The Hebrew Bible
21Job said in reply-
2Listen well to what I say,
And let that be your consolation.
3Bear with me while I speak,
And after I have spoken, you may mock.
4Is my complaint directed toward a man?
Why should I not lose my patience?
5Look at me and be appalled,
And clap your hand to your mouth.
6When I think of it I am terrified;
My body is seized with shuddering.
7Why do the wicked live on,
Prosper and grow wealthy?
8Their children are with them always,
And they see their children’s children.
9Their homes are secure, without fear;
They do not feel the rod of God.
10Their bull breeds and does not fail;
Their cow calves and never miscarries;
11They let their infants run loose like sheep,
And their children skip about.
12They sing to the music of timbrel and lute,
And revel to the tune of the pipe;
13They spend their days in happiness,
And go down to Sheol in peace.
14They say to God, “Leave us alone,
We do not want to learn Your ways;
15What is Shaddai that we should serve Him?
What will we gain by praying to Him?”
16Their happiness is not their own doing.
(The thoughts of the wicked are beyond me!)
17How seldom does the lamp of the wicked fail,
Does the calamity they deserve befall them,
Does He apportion [their] lot in anger!
18Let them become like straw in the wind,
Like chaff carried off by a storm.
19[You say,] “God is reserving his punishment for his sons”;
Let it be paid back to him that he may feel it,
20Let his eyes see his ruin,
And let him drink the wrath of Shaddai!
21For what does he care about the fate of his family,
When his number of months runs out?
22Can God be instructed in knowledge,
He who judges from such heights?
23One man dies in robust health,
All tranquil and untroubled;
24His pails are full of milk;
The marrow of his bones is juicy.
25Another dies embittered,
Never having tasted happiness.
26They both lie in the dust
And are covered with worms.
27Oh, I know your thoughts,
And the tactics you will devise against me.
28You will say, “Where is the house of the great man—
And where the tent in which the wicked dwelled?”
29You must have consulted the wayfarers;
You cannot deny their evidence.
30For the evil man is spared on the day of calamity,
On the day when wrath is led forth.
31Who will upbraid him to his face?
Who will requite him for what he has done?
32He is brought to the grave,
While a watch is kept at his tomb.
33The clods of the wadi are sweet to him,
Everyone follows behind him,
Innumerable are those who precede him.
34Why then do you offer me empty consolation?
Of your replies only the perfidy remains.
22Eliphaz the Temanite said in reply-
2Can a man be of use to God,
A wise man benefit Him?
3Does Shaddai gain if you are righteous?
Does He profit if your conduct is blameless?
4Is it because of your piety that He arraigns you,
And enters into judgment with you?
5You know that your wickedness is great,
And that your iniquities have no limit.
6You exact pledges from your fellows without reason,
And leave them naked, stripped of their clothes;
7You do not give the thirsty water to drink;
You deny bread to the hungry.
8The land belongs to the strong;
The privileged occupy it.
9You have sent away widows empty-handed;
The strength of the fatherless is broken.
10Therefore snares are all around you,
And sudden terrors frighten you,
11Or darkness, so you cannot see;
A flood of waters covers you.
12God is in the heavenly heights;
See the highest stars, how lofty!
13You say, “What can God know?
Can He govern through the dense cloud?
14The clouds screen Him so He cannot see
As He moves about the circuit of heaven.”
15Have you observed the immemorial path
That evil men have trodden;
16How they were shriveled up before their time
And their foundation poured out like a river?
17They said to God, “Leave us alone;
What can Shaddai do about it?”
18But it was He who filled their houses with good things.
(The thoughts of the wicked are beyond me!)
19The righteous, seeing it, rejoiced;
The innocent laughed with scorn.
20Surely their substance was destroyed,
And their remnant consumed by fire.
21Be close to Him and wholehearted;
Good things will come to you thereby.
22Accept instruction from His mouth;
Lay up His words in your heart.
