Bible: Job 29-31

IV. Job’s Concluding Soliloquy (29:1-31:40)

Job Recalls His Former Condition 1 

29:1 Then Job continued 2  his speech:

29:2O that I could be 3  as 4  I was

in the months now gone, 5 

in the days 6  when God watched 7  over me,

29:3 when 8  he caused 9  his lamp 10 

to shine upon my head,

and by his light

I walked 11  through darkness; 12 

29:4 just as I was in my most productive time, 13 

when God’s intimate friendship 14  was experienced in my tent,

29:5 when the Almighty 15  was still with me

and my children were 16  around me;

29:6 when my steps 17  were bathed 18  with butter 19 

and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil! 20 

29:7 When I went out to the city gate

and secured my seat in the public square, 21 

29:8 the young men would see me and step aside, 22 

and the old men would get up and remain standing;

29:9 the chief men refrained from talking

and covered their mouths with their hands;

29:10 the voices of the nobles fell silent, 23 

and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.

Job’s Benevolence

29:11As soon as the ear heard these things, 24  it blessed me, 25 

and when the eye saw them, it bore witness to me,

29:12 for I rescued the poor who cried out for help,

and the orphan who 26  had no one to assist him;

29:13 the blessing of the dying man descended on me, 27 

and I made the widow’s heart rejoice; 28 

29:14 I put on righteousness and it clothed me, 29 

my just dealing 30  was like a robe and a turban;

29:15 I was eyes for the blind

and feet for the lame;

29:16 I was a father 31  to the needy,

and I investigated the case of the person I did not know;

29:17 I broke the fangs 32  of the wicked,

and made him drop 33  his prey from his teeth.

Job’s Confidence

29:18Then I thought, ‘I will die in my own home, 34 

my days as numerous as the grains of sand. 35 

29:19 My roots reach the water,

and the dew lies on my branches all night long.

29:20 My glory 36  will always be fresh 37  in me,

and my bow ever new in my hand.’

Job’s Reputation

29:21People 38  listened to me and waited silently; 39 

they kept silent for my advice.

29:22 After I had spoken, they did not respond;

my words fell on them drop by drop. 40 

29:23 They waited for me as people wait 41  for the rain,

and they opened their mouths 42 

as for 43  the spring rains.

29:24 If I smiled at them, they hardly believed it; 44 

and they did not cause the light of my face to darken. 45 

29:25 I chose 46  the way for them 47 

and sat as their chief; 48 

I lived like a king among his troops;

I was like one who comforts mourners. 49 

Job’s Present Misery

30:1But now they mock me, those who are younger 50  than I,

whose fathers I disdained too much 51 

to put with my sheep dogs. 52 

30:2 Moreover, the strength of their 53  hands

what use was it to me?

Men whose strength 54  had perished;

30:3 gaunt 55  with want and hunger,

they would gnaw 56  the parched land,

in former time desolate and waste. 57 

30:4 By the brush 58  they would gather 59  herbs from the salt marshes, 60 

and the root of the broom tree was their food.

30:5 They were banished from the community 61 

people 62  shouted at them

like they would shout at thieves 63 

30:6 so that they had to live 64 

in the dry stream beds, 65 

in the holes of the ground, and among the rocks.

30:7 They brayed 66  like animals among the bushes

and were huddled together 67  under the nettles.

30:8 Sons of senseless and nameless people, 68 

they were driven out of the land with whips. 69 

Job’s Indignities

30:9And now I have become their taunt song;

I have become a byword 70  among them.

30:10 They detest me and maintain their distance; 71 

they do not hesitate to spit in my face.

30:11 Because God has untied 72  my tent cord and afflicted me,

people throw off all restraint in my presence. 73 

30:12 On my right the young rabble 74  rise up;

they drive me from place to place, 75 

and build up siege ramps 76  against me. 77 

30:13 They destroy 78  my path;

they succeed in destroying me 79 

without anyone assisting 80  them.

30:14 They come in as through a wide breach;

amid the crash 81  they come rolling in. 82 

30:15 Terrors are turned loose 83  on me;

they drive away 84  my honor like the wind,

and like a cloud my deliverance has passed away.

Job’s Despondency

30:16And now my soul pours itself out within me; 85 

days of suffering take hold of me.

30:17 Night pierces 86  my bones; 87 

my gnawing pains 88  never cease.

30:18 With great power God 89  grasps my clothing; 90 

he binds me like the collar 91  of my tunic.

30:19 He has flung me into the mud,

and I have come to resemble dust and ashes.

30:20 I cry out to you, 92  but you do not answer me;

I stand up, 93  and you only look at me. 94 

30:21 You have become cruel to me; 95 

with the strength of your hand you attack me. 96 

30:22 You pick me up on the wind and make me ride on it; 97 

you toss me about 98  in the storm. 99 

30:23 I know that you are bringing 100  me to death,

to the meeting place for all the living.

