1-2Listen to what I am saying;
that is all the comfort I ask from you.
3Give me a chance to speak and then,
when I am through, sneer if you like.
4My quarrel is not with mortals;
I have good reason to be impatient.
5Look at me. Isn't that enough
to make you stare in shocked silence?
6When I think of what has happened to me,
I am stunned, and I tremble and shake.
7Why does God let evil people live,
let them grow old and prosper?
8They have children and grandchildren,
and live to watch them all grow up.
9God does not bring disaster on their homes;
they never have to live in terror.
10Yes, all their cattle breed
and give birth without trouble.
11Their children run and play like lambs
12and dance to the music of harps and flutes.
13They live out their lives in peace
and quietly die without suffering.
14The wicked tell God to leave them alone;
they don't want to know his will for their lives.
15They think there is no need to serve God
nor any advantage in praying to him.
16They claim they succeed by their own strength,
but their way of thinking I can't accept.
17Was a wicked person's light ever put out?
Did one of them ever meet with disaster?
Did God ever punish the wicked in anger
18and blow them away like straw in the wind,
or like dust carried away in a storm?
19You claim God punishes a child for the sins of his father.
No! Let God punish the sinners themselves;
let him show that he does it because of their sins.
20Let sinners bear their own punishment;
let them feel the wrath of Almighty God.
21When our lives are over,
do we really care whether our children are happy?
22Can anyone teach God,
who judges even those in high places?
23-24Some people stay healthy till the day they die;
they die happy and at ease,
their bodies well nourished.
25Others have no happiness at all;
they live and die with bitter hearts.
26But all alike die and are buried;
they all are covered with worms.
27I know what spiteful thoughts you have.
28You ask, “Where are the houses of great people now,
those who practised evil?”
29Haven't you talked with people who travel?
Don't you know the reports they bring back?
30On the day God is angry and punishes,
it is the wicked who are always spared.
31There is no one to accuse the wicked
or pay them back for all they have done.
32When they are carried to the graveyard,
to their well-guarded tombs,
33thousands join the funeral procession,
and even the earth lies gently on their bodies.
34And you! You try to comfort me with nonsense!
Every answer you give is a lie!