Job 21
NRSV
21
Job Replies: The Wicked Often Go Unpunished
1Then Job answered:
2“Listen carefully to my words,
and let this be your consolation.
3Bear with me, and I will speak;
then after I have spoken, mock on.
4As for me, is my complaint addressed to mortals?
Why should I not be impatient?
5Look at me, and be appalled,
and lay your hand upon your mouth.
6When I think of it I am dismayed,
and shuddering seizes my flesh.
7Why do the wicked live on,
reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
8Their children are established in their presence,
and their offspring before their eyes.
9Their houses are safe from fear,
and no rod of God is upon them.
10Their bull breeds without fail;
their cow calves and never miscarries.
11They send out their little ones like a flock,
and their children dance around.
12They sing to the tambourine and the lyre,
and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.
13They spend their days in prosperity,
and in peace they go down to Sheol.
14They say to God, ‘Leave us alone!
We do not desire to know your ways.
15What is the Almighty,#21.15 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai that we should serve him?
And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’
16Is not their prosperity indeed their own achievement?#21.16 Heb in their hand
The plans of the wicked are repugnant to me.
17“How often is the lamp of the wicked put out?
How often does calamity come upon them?
How often does God#21.17 Heb he distribute pains in his anger?
18How often are they like straw before the wind,
and like chaff that the storm carries away?
19You say, ‘God stores up their iniquity for their children.’
Let it be paid back to them, so that they may know it.
20Let their own eyes see their destruction,
and let them drink of the wrath of the Almighty.#21.20 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
21For what do they care for their household after them,
when the number of their months is cut off?
22Will any teach God knowledge,
seeing that he judges those that are on high?
23One dies in full prosperity,
being wholly at ease and secure,
24his loins full of milk
and the marrow of his bones moist.
25Another dies in bitterness of soul,
never having tasted of good.
26They lie down alike in the dust,
and the worms cover them.
27“Oh, I know your thoughts,
and your schemes to wrong me.
28For you say, ‘Where is the house of the prince?
Where is the tent in which the wicked lived?’
29Have you not asked those who travel the roads,
and do you not accept their testimony,
30that the wicked are spared in the day of calamity,
and are rescued in the day of wrath?
31Who declares their way to their face,
and who repays them for what they have done?
32When they are carried to the grave,
a watch is kept over their tomb.
33The clods of the valley are sweet to them;
everyone will follow after,
and those who went before are innumerable.
34How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?
There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”

New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1989 Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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