Saturday, January 24, 2004

Bildad's Speaks, Job Responds: Job 18-19

Job 18

Bildad's Second Response to Job

1Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
2"How long before you stop talking? Speak sense if you want us to answer! 3Do you think we are cattle? Do you think we have no intelligence? 4You may tear your hair out in anger, but will that cause the earth to be abandoned? Will it make rocks fall from a cliff?

5"The truth remains that the light of the wicked will be snuffed out. The sparks of their fire will not glow. 6The light in their tent will grow dark. The lamp hanging above them will be quenched. 7The confident stride of the wicked will be shortened. Their own schemes will be their downfall.

8"The wicked walk into a net. They fall into a pit that's been dug in the path. 9A trap grabs them by the heel. A noose tightens around them. 10A snare lies hidden in the ground. A rope lies coiled on their path.

11"Terrors surround the wicked and trouble them at every step. 12Their vigor is depleted by hunger, and calamity waits for them to stumble. 13Disease eats their skin; death devours their limbs. 14They are torn from the security of their tent, and they are brought down to the king of terrors. 15The home of the wicked will disappear beneath a fiery barrage of burning sulfur. 16Their roots will dry up, and their branches will wither. 17All memory of their existence will perish from the earth. No one will remember them. 18They will be thrust from light into darkness, driven from the world. 19They will have neither children nor grandchildren, nor any survivor in their home country. 20People in the west are appalled at their fate; people in the east are horrified. 21They will say, `This was the home of a wicked person, the place of one who rejected God.' "

Job 19

Job's Sixth Speech: A Response to Bildad

1Then Job spoke again:
2"How long will you torture me? How long will you try to break me with your words? 3Ten times now you have meant to insult me. You should be ashamed of dealing with me so harshly. 4And even if I have sinned, that is my concern, not yours. 5You are trying to overcome me, using my humiliation as evidence of my sin, 6but it is God who has wronged me. I cannot defend myself, for I am like a city under siege.

7"I cry out for help, but no one hears me. I protest, but there is no justice. 8God has blocked my way and plunged my path into darkness. 9He has stripped me of my honor and removed the crown from my head. 10He has demolished me on every side, and I am finished. He has destroyed my hope. 11His fury burns against me; he counts me as an enemy. 12His troops advance. They build up roads to attack me. They camp all around my tent.

13"My relatives stay far away, and my friends have turned against me. 14My neighbors and my close friends are all gone. 15The members of my household have forgotten me. The servant girls consider me a stranger. I am like a foreigner to them. 16I call my servant, but he doesn't come; I even plead with him! 17My breath is repulsive to my wife. I am loathsome to my own family. 18Even young children despise me. When I stand to speak, they turn their backs on me. 19My close friends abhor me. Those I loved have turned against me. 20I have been reduced to skin and bones and have escaped death by the skin of my teeth.

21"Have mercy on me, my friends, have mercy, for the hand of God has struck me. 22Why must you persecute me as God does? Why aren't you satisfied with my anguish?

23"Oh, that my words could be written. Oh, that they could be inscribed on a monument, 24carved with an iron chisel and filled with lead, engraved forever in the rock.

25"But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last. 26And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God[a]! 27I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!

28"How dare you go on persecuting me, saying, `It's his own fault'? 29I warn you, you yourselves are in danger of punishment for your attitude. Then you will know that there is judgment."

Job 19:26 Or without my body I will see God.

Zophar Speaks, Job Responds: Job 20-21

Job 20

Zophar's Second Response to Job

1Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
2"I must reply because I am greatly disturbed. 3I have had to endure your insults, but now my spirit prompts me to reply.

4"Don't you realize that ever since people were first placed on the earth, 5the triumph of the wicked has been short-lived and the joy of the godless has been only temporary? 6Though the godless man's pride reaches to the heavens and though his head touches the clouds, 7yet he will perish forever, thrown away like his own dung. Those who knew him will ask, `Where is he?' 8He will fade like a dream and not be found. He will vanish like a vision in the night. 9Neither his friends nor his family will ever see him again. 10His children will beg from the poor, for he must give back his ill-gotten wealth. 11He was just a young man, but his bones will lie in the dust.

