141We are all born weak and helpless.
All lead the same short, troubled life.
2We grow and wither as quickly as flowers;
we disappear like shadows.
3Will you even look at me, God,
or put me on trial and judge me?
4Nothing clean can ever come
from anything as unclean as human beings.
5The length of their lives is decided beforehand —
the number of months they will live.
You have settled it, and it can't be changed.
6Look away from them and leave them alone;14.6 One Hebrew manuscript and leave them alone; most Hebrew manuscripts so that they may rest.
let them enjoy their hard life — if they can.14.6 let them… can; or until they finish their day of hard work.
7There is hope for a tree that has been cut down;
it can come back to life and sprout.
8Even though its roots grow old,
and its stump dies in the ground,
9with water it will sprout like a young plant.
10But people die, and that is the end of them;
they die, and where are they then?
11Like rivers that stop running,
and lakes that go dry,
12people die, never to rise.
They will never wake up while the sky endures;
they will never stir from their sleep.
13I wish you would hide me in the world of the dead;
let me be hidden until your anger is over,
and then set a time to remember me.
14If people die, can they come back to life?
But I will wait for better times,
wait till this time of trouble is ended.
15Then you will call, and I will answer,
and you will be pleased with me, your creature.
16Then you will watch every step I take,
but you will not keep track of my sins.
17You will forgive them and put them away;
you will wipe out all the wrongs I have done.
18There comes a time when mountains fall
and solid cliffs are moved away.
19Water will wear down rocks,
and heavy rain will wash away the soil;
so you destroy our hope for life.
20You overpower someone and send him away for ever;
his face is twisted in death.
21His sons win honour, but he never knows it,
nor is he told when they are disgraced.
22He feels only the pain of his own body
and the grief of his own mind.
151-2Empty words, Job! Empty words!
3No wise person would talk as you do
or defend himself with such meaningless words.
4If you had your way, no one would fear God;
no one would pray to him.
5Your wickedness is evident by what you say;
you are trying to hide behind clever words.
6There is no need for me to condemn you;
you are condemned by every word you speak.
7Do you think you were the first person born?
Were you there when God made the mountains?
8Did you overhear the plans God made?
Does human wisdom belong to you alone?
9There is nothing you know that we don't know.
10We learnt our wisdom from grey-haired people —
those born before your father.
11God offers you comfort; why still reject it?
We have spoken for him with calm, even words.
12But you are excited and glare at us in anger.
13You are angry with God and denounce him.
Can any human being be really pure?
Can anyone be right with God?
15Why, God does not trust even his angels;
even they are not pure in his sight.
16And people drink evil as if it were water;
yes, they are corrupt; they are worthless.
17Now listen, Job, to what I know.
18Those who are wise have taught me truths
which they learnt from their ancestors,
and they kept no secrets hidden.
19Their land was free from foreigners;
there was no one to lead them away from God.
20The wicked who oppress others
will be in torment as long as they live.
21Voices of terror will scream in their ears,
and robbers attack when they think they are safe.
22They have no hope of escaping from darkness,
for somewhere a sword is waiting to kill them,
23and vultures15.23 One ancient translation vultures; Hebrew where is he? are waiting15.23 One ancient translation are waiting; Hebrew he wanders. to eat their corpses.
They know their future is dark;
24disaster, like a powerful king,
is waiting to attack them.
25That is the fate of those
who shake their fists at God
and defy the Almighty.
26-27They are proud and rebellious;
they stubbornly hold up their shields
and rush to fight against God.
28They are the ones who captured cities
and seized houses whose owners had fled,
but war will destroy those cities and houses.
29They will not remain rich for long;
nothing they own will last.
Even their shadows15.29 One ancient translation shadow; Hebrew unclear. will vanish,
30and they will not escape from darkness.
They will be like trees
whose branches are burnt by fire,
whose blossoms15.30 One ancient translation blossoms; Hebrew mouth. are blown away by the wind.
31If they are foolish enough to trust in evil,
then evil will be their reward.
32Before their time is up they will wither,15.32 Some ancient translations wither; Hebrew be filled.
wither like a branch and never be green again.
33They will be like vines that lose their unripe grapes;
like olive trees that drop their blossoms.
34There will be no descendants for godless people,
and fire will destroy the homes built by bribery.
35These are the ones who plan trouble and do evil;
their hearts are always full of deceit.
161-2I have heard words like that before;
the comfort you give is only torment.
3Are you going to keep on talking for ever?
Do you always have to have the last word?
4If you were in my place and I in yours,
I could say everything you are saying.
I could shake my head wisely
and drown you with a flood of words.
5I could strengthen you with advice
and keep talking to comfort you.
6But nothing I say helps,
and being silent does not calm my pain.
7You have worn me out, God;
you have let my family be killed.
8You have seized me; you are my enemy.
I am skin and bones,
and people take that as proof of my guilt.16.8 Verses 7–8 in Hebrew are unclear.
9In anger God tears me limb from limb;
he glares at me with hate.
10People sneer at me;
they crowd round me and slap my face.
11God has handed me over to evil people.
12I was living in peace,
but God took me by the throat
and battered me and crushed me.
God uses me for target practice
13and shoots arrows at me from every side —
arrows that pierce and wound me;
and even then he shows no pity.
14He wounds me again and again;
he attacks like a soldier gone mad with hate.
15I mourn and wear clothes made of sackcloth,
and I sit here in the dust defeated.
16I have cried until my face is red,
and my eyes are swollen and circled with shadows,
17but I am not guilty of any violence,
and my prayer to God is sincere.
18O Earth, don't hide the wrongs done to me!
Don't let my call for justice be silenced!
There is someone in heaven
to stand up for me and take my side.
20My friends scorn me;
my eyes pour out tears to God.
21I want someone to plead with God for me,
as one pleads for a friend.
22My years are passing now,
and I walk the road of no return.