew Bible
1There was a man in the land of Uz named Job. That man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2Seven sons and three daughters were born to him; 3his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred she-asses, and a very large household. That man was wealthier than anyone in the East.
4It was the custom of his sons to hold feasts, each on his set day in his own home. They would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5When a round of feast days was over, Job would send word to them to sanctify themselves, and, rising early in the morning, he would make burnt offerings, one for each of them; for Job thought, “Perhaps my children have sinned and blasphemed God in their thoughts.” This is what Job always used to do.
6One day the divine beings presented themselves before the Lord, and the Adversary came along with them. 7The Lord said to the Adversary, “Where have you been?” The Adversary answered the Lord, “I have been roaming all over the earth.” 8The Lord said to the Adversary, “Have you noticed My servant Job? There is no one like him on earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and shuns evil!” 9The Adversary answered the Lord, “Does Job not have good reason to fear God? 10Why, it is You who have fenced him round, him and his household and all that he has. You have blessed his efforts so that his possessions spread out in the land. 11But lay Your hand upon all that he has and he will surely blaspheme You to Your face.” 12The Lord replied to the Adversary, “See, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on him.” The Adversary departed from the presence of the Lord.
13One day, as his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, 14a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the she-asses were grazing alongside them 15when Sabeans attacked them and carried them off, and put the boys to the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16This one was still speaking when another came and said, “God’s fire fell from heaven, took hold of the sheep and the boys, and burned them up; I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17This one was still speaking when another came and said, “A Chaldean formation of three columns made a raid on the camels and carried them off and put the boys to the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18This one was still speaking when another came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother 19when suddenly a mighty wind came from the wilderness. It struck the four corners of the house so that it collapsed upon the young people and they died; I alone have escaped to tell you.”
20Then Job arose, tore his robe, cut off his hair, and threw himself on the ground and worshiped. 21He said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
22For all that, Job did not sin nor did he cast reproach on God.
2One day the divine beings presented themselves before the Lord. The Adversary came along with them to present himself before the Lord. 2The Lord said to the Adversary, “Where have you been?” The Adversary answered the Lord, “I have been roaming all over the earth.” 3The Lord said to the Adversary, “Have you noticed My servant Job? There is no one like him on earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and shuns evil. He still keeps his integrity; so you have incited Me against him to destroy him for no good reason.” 4The Adversary answered the Lord, “Skin for skin—all that a man has he will give up for his life. 5But lay a hand on his bones and his flesh, and he will surely blaspheme You to Your face.” 6So the Lord said to the Adversary, “See, he is in your power; only spare his life.” 7The Adversary departed from the presence of the Lord and inflicted a severe inflammation on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8He took a potsherd to scratch himself as he sat in ashes. 9His wife said to him, “You still keep your integrity! Blaspheme God and die!” 10But he said to her, “You talk as any shameless woman might talk! Should we accept only good from God and not accept evil?” For all that, Job said nothing sinful.
11When Job’s three friends heard about all these calamities that had befallen him, each came from his home—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They met together to go and console and comfort him. 12When they saw him from a distance, they could not recognize him, and they broke into loud weeping; each one tore his robe and threw dust into the air onto his head. 13They sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights. None spoke a word to him for they saw how very great was his suffering.
3Afterward, Job began to speak and cursed the day of his birth. 2Job spoke up and said-
3Perish the day on which I was born,
And the night it was announced,
“A male has been conceived!”
4May that day be darkness;
May God above have no concern for it;
May light not shine on it;
5May darkness and deep gloom reclaim it;
May a pall lie over it;
May what blackens the day terrify it.
6May obscurity carry off that night;
May it not be counted among the days of the year;
May it not appear in any of its months;
7May that night be desolate;
May no sound of joy be heard in it;
8May those who cast spells upon the day damn it,
Those prepared to disable Leviathan;
9May its twilight stars remain dark;
May it hope for light and have none;
May it not see the glimmerings of the dawn—
10Because it did not block my mother’s womb,
And hide trouble from my eyes.
11Why did I not die at birth,
Expire as I came forth from the womb?
12Why were there knees to receive me,
Or breasts for me to suck?
13For now would I be lying in repose, asleep and at rest,
14With the world’s kings and counselors who rebuild ruins for themselves,
15Or with nobles who possess gold and who fill their houses with silver.
16Or why was I not like a buried stillbirth,
Like babies who never saw the light?
17There the wicked cease from troubling;
There rest those whose strength is spent.
18Prisoners are wholly at ease;
They do not hear the taskmaster’s voice.
19Small and great alike are there,
And the slave is free of his master.
20Why does He give light to the sufferer
And life to the bitter in spirit;
21To those who wait for death but it does not come,
Who search for it more than for treasure,
22Who rejoice to exultation,
And are glad to reach the grave;
23To the man who has lost his way,
Whom God has hedged about?