23If you return to Shaddai you will be restored,
If you banish iniquity from your tent;
24If you regard treasure as dirt,
Ophir-gold as stones of the wadi,
25And Shaddai be your treasure
And precious silver for you,
26When you seek the favor of Shaddai,
And lift up your face to God,
27You will pray to Him, and He will listen to you,
And you will pay your vows.
28You will decree and it will be fulfilled,
And light will shine upon your affairs.
29When others sink low, you will say it is pride;
For He saves the humble.
30He will deliver the guilty;
He will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.
23Job said in reply-
2Today again my complaint is bitter;
My strength is spent on account of my groaning.
3Would that I knew how to reach Him,
How to get to His dwelling-place.
4I would set out my case before Him
And fill my mouth with arguments.
5I would learn what answers He had for me
And know how He would reply to me.
6Would He contend with me overbearingly?
Surely He would not accuse me!
7There the upright would be cleared by Him,
And I would escape forever from my judge.
8But if I go East—He is not there;
West—I still do not perceive Him;
9North—since He is concealed, I do not behold Him;
South—He is hidden, and I cannot see Him.
10But He knows the way I take;
Would He assay me, I should emerge pure as gold.
11I have followed in His tracks,
Kept His way without swerving,
12I have not deviated from what His lips commanded;
I have treasured His words more than my daily bread.
13He is one; who can dissuade Him?
Whatever He desires, He does.
14For He will bring my term to an end,
But He has many more such at His disposal.
15Therefore I am terrified at His presence;
When I consider, I dread Him.
16God has made me fainthearted;
Shaddai has terrified me.
17Yet I am not cut off by the darkness;
He has concealed the thick gloom from me.
24Why are times for judgment not reserved by Shaddai?
Even those close to Him cannot foresee His actions.
2People remove boundary-stones;
They carry off flocks and pasture them;
3They lead away the donkeys of the fatherless,
And seize the widow’s bull as a pledge;
4They chase the needy off the roads;
All the poor of the land are forced into hiding.
5Like the wild asses of the wilderness,
They go about their tasks, seeking food;
The wilderness provides each with food for his lads;
6They harvest fodder in the field,
And glean the late grapes in the vineyards of the wicked.
7They pass the night naked for lack of clothing,
They have no covering against the cold;
8They are drenched by the mountain rains,
And huddle against the rock for lack of shelter.
9They snatch the fatherless infant from the breast,
And seize the child of the poor as a pledge.
10They go about naked for lack of clothing,
And, hungry, carry sheaves;
11Between rows [of olive trees] they make oil,
And, thirsty, they tread the winepresses.
12Men groan in the city;
The souls of the dying cry out;
Yet God does not regard it as a reproach.
13They are rebels against the light;
They are strangers to its ways,
And do not stay in its path.
14The murderer arises in the evening
To kill the poor and needy,
And at night he acts the thief.
15The eyes of the adulterer watch for twilight,
Thinking, “No one will glimpse me then.”
He masks his face.
16In the dark they break into houses;
By day they shut themselves in;
They do not know the light.
17For all of them morning is darkness;
It is then that they discern the terror of darkness.
18May they be flotsam on the face of the water;
May their portion in the land be cursed;
May none turn aside by way of their vineyards.
19May drought and heat snatch away their snow waters,
And Sheol, those who have sinned.
20May the womb forget him;
May he be sweet to the worms;
May he be no longer remembered;
May wrongdoers be broken like a tree.
21May he consort with a barren woman who bears no child,
Leave his widow deprived of good.
22Though he has the strength to seize bulls,
May he live with no assurance of survival.
23Yet [God] gives him the security on which he relies,
And keeps watch over his affairs.
24Exalted for a while, let them be gone;
Be brought low, and shrivel like mallows,
And wither like the heads of grain.
25Surely no one can confute me,
Or prove that I am wrong.
25Bildad the Shuhite said in reply-
2Dominion and dread are His;
He imposes peace in His heights.
