Job’s Second Reply. 1Then Job answered and said:
2I know well that it is so;
but how can anyone be in the right before God?
3Should one wish to contend with him,*
he could not answer him once in a thousand times.
4God is wise in heart and mighty in strength;
who has withstood him and remained whole?
5He removes the mountains before they know it;
he overturns them in his anger.
6He shakes the earth out of its place,a
and the pillars beneath it tremble.
7He commands the sun, and it does not rise;
he seals up the stars.
8He alone stretches out the heavensb
and treads upon the back of the sea.
9He made the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south;
10He does things great and unsearchable,
things marvelous and innumerable.
11Should he come near me, I do not see him;
should he pass by, I am not aware of him;
12Should he seize me forcibly, who can resist?
Who can say to him, “What are you doing?”
13He is God and he does not relent;
the helpers of Rahab* bow beneath him.
14How then could I give him any answer,
or choose out arguments against him!
15Even though I were right, I could not answer,c
but should rather beg for what was due me.
16If I appealed to him and he answered me,
I could not believe that he would listen to me;
17With a storm he might overwhelm me,
and multiply my wounds for nothing;
18He would not allow me to draw breath,
but might fill me with bitter griefs.
19If it be a question of strength, he is mighty;
or of judgment, who will call him to account?
20Though I were right, my own mouth might condemn me;d
were I innocent, it might put me in the wrong.
21I am innocent, but I cannot know it;
I despise my life.
22It is all one! therefore I say:
Both the innocent and the wicked he destroys.e
23When the scourge slays suddenly,
he scoffs at the despair of the innocent.
24The earth is given into the hands of the wicked;
he covers the faces of its judges.
If it is not he, who then is it?
25My days are swifter than a runner,
they flee away; they see no happiness;f
26They shoot by like skiffs of reed,
like an eagle swooping upon its prey.
27If I say: I will forget my complaining,
I will lay aside my sadness and be of good cheer,
28Then I am in dread of all my pains;
I know that you* will not hold me innocent.
29It is I who will be accounted guilty;
why then should I strive in vain?
30If I should wash myself with soap
and cleanse my hands with lye,
31Yet you would plunge me in the ditch,
so that my garments would abhor me.
32For he is not a man like myself, that I should answer him,
that we should come together in judgment.
33Would that there were an arbiter between us,
who could lay his hand upon us both
34and withdraw his rod from me,
So that his terrors did not frighten me;
35that I might speak without being afraid of him.
Since this is not the case with me,
* [9:3] Job begins to explore the possibility of challenging God in a lawsuit, a theme that will recur (10:2), but he knows the odds are against him (vv. 12–20).
* [9:13] Rahab: another name for the primeval sea-monster; see notes on 3:8 and Ps 89:11; cf. Jb 7:12; 26:12.
* [9:28–31] You: refers to God.