Job Finishes His Defense
1Job again took up his discourse and said:2“Oh, that I were as in the months of old,
as in the days when God watched over me;3when his lamp shone over my head,
and by his light I walked through darkness;4when I was in my prime,
when the friendship of God was upon my tent;5when the Almighty was still with me,
when my children were around me;6when my steps were washed with milk,
and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!7When I went out to the gate of the city,
when I took my seat in the square,8the young men saw me and withdrew,
and the aged rose up and stood;9the nobles refrained from talking,
and laid their hands on their mouths;10the voices of princes were hushed,
and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.11When the ear heard, it commended me,
and when the eye saw, it approved;12because I delivered the poor who cried,
and the orphan who had no helper.13The blessing of the wretched came upon me,
and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.14I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
my justice was like a robe and a turban.15I was eyes to the blind,
and feet to the lame.16I was a father to the needy,
and I championed the cause of the stranger.17I broke the fangs of the unrighteous,
and made them drop their prey from their teeth.18Then I thought, ‘I shall die in my nest,
and I shall multiply my days like the phoenix;19my roots spread out to the waters,
with the dew all night on my branches;20my glory was fresh with me,
and my bow ever new in my hand.’
21“They listened to me, and waited,
and kept silence for my counsel.22After I spoke they did not speak again,
and my word dropped upon them like dew.23They waited for me as for the rain;
they opened their mouths as for the spring rain.24I smiled on them when they had no confidence;
and the light of my countenance they did not extinguish.25I chose their way, and sat as chief,
and I lived like a king among his troops,
like one who comforts mourners.
Chapter 301“But now they make sport of me,
those who are younger than I,
whose fathers I would have disdained
to set with the dogs of my flock.2What could I gain from the strength of their hands?
All their vigor is gone.3Through want and hard hunger
they gnaw the dry and desolate ground,4they pick mallow and the leaves of bushes,
and to warm themselves the roots of broom.5They are driven out from society;
people shout after them as after a thief.6In the gullies of wadis they must live,
in holes in the ground, and in the rocks.7Among the bushes they bray;
under the nettles they huddle together.8A senseless, disreputable brood,
they have been whipped out of the land.
9“And now they mock me in song;
I am a byword to them.10They abhor me, they keep aloof from me;
they do not hesitate to spit at the sight of me.11Because God has loosed my bowstring and humbled me,
they have cast off restraint in my presence.12On my right hand the rabble rise up;
they send me sprawling,
and build roads for my ruin.13They break up my path,
they promote my calamity;
no one restrains them.14As through a wide breach they come;
amid the crash they roll on.15Terrors are turned upon me;
my honor is pursued as by the wind,
and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud.
16“And now my soul is poured out within me;
days of affliction have taken hold of me.17The night racks my bones,
and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.18With violence he seizes my garment;
he grasps me by the collar of my tunic.19He has cast me into the mire,
and I have become like dust and ashes.20I cry to you and you do not answer me;
I stand, and you merely look at me.21You have turned cruel to me;
with the might of your hand you persecute me.22You lift me up on the wind, you make me ride on it,
and you toss me about in the roar of the storm.23I know that you will bring me to death,
and to the house appointed for all living.
24“Surely one does not turn against the needy,
when in disaster they cry for help.25Did I not weep for those whose day was hard?
Was not my soul grieved for the poor?26But when I looked for good, evil came;
and when I waited for light, darkness came.27My inward parts are in turmoil, and are never still;
days of affliction come to meet me.28I go about in sunless gloom;
I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.29I am a brother of jackals,
and a companion of ostriches.30My skin turns black and falls from me,
and my bones burn with heat.31My lyre is turned to mourning,
and my pipe to the voice of those who weep.
Chapter 311“I have made a covenant with my eyes;
how then could I look upon a virgin?2What would be my portion from God above,
and my heritage from the Almighty on high?3Does not calamity befall the unrighteous,
and disaster the workers of iniquity?4Does he not see my ways,
and number all my steps?
5“If I have walked with falsehood,
and my foot has hurried to deceit—6let me be weighed in a just balance,
and let God know my integrity!—7if my step has turned aside from the way,
and my heart has followed my eyes,
and if any spot has clung to my hands;8then let me sow, and another eat;
and let what grows for me be rooted out.
9“If my heart has been enticed by a woman,
and I have lain in wait at my neighbor's door;10then let my wife grind for another,
and let other men kneel over her.11For that would be a heinous crime;
that would be a criminal offense;12for that would be a fire consuming down to Abaddon,
and it would burn to the root all my harvest.
13“If I have rejected the cause of my male or female slaves,
when they brought a complaint against me;14what then shall I do when God rises up?
When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him?15Did not he who made me in the womb make them?
And did not one fashion us in the womb?
16“If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,
or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,17or have eaten my morsel alone,
and the orphan has not eaten from it—18for from my youth I reared the orphan like a father,
and from my mother's womb I guided the widow —19if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,
or a poor person without covering,20whose loins have not blessed me,
and who was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;21if I have raised my hand against the orphan,
because I saw I had supporters at the gate;22then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder,
and let my arm be broken from its socket.23For I was in terror of calamity from God,
and I could not have faced his majesty.
24“If I have made gold my trust,
or called fine gold my confidence;25if I have rejoiced because my wealth was great,
or because my hand had gotten much;26if I have looked at the sun when it shone,
or the moon moving in splendor,27and my heart has been secretly enticed,
and my mouth has kissed my hand;28this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges,
for I should have been false to God above.
29“If I have rejoiced at the ruin of those who hated me,
or exulted when evil overtook them—30I have not let my mouth sin
by asking for their lives with a curse—31if those of my tent ever said,
‘O that we might be sated with his flesh!’ —32the stranger has not lodged in the street;
I have opened my doors to the traveler—33if I have concealed my transgressions as others do,
by hiding my iniquity in my bosom,34because I stood in great fear of the multitude,
and the contempt of families terrified me,
so that I kept silence, and did not go out of doors—35Oh, that I had one to hear me!
(Here is my signature! let the Almighty answer me!)
Oh, that I had the indictment written by my adversary!36Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;
I would bind it on me like a crown;37I would give him an account of all my steps;
like a prince I would approach him.
38“If my land has cried out against me,
and its furrows have wept together;39if I have eaten its yield without payment,
and caused the death of its owners;40let thorns grow instead of wheat,
and foul weeds instead of barley.”
The words of Job are ended.