Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 167

Job 28–33

Bible text(s)

In Praise of Wisdom

1There are mines where silver is dug;

There are places where gold is refined.

2Miners dig iron out of the ground

And melt copper out of the stones.

3They explore the deepest darkness.

They search the depths of the earth

And dig for rocks in the darkness.

4Far from where anyone lives

Or human feet ever travel,

They dig the shafts of mines.

There they work in loneliness,

Clinging to ropes in the pits.

5Food grows out of the earth,

But underneath the same earth

All is torn up and crushed.

6The stones of the earth contain sapphires,

And its dust contains gold.

7No hawk sees the roads to the mines,

And no vulture ever flies over them.

8No lion or other fierce beast

Ever travels those lonely roads.

9Miners dig the hardest rocks,

Dig mountains away at their base.

10As they tunnel through the rocks,

They discover precious stones.

11They dig to the sources of rivers

And bring to light what is hidden.

12But where can wisdom be found?

Where can we learn to understand?

13Wisdom is not to be found among mortals;

No one knows its true value.

14The depths of the oceans and seas

Say that wisdom is not found there.

15It cannot be bought with silver or gold.

16The finest gold and jewels

Cannot equal its value.

17It is worth more than gold,

Than a gold vase or finest glass.

18The value of wisdom is more

Than coral or crystal or rubies.

19The finest topaz and the purest gold

Cannot compare with the value of wisdom.

20Where, then, is the source of wisdom?

Where can we learn to understand?

21No living creature can see it,

Not even a bird in flight.

22Even death and destruction

Admit they have heard only rumours.

23God alone knows the way,

Knows the place where wisdom is found,

24Because he sees the ends of the earth,

Sees everything under the sky.

25When God gave the wind its power

And determined the size of the sea;

26When God decided where the rain would fall,

And the path that the thunderclouds travel;

27It was then he saw wisdom and tested its worth —

He gave it his approval.

28God said to human beings,

“To be wise, you must have reverence for the Lord.

To understand, you must turn from evil.”

Job's Final Statement of his Case

1Job began speaking again.

Job

2If only my life could once again

be as it was when God watched over me.

3God was always with me then

and gave me light as I walked through the darkness.

4Those were the days when I was prosperous,

and the friendship of God protected my home.

5Almighty God was with me then,

and I was surrounded by all my children.

6My cows and goats gave plenty of milk,

and my olive trees grew in the rockiest soil.

7Whenever the city elders met

and I took my place among them,

8young men stepped aside as soon as they saw me,

and old men stood up to show me respect.

9The leaders of the people would stop talking;

10even the most important men kept silent.

11Everyone who saw me or heard of me

had good things to say about what I had done.

12When the poor cried out, I helped them;

I gave help to orphans who had nowhere to turn.

13Those who were in deepest misery praised me,

and I helped widows find security.

14I have always acted justly and fairly.

15I was eyes for the blind,

and feet for the lame.

16I was like a father to the poor

and took the side of strangers in trouble.

17I destroyed the power of cruel men

and rescued their victims.

18I always expected to live a long life

and to die at home in comfort.

19I was like a tree whose roots always have water

and whose branches are wet with dew.

20Everyone was always praising me,

and my strength never failed me.

21When I gave advice, people were silent

and listened carefully to what I said;

22they had nothing to add when I had finished.

My words sank in like drops of rain;

23everyone welcomed them

just as farmers welcome rain in spring.

24I smiled on them when they had lost confidence;

my cheerful face encouraged them.

25I took charge and made the decisions;

I led them as a king leads his troops,

and gave them comfort in their despair.

1But men younger than I am make fun of me now!

Their fathers have always been so worthless

that I wouldn't let them help my dogs guard sheep.

2They were a bunch of worn-out men,

too weak to do any work for me.

3They were so poor and hungry

that they would gnaw dry roots —

at night, in wild, desolate places.

4They pulled up the plants of the desert and ate them,

even the tasteless roots of the broom tree!

5Everyone drove them away with shouts,

as if they were shouting at thieves.