24My groaning serves as my bread;
My roaring pours forth as water.
25For what I feared has overtaken me;
What I dreaded has come upon me.
26I had no repose, no quiet, no rest,
And trouble came.
4Then Eliphaz the Temanite said in reply-
2If one ventures a word with you, will it be too much?
But who can hold back his words?
3See, you have encouraged many;
You have strengthened failing hands.
4Your words have kept him who stumbled from falling;
You have braced knees that gave way.
5But now that it overtakes you, it is too much;
It reaches you, and you are unnerved.
6Is not your piety your confidence,
Your integrity your hope?
7Think now, what innocent man ever perished?
Where have the upright been destroyed?
8As I have seen, those who plow evil
And sow mischief reap them.
9They perish by a blast from God,
Are gone at the breath of His nostrils.
10The lion may roar, the cub may howl,
But the teeth of the king of beasts are broken.
11The lion perishes for lack of prey,
And its whelps are scattered.
12A word came to me in stealth;
My ear caught a whisper of it.
13In thought-filled visions of the night,
When deep sleep falls on men,
14Fear and trembling came upon me,
Causing all my bones to quake with fright.
15A wind passed by me,
Making the hair of my flesh bristle.
16It halted; its appearance was strange to me;
A form loomed before my eyes;
I heard a murmur, a voice,
17“Can mortals be acquitted by God?
Can man be cleared by his Maker?
18If He cannot trust His own servants,
And casts reproach on His angels,
19How much less those who dwell in houses of clay,
Whose origin is dust,
Who are crushed like the moth,
20Shattered between daybreak and evening,
Perishing forever, unnoticed.
21Their cord is pulled up
And they die, and not with wisdom.”
5Call now! Will anyone answer you?
To whom among the holy beings will you turn?
2Vexation kills the fool;
Passion slays the simpleton.
3I myself saw a fool who had struck roots;
Impulsively, I cursed his home-
4May his children be far from success;
May they be oppressed in the gate with none to deliver them;
5May the hungry devour his harvest,
Carrying it off in baskets;
May the thirsty swallow their wealth.
6Evil does not grow out of the soil,
Nor does mischief spring from the ground;
7For man is born to [do] mischief,
Just as sparks fly upward.
8But I would resort to God;
I would lay my case before God,
9Who performs great deeds which cannot be fathomed,
Wondrous things without number;
10Who gives rain to the earth,
And sends water over the fields;
11Who raises the lowly up high,
So that the dejected are secure in victory;
12Who thwarts the designs of the crafty,
So that their hands cannot gain success;
13Who traps the clever in their own wiles;
The plans of the crafty go awry.
14By day they encounter darkness,
At noon they grope as in the night.
15But He saves the needy from the sword of their mouth,
From the clutches of the strong.
16So there is hope for the wretched;
The mouth of wrongdoing is stopped.
17See how happy is the man whom God reproves;
Do not reject the discipline of the Almighty.
18He injures, but He binds up;
He wounds, but His hands heal.
19He will deliver you from six troubles;
In seven no harm will reach you-
20In famine He will redeem you from death,
In war, from the sword.
21You will be sheltered from the scourging tongue;
You will have no fear when violence comes.
22You will laugh at violence and starvation,
And have no fear of wild beasts.
23For you will have a pact with the rocks in the field,
And the beasts of the field will be your allies.
24You will know that all is well in your tent;
When you visit your wife you will never fail.
25You will see that your offspring are many,
Your descendants like the grass of the earth.
26You will come to the grave in ripe old age,
As shocks of grain are taken away in their season.
27See, we have inquired into this and it is so;
Hear it and accept it.
6Then Job said in reply-
2If my anguish were weighed,
My full calamity laid on the scales,
3It would be heavier than the sand of the sea;
That is why I spoke recklessly.
4For the arrows of the Almighty are in me;
My spirit absorbs their poison;
God’s terrors are arrayed against me.
5Does a wild ass bray when he has grass?
Does a bull bellow over his fodder?
6Can what is tasteless be eaten without salt?
Does mallow juice have any flavor?
7I refuse to touch them;
They are like food when I am sick.
8Would that my request were granted,
That God gave me what I wished for;
9Would that God consented to crush me,
Loosed His hand and cut me off.
10Then this would be my consolation,
As I writhed in unsparing pains-
That I did not suppress my words against the Holy One.
11What strength have I, that I should endure?
How long have I to live, that I should be patient?
12Is my strength the strength of rock?
Is my flesh bronze?
13Truly, I cannot help myself;
I have been deprived of resourcefulness.
14A friend owes loyalty to one who fails,
Though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty;
15My comrades are fickle, like a wadi,
Like a bed on which streams once ran.
16They are dark with ice;
Snow obscures them;
17But when they thaw, they vanish;
In the heat, they disappear where they are.
