Job’s Reply. 1Job took up his theme again and said:
2As God lives,* who takes away my right,a
the Almighty, who has made my life bitter,
3So long as I still have life breath in me,
the breath of God in my nostrils,
4My lips shall not speak falsehood,
nor my tongue utter deceit!
5Far be it from me to account you right;
till I die I will not renounce my innocence.b
6My justice I maintain and I will not relinquish it;
my heart does not reproach me for any of my days.
7* Let my enemy be as the wicked
and my adversary as the unjust!
8For what hope has the impious when he is cut off,
when God requires his life?
9Will God then listen to his cry
when distress comes upon him,
10If he delights in the Almighty
and calls upon God constantly?
11I will teach you what is in God’s hand,
and the way of the Almighty I will not conceal.
12Look, you yourselves have all seen it;
why do you spend yourselves in empty words!
13This is the portion of the wicked with God,
the heritage oppressors receive from the Almighty:c
14Though his children be many, the sword awaits them.
His descendants shall want for bread.
15His survivors shall be buried in death;
their widows shall not weep.
16Though he heap up silver like dust
and store away mounds of clothing,
17What he has stored the righteous shall wear,
and the innocent shall divide the silver.
18He builds his house as of cobwebs,
or like a booth put up by a watchman.
19He lies down a rich man, one last time;
he opens his eyes—nothing is there.d
20Terrors flood over him like water,
at night the tempest carries him off.
21The east wind seizes him and he is gone;
it sweeps him from his place;
22It hurls itself at him without pity,
as he tries to flee from its power.
23It claps its hands at him,
and whistles at him from its place.
* [27:2–6] As God lives…far be it: Job affirms two oaths about his innocence by the very God whom he has accused of violating his right. Such is the paradoxical situation of a tortured person who cannot give the lie to his personal justice, but also refuses to renounce God. He dares God to be “just” as he, Job, understands this.
* [27:7–23] These verses are inconsistent with Job’s views elsewhere, and may be part of a missing speech of Zophar; cf. notes on 24:18–24 and 25:1. Or possibly they are an ironic description of the fate of the three friends.
b. [27:5] Jb 2:3, 9; 13:15; 33:9.