Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Job Considers Patience and Hope

“Aren’t our days on the earth numbered?
Aren’t our hours counted as if we worked for wages?
We are servants praying for evening;
We are employees waiting for our checks.
It is our job to live in vanity;
It is our job to live through the nights.

“I lie down and say, ‘Will I wake up
And the night be gone?’
All I do is toss to and fro.
My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust.
My skin is broken and loathsome.
My days move faster than a weaver's shuttle,
And they are spent without hope.

“Remember—my life is so much wind.
My eye will see no more good.
Every eye that has looked upon me
Will see me no more.
Your eyes are upon me, and I am not.

“Just as a cloud is consumed and vanishes,
So is he who goes into the grave.
He will go no more to his house;
His daily routines won’t know him.

“That is why I keep talking:
I am speaking the anguish of my heart;
I am voicing the bitterness of my soul.

“Am I a sea, or a whale,
That you set a watch over me?
When I say that my bed will comfort me,
Or that my couch will ease my complaining,
You try scaring me with your dreams;
You try terrifying me with your visions.

“So, my soul chooses strangling and death rather than life.
I loathe life; I do not wish to live any longer.
Leave me alone; my days are vanity.

“What is man, that you should honor him?
That you should follow him?
That you should visit him every morning
And try him every moment?

“How long until you leave me?
How long before I can swallow my own spit in private?

“So, I have sinned.
What could I do to you,
Preserver of humanity?
Why have you declared war on me,
So that I am a burden to myself?
Why have you not pardoned my wrongs?
Why have you not taken away my iniquity?

“For now, allow me to sleep in the dust.
You will seek me in the morning,
But I will not be.”

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Job Responds to Eliphaz

But Job said,

“If only my grief could be weighed!
If only my calamity could be put on a scale!
It is heavier than the sands of the sea,
And so my words are swallowed up.

“The arrows of the Almighty are in me;
The poison of those arrows drinks my spirit.
The terrors of God line up for their turn.
Does the wild ass bray when he has grass?
Does the ox low over his fodder?
Can that which is unsavory be eaten without salt?
Is there any taste in the white of an egg?
What once I would not have touched, now I eat.

“If only I could have my one wish;
If only it would please God to destroy me.
Then I would find comfort.

“May God not spare me!
I am hiding nothing from the Holy One.
What is my strength that I should hope?

“What is my destiny that I should prolong my life?
Is my strength the strength of stones?
Is my flesh made of brass?
I find no strength left.
My wisdom has been driven away.

“Friends should pity those afflicted, but
My friends appear to know nothing of God.

“My brothers, you have dealt deceitfully with me,
Like a brook, like the streams of brooks that pass by:
They are dark because of ice; snow is hidden inside.
When those streams grow warm, they vanish;
When it is hot, they are consumed and gone.

“You see my catastrophe and it frightens you.
Did I ask for help?
Tell me ‘yes,’ and I will stop accusing you.
Help me understand how I have been wrong.
Strong words sound convincing,
But who learns from your argument?
Do you think you can find fault in my words?
The words of a desperate man are merely wind.

“Try calming down and looking at me.
You can see if I am lying.
I speak nothing but justice.
I still know right from wrong.”

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Eliphaz Discourses on Just Retribution

“Call out, and see who will answer;
Can you turn to the Sons of God?
Wrath kills the foolish man;
Envy slays the silly one.
I have watched as the foolish take root
Though I curse their houses.

“The hungry eat the harvest of the foolish;
The robber swallows their things;
Affliction does not grow from the dust,
Neither does trouble spring out of the ground.
Human beings create their own trouble
As surely as sparks fly upward.

“I believe in seeking God
And committing my causes to God.
God does great and mysterious things,
Marvelous, numberless things.
God gives rain to the earth,
Sends waters to the fields.
God sets high those who are low;
Those who mourn may be lifted to safety.
God disappoints the devices of the crafty;
God snares the wise in their own craftiness,
And the counsel of the deceitful is revealed.
They meet with darkness in the daytime;
They grope in the noonday as if it were night.

“God saves the poor from the swords
And from the hands of the mighty.
Thus the poor have hope.

“Look, that person is happy who God corrects.
Do not despise chastening by the Almighty:
God makes sore, and God binds up;
God wounds, and God heals.

“God will deliver you from six troubles;
Even in seven troubles no evil will touch you.
In famine God will redeem you from death;
In war God will save you from the sword.
You will be hid from the scourge of the tongue,
And you will not fear destruction when it comes.
You will laugh at catastrophe and famine;
You will not be afraid of the beasts of the earth.

“Can’t you see? You will be an ally to the stones;
The wild beasts will be at peace with you.
Can’t you see? Your tent will be peaceful;
You can relax in your home.
And you can be assured that
Your offspring will be great,
As numerous as the grass of the earth.
You will go to your grave in old age
Just as corn is harvested in season.

“This is all true, as we have seen.
It is as we say;
Know it for your own peace of mind.”