18Their course twists and turns;
They run into the desert and perish.
19Caravans from Tema look to them;
Processions from Sheba count on them.
20They are disappointed in their hopes;
When they reach the place, they stand aghast.
21So you are as nothing-
At the sight of misfortune, you take fright.
22Did I say to you, “I need your gift;
Pay a bribe for me out of your wealth;
23Deliver me from the clutches of my enemy;
Redeem me from violent men”?
24Teach me; I shall be silent;
Tell me where I am wrong.
25How trenchant honest words are;
But what sort of reproof comes from you?
26Do you devise words of reproof,
But count a hopeless man’s words as wind?
27You would even cast lots over an orphan,
Or barter away your friend.
28Now be so good as to face me;
I will not lie to your face.
29Relent! Let there not be injustice;
Relent! I am still in the right.
30Is injustice on my tongue?
Can my palate not discern evil?
7Truly man has a term of service on earth;
His days are like those of a hireling—
2Like a slave who longs for [evening’s] shadows,
Like a hireling who waits for his wage.
3So have I been allotted months of futility;
Nights of misery have been apportioned to me.
4When I lie down, I think,
“When shall I rise?”
Night drags on,
And I am sated with tossings till morning twilight.
5My flesh is covered with maggots and clods of earth;
My skin is broken and festering.
6My days fly faster than a weaver’s shuttle,
And come to their end without hope.
7Consider that my life is but wind;
I shall never see happiness again.
8The eye that gazes on me will not see me;
Your eye will seek me, but I shall be gone.
9As a cloud fades away,
So whoever goes down to Sheol does not come up;
10He returns no more to his home;
His place does not know him.
11On my part, I will not speak with restraint;
I will give voice to the anguish of my spirit;
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
12Am I the sea or the Dragon,
That You have set a watch over me?
13When I think, “My bed will comfort me,
My couch will share my sorrow,”
14You frighten me with dreams,
And terrify me with visions,
15Till I prefer strangulation,
Death, to my wasted frame.
16I am sick of it.
I shall not live forever;
Let me be, for my days are a breath.
17What is man, that You make much of him,
That You fix Your attention upon him?
18You inspect him every morning,
Examine him every minute.
19Will You not look away from me for a while,
Let me be, till I swallow my spittle?
20If I have sinned, what have I done to You,
Watcher of men?
Why make of me Your target,
And a burden to myself?
21Why do You not pardon my transgression
And forgive my iniquity?
For soon I shall lie down in the dust;
When You seek me, I shall be gone.
8Bildad the Shuhite said in reply-
2How long will you speak such things?
Your utterances are a mighty wind!
3Will God pervert the right?
Will the Almighty pervert justice?
4If your sons sinned against Him,
He dispatched them for their transgression.
5But if you seek God
And supplicate the Almighty,
6If you are blameless and upright,
He will protect you,
And grant well-being to your righteous home.
7Though your beginning be small,
In the end you will grow very great.
8Ask the generation past,
Study what their fathers have searched out
9—For we are of yesterday and know nothing;
Our days on earth are a shadow—
10Surely they will teach you and tell you,
Speaking out of their understanding.
11Can papyrus thrive without marsh?
Can rushes grow without water?
12While still tender, not yet plucked,
They would wither before any other grass.
13Such is the fate of all who forget God;
The hope of the impious man comes to naught—
14Whose confidence is a thread of gossamer,
Whose trust is a spider’s web.
15He leans on his house—it will not stand;
He seizes hold of it, but it will not hold.
16He stays fresh even in the sun;
His shoots spring up in his garden;
17His roots are twined around a heap,
They take hold of a house of stones.
18When he is uprooted from his place,
It denies him, [saying,]
“I never saw you.”
19Such is his happy lot;
And from the earth others will grow.
20Surely God does not despise the blameless;
He gives no support to evildoers.
21He will yet fill your mouth with laughter,
And your lips with shouts of joy.
22Your enemies will be clothed in disgrace;
The tent of the wicked will vanish.
9Job said in reply-
2Indeed I know that it is so-
Man cannot win a suit against God.
3If he insisted on a trial with Him,
He would not answer one charge in a thousand.
4Wise of heart and mighty in power—
Who ever challenged Him and came out whole?—
5Him who moves mountains without their knowing it,
Who overturns them in His anger;
6Who shakes the earth from its place,
Till its pillars quake;
7Who commands the sun not to shine;
Who seals up the stars;
8Who by Himself spread out the heavens,
And trod on the back of the sea;
9Who made the Bear and Orion,
Pleiades, and the chambers of the south wind;
10Who performs great deeds which cannot be fathomed,
And wondrous things without number.
11He passes me by—I do not see Him;
He goes by me, but I do not perceive Him.
12He snatches away—who can stop Him?
Who can say to Him, “What are You doing?”
