1Therefore, O Job, hear my discourse;
listen to all my words.
2Behold, now I open my mouth;
my tongue and voice form words.
3I will state directly what is in my mind,
my lips shall speak knowledge clearly;
4For the spirit of God made me,
the breath of the Almighty keeps me alive.a
5If you are able, refute me;
draw up your arguments and take your stand.
6Look, I am like you before God,
I too was pinched from clay.* b
7Therefore fear of me should not dismay you,
nor should I weigh heavily upon you.
8But you have said in my hearing,
as I listened to the sound of your words:
9“I am clean, without transgression;
I am innocent, there is no guilt in me.c
10Yet he invents pretexts against me
11He puts my feet in the stocks,
watches all my paths!”e
12In this you are not just, let me tell you;
for God is greater than mortals.
13Why, then, do you make complaint against him
that he gives no reply to their words?f
14For God does speak, once,
even twice, though you do not see it:*
15In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls upon mortals
as they slumber in their beds.
16It is then he opens their ears
and with a warning, terrifies them,
17By turning mortals from acting
and keeping pride away from a man,
18He holds his soul from the pit,
his life from passing to the grave.
19Or he is chastened on a bed of pain,
suffering continually in his bones,
20So that to his appetite food is repulsive,
his throat rejects the choicest nourishment.g
21His flesh is wasted, it cannot be seen;
bones, once invisible, appear;
22His soul draws near to the pit,
his life to the place of the dead.
23If then there be a divine messenger,*
a mediator, one out of a thousand,
to show him what is right,
24He will take pity on him and say,
“Deliver him from going down to the pit;
I have found him a ransom.”
25Then his flesh shall become soft as a boy’s;
he shall be again as in the days of his youth.
26He shall pray and God will favor him;
he shall see God’s face with rejoicing;h
for he restores a person’s righteousness.
27He shall sing before all and say,
“I sinned and did wrong,
yet I was not punished accordingly.
28He delivered me from passing to the pit,
and my life sees light.”
29See, all these things God does,
two, even three times, for a man,
30Bringing back his soul from the pit
to the light, in the light of the living.
31Be attentive, Job, listen to me!
Be silent and I will speak.
32If you have anything to say, then answer me.
Speak out! I should like to see you justified.
33If not, then you listen to me;
be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.
* [33:6] Pinched from clay: a reference to the tradition that human beings were made from clay; cf. Gn 2:7; Jb 10:9; Is 64:7.
* [33:10] Enemy: see note on 1:1; cf. 13:24.
* [33:14] Elihu asserts that God speaks through warning in dream and also through pain. However, his presupposition is that the restored person admits sinfulness (v. 27). This of course is not relevant to Job’s situation.
* [33:23] Divine messenger: or “angel,” one of the thousands who serve as mediators.
c. [33:9] Jb 10:7; 13:18; 27:5–6; 29:14; 32:1; 34:5.