6They had to live in caves,

in holes dug in the sides of cliffs.

7Out in the wilds they howled like animals

and huddled together under the bushes.

8A worthless bunch of nameless nobodies!

They were driven out of the land.

9Now they come and laugh at me;

I am nothing but a joke to them.

10They treat me with disgust;

they think they are too good for me,

and even come and spit in my face.

11Because God has made me weak and helpless,

they turn against me with all their fury.

12This mob attacks me head-on;

they send me running; they prepare their final assault.

13They cut off my escape and try to destroy me;

and there is no one to stop them.

14They pour through the holes in my defences

and come crashing down on top of me;

15I am overcome with terror;

my dignity is gone like a puff of wind,

and my prosperity like a cloud.

16Now I am about to die;

there is no relief for my suffering.

17At night my bones all ache;

the pain that gnaws me never stops.

18God seizes me by my collar

and twists my clothes out of shape.

19He throws me down in the mud;

I am no better than dirt.

20I call to you, O God, but you never answer;

and when I pray, you pay no attention.

21You are treating me cruelly;

you persecute me with all your power.

22You let the wind blow me away;

you toss me about in a raging storm.

23I know you are taking me off to my death,

to the fate in store for everyone.

24Why do you attack a ruined man,

one who can do nothing but beg for pity?

25Didn't I weep with people in trouble

and feel sorry for those in need?

26I hoped for happiness and light,

but trouble and darkness came instead.

27I am torn apart by worry and pain;

I have had day after day of suffering.

28I go about in gloom, without any sunshine;

I stand up in public and plead for help.

29My voice is as sad and lonely

as the cries of a jackal or an ostrich.

30My skin has turned dark; I am burning with fever.

31Where once I heard joyful music,

now I hear only mourning and weeping.

1I have made a solemn promise

never to look with lust at a woman.

2What does Almighty God do to us?

How does he repay human deeds?

3He sends disaster and ruin

to those who do wrong.

4God knows everything I do;

he sees every step I take.

5I swear I have never acted wickedly

and never tried to deceive others.

6Let God weigh me on honest scales,

and he will see how innocent I am.

7If I have turned from the right path

or let myself be attracted to evil,

if my hands are stained with sin,

8then let my crops be destroyed,

or let others eat the food I grow.

9If I have been attracted to my neighbour's wife,

and waited, hidden, outside her door,

10then let my wife cook another man's food

and sleep in another man's bed.

11Such wickedness should be punished by death.

12It would be like a destructive, hellish fire,

consuming everything I have.

13When any of my servants complained against me,

I would listen and treat them fairly.

14If I did not, how could I then face God?

What could I say when God came to judge me?

15The same God who created me

created my servants also.

16I have never refused to help the poor;

never have I let widows live in despair

17or let orphans go hungry while I ate.

18All my life I have taken care of them.

19When I found someone in need,

too poor to buy clothes,

20I would give him clothing made of wool

that had come from my own flock of sheep.

Then he would praise me with all his heart.

21If I have ever cheated an orphan,

knowing I could win in court,

22then may my arms be broken;

may they be torn from my shoulders.

23Because I fear God's punishment,

I could never do such a thing.

24I have never trusted in riches

25or taken pride in my wealth.

26I have never worshipped the sun in its brightness

or the moon in all its beauty.

27I have not been led astray to honour them

by kissing my hand in reverence to them.

28Such a sin should be punished by death;

it denies Almighty God.

29I have never been glad when my enemies suffered,

or pleased when they met with disaster;

30I never sinned by praying for their death.

31All those who work for me know

that I have always welcomed strangers.

32I invited travellers into my home

and never let them sleep in the streets.

33Others try to hide their sins,

but I have never concealed mine.

34I have never feared what people would say;

I have never kept quiet or stayed indoors

because I feared their scorn.

35Will no one listen to what I am saying?

I swear that every word is true.

Let Almighty God answer me.

If the charges my opponent brings against me

were written down so that I could see them,

36I would wear them proudly on my shoulder

and place them on my head like a crown.

