Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Job's Third Speech - Response to Bildad: Job 8-9

Job 8

Bildad's First Response to Job

1Then Bildad the Shuhite replied to Job:
2"How long will you go on like this? Your words are a blustering wind. 3Does God twist justice? Does the Almighty twist what is right? 4Your children obviously sinned against him, so their punishment was well deserved. 5But if you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty, 6if you are pure and live with complete integrity, he will rise up and restore your happy home. 7And though you started with little, you will end with much.

8"Just ask the former generation. Pay attention to the experience of our ancestors. 9For we were born but yesterday and know so little. Our days on earth are as transient as a shadow. 10But those who came before us will teach you. They will teach you from the wisdom of former generations.

11"Can papyrus reeds grow where there is no marsh? Can bulrushes flourish where there is no water? 12While they are still flowering, not ready to be cut, they begin to wither. 13Such is the fate of all who forget God. The hope of the godless comes to nothing. 14Everything they count on will collapse. They are leaning on a spiderweb. 15They cling to their home for security, but it won't last. They try to hold it fast, but it will not endure. 16The godless seem so strong, like a lush plant growing in the sunshine, its branches spreading across the garden. 17Its roots grow down through a pile of rocks to hold it firm. 18But when it is uprooted, it isn't even missed! 19That is the end of its life, and others spring up from the earth to replace it.

20"But look! God will not reject a person of integrity, nor will he make evildoers prosper. 21He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. 22Those who hate you will be clothed with shame, and the tent of the wicked will be destroyed."

Job 9

Job's Third Speech: A Response to Bildad

1Then Job spoke again:
2"Yes, I know this is all true in principle. But how can a person be declared innocent in the eyes of God? 3If someone wanted to take God to court,[a] would it be possible to answer him even once in a thousand times? 4For God is so wise and so mighty. Who has ever challenged him successfully?

5"Without warning, he moves the mountains, overturning them in his anger. 6He shakes the earth from its place, and its foundations tremble. 7If he commands it, the sun won't rise and the stars won't shine. 8He alone has spread out the heavens and marches on the waves of the sea. 9He made all the stars--the Bear, Orion, the Pleiades, and the constellations of the southern sky. 10His great works are too marvelous to understand. He performs miracles without number.

11"Yet when he comes near, I cannot see him. When he moves on, I do not see him go. 12If he sends death to snatch someone away, who can stop him? Who dares to ask him, `What are you doing?' 13And God does not restrain his anger. The mightiest forces against him[b] are crushed beneath his feet.

14"And who am I, that I should try to answer God or even reason with him? 15Even if I were innocent, I would have no defense. I could only plead for mercy. 16And even if I summoned him and he responded, he would never listen to me. 17For he attacks me without reason,[c] and he multiplies my wounds without cause. 18He will not let me catch my breath, but fills me instead with bitter sorrows. 19As for strength, he has it. As for justice, who can challenge him? 20Though I am innocent, my own mouth would pronounce me guilty. Though I am blameless, it[d] would prove me wicked.

21"I am innocent, but it makes no difference to me--I despise my life. 22Innocent or wicked, it is all the same to him. That is why I say, `He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.' 23He laughs when a plague suddenly kills the innocent. 24The whole earth is in the hands of the wicked, and God blinds the eyes of the judges and lets them be unfair. If not he, then who?

25"My life passes more swiftly than a runner. It flees away, filled with tragedy. 26It disappears like a swift boat, like an eagle that swoops down on its prey. 27If I decided to forget my complaints, if I decided to end my sadness and be cheerful, 28I would dread all the pain he would send. For I know you will not hold me innocent, O God. 29Whatever happens, I will be found guilty. So what's the use of trying? 30Even if I were to wash myself with soap and cleanse my hands with lye to make them absolutely clean, 31you would plunge me into a muddy ditch, and I would be so filthy my own clothing would hate me.

32"God is not a mortal like me, so I cannot argue with him or take him to trial. 33If only there were a mediator who could bring us together, but there is none. 34The mediator could make God stop beating me, and I would no longer live in terror of his punishment. 35Then I could speak to him without fear, but I cannot do that in my own strength.

Job 9:3 Or If God wanted to take a person to court.
Job 9:13 Hebrew The helpers of Rahab, the name of a mythical sea monster that represents chaos in ancient literature.
Job 9:17 As in Syriac version; Hebrew reads with a storm.
Job 9:20 Or he.

Job Frames His Plea to God: Job 10

Job 10

Job Frames His Plea to God

1"I am disgusted with my life. Let me complain freely. I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. 2I will say to God, `Don't simply condemn me--tell me the charge you are bringing against me. 3What do you gain by oppressing me? Why do you reject me, the work of your own hands, while sending joy and prosperity to the wicked? 4Are your eyes only those of a human? Do you see things as people see them? 5Is your lifetime merely human? Is your life so short 6that you are in a hurry to probe for my guilt, to search for my sin? 7Although you know I am not guilty, no one can rescue me from your power.
8" `You formed me with your hands; you made me, and yet you completely destroy me. 9Remember that I am made of dust--will you turn me back to dust so soon? 10You guided my conception and formed me in the womb.[a] 11You clothed me with skin and flesh, and you knit my bones and sinews together. 12You gave me life and showed me your unfailing love. My life was preserved by your care.

13" `Yet your real motive--I know this was your intent-- 14was to watch me, and if I sinned, you would not forgive my iniquity. 15If I am guilty, too bad for me. And even if I'm innocent, I am filled with shame and misery so that I can't hold my head high. 16And if I hold my head high, you hunt me like a lion and display your awesome power against me. 17Again and again you witness against me. You pour out an ever-increasing volume of anger upon me and bring fresh armies against me.

18" `Why, then, did you bring me out of my mother's womb? Why didn't you let me die at birth? 19Then I would have been spared this miserable existence. I would have gone directly from the womb to the grave. 20I have only a little time left, so leave me alone--that I may have a little moment of comfort 21before I leave for the land of darkness and utter gloom, never to return. 22It is a land as dark as midnight, a land of utter gloom where confusion reigns and the light is as dark as midnight.' "

Job 10:10 Hebrew You poured me out like milk and curdled me like cheese.