Job 21
New King James Version Par ▾ 

Job’s Discourse on the Wicked

1Then Job answered and said:

2“Listen carefully to my speech,
And let this be your [a]consolation.
3Bear with me that I may speak,
And after I have spoken, keep mocking.

4“As for me, is my complaint against man?
And if it were, why should I not be impatient?
5Look at me and be astonished;
Put your hand over your mouth.
6Even when I remember I am terrified,
And trembling takes hold of my flesh.
7Why do the wicked live and become old,
Yes, become mighty in power?
8Their descendants are established with them in their sight,
And their offspring before their eyes.
9Their houses are safe from fear,
Neither is [b]the rod of God upon them.
10Their bull breeds without failure;
Their cow calves without miscarriage.
11They send forth their little ones like a flock,
And their children dance.
12They sing to the tambourine and harp,
And rejoice to the sound of the flute.
13They spend their days in wealth,
And [c]in a moment go down to the [d]grave.
14Yet they say to God, ‘Depart from us,
For we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways.
15Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him?
And what profit do we have if we pray to Him?’
16Indeed [e]their prosperity is not in their hand;
The counsel of the wicked is far from me.

17“How often is the lamp of the wicked put out?
How often does their destruction come upon them,
The sorrows God distributes in His anger?
18They are like straw before the wind,
And like chaff that a storm [f]carries away.
19They say, ‘God [g]lays up [h]one’s iniquity for his children’;
Let Him recompense him, that he may know it.
20Let his eyes see his destruction,
And let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
21For what does he care about his household after him,
When the number of his months is cut in half?

22“Can anyone teach God knowledge,
Since He judges those on high?
23One dies in his full strength,
Being wholly at ease and secure;
24His [i]pails are full of milk,
And the marrow of his bones is moist.
25Another man dies in the bitterness of his soul,
Never having eaten with pleasure.
26They lie down alike in the dust,
And worms cover them.

27“Look, I know your thoughts,
And the schemes with which you would wrong me.
28For you say,
‘Where is the house of the prince?
And where is [j]the tent,
The dwelling place of the wicked?’
29Have you not asked those who travel the road?
And do you not know their signs?
30For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom;
They shall be brought out on the day of wrath.
31Who condemns his way to his face?
And who repays him for what he has done?
32Yet he shall be brought to the grave,
And a vigil kept over the tomb.
33The clods of the valley shall be sweet to him;
Everyone shall follow him,
As countless have gone before him.
34How then can you comfort me with empty words,
Since [k]falsehood remains in your answers?”


  1. Job 21:2 comfort
  2. Job 21:9 The rod of God’s chastisement
  3. Job 21:13 Without lingering
  4. Job 21:13 Or Sheol
  5. Job 21:16 Lit. their goal
  6. Job 21:18 steals away
  7. Job 21:19 stores up
  8. Job 21:19 Lit. his
  9. Job 21:24 LXX, Vg. bowels; Syr. sides; Tg. breasts
  10. Job 21:28 Vg. omits the tent
  11. Job 21:34 faithlessness
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, Copyright © 1982 Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.

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