9

Job’s Third Speech: A Response to Bildad

1Then Job spoke again:

2“Yes, I know all this is true in principle.

But how can a person be declared innocent in God’s sight?

3If someone wanted to take God to court,*9:3 Or If God wanted to take someone to court. 

would it be possible to answer him even once in a thousand times?

4For God is so wise and so mighty.

Who has ever challenged him successfully?

5“Without warning, he moves the mountains,

overturning them in his anger.

6He shakes the earth from its place,

and its foundations tremble.

7If he commands it, the sun won’t rise

and the stars won’t shine.

8He alone has spread out the heavens

and marches on the waves of the sea.

9He made all the stars—the Bear and Orion,

the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky.

10He does great things too marvelous to understand.

He performs countless miracles.

11“Yet when he comes near, I cannot see him.

When he moves by, I do not see him go.

12If he snatches someone in death, who can stop him?

Who dares to ask, ‘What are you doing?’

13And God does not restrain his anger.

Even the monsters of the sea*9:13 Hebrew the helpers of Rahab, the name of a mythical sea monster that represents chaos in ancient literature.  are crushed beneath his feet.

14“So who am I, that I should try to answer God

or even reason with him?

15Even if I were right, I would have no defense.

I could only plead for mercy.

16And even if I summoned him and he responded,

I’m not sure he would listen to me.

17For he attacks me with a storm

and repeatedly wounds me without cause.

18He will not let me catch my breath,

but fills me instead with bitter sorrows.

19If it’s a question of strength, he’s the strong one.

If it’s a matter of justice, who dares to summon him*9:19 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads me.  to court?

20Though I am innocent, my own mouth would pronounce me guilty.

Though I am blameless, it*9:20 Or he.  would prove me wicked.

21“I am innocent,

but it makes no difference to me—

I despise my life.

22Innocent or wicked, it is all the same to God.

That’s why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’

23When a plague*9:23 Or disaster.  sweeps through,

he laughs at the death of the innocent.

24The whole earth is in the hands of the wicked,

and God blinds the eyes of the judges.

If he’s not the one who does it, who is?

25“My life passes more swiftly than a runner.

It flees away without a glimpse of happiness.

26It disappears like a swift papyrus boat,

like an eagle swooping down on its prey.

27If I decided to forget my complaints,

to put away my sad face and be cheerful,

28I would still dread all the pain,

for I know you will not find me innocent, O God.

29Whatever happens, I will be found guilty.

So what’s the use of trying?

30Even if I were to wash myself with soap

and clean my hands with lye,

31you would plunge me into a muddy ditch,

and my own filthy clothing would hate me.

32“God is not a mortal like me,

so I cannot argue with him or take him to trial.

33If only there were a mediator between us,

someone who could bring us together.

34The mediator could make God stop beating me,

and I would no longer live in terror of his punishment.

35Then I could speak to him without fear,

but I cannot do that in my own strength.