1Then Job replied:
2“Listen carefully to my words;
let this be the consolation you give me.
3Bear with me while I speak,
and after I have spoken, mock on.
4“Is my complaint directed to a human being?
Why should I not be impatient?
5Look at me and be appalled;
clap your hand over your mouth.
6When I think about this, I am terrified;
trembling seizes my body.
7Why do the wicked live on,
growing old and increasing in power?
8They see their children established around them,
their offspring before their eyes.
9Their homes are safe and free from fear;
the rod of God is not on them.
10Their bulls never fail to breed;
their cows calve and do not miscarry.
11They send forth their children as a flock;
their little ones dance about.
12They sing to the music of timbrel and lyre;
they make merry to the sound of the pipe.
13They spend their years in prosperity
and go down to the grave in peace.#21:13Or in an instant
14Yet they say to God, ‘Leave us alone!
We have no desire to know your ways.
15Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
What would we gain by praying to him?’
16But their prosperity is not in their own hands,
so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked.
17“Yet how often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out?
How often does calamity come upon them,
the fate God allots in his anger?
18How often are they like straw before the wind,
like chaff swept away by a gale?
19It is said, ‘God stores up the punishment of the wicked for their children.’
Let him repay the wicked, so that they themselves will experience it!
20Let their own eyes see their destruction;
let them drink the cup of the wrath of the Almighty.
21For what do they care about the families they leave behind
when their allotted months come to an end?
22“Can anyone teach knowledge to God,
since he judges even the highest?
23One person dies in full vigor,
completely secure and at ease,
24well nourished in body,#21:24The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
bones rich with marrow.
25Another dies in bitterness of soul,
never having enjoyed anything good.
26Side by side they lie in the dust,
and worms cover them both.
27“I know full well what you are thinking,
the schemes by which you would wrong me.
28You say, ‘Where now is the house of the great,
the tents where the wicked lived?’
29Have you never questioned those who travel?
Have you paid no regard to their accounts—
30that the wicked are spared from the day of calamity,
that they are delivered from#21:30Or wicked are reserved for the day of calamity, / that they are brought forth to the day of wrath?
31Who denounces their conduct to their face?
Who repays them for what they have done?
32They are carried to the grave,
and watch is kept over their tombs.
33The soil in the valley is sweet to them;
everyone follows after them,
and a countless throng goes#21:33Or them, / as a countless throng went before them.
34“So how can you console me with your nonsense?
Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!”