291Job began speaking again.
2If only my life could once again
be as it was when God watched over me.
3God was always with me then
and gave me light as I walked through the darkness.
4Those were the days when I was prosperous,
and the friendship of God protected my home.
5Almighty God was with me then,
and I was surrounded by all my children.
6My cows and goats gave plenty of milk,
and my olive trees grew in the rockiest soil.
7Whenever the city elders met
and I took my place among them,
8young men stepped aside as soon as they saw me,
and old men stood up to show me respect.
9The leaders of the people would stop talking;
10even the most important men kept silent.
11Everyone who saw me or heard of me
had good things to say about what I had done.
12When the poor cried out, I helped them;
I gave help to orphans who had nowhere to turn.
13Those who were in deepest misery praised me,
and I helped widows find security.
14I have always acted justly and fairly.
15I was eyes for the blind,
and feet for the lame.
16I was like a father to the poor
and took the side of strangers in trouble.
17I destroyed the power of cruel men
and rescued their victims.
18I always expected to live a long life
and to die at home in comfort.
19I was like a tree whose roots always have water
and whose branches are wet with dew.
20Everyone was always praising me,
and my strength never failed me.
21When I gave advice, people were silent
and listened carefully to what I said;
22they had nothing to add when I had finished.
My words sank in like drops of rain;
23everyone welcomed them
just as farmers welcome rain in spring.
24I smiled on them when they had lost confidence;
my cheerful face encouraged them.
25I took charge and made the decisions;
I led them as a king leads his troops,
and gave them comfort in their despair.
301But men younger than I am make fun of me now!
Their fathers have always been so worthless
that I wouldn't let them help my dogs guard sheep.
2They were a bunch of worn-out men,
too weak to do any work for me.
3They were so poor and hungry
that they would gnaw dry roots —
at night, in wild, desolate places.
4They pulled up the plants of the desert and ate them,
even the tasteless roots of the broom tree!
5Everyone drove them away with shouts,
as if they were shouting at thieves.
6They had to live in caves,
in holes dug in the sides of cliffs.
7Out in the wilds they howled like animals
and huddled together under the bushes.
8A worthless bunch of nameless nobodies!
They were driven out of the land.
9Now they come and laugh at me;
I am nothing but a joke to them.
10They treat me with disgust;
they think they are too good for me,
and even come and spit in my face.
11Because God has made me weak and helpless,
they turn against me with all their fury.
12This mob attacks me head-on;
they send me running; they prepare their final assault.
13They cut off my escape and try to destroy me;
and there is no one to stop30.13 Probable text stop; Hebrew help. them.
14They pour through the holes in my defences
and come crashing down on top of me;
15I am overcome with terror;
my dignity is gone like a puff of wind,
and my prosperity like a cloud.
16Now I am about to die;
there is no relief for my suffering.
17At night my bones all ache;
the pain that gnaws me never stops.
18God seizes me by my collar
and twists my clothes out of shape.
19He throws me down in the mud;
I am no better than dirt.
20I call to you, O God, but you never answer;
and when I pray, you pay no attention.
21You are treating me cruelly;
you persecute me with all your power.
22You let the wind blow me away;
you toss me about in a raging storm.
23I know you are taking me off to my death,
to the fate in store for everyone.
24Why do you attack a ruined man,
one who can do nothing but beg for pity?30.24 Verse 24 in Hebrew is unclear.
25Didn't I weep with people in trouble
and feel sorry for those in need?
26I hoped for happiness and light,
but trouble and darkness came instead.
27I am torn apart by worry and pain;
I have had day after day of suffering.
28I go about in gloom, without any sunshine;
I stand up in public and plead for help.
29My voice is as sad and lonely
as the cries of a jackal or an ostrich.
30My skin has turned dark; I am burning with fever.
31Where once I heard joyful music,
now I hear only mourning and weeping.
311I have made a solemn promise
never to look with lust at a woman.
2What does Almighty God do to us?
How does he repay human deeds?
3He sends disaster and ruin
to those who do wrong.
4God knows everything I do;
he sees every step I take.
5I swear I have never acted wickedly
and never tried to deceive others.
6Let God weigh me on honest scales,
and he will see how innocent I am.
7If I have turned from the right path
or let myself be attracted to evil,
if my hands are stained with sin,
8then let my crops be destroyed,
or let others eat the food I grow.
9If I have been attracted to my neighbour's wife,
and waited, hidden, outside her door,
10then let my wife cook another man's food
and sleep in another man's bed.
11Such wickedness should be punished by death.
12It would be like a destructive, hellish fire,
consuming everything I have.
13When any of my servants complained against me,
I would listen and treat them fairly.
14If I did not, how could I then face God?
What could I say when God came to judge me?
15The same God who created me
created my servants also.
16I have never refused to help the poor;
never have I let widows live in despair
17or let orphans go hungry while I ate.
18All my life I have taken care of them.31.18 All my life… them; Hebrew unclear.
19When I found someone in need,
too poor to buy clothes,
20I would give him clothing made of wool
that had come from my own flock of sheep.
Then he would praise me with all his heart.
21If I have ever cheated an orphan,
knowing I could win in court,
22then may my arms be broken;
may they be torn from my shoulders.
23Because I fear God's punishment,
I could never do such a thing.
24I have never trusted in riches
25or taken pride in my wealth.
26I have never worshipped the sun in its brightness
or the moon in all its beauty.
27I have not been led astray to honour them
by kissing my hand in reverence to them.
28Such a sin should be punished by death;
it denies Almighty God.
29I have never been glad when my enemies suffered,
or pleased when they met with disaster;
30I never sinned by praying for their death.
31All those who work for me know
that I have always welcomed strangers.
32I invited travellers into my home
and never let them sleep in the streets.
33Others try to hide their sins,
but I have never concealed mine.
34I have never feared what people would say;
I have never kept quiet or stayed indoors
because I feared their scorn.
35Will no one listen to what I am saying?
I swear that every word is true.
Let Almighty God answer me.
If the charges my opponent brings against me
were written down so that I could see them,
36I would wear them proudly on my shoulder
and place them on my head like a crown.
37I would tell God everything I have done,
and hold my head high in his presence.
38If I have stolen the land I farm
and taken it from its rightful owners —
39if I have eaten the food that grew there
but let the farmers that grew it starve —
40then instead of wheat and barley,
may weeds and thistles grow.
The words of Job are ended.