Job 21
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Job’s Reply to Zophar

1Then Job answered:

2“Listen carefully to my words;

let this be the consolation you offer me.

3Bear with me and I will speak,

and after I have spoken you may mock.

4Is my complaint against a man?

If so, why should I not be impatient?

5Look at me and be appalled;

put your hands over your mouths.

6For, when I think about this, I am terrified

and my body feels a shudder.

The Wicked Prosper

7“Why do the wicked go on living,

grow old, even increase in power?

8Their children are firmly established

in their presence,

their offspring before their eyes.

9Their houses are safe and without fear;

and no rod of punishment from God is upon them.

10Their bulls breed without fail;

their cows calve and do not miscarry.

11They allow their children to run like a flock;

their little ones dance about.

12They sing to the accompaniment of tambourine and harp,

and make merry to the sound of the flute.

13They live out their years in prosperity

and go down to the grave in peace.

14So they say to God, ‘Turn away from us!

We do not want to know your ways.

15Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him?

What would we gain

if we were to pray to him?’

16But their prosperity is not their own doing.

The counsel of the wicked is far from me!

How Often Do the Wicked Suffer?

17“How often is the lamp of the wicked extinguished?

How often does their misfortune come upon them?

How often does God apportion pain to them in his anger?

18How often are they like straw before the wind,

and like chaff swept away by a whirlwind?

19You may say, ‘God stores up a man’s punishment for his children!’

Instead let him repay the man himself

so that he may know it!

20Let his own eyes see his destruction;

let him drink of the anger of the Almighty.

21For what is his interest in his home

after his death,

when the number of his months

has been broken off?

22Can anyone teach God knowledge,

since he judges those that are on high?

Death Levels Everything

23“One man dies in his full vigor,

completely secure and prosperous,

24his body well nourished,

and the marrow of his bones moist.

25And another man dies in bitterness of soul,

never having tasted anything good.

26Together they lie down in the dust,

and worms cover over them both.

Futile Words, Deceptive Answers

27“Yes, I know what you are thinking,

the schemes by which you would wrong me.

28For you say,

‘Where now is the nobleman’s house,

and where are the tents in which the wicked lived?’

29Have you never questioned those who travel the roads?

Do you not recognize their accounts –

30that the evil man is spared

from the day of his misfortune,

that he is delivered

from the day of God’s wrath?

31No one denounces his conduct to his face;

no one repays him for what he has done.

32And when he is carried to the tombs,

and watch is kept over the funeral mound,

33The clods of the torrent valley are sweet to him;

behind him everybody follows in procession,

and before him goes a countless throng.

34So how can you console me with your futile words?

Nothing is left of your answers but deception!”

Job 20
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