Monday, 5 July 2010

Day 8: Job Stands Accused

Job complains of unkind treatment
Job 19:1-7
 1 Then Job replied:
 2 "How long will you torment me 
       and crush me with words?
 3 Ten times now you have reproached me; 
       shamelessly you attack me.
 4 If it is true that I have gone astray, 
       my error remains my concern alone.
 5 If indeed you would exalt yourselves above me 
       and use my humiliation against me,
 6 then know that God has wronged me 
       and drawn his net around me.
 7 "Though I cry, 'I've been wronged!' I get no response; 
       though I call for help, there is no justice.

God was the author of his afflictions
Job 19:8-22
 8 He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; 
       he has shrouded my paths in darkness.
 9 He has stripped me of my honor 
       and removed the crown from my head.
 10 He tears me down on every side till I am gone; 
       he uproots my hope like a tree
 11 His anger burns against me; 
       he counts me among his enemies.
 12 His troops advance in force; 
       they build a siege ramp against me 
       and encamp around my tent.
 13 "He has alienated my brothers from me; 
       my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.
 14 My kinsmen have gone away; 
       my friends have forgotten me.
 15 My guests and my maidservants count me a stranger; 
       they look upon me as an alien.
 16 I summon my servant, but he does not answer, 
       though I beg him with my own mouth.
 17 My breath is offensive to my wife; 
       I am loathsome to my own brothers.
 18 Even the little boys scorn me; 
       when I appear, they ridicule me.
 19 All my intimate friends detest me; 
       those I love have turned against me.
 20 I am nothing but skin and bones; 
       I have escaped with only the skin of my teeth. [a]
 21 "Have pity on me, my friends, have pity, 
       for the hand of God has struck me.
 22 Why do you pursue me as God does? 
       Will you never get enough of my flesh?

Job's belief in the resurrection
Job 19:23-29
 23 "Oh, that my words were recorded, 
       that they were written on a scroll,
 24 that they were inscribed with an iron tool on [b] lead, 
       or engraved in rock forever!
 25 I know that my Redeemer [c] lives, 
       and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. [d]
 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, 
       yet [e] in [f] my flesh I will see God;
 27 I myself will see him 
       with my own eyes—I, and not another. 
       How my heart yearns within me!
 28 "If you say, 'How we will hound him, 
       since the root of the trouble lies in him, [g] '
 29 you should fear the sword yourselves; 
       for wrath will bring punishment by the sword, 
       and then you will know that there is judgment. [h] "

Zophar speaks of the short-lived joy of the wicked
 Job 20:1-9
1 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
 2 "My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer 
       because I am greatly disturbed.
 3 I hear a rebuke that dishonors me, 
       and my understanding inspires me to reply.
 4 "Surely you know how it has been from of old, 
       ever since man [a] was placed on the earth,
 5 that the mirth of the wicked is brief, 
       the joy of the godless lasts but a moment.
 6 Though his pride reaches to the heavens 
       and his head touches the clouds,
 7 he will perish forever, like his own dung; 
       those who have seen him will say, 'Where is he?'
 8 Like a dream he flies away, no more to be found, 
       banished like a vision of the night.
 9 The eye that saw him will not see him again; 
       his place will look on him no more.

The ruin and the portion of the wicked
Job 20:10-29
 10 His children must make amends to the poor; 
       his own hands must give back his wealth.
 11 The youthful vigor that fills his bones 
       will lie with him in the dust.
 12 "Though evil is sweet in his mouth 
       and he hides it under his tongue,
 13 though he cannot bear to let it go 
       and keeps it in his mouth,
 14 yet his food will turn sour in his stomach; 
       it will become the venom of serpents within him.
 15 He will spit out the riches he swallowed; 
       God will make his stomach vomit them up.
 16 He will suck the poison of serpents; 
       the fangs of an adder will kill him.
 17 He will not enjoy the streams, 
       the rivers flowing with honey and cream.
 18 What he toiled for he must give back uneaten; 
       he will not enjoy the profit from his trading.
 19 For he has oppressed the poor and left them destitute; 
       he has seized houses he did not build.
 20 "Surely he will have no respite from his craving; 
       he cannot save himself by his treasure.
 21 Nothing is left for him to devour; 
       his prosperity will not endure.
 22 In the midst of his plenty, distress will overtake him; 
       the full force of misery will come upon him.
 23 When he has filled his belly, 
       God will vent his burning anger against him 
       and rain down his blows upon him.
 24 Though he flees from an iron weapon, 
       a bronze-tipped arrow pierces him.
 25 He pulls it out of his back, 
       the gleaming point out of his liver. 
       Terrors will come over him;
 26 total darkness lies in wait for his treasures. 
       A fire unfanned will consume him 
       and devour what is left in his tent.
 27 The heavens will expose his guilt; 
       the earth will rise up against him.
 28 A flood will carry off his house, 
       rushing waters [b] on the day of God's wrath.
 29 Such is the fate God allots the wicked, 
       the heritage appointed for them by God."

Job entreats attention
Job 21:1-6
 1 Then Job replied:
 2 "Listen carefully to my words; 
       let this be the consolation you give me.
 3 Bear with me while I speak, 
       and after I have spoken, mock on.
 4 "Is my complaint directed to man? 
       Why should I not be impatient?
 5 Look at me and be astonished; 
       clap your hand over your mouth.
 6 When I think about this, I am terrified; 
       trembling seizes my body.

