Job 21

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

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