2"Listen carefully to what I'm saying.
Let that be the comfort you people give me.
3Put up with me while I speak.
After I've spoken, you can make fun of me!
4"I'm not arguing with mere human beings.
So why shouldn't I be angry and uneasy?
5Look at me and be amazed.
Put your hand over your mouth and stop talking!
6When I think about these things, I'm terrified.
My whole body trembles.
7Why do sinful people keep on living?
The older they grow, the richer they get.
8They see their children grow up around them.
They watch their family increase in number.
9Their homes are safe.
They don't have to be afraid.
God isn't punishing them.
10Every time their bulls mate, their cows become pregnant.
And the calves don't die before they are born.
11Sinful people send their children out like a flock of lambs.
Their little ones dance around.
12They sing to the music of tambourines and harps.
They have a good time while flutes are being played.
13Those who are evil spend their years living well.
They go down to their graves in peace.
14But they say to God, 'Leave us alone!
We don't want to know how you want us to live.
15Who is the Mighty One? Why should we serve him?
What would we get if we prayed to him?'
16But they aren't in control of their own success.
So I don't pay any attention to the advice they give.
17"How often are their lamps blown out?
How often does trouble come on them?
How often does God punish them when he's angry?
18How often are they like dried-up seed coverings blowing in the wind?
How often are they like straw swept away by a storm?
19People say, 'God punishes a man's children for his sins.'
But let him punish the man himself.
Then he'll learn a lesson from it.
20Let his own eyes see how he is destroyed.
Let him drink the wine of the Mighty One's anger.
21What does he care about the family he leaves behind?
What does he care about them
when his life comes to an end?
22"Can anyone teach God anything?
After all, he judges even the angels in heaven.
23Some people die while they are still very strong.
They are completely secure. They have an easy life.
24They are well fed.
Their bodies are healthy.
25Others die while their spirits are bitter.
They've never enjoyed anything good.
26Side by side they lie in the dust of death.
The worms in their graves cover all of them.
27"I know exactly what you people are thinking.
I know you are planning to do bad things to me.
28You are saying to yourselves,
'Where is the great man's house now?
Where are the tents where his evil family lived?'
29Haven't you ever asked questions of those who travel?
Haven't you paid any attention to their stories?
30They'll tell you that sinful people
are spared from the day of trouble.
They'll say that those people
are saved from the day when God will judge.
31Who speaks against them for the way they act?
Who pays them back for what they've done?
32Their bodies will be carried to their graves.
Guards will watch over their tombs.
33The soil in the valley will be pleasant
to those who have died.
Many people will walk along behind their bodies.
Many others will walk in front of them.
34"So how can you comfort me with your speeches?
They don't make any sense at all.
Your answers are nothing but lies!"