The prosperity of the wicked
Job 21:7-16
 7 Why do the wicked live on, 
       growing old and increasing in power?
 8 They see their children established around them, 
       their offspring before their eyes.
 9 Their homes are safe and free from fear; 
       the rod of God is not upon them.
 10 Their bulls never fail to breed; 
       their cows calve and do not miscarry.
 11 They send forth their children as a flock; 
       their little ones dance about.
 12 They sing to the music of tambourine and harp; 
       they make merry to the sound of the flute.
 13 They spend their years in prosperity 
       and go down to the grave [a] in peace. [b]
 14 Yet they say to God, 'Leave us alone! 
       We have no desire to know your ways.
 15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? 
       What would we gain by praying to him?'
 16 But their prosperity is not in their own hands, 
       so I stand aloof from the counsel of the wicked.

The dealings of God's providence
Job 21:17-26
 17 "Yet how often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out? 
       How often does calamity come upon them, 
       the fate God allots in his anger?
 18 How often are they like straw before the wind, 
       like chaff swept away by a gale?
 19 It is said, 'God stores up a man's punishment for his sons.' 
       Let him repay the man himself, so that he will know it!
 20 Let his own eyes see his destruction; 
       let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty. [c]
 21 For what does he care about the family he leaves behind 
       when his allotted months come to an end?
 22 "Can anyone teach knowledge to God, 
       since he judges even the highest?
 23 One man dies in full vigor, 
       completely secure and at ease,
 24 his body [d] well nourished, 
       his bones rich with marrow.
 25 Another man dies in bitterness of soul, 
       never having enjoyed anything good.
 26 Side by side they lie in the dust, 
       and worms cover them both.

The judgement of the wicked
Jib 21:27-34
 27 "I know full well what you are thinking, 
       the schemes by which you would wrong me.
 28 You say, 'Where now is the great man's house, 
       the tents where wicked men lived?'
 29 Have you never questioned those who travel? 
       Have you paid no regard to their accounts-
 30 that the evil man is spared from the day of calamity, 
       that he is delivered from [e] the day of wrath?
 31 Who denounces his conduct to his face? 
       Who repays him for what he has done?
 32 He is carried to the grave, 
       and watch is kept over his tomb.
 33 The soil in the valley is sweet to him; 
       all men follow after him, 
       and a countless throng goes [f] before him.
 34 "So how can you console me with your nonsense? 
       Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!"

The Third Round of Speeches

Eliphaz shows that man's goodness does not profit God
Job 22:1-4
 1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
 2 "Can a man be of benefit to God? 
       Can even a wise man benefit him?
 3 What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous? 
       What would he gain if your ways were blameless?
 4 "Is it for your piety that he rebukes you 
       and brings charges against you?

Job accused of oppression 
Job 22:5-14
 5 Is not your wickedness great? 
       Are not your sins endless?
 6 You demanded security from your brothers for no reason; 
       you stripped men of their clothing, leaving them naked.
 7 You gave no water to the weary 
       and you withheld food from the hungry,
 8 though you were a powerful man, owning land— 
       an honored man, living on it.
 9 And you sent widows away empty-handed 
       and broke the strength of the fatherless.
 10 That is why snares are all around you, 
       why sudden peril terrifies you,
 11 why it is so dark you cannot see, 
       and why a flood of water covers you.
 12 "Is not God in the heights of heaven? 
       And see how lofty are the highest stars!
 13 Yet you say, 'What does God know? 
       Does he judge through such darkness?
 14 Thick clouds veil him, so he does not see us 
       as he goes about in the vaulted heavens.'

The world before the flood
Job 22:15-20
 15 Will you keep to the old path 
       that evil men have trod?
 16 They were carried off before their time, 
       their foundations washed away by a flood.
 17 They said to God, 'Leave us alone! 
       What can the Almighty do to us?'
 18 Yet it was he who filled their houses with good things, 
       so I stand aloof from the counsel of the wicked.
 19 "The righteous see their ruin and rejoice; 
       the innocent mock them, saying,
 20 'Surely our foes are destroyed, 
       and fire devours their wealth.'

Eliphaz exhorts Jib to repentance
Job 22:21-30
 21 "Submit to God and be at peace with him; 
       in this way prosperity will come to you.
 22 Accept instruction from his mouth 
       and lay up his words in your heart.
 23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: 
       If you remove wickedness far from your tent
 24 and assign your nuggets to the dust, 
       your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines,
 25 then the Almighty will be your gold, 
       the choicest silver for you.
 26 Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty 
       and will lift up your face to God.
 27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you, 
       and you will fulfill your vows.
 28 What you decide on will be done, 
       and light will shine on your ways.
 29 When men are brought low and you say, 'Lift them up!' 
       then he will save the downcast.
 30 He will deliver even one who is not innocent, 
       who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands."

Job complains that God has withdrawn
Job 23:1-7
 1 Then Job replied:
 2 "Even today my complaint is bitter; 
       his hand [a] is heavy in spite of [b] my groaning.
 3 If only I knew where to find him; 
       if only I could go to his dwelling!
 4 I would state my case before him 
       and fill my mouth with arguments.
 5 I would find out what he would answer me, 
       and consider what he would say.
 6 Would he oppose me with great power? 
       No, he would not press charges against me.
 7 There an upright man could present his case before him, 
       and I would be delivered forever from my judge.

He asserts his own integrity
Job 23:8-12
 8 "But if I go to the east, he is not there; 
       if I go to the west, I do not find him.
 9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; 
       when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
 10 But he knows the way that I take; 
       when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; 
       I have kept to his way without turning aside.
 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; 
       I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.

The divine terrors
Job 23:13-17
 13 "But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? 
       He does whatever he pleases.
 14 He carries out his decree against me, 
       and many such plans he still has in store.
 15 That is why I am terrified before him; 
       when I think of all this, I fear him.
 16 God has made my heart faint; 
       the Almighty has terrified me.
 17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, 
       by the thick darkness that covers my face.
New International Version

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