Job Muses on the Brevity of Life
14 1 "Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble. 2 He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue. 3 And do You open Your eyes on such a one, And bring me to judgment with Yourself? 4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one! 5 Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You; You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass. 6 Look away from him that he may rest, Till like a hired man he finishes his day.
7 "For there is hope for a tree, If it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And that its tender shoots will not cease. 8 Though its root may grow old in the earth, And its stump may die in the ground, 9 Yet at the scent of water it will bud And bring forth branches like a plant. 10 But man dies and is laid away; Indeed he breathes his last And where is he? 11 As water disappears from the sea, And a river becomes parched and dries up, 12 So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, They will not awake Nor be roused from their sleep. 13 "Oh, that You would hide me in the grave, That You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, That You would appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14 If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, Till my change comes. 15 You shall call, and I will answer You; You shall desire the work of Your hands.
16 For now You number my steps, But do not watch over my sin. 17 My transgression is sealed up in a bag, And You cover my iniquity. 18 "But as a mountain falls and crumbles away, And as a rock is moved from its place; 19 As water wears away stones, And as torrents wash away the soil of the earth; So You destroy the hope of man. 20 You prevail forever against him, and he passes on; You change his countenance and send him away. 21 His sons come to honor, and he does not know it; They are brought low, and he does not perceive it. 22 But his flesh will be in pain over it, And his soul will mourn over it."
Eliphaz Reprimands Job
15 1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: 2 "Should a wise man answer with empty knowledge, And fill himself with the east wind? 3 Should he reason with unprofitable talk, Or by speeches with which he can do no good? 4 Yes, you cast off fear, And restrain prayer before God. 5 For your iniquity teaches your mouth, And you choose the tongue of the crafty. 6 Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; Yes, your own lips testify against you. 7 "Are you the first man who was born? Or were you made before the hills? 8 Have you heard the counsel of God? Do you limit wisdom to yourself? 9 What do you know that we do not know? What do you understand that is not in us? 10 Both the gray-haired and the aged are among us, Much older than your father. 11 Are the consolations of God too small for you, And the word spoken gently with you? 12 Why does your heart carry you away, And what do your eyes wink at, 13 That you turn your spirit against God, And let such words go out of your mouth? 14 "What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is born of a woman, that he could be righteous? 15 If God puts no trust in His saints, And the heavens are not pure in His sight, 16 How much less man, who is abominable and filthy, Who drinks iniquity like water!
17 "I will tell you, hear me; What I have seen I will declare, 18 What wise men have told, Not hiding anything received from their fathers, 19 To whom alone the land was given, And no alien passed among them: 20 The wicked man writhes with pain all his days, And the number of years is hidden from the oppressor. 21 Dreadful sounds are in his ears; In prosperity the destroyer comes upon him. 22 He does not believe that he will return from darkness, For a sword is waiting for him. 23 He wanders about for bread, saying, 'Where is it?' He knows that a day of darkness is ready at his hand. 24 Trouble and anguish make him afraid; They overpower him, like a king ready for battle. 25 For he stretches out his hand against God, And acts defiantly against the Almighty, 26 Running stubbornly against Him With his strong, embossed shield. 27 "Though he has covered his face with his fatness, And made his waist heavy with fat, 28 He dwells in desolate cities, In houses which no one inhabits, Which are destined to become ruins. 29 He will not be rich, Nor will his wealth continue, Nor will his possessions overspread the earth. 30 He will not depart from darkness; The flame will dry out his branches, And by the breath of His mouth he will go away. 31 Let him not trust in futile things, deceiving himself, For futility will be his reward. 32 It will be accomplished before his time, And his branch will not be green. 33 He will shake off his unripe grape like a vine, And cast off his blossom like an olive tree. 34 For the company of hypocrites will be barren, And fire will consume the tents of bribery. 35 They conceive trouble and bring forth futility; Their womb prepares deceit."
Job Complains of God's Dealings
16 1 Then Job answered and said: 2 "I have heard many such things; Miserable comforters are you all! 3 Shall words of wind have an end? Or what provokes you that you answer? 4 I also could speak as you do, If your soul were in my soul's place. I could heap up words against you, And shake my head at you; 5 But I would strengthen you with my mouth, And the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief.
6 "Though I speak, my grief is not relieved; And if I remain silent, how am I eased? 7 But now He has worn me out; You have made desolate all my company. 8 You have shriveled me up, And it is a witness against me; My leanness rises up against me And bears witness to my face. 9 He tears me in His wrath, and hates me; He gnashes at me with His teeth; My adversary sharpens His gaze on me. 10 They gape at me with their mouth, They strike me reproachfully on the cheek, They gather together against me. 11 God has delivered me to the ungodly, And turned me over to the hands of the wicked. 12 I was at ease, but He has shattered me; He also has taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces; He has set me up for His target, 13 His archers surround me. He pierces my heart and does not pity; He pours out my gall on the ground. 14 He breaks me with wound upon wound; He runs at me like a warrior. 15 "I have sewn sackcloth over my skin, And laid my head in the dust. 16 My face is flushed from weeping, And on my eyelids is the shadow of death;
17 Although no violence is in my hands, And my prayer is pure. 18 "O earth, do not cover my blood, And let my cry have no resting place! 19 Surely even now my witness is in heaven, And my evidence is on high. 20 My friends scorn me; My eyes pour out tears to God. 21 Oh, that one might plead for a man with God, As a man pleads for his neighbor! 22 For when a few years are finished, I shall go the way of no return.