Job Muses on the Brevity of Life
14 1 "A mortal, born of woman, few of days and full of trouble, 2 comes up like a flower and withers, flees like a shadow and does not last. 3 Do you fix your eyes on such a one? Do you bring me into judgment with you? 4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one can. 5 Since their days are determined, and the number of their months is known to you, and you have appointed the bounds that they cannot pass, 6 look away from them, and desist, that they may enjoy, like laborers, their days.
7 "For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. 8 Though its root grows old in the earth, and its stump dies in the ground, 9 yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant. 10 But mortals die, and are laid low; humans expire, and where are they? 11 As waters fail from a lake, and a river wastes away and dries up, 12 so mortals lie down and do not rise again; until the heavens are no more, they will not awake or be roused out of their sleep. 13 O that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath is past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14 If mortals die, will they live again? All the days of my service I would wait until my release should come. 15 You would call, and I would answer you; you would long for the work of your hands.
16 For then you would not number my steps, you would not keep watch over my sin; 17 my transgression would be sealed up in a bag, and you would cover over my iniquity. 18 "But the mountain falls and crumbles away, and the rock is removed from its place; 19 the waters wear away the stones; the torrents wash away the soil of the earth; so you destroy the hope of mortals. 20 You prevail forever against them, and they pass away; you change their countenance, and send them away. 21 Their children come to honor, and they do not know it; they are brought low, and it goes unnoticed. 22 They feel only the pain of their own bodies, and mourn only for themselves."
Eliphaz Reprimands Job
15 1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered: 2 "Should the wise answer with windy knowledge, and fill themselves with the east wind? 3 Should they argue in unprofitable talk, or in words with which they can do no good? 4 But you are doing away with the fear of God, and hindering meditation 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; your own lips testify against you. 7 "Are you the firstborn of the human race? Were you brought forth before the hills? 8 Have you listened in the council of God? And do you limit wisdom to yourself? 9 What do you know that we do not know? What do you understand that is not clear to us? 10 The gray-haired and the aged are on our side, those older than your father. 11 Are the consolations of God too small for you, or the word that deals gently with you? 12 Why does your heart carry you away, and why do your eyes flash, 13 so that you turn your spirit against God, and let such words go out of your mouth? 14 What are mortals, that they can be clean? Or those born of woman, that they can be righteous? 15 God puts no trust even in his holy ones, and the heavens are not clean in his sight; 16 how much less one who is abominable and corrupt, one who drinks iniquity like water!
17 "I will show you; listen to me; what I have seen I will declare- 18 what sages have told, and their ancestors have not hidden, 19 to whom alone the land was given, and no stranger passed among them. 20 The wicked writhe in pain all their days, through all the years that are laid up for the ruthless. 21 Terrifying sounds are in their ears; in prosperity the destroyer will come upon them. 22 They despair of returning from darkness, and they are destined for the sword. 23 They wander abroad for bread, saying, "Where is it?' They know that a day of darkness is ready at hand; 24 distress and anguish terrify them; they prevail against them, like a king prepared for battle. 25 Because they stretched out their hands against God, and bid defiance to the Almighty, 26 running stubbornly against him with a thick-bossed shield; 27 because they have covered their faces with their fat, and gathered fat upon their loins, 28 they will live in desolate cities, in houses that no one should inhabit, houses destined to become heaps of ruins; 29 they will not be rich, and their wealth will not endure, nor will they strike root in the earth; 30 they will not escape from darkness; the flame will dry up their shoots, and their blossom will be swept away by the wind. 31 Let them not trust in emptiness, deceiving themselves; for emptiness will be their recompense. 32 It will be paid in full before their time, and their branch will not be green. 33 They will shake off their unripe grape, like the vine, and cast off their blossoms, like the olive tree. 34 For the company of the godless is barren, and fire consumes the tents of bribery. 35 They conceive mischief and bring forth evil and their heart prepares deceit."
Job Complains of God's Dealings
16 1 Then Job answered: 2 "I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all. 3 Have windy words no limit? Or what provokes you that you keep on talking? 4 I also could talk as you do, if you were in my place; I could join words together against you, and shake my head at you. 5 I could encourage you with my mouth, and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain.
6 "If I speak, my pain is not assuaged, and if I forbear, how much of it leaves me? 7 Surely now God has worn me out; he has made desolate all my company. 8 And he has shriveled me up, which is a witness against me; my leanness has risen up against me, and it testifies to my face. 9 He has torn me in his wrath, and hated me; he has gnashed his teeth at me; my adversary sharpens his eyes against me. 10 They have gaped at me with their mouths; they have struck me insolently on the cheek; they mass themselves together against me. 11 God gives me up to the ungodly, and casts me into the hands of the wicked. 12 I was at ease, and he broke me in two; he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces; he set me up as his target; 13 his archers surround me. He slashes open my kidneys, and shows no mercy; he pours out my gall on the ground. 14 He bursts upon me again and again; he rushes at me like a warrior. 15 I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and have laid my strength in the dust. 16 My face is red with weeping, and deep darkness is on my eyelids,
17 though there is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure. 18 "O earth, do not cover my blood; let my outcry find no resting place. 19 Even now, in fact, my witness is in heaven, and he that vouches for me is on high. 20 My friends scorn me; my eye pours out tears to God, 21 that he would maintain the right of a mortal with God, as one does for a neighbor. 22 For when a few years have come, I shall go the way from which I shall not return.