12"He enjoyed the taste of his wickedness, letting it melt under his tongue. 13He savored it, holding it long in his mouth. 14But suddenly, the food he has eaten turns sour within him, a poisonous venom in his stomach. 15He will vomit the wealth he swallowed. God won't let him keep it down. 16He will suck the poison of snakes. The viper will kill him. 17He will never again enjoy abundant streams of olive oil or rivers of milk and honey. 18His labors will not be rewarded. His wealth will bring him no joy. 19For he oppressed the poor and left them destitute. He foreclosed on their homes. 20He was always greedy but never satisfied. Of all the things he dreamed about, nothing remains. 21Nothing is left after he finishes gorging himself; therefore, his prosperity will not endure.

22"In the midst of plenty, he will run into trouble, and disasters will destroy him. 23May God give him a bellyful of trouble. May God rain down his anger upon him. 24He will try to escape, but God's arrow will pierce him. 25The arrow is pulled from his body, and the arrowhead glistens with blood.[a] The terrors of death are upon him.

26"His treasures will be lost in deepest darkness. A wildfire will devour his goods, consuming all he has left. 27The heavens will reveal his guilt, and the earth will give testimony against him. 28A flood will sweep away his house. God's anger will descend on him in torrents. 29This is the fate that awaits the wicked. It is the inheritance decreed by God."

Job 20:25 Hebrew with gall.

Job 21

Job's Seventh Speech: A Response to Zophar

1Then Job spoke again:
2"Listen closely to what I am saying. You can console me by listening to me. 3Bear with me, and let me speak. After I have spoken, you may mock me.

4"My complaint is with God, not with people. No wonder I'm so impatient. 5Look at me and be stunned. Put your hand over your mouth in shock. 6When I think about what I am saying, I shudder. My body trembles.

7"The truth is that the wicked live to a good old age. They grow old and wealthy. 8They live to see their children grow to maturity, and they enjoy their grandchildren. 9Their homes are safe from every fear, and God does not punish them. 10Their bulls never fail to breed. Their cows bear calves without miscarriage. 11Their children skip about like lambs in a flock of sheep. 12They sing with tambourine and harp. They make merry to the sound of the flute. 13They spend their days in prosperity; then they go down to the grave in peace. 14All this, even though they say to God, `Go away. We want no part of you and your ways. 15Who is the Almighty, and why should we obey him? What good will it do us if we pray?' 16But their prosperity is not of their own doing, so I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking.

17"Yet the wicked get away with it time and time again. They rarely have trouble, and God skips them when he distributes sorrows in his anger. 18Are they driven before the wind like straw? Are they carried away by the storm? Not at all!

19" `Well,' you say, `at least God will punish their children!' But I say that God should punish the ones who sin, not their children! Let them feel their own penalty. 20Let their own eyes see their destruction. Let them drink deeply of the anger of the Almighty. 21For when they are dead, they will not care what happens to their family.

22"But who can teach a lesson to God, the supreme Judge? 23One person dies in prosperity and security, 24the very picture of good health. 25Another person dies in bitter poverty, never having tasted the good life. 26Both alike are buried in the same dust, both eaten by the same worms.

27"Look, I know your thoughts. I know the schemes you plot against me. 28You will tell me of rich and wicked people who came to disaster because of their sins. 29But I tell you to ask those who have been around, and they can tell you the truth. 30Evil people are spared in times of calamity and are allowed to escape. 31No one rebukes them openly. No one repays them for what they have done. 32When they are carried to the grave, an honor guard keeps watch at their tomb. 33A great funeral procession goes to the cemetery. Many pay their respects as the body is laid to rest and the earth gives sweet repose.

34"How can you comfort me? All your explanations are wrong!"