37I would tell God everything I have done,

and hold my head high in his presence.

38If I have stolen the land I farm

and taken it from its rightful owners —

39if I have eaten the food that grew there

but let the farmers that grew it starve —

40then instead of wheat and barley,

may weeds and thistles grow.

The words of Job are ended.

Elihu's Speech

(32.1—37.24)

1Because Job was convinced of his own innocence, the three men gave up trying to answer him. 2But a bystander named Elihu could not control his anger any longer, because Job was justifying himself and blaming God. (Elihu was the son of Barakel, a descendant of Buz, and belonged to the clan of Ram.) 3He was also angry with Job's three friends. They could find no way to answer Job, and this made it appear that God was in the wrong. 4Because Elihu was the youngest one there, he had waited until everyone finished speaking. 5When he saw that the three men could not answer Job, he was angry 6and began to speak.

Elihu

I am young, and you are old,

so I was afraid to tell you what I think.

7I told myself that you ought to speak,

that you older men should share your wisdom.

8But it is the Spirit of Almighty God

that comes to human beings and gives them wisdom.

9It is not growing old that makes people wise

or helps them to know what is right.

10So now I want you to listen to me;

let me tell you what I think.

11I listened patiently while you were speaking

and waited while you searched for wise phrases.

12I paid close attention and heard you fail;

you have not disproved what Job has said.

13How can you claim you have discovered wisdom?

God must answer Job, for you have failed.

14Job was speaking to you, not to me,

but I would never answer as you did.

15Words have failed them, Job;

they have no answer for you.

16Shall I go on waiting when they are silent?

They stand there with nothing more to say.

17No, I will give my own answer now

and tell you what I think.

18I can hardly wait to speak.

I can't hold back the words.

19If I don't get a chance to speak,

I will burst like a wineskin full of new wine.

20I can't stand it; I have to speak.

21I will not take sides in this debate;

I am not going to flatter anyone.

22I don't know how to flatter,

and God would quickly punish me if I did.

1And now, Job, listen carefully

to all that I have to say.

2I am ready to say what's on my mind.

3All my words are sincere,

and I am speaking the truth.

4God's Spirit made me and gave me life.

5Answer me if you can. Prepare your arguments.

6You and I are the same in God's sight,

both of us were formed from clay.

7So you have no reason to fear me;

I will not overpower you.

8Now this is what I heard you say:

9“I am not guilty; I have done nothing wrong.

I am innocent and free from sin.

10But God finds excuses for attacking me

and treats me like an enemy.

11He binds chains on my feet;

he watches every move I make.”

12But I tell you, Job, you are wrong.

God is greater than any human being.

13Why do you accuse God

of never answering our complaints?

14Although God speaks again and again,

no one pays attention to what he says.

15At night when people are asleep,

God speaks in dreams and visions.

16He makes them listen to what he says,

and they are frightened at his warnings.

17God speaks to make them stop their sinning

and to save them from becoming proud.

18He will not let them be destroyed;

he saves them from death itself.

19God corrects people by sending sickness

and filling their bodies with pain.

20Those who are sick lose their appetites,

and even the finest food looks revolting.

21Their bodies waste away to nothing;

you can see all their bones;

22they are about to go to the world of the dead.

23Perhaps an angel may come to their aid —

one of God's thousands of angels,

who remind us of our duty.

24In mercy the angel will say, “Release them!

They are not to go down to the world of the dead.

Here is the ransom to set them free.”

25Their bodies will grow young and strong again;

26when they pray, God will answer;

they will worship God with joy;

God will set things right for them again.

27Each one will say in public, “I have sinned.

I have not done right, but God spared me.

28He kept me from going to the world of the dead,

and I am still alive.”

29God does all this again and again;

30he saves a person's life,

and gives him the joy of living.

31Now, Job, listen to what I am saying;

be quiet and let me speak.

32But if you have something to say, let me hear it;

I would gladly admit you are in the right.

33But if not, be quiet and listen to me,

and I will teach you how to be wise.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.15
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