3Can His troops be numbered?
On whom does His light not shine?
4How can man be in the right before God?
How can one born of woman be cleared of guilt?
5Even the moon is not bright,
And the stars are not pure in His sight.
6How much less man, a worm,
The son-of-man, a maggot.
26Then Job said in reply-
2You would help without having the strength;
You would deliver with arms that have no power.
3Without having the wisdom, you offer advice
And freely give your counsel.
4To whom have you addressed words?
Whose breath issued from you?
5The shades tremble
Beneath the waters and their denizens.
6Sheol is naked before Him;
Abaddon has no cover.
7He it is who stretched out Zaphon over chaos,
Who suspended earth over emptiness.
8He wrapped up the waters in His clouds;
Yet no cloud burst under their weight.
9He shuts off the view of His throne,
Spreading His cloud over it.
10He drew a boundary on the surface of the waters,
At the extreme where light and darkness meet.
11The pillars of heaven tremble,
Astounded at His blast.
12By His power He stilled the sea;
By His skill He struck down Rahab.
13By His wind the heavens were calmed;
His hand pierced the Elusive Serpent.
14These are but glimpses of His rule,
The mere whisper that we perceive of Him;
Who can absorb the thunder of His mighty deeds?
27Job again took up his theme and said-
2By God who has deprived me of justice!
By Shaddai who has embittered my life!
3As long as there is life in me,
And God’s breath is in my nostrils,
4My lips will speak no wrong,
Nor my tongue utter deceit.
5Far be it from me to say you are right;
Until I die I will maintain my integrity.
6I persist in my righteousness and will not yield;
I shall be free of reproach as long as I live.
7May my enemy be as the wicked;
My assailant, as the wrongdoer.
8For what hope has the impious man when he is cut down,
When God takes away his life?
9Will God hear his cry
When trouble comes upon him,
10When he seeks the favor of Shaddai,
Calls upon God at all times?
11I will teach you what is in God’s power,
And what is with Shaddai I will not conceal.
12All of you have seen it,
So why talk nonsense?
13This is the evil man’s portion from God,
The lot that the ruthless receive from Shaddai-
14Should he have many sons—they are marked for the sword;
His descendants will never have their fill of bread;
15Those who survive him will be buried in a plague,
And their widows will not weep;
16Should he pile up silver like dust,
Lay up clothing like dirt—
17He may lay it up, but the righteous will wear it,
And the innocent will share the silver.
18The house he built is like a bird’s nest,
Like the booth a watchman makes.
19He lies down, a rich man, with [his wealth] intact;
When he opens his eyes it is gone.
20Terror overtakes him like a flood;
A storm wind makes off with him by night.
21The east wind carries him far away, and he is gone;
It sweeps him from his place.
22Then it hurls itself at him without mercy;
He tries to escape from its force.
23It claps its hands at him,
And whistles at him from its place.
28There is a mine for silver,
And a place where gold is refined.
2Iron is taken out of the earth,
And copper smelted from rock.
3He sets bounds for darkness;
To every limit man probes,
To rocks in deepest darkness.
4They open up a shaft far from where men live,[In places] forgotten by wayfarers,
Destitute of men, far removed.
5Earth, out of which food grows,
Is changed below as if into fire.
6Its rocks are a source of sapphires;
It contains gold dust too.
7No bird of prey knows the path to it;
The falcon’s eye has not gazed upon it.
8The proud beasts have not reached it;
The lion has not crossed it.
9Man sets his hand against the flinty rock
And overturns mountains by the roots.
10He carves out channels through rock;
His eyes behold every precious thing.
11He dams up the sources of the streams
So that hidden things may be brought to light.
12But where can wisdom be found;
Where is the source of understanding?
13No man can set a value on it;
It cannot be found in the land of the living.
14The deep says, “It is not in me”;
The sea says, “I do not have it.”
15It cannot be bartered for gold;
Silver cannot be paid out as its price.