13God does not restrain His anger;
Under Him Rahab’s helpers sink down.
14How then can I answer Him,
Or choose my arguments against Him?
15Though I were in the right, I could not speak out,
But I would plead for mercy with my judge.
16If I summoned Him and He responded,
I do not believe He would lend me His ear.
17For He crushes me for a hair;
He wounds me much for no cause.
18He does not let me catch my breath,
But sates me with bitterness.
19If a trial of strength—He is the strong one;
If a trial in court—who will summon Him for me?
20Though I were innocent,
My mouth would condemn me;
Though I were blameless, He would prove me crooked.
21I am blameless—I am distraught;
I am sick of life.
22It is all one; therefore I say,
“He destroys the blameless and the guilty.”
23When suddenly a scourge brings death,
He mocks as the innocent fail.
24The earth is handed over to the wicked one;
He covers the eyes of its judges.
If it is not He, then who?
25My days fly swifter than a runner;
They flee without seeing happiness;
26They pass like reed-boats,
Like an eagle swooping onto its prey.
27If I say, “I will forget my complaint;
Abandon my sorrow and be diverted,”
28I remain in dread of all my suffering;
I know that You will not acquit me.
29It will be I who am in the wrong;
Why then should I waste effort?
30If I washed with soap,
Cleansed my hands with lye,
31You would dip me in muck
Till my clothes would abhor me.
32He is not a man, like me, that I can answer Him,
That we can go to law together.
33No arbiter is between us
To lay his hand on us both.
34If He would only take His rod away from me
And not let His terror frighten me,
35Then I would speak out without fear of Him;
For I know myself not to be so.
10I am disgusted with life;
I will give rein to my complaint,
Speak in the bitterness of my soul.
2I say to God, “Do not condemn me;
Let me know what You charge me with.
3Does it benefit You to defraud,
To despise the toil of Your hands,
While smiling on the counsel of the wicked?
4Do You have the eyes of flesh?
Is Your vision that of mere men?
5Are Your days the days of a mortal,
Are Your years the years of a man,
6That You seek my iniquity
And search out my sin?
7You know that I am not guilty,
And that there is none to deliver from Your hand.
8“Your hands shaped and fashioned me,
Then destroyed every part of me.
9Consider that You fashioned me like clay;
Will You then turn me back into dust?
10You poured me out like milk,
Congealed me like cheese;
11You clothed me with skin and flesh
And wove me of bones and sinews;
12You bestowed on me life and care;
Your providence watched over my spirit.
13Yet these things You hid in Your heart;
I know that You had this in mind-
14To watch me when I sinned
And not clear me of my iniquity;
15Should I be guilty—the worse for me!
And even when innocent, I cannot lift my head;
So sated am I with shame,
And drenched in my misery.
16It is something to be proud of to hunt me like a lion,
To show Yourself wondrous through me time and again!
17You keep sending fresh witnesses against me,
Letting Your vexation with me grow.
I serve my term and am my own replacement.
18“Why did You let me come out of the womb
Better had I expired before any eye saw me,
19Had I been as though I never was,
Had I been carried from the womb to the grave.
20My days are few, so desist!
Leave me alone, let me be diverted a while
21Before I depart—never to return—
For the land of deepest gloom;
22A land whose light is darkness,
All gloom and disarray,
Whose light is like darkness.”
11Then Zophar the Naamathite said in reply-
2Is a multitude of words unanswerable?
Must a loquacious person be right?
3Your prattle may silence men;
You may mock without being rebuked,
4And say, “My doctrine is pure,
And I have been innocent in Your sight.”
5But would that God might speak,
And talk to you Himself.
6He would tell you the secrets of wisdom,
For there are many sides to sagacity;
And know that God has overlooked for you some of your iniquity.
7Would you discover the mystery of God?
Would you discover the limit of the Almighty?
8Higher than heaven—what can you do?
Deeper than Sheol—what can you know?
9Its measure is longer than the earth
And broader than the sea.
10Should He pass by, or confine,
Or call an assembly, who can stop Him?
11For He knows deceitful men;
When He sees iniquity, does He not discern it?
12A hollow man will get understanding,
When a wild ass is born a man.
13But if you direct your mind,
And spread forth your hands toward Him—
14If there is iniquity with you, remove it,
And do not let injustice reside in your tent—
15Then, free of blemish, you will hold your head high,
And, when in straits, be unafraid.
16You will then put your misery out of mind,
Consider it as water that has flowed past.
17Life will be brighter than noon;
You will shine, you will be like the morning.
18You will be secure, for there is hope,
And, entrenched, you will rest secure;
19You will lie down undisturbed;
The great will court your favor.
20But the eyes of the wicked pine away;
Escape is cut off from them;
They have only their last breath to look forward to.
Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures, (Philadelphia, Jerusalem- Jewish Publication Society) 1985.