The Contrast With the Past

30:24Surely one does not stretch out his hand

against a broken man 101 

when he cries for help in his distress. 102 

30:25 Have I not wept for the unfortunate? 103 

Was not my soul grieved for the poor?

30:26 But when I hoped for good, trouble came;

when I expected light, then darkness came.

30:27 My heart 104  is in turmoil 105  unceasingly; 106 

the days of my affliction confront me.

30:28 I go about blackened, 107  but not by the sun;

in the assembly I stand up and cry for help.

30:29 I have become a brother to jackals

and a companion of ostriches. 108 

30:30 My skin has turned dark on me; 109 

my body 110  is hot with fever. 111 

30:31 My harp is used for 112  mourning

and my flute for the sound of weeping.

Job Vindicates Himself

31:1I made a covenant with 113  my eyes;

how then could I entertain thoughts against a virgin? 114 

31:2 What then would be one’s lot from God above,

one’s heritage from the Almighty 115  on high?

31:3 Is it not misfortune for the unjust,

and disaster for those who work iniquity?

31:4 Does he not see my ways

and count all my steps?

31:5 If 116  I have walked in falsehood,

and if 117  my foot has hastened 118  to deceit

31:6 let him 119  weigh me with honest 120  scales;

then God will discover 121  my integrity.

31:7 If my footsteps have strayed from the way,

if my heart has gone after my eyes, 122 

or if anything 123  has defiled my hands,

31:8 then let me sow 124  and let another eat,

and let my crops 125  be uprooted.

31:9 If my heart has been enticed by a woman,

and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door, 126 

31:10 then let my wife turn the millstone 127  for another man,

and may other men have sexual relations with her. 128 

31:11 For I would have committed 129  a shameful act, 130 

an iniquity to be judged. 131 

31:12 For it is a fire that devours even to Destruction, 132 

and it would uproot 133  all my harvest.

31:13If I have disregarded the right of my male servants

or my female servants

when they disputed 134  with me,

31:14 then what will I do when God confronts me in judgment; 135 

when he intervenes, 136 

how will I respond to him?

31:15 Did not the one who made me in the womb make them? 137 

Did not the same one form us in the womb?

31:16 If I have refused to give the poor what they desired, 138 

or caused the eyes of the widow to fail,

31:17 If I ate my morsel of bread myself,

and did not share any of it with orphans 139 

31:18 but from my youth I raised the orphan 140  like a father,

and from my mother’s womb 141 

I guided the widow! 142 

31:19 If I have seen anyone about to perish for lack of clothing,

or a poor man without a coat,

31:20 whose heart did not bless me 143 

as he warmed himself with the fleece of my sheep, 144 

31:21 if I have raised my hand 145  to vote against the orphan,

when I saw my support in the court, 146 

31:22 then 147  let my arm fall from the shoulder, 148 

let my arm be broken off at the socket. 149 

31:23 For the calamity from God was a terror to me, 150 

and by reason of his majesty 151  I was powerless.

31:24If I have put my confidence in gold

or said to pure gold,

You are my security!’

31:25 if I have rejoiced because of the extent of my wealth,

or because of the great wealth my hand had gained,

31:26 if I looked at the sun 152  when it was shining,

and the moon advancing as a precious thing,

31:27 so that my heart was secretly enticed,

and my hand threw them a kiss from my mouth, 153 

31:28 then this 154  also would be iniquity to be judged, 155 

for I would have been false 156  to God above.

31:29 If 157  I have rejoiced over the misfortune of my enemy 158 

or exulted 159  because calamity 160  found him –

31:30 I 161  have not even permitted my mouth 162  to sin

by asking 163  for his life through a curse

31:31 if 164  the members of my household 165  have never said, 166 

‘If only there were 167  someone

who has not been satisfied from Job’s 168  meat!’ –

31:32 But 169  no stranger had to spend the night outside,

for I opened my doors to the traveler 170 

31:33 if 171  I have covered my transgressions as men do, 172 

by hiding 173  iniquity in my heart, 174 

31:34 because I was terrified 175  of the great multitude, 176 

and the contempt of families terrified me,

so that I remained silent

and would not go outdoors 177 

Job’s Appeal

31:35If only I had 178  someone to hear me!

Here is my signature 179 

let the Almighty answer me!

If only I had an indictment 180 

that my accuser had written. 181 

31:36 Surely 182  I would wear it proudly 183  on my shoulder,

I would bind 184  it on me like a crown;

31:37 I would give him an accounting of my steps;

like a prince I would approach him.

Job’s Final Solemn Oath 185 

31:38If my land cried out against me 186 

and all its furrows wept together,

31:39 if I have eaten its produce without paying, 187 

or caused the death 188  of its owners, 189 

31:40 then let thorns sprout up in place of wheat,

and in place of barley, weeds!” 190 

The words of Job are ended.

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