Job’s Reply to Zophar1
21:1 Then Job answered:
21:2 “Listen carefully2 to my words;
let this be3 the consolation you offer me.4
21:3 Bear with me5 and I6 will speak,
and after I have spoken7 you may mock.8
21:4 Is my9 complaint against a man?10
If so,11 why should I not be impatient?12
21:5 Look13 at me and be appalled;
put your hands over your mouths.14
21:6 For, when I think15 about this, I am terrified16
and my body feels a shudder.17
The Wicked Prosper
21:7 “Why do the wicked go on living,18
grow old,19 even increase in power?
21:8 Their children20 are firmly established
in their presence,21
their offspring before their eyes.
21:9 Their houses are safe22 and without fear;23
and no rod of punishment24 from God is upon them.25
21:10 Their bulls26 breed27 without fail;28
their cows calve and do not miscarry.
21:11 They allow their children to run29 like a flock;
their little ones dance about.
21:12 They sing30 to the accompaniment of tambourine and harp,
and make merry to the sound of the flute.
21:13 They live out31 their years in prosperity
and go down32 to the grave33 in peace.
21:14 So they say to God, ‘Turn away from us!
We do not want to34 know your ways.35
21:15 Who is the Almighty, that36 we should serve him?
What would we gain
if we were to pray37 to him?’38
21:16 But their prosperity is not their own doing.39
The counsel of the wicked is far from me!40
How Often Do the Wicked Suffer?
21:17 “How often41 is the lamp of the wicked extinguished?
How often does their42 misfortune come upon them?
How often does God apportion pain43 to them44 in his anger?
21:18 How often45 are they like straw before the wind,
and like chaff swept away46 by a whirlwind?
21:19 You may say,47 ‘God stores up a man’s48 punishment for his children!’49
Instead let him repay50 the man himself51
so that52 he may know it!
21:20 Let his own eyes see his destruction;53
let him drink of the anger of the Almighty.
21:21 For what is his interest54 in his home
after his death,55
when the number of his months
has been broken off?56
21:22 Can anyone teach57 God knowledge,
since58 he judges those that are on high?59
Death Levels Everything
21:23 “One man dies in his full vigor,60
completely secure and prosperous,
21:24 his body61 well nourished,62
and the marrow of his bones moist.63
21:25 And another man64 dies in bitterness of soul,65
never having tasted66 anything good.
21:26 Together they lie down in the dust,
and worms cover over them both.
Futile Words, Deceptive Answers
21:27 “Yes, I know what you are thinking,67
the schemes68 by which you would wrong me.69
21:28 For you say,
‘Where now is the nobleman’s house,70
and where are the tents in which the wicked lived?’71
21:29 Have you never questioned those who travel the roads?
Do you not recognize their accounts72 –
21:30 that the evil man is spared
from the day of his misfortune,
that he is delivered73
from the day of God’s wrath?
21:31 No one denounces his conduct to his face;
no one repays him for what74 he has done.75
21:32 And when he is carried to the tombs,
and watch is kept76 over the funeral mound,77
21:33 The clods of the torrent valley78 are sweet to him;
behind him everybody follows in procession,
and before him goes a countless throng.
21:34 So how can you console me with your futile words?
Nothing is left of your answers but deception!”79