1 Then Job answered:
2 “Listen carefully to my words;
let this be the consolation you offer me.
3 Bear with me and I will speak,
and after I have spoken you may mock.
4 Is my complaint against a man?
If so, why should I not be impatient?
5 Look at me and be appalled;
put your hands over your mouths.
6 For, 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?
8 Their children are firmly established
in their presence,
their offspring before their eyes.
9 Their houses are safe and without fear;
and no rod of punishment from God is upon them.
10 Their bulls breed without fail;
their cows calve and do not miscarry.
11 They allow their children to run like a flock;
their little ones dance about.
12 They sing to the accompaniment of tambourine and harp,
and make merry to the sound of the flute.
13 They live out their years in prosperity
and go down to the grave in peace.
14 So they say to God, ‘Turn away from us!
We do not want to know your ways.
15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
What would we gain
if we were to pray to him?’
16 But 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?
18 How often are they like straw before the wind,
and like chaff swept away by a whirlwind?
19 You 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!
20 Let his own eyes see his destruction;
let him drink of the anger of the Almighty.
21 For what is his interest in his home
after his death,
when the number of his months
has been broken off?
22 Can 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,
24 his body well nourished,
and the marrow of his bones moist.
25 And another man dies in bitterness of soul,
never having tasted anything good.
26 Together 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.
28 For you say,
‘Where now is the nobleman’s house,
and where are the tents in which the wicked lived?’
29 Have you never questioned those who travel the roads?
Do you not recognize their accounts –
30 that the evil man is spared
from the day of his misfortune,
that he is delivered
from the day of God’s wrath?
31 No one denounces his conduct to his face;
no one repays him for what he has done.
32 And when he is carried to the tombs,
and watch is kept over the funeral mound,
33 The clods of the torrent valley are sweet to him;
behind him everybody follows in procession,
and before him goes a countless throng.
34 So how can you console me with your futile words?
Nothing is left of your answers but deception!”