1* Job took up his theme again and said:

2Oh, that I were as in the months past,

as in the days when God watched over me:a

3While he kept his lamp shining above my head,

and by his light I walked through darkness;

4As I was in my flourishing days,

when God sheltered my tent;

5When the Almighty was still with me,

and my children were round about me;

6When my footsteps were bathed in cream,

and the rock flowed with streams of oil.*

7Whenever I went out to the gate of the city

and took my seat in the square,

8The young men saw me and withdrew,

and the elders rose up and stood;

9Officials refrained from speaking

and covered their mouths with their hands;b

10The voice of the princes was silenced,

and their tongues stuck to the roofs of their mouths.

11The ear that heard blessed me;

the eye that saw acclaimed me.

12For I rescued the poor who cried out for help,

the orphans, and the unassisted;

13The blessing of those in extremity came upon me,

and the heart of the widow I made joyful.

14I wore my righteousness like a garment;

justice was my robe and my turban.

15I was eyes to the blind,

and feet to the lame was I.

16I was a father to the poor;

the complaint of the stranger I pursued,

17And I broke the jaws of the wicked man;

from his teeth I forced the prey.

18I said: “In my own nest I shall grow old;

I shall multiply years like the phoenix.*

19My root is spread out to the waters;

the dew rests by night on my branches.

20My glory is fresh within me,

and my bow is renewed in my hand!”

21For me they listened and waited;

they were silent for my counsel.

22Once I spoke, they said no more,

but received my pronouncement drop by drop.

23They waited for me as for the rain;

they drank in my words like the spring rains.

24When I smiled on them they could not believe it;

they would not let the light of my face be dimmed.

25I decided their course and sat at their head,

I lived like a king among the troops,

like one who comforts mourners.

* [29:1] This chapter begins Job’s soliloquy, which will end in 31:40. He describes in florid and exaggerated terms his former lifestyle with all its blessings, a deliberate contrast to his current plight, which will be further described in chap. 30.

* [29:6] Hyperbole to express abundance; see note on 20:17.

* [29:18] Phoenix: a legendary bird which, after several centuries of life, consumed itself in fire, then rose from its ashes in youthful freshness.

a. [29:2] Jb 1:10.

b. [29:9] Wis 8:1012.

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