16The finest gold of Ophir cannot be weighed against it,
Nor precious onyx, nor sapphire.
17Gold or glass cannot match its value,
Nor vessels of fine gold be exchanged for it.
18Coral and crystal cannot be mentioned with it;
A pouch of wisdom is better than rubies.
19Topaz from Nubia cannot match its value;
Pure gold cannot be weighed against it.
20But whence does wisdom come?
Where is the source of understanding?
21It is hidden from the eyes of all living,
Concealed from the fowl of heaven.
22Abaddon and Death say,
“We have only a report of it.”
23God understands the way to it;
He knows its source;
24For He sees to the ends of the earth,
Observes all that is beneath the heavens.
25When He fixed the weight of the winds,
Set the measure of the waters;
26When He made a rule for the rain
And a course for the thunderstorms,
27Then He saw it and gauged it;
He measured it and probed it.
28He said to man,
“See! Fear of the Lord is wisdom;
To shun evil is understanding.”
29Job again took up his theme and said-
2O that I were as in months gone by,
In the days when God watched over me,
3When His lamp shone over my head,
When I walked in the dark by its light,
4When I was in my prime,
When God’s company graced my tent,
5When Shaddai was still with me,
When my lads surrounded me,
6When my feet were bathed in cream,
And rocks poured out streams of oil for me.
7When I passed through the city gates
To take my seat in the square,
8Young men saw me and hid,
Elders rose and stood;
9Nobles held back their words;
They clapped their hands to their mouths.
10The voices of princes were hushed;
Their tongues stuck to their palates.
11The ear that heard me acclaimed me;
The eye that saw, commended me.
12For I saved the poor man who cried out,
The orphan who had none to help him.
13I received the blessing of the lost;
I gladdened the heart of the widow.
14I clothed myself in righteousness and it robed me;
Justice was my cloak and turban.
15I was eyes to the blind
And feet to the lame.
16I was a father to the needy,
And I looked into the case of the stranger.
17I broke the jaws of the wrongdoer,
And I wrested prey from his teeth.
18I thought I would end my days with my family,
And be as long-lived as the phoenix,
19My roots reaching water,
And dew lying on my branches;
20My vigor refreshed,
My bow ever new in my hand.
21Men would listen to me expectantly,
And wait for my counsel.
22After I spoke they had nothing to say;
My words were as drops [of dew] upon them.
23They waited for me as for rain,
For the late rain, their mouths open wide.
24When I smiled at them, they would not believe it;
They never expected a sign of my favor.
25I decided their course and presided over them;
I lived like a king among his troops,
Like one who consoles mourners.
30But now those younger than I deride me,[Men] whose fathers I would have disdained to put among my sheep dogs.
2Of what use to me is the strength of their hands?
All their vigor is gone.
3Wasted from want and starvation,
They flee to a parched land,
To the gloom of desolate wasteland.
4They pluck saltwort and wormwood;
The roots of broom are their food.
5Driven out from society,
They are cried at like a thief.
6They live in the gullies of wadis,
In holes in the ground, and in rocks,
7Braying among the bushes,
Huddling among the nettles,
Stricken from the earth.
9Now I am the butt of their gibes;
I have become a byword to them.
10They abhor me; they keep their distance from me;
They do not withhold spittle from my face.
11Because God has disarmed and humbled me,
They have thrown off restraint in my presence.
12Mere striplings assail me at my right hand-
They put me to flight;
They build their roads for my ruin.
13They tear up my path;
They promote my fall,
Although it does them no good.
14They come as through a wide breach;
They roll in like raging billows.
15Terror tumbles upon me;
It sweeps away my honor like the wind;
My dignity vanishes like a cloud.
16So now my life runs out;
Days of misery have taken hold of me.
17By night my bones feel gnawed;
My sinews never rest.
18With great effort I change clothing;
The neck of my tunic fits my waist.
19He regarded me as clay,
I have become like dust and ashes.
