Friday, January 23, 2004

Eliphaz speaks, Job responds: Job 15-16

Job 15

Eliphaz's Second Response to Job

1Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
2"You are supposed to be a wise man, and yet you give us all this foolish talk. You are nothing but a windbag. 3It isn't right to speak so foolishly. What good do such words do? 4Have you no fear of God, no reverence for him? 5Your sins are telling your mouth what to say. Your words are based on clever deception. 6But why should I condemn you? Your own mouth does!

7"Were you the first person ever born? Were you born before the hills were made? 8Were you listening at God's secret council? Do you have a monopoly on wisdom? 9What do you know that we don't? What do you understand that we don't? 10On our side are aged, gray-haired men much older than your father!

11"Is God's comfort too little for you? Is his gentle word not enough? 12What has captured your reason? What has weakened your vision, 13that you turn against God and say all these evil things? 14Can a mortal be pure? Can a human be just? 15Why, God doesn't even trust the angels[a]! Even the heavens cannot be absolutely pure in his sight. 16How much less pure is a corrupt and sinful person with a thirst for wickedness!

17"If you will listen, I will answer you from my own experience. 18And it is confirmed by the experience of wise men who have heard the same thing from their fathers, 19those to whom the land was given long before any foreigners arrived.

20"Wicked people are in pain throughout their lives. 21They are surrounded by terrors, and even on good days they fear the attack of the destroyer. 22They dare not go out into the darkness for fear they will be murdered. 23They wander abroad for bread, saying, `Where is it?'[b] They know their ruin is certain. 24That dark day terrifies them. They live in distress and anguish, like a king preparing for an attack. 25For they have clenched their fists against God, defying the Almighty. 26Holding their strong shields, they defiantly charge against him.

27"These wicked people are fat and rich, 28but their cities will be ruined. They will live in abandoned houses that are ready to tumble down. 29They will not continue to be rich. Their wealth will not endure, and their possessions will no longer spread across the horizon.

30"They will not escape the darkness. The flame will burn them up, and the breath of God will destroy everything they have. 31Let them no longer trust in empty riches. They are only fooling themselves, for emptiness will be their only reward. 32They will be cut down in the prime of life, and all they counted on will disappear. 33They will be like a vine whose grapes are harvested before they are ripe, like an olive tree that sheds its blossoms so the fruit cannot form. 34For the godless are barren. Their homes, enriched through bribery, will be consumed by fire. 35They conceive trouble and evil, and their hearts give birth only to deceit."

Job 15:15 Hebrew the holy ones.
Job 15:23 Greek version reads He is appointed to be food for a vulture.

Job 16

Job's Fifth Speech: A Response to Eliphaz

1Then Job spoke again:
2"I have heard all this before. What miserable comforters you are! 3Won't you ever stop your flow of foolish words? What have I said that makes you speak so endlessly? 4I could say the same things if you were in my place. I could spout off my criticisms against you and shake my head at you. 5But that's not what I would do. I would speak in a way that helps you. I would try to take away your grief. 6But as it is, my grief remains no matter how I defend myself. And it does not help if I refuse to speak.

7"O God, you have ground me down and devastated my family. 8You have reduced me to skin and bones--as proof, they say, of my sins. 9God hates me and tears angrily at my flesh. He gnashes his teeth at me and pierces me with his eyes. 10People jeer and laugh at me. They slap my cheek in contempt. A mob gathers against me. 11God has handed me over to sinners. He has tossed me into the hands of the wicked.

12"I was living quietly until he broke me apart. He took me by the neck and dashed me to pieces. Then he set me up as his target. 13His archers surrounded me, and his arrows pierced me without mercy. The ground is wet with my blood.[a] 14Again and again he smashed me, charging at me like a warrior. 15Here I sit in sackcloth. I have surrendered, and I sit in the dust. 16My eyes are red with weeping; darkness covers my eyes. 17Yet I am innocent, and my prayer is pure.

18"O earth, do not conceal my blood. Let it cry out on my behalf. 19Even now my witness is in heaven. My advocate is there on high. 20My friends scorn me, but I pour out my tears to God. 21Oh, that someone would mediate between God and me, as a person mediates between friends. 22For soon I must go down that road from which I will never return.

Job 16:13 Hebrew my gall.

Job Continues to Defend His Innocence: Job 17

Job 17

Job Continues to Defend His Innocence

1"My spirit is crushed, and I am near death. The grave is ready to receive me. 2I am surrounded by mockers. I watch how bitterly they taunt me.
3"You must defend my innocence, O God, since no one else will stand up for me. 4You have closed their minds to understanding, but do not let them triumph. 5They denounce their companions for their own advantage, so let their children faint with hunger.

6"God has made a mockery of me among the people; they spit in my face. 7My eyes are dim with weeping, and I am but a shadow of my former self. 8The upright are astonished when they see me. The innocent are aroused against the ungodly. 9The righteous will move onward and forward, and those with pure hearts will become stronger and stronger.

10"As for all of you, come back and try again! But I will not find a wise man among you. 11My days are over. My hopes have disappeared. My heart's desires are broken. 12They say that night is day and day is night; how they pervert the truth! 13I might go to the grave and make my bed in darkness. 14And I might call the grave my father, and the worm my mother and my sister. 15But where then is my hope? Can anyone find it? 16No, my hope will go down with me to the grave. We will rest together in the dust!"