Job Says His Friends’ Proverbs Are Ashes
1 [Job continued:] Behold, my eye has seen all this, my ear has heard and understood it. 2 What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you.
3 Surely I wish to speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue and reason my case with God [that He may explain the conflict between what I believe of Him and what I see of Him]. 4 But you are forgers of lies [you defame my character most untruthfully]; you are all physicians of no value and have no remedy to offer. 5 Oh, that you would altogether hold your peace! Then you would evidence your wisdom and you might pass for wise men. 6 Hear now my reasoning, and listen to the pleadings of my lips. 7 Will you speak unrighteously for God and talk deceitfully for Him? 8 Will you show partiality to Him [be unjust to me in order to gain favor with Him]? Will you act as special pleaders for God? 9 Would it be profitable for you if He should investigate your tactics [with me]? Or as one deceives and mocks a man, do you deceive and mock Him? 10 He will surely reprove you if you do secretly show partiality. 11 Shall not His majesty make you afraid, and should not your awe for Him restrain you? 12 Your memorable sayings are proverbs of ashes [valueless]; your defenses are defenses of clay [and will crumble].
Job Is Sure He Will Be Vindicated
13 Hold your peace! Let me alone, so I may speak; and let come on me what may. 14 Why should I take my flesh in my teeth and put my life in my hands [incurring the danger of God's wrath]? 15 [I do it because, though He slay me, yet will I wait for and trust Him and] behold, He will slay me; I have no hope -- "nevertheless, I will maintain and argue my ways before Him and even to His face. 16 This will be my salvation, that a polluted and godless man shall not come before Him. 17 Listen diligently to my speech, and let my declaration be in your ears. 18 Behold now, I have prepared my case; I know that I shall be justified and vindicated. 19 Who is he who will argue against and refute me? For then I would hold my peace and expire.
20 Only [O Lord] grant two conditions to me, and then will I not hide myself from You: 21 Withdraw Your hand and take this bodily suffering far from me; and let not my [reverent] dread of You terrify me. 22 Then [Lord] call and I will answer, or let me speak, and You answer me. 23 How many are my iniquities and sins [that so much sorrow should come to me]? Make me recognize and know my transgression and my sin. 24 Why do You hide Your face [as if offended] and alienate me as if I were Your enemy? 25 Will You harass and frighten a [poor, helpless] leaf driven to and fro, and will You pursue the chaff of the dry stubble? 26 For You write bitter things against me [in Your bill of indictment] and make me inherit and be accountable now for the iniquities of my youth. 27 You put my feet also in the stocks and observe critically all my paths; You set a circle and limit around the soles of my feet [which I must not overstep]. 28 And he wastes away as a rotten thing, like a garment that is moth-eaten.