20I cry out to You, but You do not answer me;
I wait, but You do [not] consider me.
21You have become cruel to me;
With Your powerful hand You harass me.
22You lift me up and mount me on the wind;
You make my courage melt.
23I know You will bring me to death,
The house assigned for all the living.
24Surely He would not strike at a ruin
If, in calamity, one cried out to Him.
25Did I not weep for the unfortunate?
Did I not grieve for the needy?
26I looked forward to good fortune, but evil came;
I hoped for light, but darkness came.
27My bowels are in turmoil without respite;
Days of misery confront me.
28I walk about in sunless gloom;
I rise in the assembly and cry out.
29I have become a brother to jackals,
A companion to ostriches.
30My skin, blackened, is peeling off me;
My bones are charred by the heat.
31So my lyre is given over to mourning,
My pipe, to accompany weepers.
31I have covenanted with my eyes
Not to gaze on a maiden.
2What fate is decreed by God above?
What lot, by Shaddai in the heights?
3Calamity is surely for the iniquitous;
Misfortune, for the worker of mischief.
4Surely He observes my ways,
Takes account of my every step.
5Have I walked with worthless men,
Or my feet hurried to deceit?
6Let Him weigh me on the scale of righteousness;
Let God ascertain my integrity.
7If my feet have strayed from their course,
My heart followed after my eyes,
And a stain sullied my hands,
8May I sow, but another reap,
May the growth of my field be uprooted!
9If my heart was ravished by the wife of my neighbor,
And I lay in wait at his door,
10May my wife grind for another,
May others kneel over her!
11For that would have been debauchery,
A criminal offense,
12A fire burning down to Abaddon,
Consuming the roots of all my increase.
13Did I ever brush aside the case of my servants, man or maid,
When they made a complaint against me?
14What then should I do when God arises;
When He calls me to account, what should I answer Him?
15Did not He who made me in my mother’s belly make him?
Did not One form us both in the womb?
16Did I deny the poor their needs,
Or let a widow pine away,
17By eating my food alone,
The fatherless not eating of it also?
18Why, from my youth he grew up with me as though I were his father;
Since I left my mother’s womb I was her guide.
19I never saw an unclad wretch,
A needy man without clothing,
20Whose loins did not bless me
As he warmed himself with the shearings of my sheep.
21If I raised my hand against the fatherless,
Looking to my supporters in the gate,
22May my arm drop off my shoulder;
My forearm break off at the elbow.
23For I am in dread of God-sent calamity;
I cannot bear His threat.
24Did I put my reliance on gold,
Or regard fine gold as my bulwark?
25Did I rejoice in my great wealth,
In having attained plenty?
26If ever I saw the light shining,
The moon on its course in full glory,
27And I secretly succumbed,
And my hand touched my mouth in a kiss,
28That, too, would have been a criminal offense,
For I would have denied God above.
29Did I rejoice over my enemy’s misfortune?
Did I thrill because evil befell him?
30I never let my mouth sin
By wishing his death in a curse.
31(Indeed, the men of my clan said,
“We would consume his flesh insatiably!”)
32No sojourner spent the night in the open;
I opened my doors to the road.
33Did I hide my transgressions like Adam,
Bury my wrongdoing in my bosom,
34That I should [now] fear the great multitude,
And am shattered by the contempt of families,
So that I keep silent and do not step outdoors?
35O that I had someone to give me a hearing;
O that Shaddai would reply to my writ,
Or my accuser draw up a true bill!
36I would carry it on my shoulder;
Tie it around me for a wreath.
37I would give him an account of my steps,
Offer it as to a commander.
38If my land cries out against me,
Its furrows weep together;
39If I have eaten its produce without payment,
And made its [rightful] owners despair,
40May nettles grow there instead of wheat;
Instead of barley, stinkweed!
The words of Job are at an end.
Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures, (Philadelphia, Jerusalem- Jewish Publication Society) 1985.