21

Job’s Seventh Speech: A Response to Zophar

1Then Job spoke again:

2“Listen closely to what I am saying.

That’s one consolation you can give me.

3Bear with me, and let me speak.

After I have spoken, you may resume mocking me.

4“My complaint is with God, not with people.

I have good reason to be so impatient.

5Look at me and be stunned.

Put your hand over your mouth in shock.

6When I think about what I am saying, I shudder.

My body trembles.

7“Why do the wicked prosper,

growing old and powerful?

8They live to see their children grow up and settle down,

and they enjoy their grandchildren.

9Their homes are safe from every fear,

and God does not punish them.

10Their bulls never fail to breed.

Their cows bear calves and never miscarry.

11They let their children frisk about like lambs.

Their little ones skip and dance.

12They sing with tambourine and harp.

They celebrate to the sound of the flute.

13They spend their days in prosperity,

then go down to the grave*21:13 Hebrew to Sheol.  in peace.

14And yet they say to God, ‘Go away.

We want no part of you and your ways.

15Who is the Almighty, and why should we obey him?

What good will it do us to pray?’

16(They think their prosperity is of their own doing,

but I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking.)

17“Yet the light of the wicked never seems to be extinguished.

Do they ever have trouble?

Does God distribute sorrows to them in anger?

18Are they driven before the wind like straw?

Are they carried away by the storm like chaff?

Not at all!

19“‘Well,’ you say, ‘at least God will punish their children!’

But I say he should punish the ones who sin,

so that they understand his judgment.

20Let them see their destruction with their own eyes.

Let them drink deeply of the anger of the Almighty.

21For they will not care what happens to their family

after they are dead.

22“But who can teach a lesson to God,

since he judges even the most powerful?

23One person dies in prosperity,

completely comfortable and secure,

24the picture of good health,

vigorous and fit.

25Another person dies in bitter poverty,

never having tasted the good life.

26But both are buried in the same dust,

both eaten by the same maggots.

27“Look, I know what you’re thinking.

I know the schemes you plot against me.

28You will tell me of rich and wicked people

whose houses have vanished because of their sins.

29But ask those who have been around,

and they will tell you the truth.

30Evil people are spared in times of calamity

and are allowed to escape disaster.

31No one criticizes them openly

or pays them back for what they have done.

32When they are carried to the grave,

an honor guard keeps watch at their tomb.

33A great funeral procession goes to the cemetery.

Many pay their respects as the body is laid to rest,

and the earth gives sweet repose.

34“How can your empty clichés comfort me?

All your explanations are lies!”