Job’s Sixth Reply. 1Then Job answered and said:
2At least listen to my words,a
and let that be the consolation you offer.
3Bear with me while I speak;
and after I have spoken, you can mock!
4Is my complaint toward any human being?
Why should I not be impatient?
5Look at me and be appalled,
put your hands over your mouths.
6When I think of it, I am dismayed,
and shuddering seizes my flesh.
7* Why do the wicked keep on living,
grow old, become mighty in power?b
8Their progeny is secure in their sight;
their offspring are before their eyes.
9Their homes are safe, without fear,
and the rod of God is not upon them.
10Their bulls breed without fail;
their cows calve and do not miscarry.
11They let their young run free like sheep,
their children skip about.
12They sing along with drum and lyre,
and make merry to the sound of the pipe.
13They live out their days in prosperity,
and tranquilly go down to Sheol.c
14Yet they say to God, “Depart from us,d
for we have no desire to know your ways!
15What is the Almighty that we should serve him?
And what do we gain by praying to him?”e
16Their happiness is not in their own hands.
The designs of the wicked are far from me!f
17How often is the lamp of the wicked put out?
How often does destruction come upon them,
the portion God allots in his anger?
18Let them be like straw before the wind,
like chaff the storm carries away!
19“God is storing up the man’s misery for his children”?—
let him requite the man himself so that he knows it!
20Let his own eyes behold his calamity,
and the wrath of the Almighty let him drink!
21For what interest has he in his family after him,
when the number of his months is finished?
22Can anyone teach God knowledge,
seeing that he judges those on high?*
23One dies in his full vigor,
wholly at ease and content;
24His figure is full and nourished,
his bones are moist with marrow.
25Another dies with a bitter spirit,
never having tasted happiness.
26Alike they lie down in the dust,
and worms cover them both.
27See, I know your thoughts,
and the arguments you plot against me.
28For you say, “Where is the house of the great,
and where the dwelling place of the wicked?”
29Have you not asked the wayfarers
and do you not acknowledge the witness they give?
30On the day of calamity the evil man is spared,
on the day that wrath is released.
31Who will charge him to his face about his conduct,
and for what he has done who will repay him?
32He is carried to the grave
and at his tomb they keep watch.
33Sweet to him are the clods of the valley.
All humankind will follow after him,
and countless others before him.
34How empty the consolation you offer me!
Your arguments remain a fraud.
* [21:7] In vv. 7–29 Job launches into a realistic description of the fate of the wicked, contrary to the claims made by the friends.
* [21:22] Those on high: the heavenly beings; cf. 1:6; Ps 82:1–8.
b. [21:7] Jb 12:6; Ps 37:35; 73:3; Eccl 8:14; Jer 12:1–2; Mal 3:14–15.