1-2Are you finally through with your windy speech?
3God never twists justice;
he never fails to do what is right.
4Your children must have sinned against God,
and so he punished them as they deserved.
5But turn now and plead with Almighty God;
6if you are so honest and pure,
then God will come and help you
and restore your household as your reward.
7All the wealth you lost will be nothing
compared with what God will give you then.
8Look for a moment at ancient wisdom;
consider the truths our ancestors learnt.
9Our life is short, we know nothing at all;
we pass like shadows across the earth.
10But let the wise ancestors teach you;
listen to what they had to say:
11“Reeds can't grow where there is no water;
they are never found outside a swamp.
12If the water dries up, they are the first to wither,
while still too small to be cut and used.
13Godless men are like those reeds;
their hope is gone, once God is forgotten.
14They trust a thread — a spider's web.
15If they lean on a web, will it hold them up?
If they grab for a thread, will it help them stand?”
16The wicked sprout like weeds in the sun,
like weeds that spread all through the garden.
17Their roots wrap round the stones
and hold fast to#8.17 Probable text hold fast to; Hebrew see. every rock.
18But then pull them up —
no one will ever know they were there.
19Yes, that's all the joy wicked people have;
others now come and take their places.
20But God will never abandon the faithful
or ever give help to evil people.
21He will let you laugh and shout again,
22but he will bring disgrace on those who hate you,
and the homes of the wicked will vanish.