The New King James Version

Job 21:1–23:17

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Job’s Discourse on the Wicked

21 Then Job answered and said:

2 “Listen carefully to my speech,

And let this be your 1consolation.

3 Bear with me that I may speak,

And after I have spoken, keep amocking.

4 “As for me, is my complaint against man?

And if it were, why should I not be impatient?

5 Look at me and be astonished;

bPut your hand over your mouth.

6 Even when I remember I am terrified,

And trembling takes hold of my flesh.

7 cWhy do the wicked live and become old,

Yes, become mighty in power?

8 Their descendants are established with them in their sight,

And their offspring before their eyes.

9 Their houses are safe from fear,

dNeither is 2the rod of God upon them.

10 Their bull breeds without failure;

Their cow calves ewithout miscarriage.

11 They send forth their little ones like a flock,

And their children dance.

12 They sing to the tambourine and harp,

And rejoice to the sound of the flute.

13 They fspend their days in wealth,

And 3in a moment go down to the 4grave.

14 gYet they say to God, ‘Depart from us,

For we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways.

15 hWho is the Almighty, that we should serve Him?

And iwhat profit do we have if we pray to Him?’

16 Indeed 5their prosperity is not in their hand;

jThe counsel of the wicked is far from me.

17 “How often is the lamp of the wicked put out?

How often does their destruction come upon them,

The sorrows God kdistributes in His anger?

18 lThey are like straw before the wind,

And like chaff that a storm 6carries away.

19 They say, ‘God 7lays up 8one’s iniquity mfor his children’;

Let Him recompense him, that he may know it.

20 Let his eyes see his destruction,

And nlet him drink of the wrath of the Almighty.

21 For what does he care about his household after him,

When the number of his months is cut in half?

22 “Can oanyone teach God knowledge,

Since He judges those on high?

23 One dies in his full strength,

Being wholly at ease and secure;

24 His 9pails are full of milk,

And the marrow of his bones is moist.

25 Another man dies in the bitterness of his soul,

Never having eaten with pleasure.

26 They plie down alike in the dust,

And worms cover them.

27 “Look, I know your thoughts,

And the schemes with which you would wrong me.

28 For you say,

‘Where is the house of the prince?

And where is 1the tent,

The dwelling place of the wicked?’

29 Have you not asked those who travel the road?

And do you not know their signs?

30 qFor the wicked are reserved for the day of doom;

They shall be brought out on the day of wrath.

31 Who condemns his way to his face?

And who repays him for what he has done?

32 Yet he shall be brought to the grave,

And a vigil kept over the tomb.

33 The clods of the valley shall be sweet to him;

rEveryone shall follow him,

As countless have gone before him.

34 How then can you comfort me with empty words,

Since 2falsehood remains in your answers?”

Eliphaz Accuses Job of Wickedness

22 Then aEliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

2 “Can ba man be profitable to God,

Though he who is wise may be profitable to himself?

3 Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that you are righteous?

Or is it gain to Him that you make your ways blameless?

4 “Is it because of your fear of Him that He corrects you,

And enters into judgment with you?

5 Is not your wickedness great,

And your iniquity without end?

6 For you have ctaken pledges from your brother for no reason,

And stripped the naked of their clothing.

7 You have not given the weary water to drink,

And you dhave withheld bread from the hungry.

8 But the 1mighty man possessed the land,

And the honorable man dwelt in it.

9 You have sent widows away empty,

And the 2strength of the fatherless was crushed.

10 Therefore snares are all around you,

And sudden fear troubles you,

11 Or darkness so that you cannot see;

And an abundance of ewater covers you.

12 “Is not God in the height of heaven?

And see the highest stars, how lofty they are!

13 And you say, f‘What does God know?

Can He judge through the deep darkness?

14 gThick clouds cover Him, so that He cannot see,

And He walks above the circle of heaven.’

15 Will you keep to the old way

Which wicked men have trod,

16 Who hwere cut down before their time,

Whose foundations were swept away by a flood?

17 iThey said to God, ‘Depart from us!

What can the Almighty do to 3them?’

18 Yet He filled their houses with good things;

But the counsel of the wicked is far from me.

19 “The jrighteous see it and are glad,

And the innocent laugh at them:

20 ‘Surely our 4adversaries are cut down,

And the fire consumes their remnant.’

21 “Now acquaint yourself with Him, and kbe at peace;

Thereby good will come to you.

22 Receive, please, linstruction from His mouth,

And mlay up His words in your heart.

23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up;

You will remove iniquity far from your tents.

24 Then you will nlay your gold in the dust,

And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks.

25 Yes, the Almighty will be your 5gold

And your precious silver;

26 For then you will have your odelight in the Almighty,

And lift up your face to God.

27 pYou will make your prayer to Him,

He will hear you,

And you will pay your vows.

28 You will also declare a thing,

And it will be established for you;

So light will shine on your ways.

29 When they cast you down, and you say, ‘Exaltation will come!

Then qHe will save the humble person.

30 He will even deliver one who is not innocent;

Yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands.”

Job Proclaims God’s Righteous Judgments

23 Then Job answered and said:

2 “Even today my acomplaint is bitter;

1My hand is listless because of my groaning.

3 bOh, that I knew where I might find Him,

That I might come to His seat!

4 I would present my case before Him,

And fill my mouth with arguments.

5 I would know the words which He would answer me,

And understand what He would say to me.

6 cWould He contend with me in His great power?

No! But He would take note of me.

7 There the upright could reason with Him,

And I would be delivered forever from my Judge.

8 “Look, dI go forward, but He is not there,

And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;

9 When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him;

When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.

10 But eHe knows the way that I take;

When fHe has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.

11 gMy foot has held fast to His steps;

I have kept His way and not turned aside.

12 I have not departed from the hcommandment of His lips;

iI have treasured the words of His mouth

More than my 2necessary food.

13 “But He is unique, and who can make Him change?

And whatever jHis soul desires, that He does.

14 For He performs what is kappointed for me,

And many such things are with Him.

15 Therefore I am terrified at His presence;

When I consider this, I am afraid of Him.

16 For God lmade my heart weak,

And the Almighty terrifies me;

17 Because I was not mcut off 3from the presence of darkness,

And He did not hide deep darkness from my face.

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The rod of God’s chastisement


Without lingering


Or Sheol


Lit. their goal


steals away


stores up


Lit. his


LXX, Vg. bowels; Syr. sides; Tg. breasts


Vg. omits the tent




Lit. man of arm


Lit. arms


LXX, Syr. us


LXX substance is


Ancient vss. suggest defense; MT gold, as in v. 24


So with MT, Tg., Vg.; LXX, Syr. His


Lit. appointed portion


Or by or before