Job Complains of God's Indifference to Wickedness
24 1 "Why are times not kept by the Almighty, and why do those who know him never see his days? 2 The wicked remove landmarks; they seize flocks and pasture them. 3 They drive away the donkey of the orphan; they take the widow's ox for a pledge. 4 They thrust the needy off the road; the poor of the earth all hide themselves. 5 Like wild asses in the desert they go out to their toil, scavenging in the wasteland food for their young. 6 They reap in a field not their own and they glean in the vineyard of the wicked. 7 They lie all night naked, without clothing, and have no covering in the cold. 8 They are wet with the rain of the mountains, and cling to the rock for want of shelter. 9 "There are those who snatch the orphan child from the breast, and take as a pledge the infant of the poor. 10 They go about naked, without clothing; though hungry, they carry the sheaves; 11 between their terraces they press out oil; they tread the wine presses, but suffer thirst. 12 From the city the dying groan, and the throat of the wounded cries for help; yet God pays no attention to their prayer.
13 "There are those who rebel against the light, who are not acquainted with its ways, and do not stay in its paths. 14 The murderer rises at dusk to kill the poor and needy, and in the night is like a thief. 15 The eye of the adulterer also waits for the twilight, saying, "No eye will see me'; and he disguises his face. 16 In the dark they dig through houses; by day they shut themselves up; they do not know the light. 17 For deep darkness is morning to all of them; for they are friends with the terrors of deep darkness.
18 "Swift are they on the face of the waters; their portion in the land is cursed; no treader turns toward their vineyards. 19 Drought and heat snatch away the snow waters; so does Sheol those who have sinned. 20 The womb forgets them; the worm finds them sweet; they are no longer remembered; so wickedness is broken like a tree. 21 "They harm the childless woman, and do no good to the widow. 22 Yet God prolongs the life of the mighty by his power; they rise up when they despair of life. 23 He gives them security, and they are supported; his eyes are upon their ways. 24 They are exalted a little while, and then are gone; they wither and fade like the mallow; they are cut off like the heads of grain. 25 If it is not so, who will prove me a liar, and show that there is nothing in what I say?"
Bildad Denies That Man Can Be Justified with God
25 1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered: 2 "Dominion and fear are with God; he makes peace in his high heaven. 3 Is there any number to his armies? Upon whom does his light not arise? 4 How then can a mortal be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure? 5 If even the moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in his sight, 6 how much less a mortal, who is a maggot, and a human being, who is a worm!"
Job Declares God's Sovereignty
26 1 Then Job answered: 2 "How you have helped one who has no power! How you have assisted the arm that has no strength! 3 How you have counseled one who has no wisdom, and given much good advice! 4 With whose help have you uttered words, and whose spirit has come forth from you?
5 The shades below tremble, the waters and their inhabitants. 6 Sheol is naked before God, and Abaddon has no covering. 7 He stretches out Zaphon over the void, and hangs the earth upon nothing. 8 He binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not torn open by them. 9 He covers the face of the full moon, and spreads over it his cloud. 10 He has described a circle on the face of the waters, at the boundary between light and darkness. 11 The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astounded at his rebuke. 12 By his power he stilled the Sea; by his understanding he struck down Rahab. 13 By his wind the heavens were made fair; his hand pierced the fleeing serpent. 14 These are indeed but the outskirts of his ways; and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?"
Job Describes the Portion of the Wicked
27 1 Job again took up his discourse and said: 2 "As God lives, who has taken away my right, and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter, 3 as long as my breath is in me and the spirit of God is in my nostrils, 4 my lips will not speak falsehood, and my tongue will not utter deceit. 5 Far be it from me to say that you are right; until I die I will not put away my integrity from me. 6 I hold fast my righteousness, and will not let it go; my heart does not reproach me for any of my days.
7 "May my enemy be like the wicked, and may my opponent be like the unrighteous. 8 For what is the hope of the godless when God cuts them off, when God takes away their lives? 9 Will God hear their cry when trouble comes upon them? 10 Will they take delight in the Almighty? Will they call upon God at all times?
11 I will teach you concerning the hand of God; that which is with the Almighty I will not conceal. 12 All of you have seen it yourselves; why then have you become altogether vain? 13 "This is the portion of the wicked with God, and the heritage that oppressors receive from the Almighty: 14 If their children are multiplied, it is for the sword; and their offspring have not enough to eat. 15 Those who survive them the pestilence buries, and their widows make no lamentation. 16 Though they heap up silver like dust, and pile up clothing like clay- 17 they may pile it up, but the just will wear it, and the innocent will divide the silver. 18 They build their houses like nests, like booths made by sentinels of the vineyard. 19 They go to bed with wealth, but will do so no more; they open their eyes, and it is gone. 20 Terrors overtake them like a flood; in the night a whirlwind carries them off. 21 The east wind lifts them up and they are gone; it sweeps them out of their place. 22 It hurls at them without pity; they flee from its power in headlong flight. 23 It claps its hands at them, and hisses at them from its place.
Man's Quest for Wisdom
28 1 "Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place for gold to be refined. 2 Iron is taken out of the earth, and copper is smelted from ore. 3 Miners put an end to darkness, and search out to the farthest bound the ore in gloom and deep darkness. 4 They open shafts in a valley away from human habitation; they are forgotten by travelers, they sway suspended, remote from people. 5 As for the earth, out of it comes bread; but underneath it is turned up as by fire. 6 Its stones are the place of sapphires, and its dust contains gold. 7 "That path no bird of prey knows, and the falcon's eye has not seen it. 8 The proud wild animals have not trodden it; the lion has not passed over it. 9 "They put their hand to the flinty rock, and overturn mountains by the roots. 10 They cut out channels in the rocks, and their eyes see every precious thing. 11 The sources of the rivers they probe; hidden things they bring to light. 12 "But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? 13 Mortals do not know the way to it, and it is not found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, "It is not in me,' and the sea says, "It is not with me.' 15 It cannot be gotten for gold, and silver cannot be weighed out as its price. 16 It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire. 17 Gold and glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold. 18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; the price of wisdom is above pearls. 19 The chrysolite of Ethiopia cannot compare with it, nor can it be valued in pure gold.
20 "Where then does wisdom come from? And where is the place of understanding? 21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living, and concealed from the birds of the air. 22 Abaddon and Death say, "We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.' 23 "God understands the way to it, and he knows its place. 24 For he looks to the ends of the earth, and sees everything under the heavens. 25 When he gave to the wind its weight, and apportioned out the waters by measure; 26 when he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the thunderbolt; 27 then he saw it and declared it; he established it, and searched it out. 28 And he said to humankind, "Truly, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.' "