12 Then Job answered:
2 “Without a doubt you are the people, 1
and wisdom will die with you. 2
3 I also have understanding 3 as well as you;
I am not inferior to you. 4
Who does not know such things as these? 5
4 I am 6 a laughingstock 7 to my friends, 8
I, who called on God and whom he answered 9 –
a righteous and blameless 10 man
is a laughingstock!
5 For calamity, 11 there is derision
(according to the ideas of the fortunate 12 ) –
a fate 13 for those whose feet slip!
6 But 14 the tents of robbers are peaceful,
and those who provoke God are confident 15 –
who carry their god in their hands. 16
7 “But now, ask the animals and they 17 will teach you,
or the birds of the sky and they will tell you.
8 Or speak 18 to the earth 19 and it will teach you,
or let the fish of the sea declare to you.
9 Which of all these 20 does not know
that the hand of the Lord 21 has done 22 this,
10 in whose hand 23 is the life 24 of every creature
and the breath of all the human race. 25
11 Does not the ear test words,
as 26 the tongue 27 tastes food? 28
12 Is not wisdom found among the aged? 29
Does not long life bring understanding?
13 “With God 30 are wisdom and power;
counsel and understanding are his. 31
14 If 32 he tears down, it cannot be rebuilt;
if he imprisons a person, there is no escape. 33
15 If he holds back the waters, then they dry up; 34
if he releases them, 35 they destroy 36 the land.
16 With him are strength and prudence; 37
both the one who goes astray 38
and the one who misleads are his.
17 He 39 leads 40 counselors away stripped 41
and makes judges 42 into fools. 43
18 He loosens 44 the bonds 45 of kings
and binds a loincloth 46 around their waist.
19 He leads priests away stripped 47
and overthrows 48 the potentates. 49
20 He deprives the trusted advisers 50 of speech 51
and takes away the discernment 52 of elders.
21 He pours contempt on noblemen
and disarms 53 the powerful. 54
22 He reveals the deep things of darkness,
and brings deep shadows 55 into the light.
23 He makes nations great, 56 and destroys them;
he extends the boundaries of nations
and disperses 57 them. 58
24 He deprives the leaders of the earth 59
of their understanding; 60
he makes them wander
in a trackless desert waste. 61
25 They grope about in darkness 62 without light;
he makes them stagger 63 like drunkards.
13 “Indeed, my eyes have seen all this, 1
my ears have heard and understood it.
2 What you know, 2 I 3 know also;
I am not inferior 4 to you!
3 But I wish to speak 5 to the Almighty, 6
and I desire to argue 7 my case 8 with God.
4 But you, however, are inventors of lies; 9
all of you are worthless physicians! 10
5 If only you would keep completely silent! 11
For you, that would be wisdom. 12
6 “Listen now to my argument, 13
and be attentive to my lips’ contentions. 14
7 Will you speak wickedly 15 on God’s behalf? 16
Will you speak deceitfully for him?
8 Will you show him partiality? 17
Will you argue the case 18 for God?
9 Would it turn out well if he would examine 19 you?
Or as one deceives 20 a man would you deceive him?
10 He would certainly rebuke 21 you
if you secretly 22 showed partiality!
11 Would not his splendor 23 terrify 24 you
and the fear he inspires 25 fall on you?
12 Your maxims 26 are proverbs of ashes; 27
your defenses 28 are defenses of clay. 29
13 “Refrain from talking 30 with me so that 31 I may speak;
then let come to me 32 what may. 33
14 Why 34 do I put myself in peril, 35
and take my life in my hands?
15 Even if he slays me, I will hope in him; 36
I will surely 37 defend 38 my ways to his face!
16 Moreover, this will become my deliverance,
for no godless person would come before him. 39
17 Listen carefully 40 to my words;
let your ears be attentive to my explanation. 41
18 See now, 42 I have prepared 43 my 44 case; 45
I know that I am right. 46
19 Who 47 will contend with me?
If anyone can, I will be silent and die. 48
20 Only in two things spare me, 49 O God, 50
and then I will not hide from your face:
21 Remove 51 your hand 52 far from me
and stop making me afraid with your terror. 53
22 Then call, 54 and I will answer,
or I will speak, and you respond to me.
23 How many are my 55 iniquities and sins?
Show me my transgression and my sin. 56
24 Why do you hide your face 57
and regard me as your enemy?
25 Do you wish to torment 58 a windblown 59 leaf
and chase after dry chaff? 60
26 For you write down 61 bitter things against me
and cause me to inherit the sins of my youth. 62
27 And you put my feet in the stocks 63
and you watch all my movements; 64
you put marks 65 on the soles of my feet.
28 So I 66 waste away like something rotten, 67
like a garment eaten by moths.
14 “Man, born of woman, 1
lives but a few days, 2 and they are full of trouble. 3
2 He grows up 4 like a flower and then withers away; 5
he flees like a shadow, and does not remain. 6
3 Do you fix your eye 7 on such a one? 8
And do you bring me 9 before you for judgment?
4 Who can make 10 a clean thing come from an unclean? 11
5 Since man’s days 12 are determined, 13
the number of his months is under your control; 14
you have set his limit 15 and he cannot pass it.
6 Look away from him and let him desist, 16
until he fulfills 17 his time like a hired man.
7 “But there is hope for 18 a tree: 19
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.
8 Although its roots may grow old 20 in the ground
and its stump begins to die 21 in the soil, 22
9 at the scent 23 of water it will flourish 24
and put forth 25 shoots like a new plant.
10 But man 26 dies and is powerless; 27
he expires – and where is he? 28
11 As 29 water disappears from the sea, 30
or a river drains away and dries up,
12 so man lies down and does not rise;
until the heavens are no more, 31
they 32 will not awake
nor arise from their sleep.
13 “O that 33 you would hide me in Sheol, 34
and conceal me till your anger has passed! 35
O that you would set me a time 36
and then remember me! 37
14 If a man dies, will he live again? 38
All the days of my hard service 39 I will wait 40
until my release comes. 41
15 You will call 42 and I 43 – I will answer you;
you will long for 44 the creature you have made. 45
16 “Surely now you count my steps; 46
then you would not mark 47 my sin. 48
17 My offenses would be sealed up 49 in a bag; 50
you would cover over 51 my sin.
18 But as 52 a mountain falls away and crumbles, 53
and as a rock will be removed from its place,
19 as water wears away stones,
and torrents 54 wash away the soil, 55
so you destroy man’s hope. 56
20 You overpower him once for all, 57
and he departs;
you change 58 his appearance
and send him away.
21 If 59 his sons are honored, 60
he does not know it; 61
if they are brought low,
he does not see 62 it.
22 Only his flesh has pain for himself, 63
and he mourns for himself.” 64