Job’s Friends Are No Help

1 Then Job answered and said,

“Oh, that my grief could actually be weighed
And placed in the balances together with my tragedy [to see if my grief is the grief of a coward]!

“For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea;
Therefore my words have been incoherent,

Because the arrows of the Almighty are within me,
My spirit drinks their poison;
The terrors of God are arrayed against me.

“Does the wild donkey bray when he has grass?
Or does the ox low over his fodder?

“Can something that has no taste to it be eaten without salt?
Or is there any flavor in the white of an egg?

“My soul refuses to touch them;
Such things are like loathsome food to me [sickening and repugnant].

“Oh that my request would come to pass,
And that God would grant me the thing that I long for!

“I wish that it would please God to crush me,
That He would let loose His hand and cut me off.

“Then I would still have consolation,
And I would jump for joy amid unsparing pain,
That I have not denied or hidden the words of the Holy One.

“What strength do I have left, that I should wait [and hope]?
And what is ahead of me, that I should be patient and endure?

“Is my strength and endurance that of stones,
Or is my flesh made of bronze?

“Is it that I have no help within myself,
And that success and wisdom have been driven from me?

“For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend;
So that he does not (a)abandon (turn away from) the fear of the Almighty.

“My brothers have acted deceitfully like a brook,
Like the torrents of brooks that vanish,

Which are dull and dirty because of ice,
And into which the snow melts and hides itself;

When it is warm, they are silent and cease to flow;
When it is hot, they vanish from their place.

“The paths of their course wind along,
They go up into nothing and perish.
[Your counsel is as helpful to me as a dry streambed in the heat of summer.]

“The caravans of (b)Tema looked [for water],
The caravans of (c)Sheba waited for them [in vain].

“They were put to shame and disappointed because they had trusted [that they would find water];
They came there and were ashamed.

“Indeed, you have now become like a dried-up stream,
You see a terror [believing me to be a victim of the wrath of God] and are afraid [to be compassionate].

“Did I ever say, ‘Give me something,’
Or, ‘Pay a bribe for me from your wealth,’

Or, ‘Rescue me from the adversary’s hand,’
Or, ‘Redeem me from the hand of the tyrants’?

“Teach me, and I will be silent;
And show me how I have erred.

“How painful are words of honesty.
But what does your argument prove?

“Do you intend to reprove my words [with a convincing argument],
When the words of one in despair belong to the wind [and go ignored]?

“You would cast lots (gamble) over the fatherless
And bargain away your friend.

“Now please look at me,
And see if I lie to your face [for you know that I would not].

“Turn away [from your suspicion], let there be no injustice;
Turn away, my righteousness and vindication is still in it.

“Is there injustice or malice on my tongue?
Can my palate not discern what is destructive?


a. Job 6:14: Lit forsake.
b. Job 6:19: Tema, tribal descendants of the ninth son of Ishmael.
c. Job 6:19: Sheba, tribal descendants of Abraham and Keturah.