Job Complains of God's Indifference to Wickedness
24 1 "Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days? 2 There are those who move boundary stones; they pasture flocks they have stolen. 3 They drive away the orphan's donkey and take the widow's ox in pledge. 4 They thrust the needy from the path and force all the poor of the land into hiding. 5 Like wild donkeys in the desert, the poor go about their labor of foraging food; the wasteland provides food for their children. 6 They gather fodder in the fields and glean in the vineyards of the wicked. 7 Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked; they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold. 8 They are drenched by mountain rains and hug the rocks for lack of shelter. 9 The fatherless child is snatched from the breast; the infant of the poor is seized for a debt. 10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked; they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry. 11 They crush olives among the terraces ; they tread the winepresses, yet suffer thirst. 12 The groans of the dying rise from the city, and the souls of the wounded cry out for help. But God charges no one with wrongdoing.
13 "There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay in its paths. 14 When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up, kills the poor and needy, and in the night steals forth like a thief. 15 The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk; he thinks, 'No eye will see me,' and he keeps his face concealed. 16 In the dark, thieves break into houses, but by day they shut themselves in; they want nothing to do with the light. 17 For all of them, midnight is their morning; they make friends with the terrors of darkness.
18 "Yet they are foam on the surface of the water; their portion of the land is cursed, so that no one goes to the vineyards. 19 As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow, so the grave snatches away those who have sinned. 20 The womb forgets them, the worm feasts on them; the wicked are no longer remembered but are broken like a tree. 21 They prey on the barren and childless woman, and to the widow they show no kindness. 22 But God drags away the mighty by his power; though they become established, they have no assurance of life. 23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but his eyes are on their ways. 24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone; they are brought low and gathered up like all others; they are cut off like heads of grain. 25 "If this is not so, who can prove me false and reduce my words to nothing?"
Bildad Denies That Man Can Be Justified with God
25 1 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied: 2 "Dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes order in the heights of heaven. 3 Can his forces be numbered? On whom does his light not rise? 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 eyes, 6 how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot- a human being, who is only a worm!"
Job Declares God's Sovereignty
26 1 Then Job replied: 2 "How you have helped the powerless! How you have saved the arm that is feeble! 3 What advice you have offered to one without wisdom! And what great insight you have displayed! 4 Who has helped you utter these words? And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?
5 "The dead are in deep anguish, those beneath the waters and all that live in them. 6 The realm of the dead is naked before God; Destruction lies uncovered. 7 He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. 8 He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. 9 He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. 10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness. 11 The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke. 12 By his power he churned up the sea; by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces. 13 By his breath the skies became fair; his hand pierced the gliding serpent. 14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?"
Job Describes the Portion of the Wicked
27 1 And Job continued his discourse: 2 "As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made my life bitter, 3 as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, 4 my lips will not say anything wicked, and my tongue will not utter lies. 5 I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. 6 I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.
7 "May my enemy be like the wicked, my adversary like the unjust! 8 For what hope have the godless when they are cut off, when God takes away their life? 9 Does God listen to their cry when distress comes upon them? 10 Will they find delight in the Almighty? Will they call on God at all times?
11 "I will teach you about the power of God; the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal. 12 You have all seen this yourselves. Why then this meaningless talk? 13 "Here is the fate God allots to the wicked, the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty: 14 However many his children, their fate is the sword; his offspring will never have enough to eat. 15 The plague will bury those who survive him, and their widows will not weep for them. 16 Though he heaps up silver like dust and clothes like piles of clay, 17 what he lays up the righteous will wear, and the innocent will divide his silver. 18 The house he builds is like a moth's cocoon, like a hut made by a watchman. 19 He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more; when he opens his eyes, all is gone. 20 Terrors overtake him like a flood; a tempest snatches him away in the night. 21 The east wind carries him off, and he is gone; it sweeps him out of his place. 22 It hurls itself against him without mercy as he flees headlong from its power. 23 It claps its hands in derision and hisses him out of his place."
Man's Quest for Wisdom
28 1 There is a mine for silver and a place where gold is refined. 2 Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore. 3 Mortals put an end to the darkness; they search out the farthest recesses for ore in the blackest darkness. 4 Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft, in places untouched by human feet; far from other people they dangle and sway. 5 The earth, from which food comes, is transformed below as by fire; 6 lapis lazuli comes from its rocks, and its dust contains nuggets of gold. 7 No bird of prey knows that hidden path, no falcon's eye has seen it. 8 Proud beasts do not set foot on it, and no lion prowls there. 9 People assault the flinty rock with their hands and lay bare the roots of the mountains. 10 They tunnel through the rock; their eyes see all its treasures. 11 They search the sources of the rivers and bring hidden things to light. 12 But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? 13 No mortal comprehends its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, "It is not in me"; the sea says, "It is not with me." 15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold, nor can its price be weighed out in silver. 16 It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir, with precious onyx or lapis lazuli. 17 Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it, nor can it be had for jewels of gold. 18 Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention; the price of wisdom is beyond rubies. 19 The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it; it cannot be bought with pure gold.
20 Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell? 21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing, concealed even from the birds in the sky. 22 Destruction and Death say, "Only a rumor of it has reached our ears." 23 God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells, 24 for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. 25 When he established the force of the wind and measured out the waters, 26 when he made a decree for the rain and a path for the thunderstorm, 27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it; he confirmed it and tested it. 28 And he said to the human race, "The fear of the Lord-that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding."
24:11 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
26:6 Hebrew "Abaddon"
28:11 Septuagint, Aquila and Vulgate; Hebrew "They dam up"
28:22 Hebrew "Abaddon"