Chapter 4

  1. Then answered Bildad the Shuhite and said, How long will you speak these things? And how long shall the words of your mouth be like a strong wind? Does God pervert judgment? Or does the Almighty pervert justice? If your children have sinned against him and he has cast them away for their transgression, if you would seek unto God early and make your supplication to the Almighty, if you were pure and upright, surely now he would awake for you and make the habitation of your righteousness prosperous. Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end should greatly increase.
  2. For inquire, I pray you, of the former age, and prepare yourself to the search of their fathers; for we are but of yesterday, and know nothing because our days upon earth are a shadow. Shall not they teach you, and tell you, and utter words out of their heart? Can the rush grow up without mire? Can the reeds grow without water? While it is yet in his greenness and not cut down, it withers before any other herb; so are the paths of all that forget God. And the hypocrite’s hope shall perish, whose hope shall be cut off and whose trust shall be a spider’s web. He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand. He shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure. He is green before the sun and his branch shoots forth in his garden. His roots are wrapped about the heap and see the place of stones. If he destroy him from his place, then it shall deny him, saying, I have not seen you. Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow.
  3. Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evildoers, until he fill your mouth with laughing and your lips with rejoicing. They that hate you shall be clothed with shame and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to naught.
  4. Then Job answered and said, I know it is so, truly. But how should man be just with God? If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand. He is wise in heart and mighty in strength (who has hardened himself against him and has prospered?), who removes the mountains, and they know not, who overturns them in his anger; who shakes the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble; who commands the sun and it rises not, and seals up the stars; who alone spreads out the heavens, and treads upon the waves of the sea; who makes Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south; who does great things past finding out, yea, and wonders without number. He goes by me, and I see him not; he passes on also, but I perceive him not. Behold, he takes away. Who can hinder him? Who will say unto him, What are you doing? If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him.
  5. How much less shall I answer him and choose out my words to reason with him? — whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer; but I would make supplication to my judge. If I had called and he had answered me, yet would I not believe that he had listened unto my voice; for he breaks me with a tempest and multiplies my wounds without cause. He will not suffer me to take my breath, but fills me with bitterness. If I speak of strength, behold, he is strong; and if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead? If I justify myself, my own mouth shall condemn me. If I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.
  6. Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul. I would despise my life. This is one thing, therefore I said it: He destroys the perfect and the wicked. If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent. The earth is given into the hand of the wicked, he covers the faces of the judges thereof. If not, where and who is he?
  7. Now my days are swifter than a messenger; they flee away, they see no good. They are passed away as the swift ships, as the eagle that hastens to the prey. If I say, I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my sadness and comfort myself — I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that you will not hold me innocent. If I am wicked, why then labor I in vain? If I wash myself with snow water and make my hands never so clean, yet shall you plunge me in the ditch and my own clothes shall abhor me.
  8. For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any arbiter between us that might lay his hand upon us both. Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me. Then would I speak and not fear him; but it is not so with me.
  9. My soul is weary of my life. I will leave my complaint upon myself. I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say unto God, Do not condemn me, show me why you contend with me. Is it good unto you that you should oppress? That you should despise the work of your hands and shine upon the counsel of the wicked? Do you have eyes of flesh? Or do you see as a man sees? Are your days as the days of man? Are your years as man’s days, that you inquire after my iniquity and search after my sin? You know that I am not wicked, and there is none that can deliver out of your hand.
  10. Your hands have made me and fashioned me together round about, yet you do destroy me. Remember, I implore you, that you have made me as the clay. And will you bring me into dust again? Have you not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? You have clothed me with skin and flesh, and have knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and favor, and your visitation has preserved my spirit.
  11. And these things have you hidden in your heart, I know that this is with you: If I sin, then you mark me, and you will not acquit me from my iniquity. If I am wicked, woe unto me. And if I am righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion, therefore see my affliction, for it increases. You hunt me as a fierce lion, and again you show yourself marvelous upon me. You renew your witnesses against me and increase your indignation upon me. Changes and war are against me.
  12. Why then have you brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me. I should have been as though I had not been. I should have been carried from the womb to the grave. Are not my days few? Cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little before I go where I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death; a land of darkness as darkness itself, and of the shadow of death, without any order and where the light is as darkness.