And Job said:
It's remarkable how you are the only intelligent people,
and how wisdom will die with you.
I have a mind just as much as you do!
Who does not know the things you claim to know?
Someone like myself, whose friends mock him,
will appeal to God and receive a hearing,
because the innocence of the law-abiding is being laughed at.
The clever who prosper may treat it lightly,
but its time will come.
Thieves have many mansions,
boldly flaunting them before God,
and he has let them have it all.
The beasts could teach you this,
the birds of the air let you know it;
the earth is acquainted with it,
the fish will tell you about it.
Who could possibly not know
that the Lord acts in this way?
All life and every human breath is in his hand.
The ear can hear this.
The tongue can taste it.
It is the traditional understanding;
it is the insight that comes from experience.
He is strong and wise;
he has discernment and understanding.
What he pulls down, none can rebuild.
What he locks up, none can draw out.
If he holds back rain, everything dries up.
If he sends it down, the earth overflows.
He is strong, he is wise.
He knows the deceiver and the deceived;
he brings advisers to a fool's end
and judges to bewilderment;
he trades a king's fine belt for a chain,
leads the priests away without vestments,
overthrows the nobility,
confounds the words of the eloquent,
strips away the teaching of the elders.
He pours down ignominy on princes;
he raises up the downtrodden.
He shows forth things deep and obscure,
bringing light to deathly realms.
He makes nations flourish and perish,
and restores them again after ruin.
He muddles the hearts of rulers,
sending them on misleading paths to failure;
they stumble in darkness, without a glimmer,
staggering like men who are drunk.
I lack neither eye nor ear nor brain;
what you know, I know;
I am not less intelligent than you.
I will address the Almighty;
I will take my case to God;
but first I will show you all liars,
sophists of incompetent thoughts.
Would that you had the sense to be silent;
then someone might think you wise.
Listen to my rebuttal; hear what I have to say.
Does God need your folly?
Does he need you to bend the truth for him?
Are you his representative and his advocate?
Do you think that he does not see it all,
or that you can deceive him about any of it?
He will rebuke you,
because you took it on yourself to represent him.
when he acts, he will overturn you,
and you will learn to fear him.
Your memory will be just ashes,
your stubbornness fragile clay.
Shut your mouth while I speak my mind!
Why am I tearing my heart out,
holding my life in my hands?
I will await for his answer,
though he should kill me.
I will defend my ways to him,
and it is me he will spare,
because it is hypocrites he does not tolerate.
Hear me speak and learn what you do not understand.
If I come to judgment, I will be vindicated.
Where is my accuser? Let him come.
Why should I just lie down and take this?
There are only two things I ask,
so that I may face you openly:
Withdraw the force of your hand,
and stop raining your terrors on me.
Demand, and I will answer you,
or I will demand, and you answer me.
What are my crimes and faults?
Let me know my guilt and failing.
Why hide, why treat me like an enemy?
You come like a gale against a leaf;
you harry a bit of straw.
You file bitter charges against me,
and attack me for sins long in the past.
You have locked me in stocks,
you have hunted me down,
you have tracked my footsteps,
until I am just a rotting corpse,
a moth-eaten garment.
Men born of women are frail.
Their lives are misery-ridden,
brief like the flower that fades,
that flees like a shadow, never staying.
are they really worth your scrutiny
or your charges against them?
Who can make the blemished pure,
if not you who alone are pure.
Men's days are brief.
You alone know the count of their months.
You have set some bound they will not pass.
Will you not give him a little peace
until the toil of his work is done?
Trees have something to look forward to;
when stripped, they grow back green,
they sprout new branches,
and if their roots are withered,
the scent of water rejuvenates them,
and leaves sprout just like a first planting;
but when a man is dead, stripped and withered,
where is there anything left?
It is as if the seas were emptied,
as if the rivers were all dry.
The man in that sleep does not rise;
he will not wake while the sky endures.
Who can give me protection in death,
who can hide me until your wrath is done,
who can set a date for restoration?
Who will make the dead live again?
Then I could endure my tour of duty.
You could demand, and I would answer,
if I received the relief of your hand.
You have traced out my steps; erase my sins.
You have hoarded all my offenses; heal my wrongs.
Rock by rock, a mountain at last will crumble,
stones are worn down by water,
floods wash away the ground in the end.
In the same way you break a man,
allowing him strength for a little while
until you take it all away forever.
You drain him pale, and he disappears.
What his progeny do, he will never know;
he just has the pain and the sorrow.