Zophar Speaks: The Wicked Will Suffer
20 Then cZophar the Naamathite answered and said:
2 “Therefore my dthoughts answer me,
because of my haste within me.
3 I hear censure that insults me,
and out of my understanding a spirit answers me.
4 Do you not know this from of old,
esince man was placed on earth,
5 fthat the exulting of the wicked is short,
and the joy of the godless but for a moment?
6 gThough his height mount up to the heavens,
and his head reach to the clouds,
7 he will perish forever like his own hdung;
those who have seen him will say, i‘Where is he?’
8 He will fly away like ja dream and not be found;
he will be chased away like a vision of the night.
9 kThe eye that saw him will see him no more,
nor will his place any more behold him.
10 His children will seek the favor of the poor,
and his hands will lgive back his wealth.
11 His bones are full of his myouthful vigor,
but it will lie ndown with him in the dust.
12 “Though evil is sweet in his mouth,
though he hides it ounder his tongue,
13 though he is loath to let it go
and holds it in his mouth,
14 yet his food is turned in his stomach;
it is the venom of pcobras within him.
15 He swallows down riches and vomits them up again;
God casts them out of his belly.
16 He will suck the poison of cobras;
qthe tongue of a viper will kill him.
17 He will not look upon rthe rivers,
18 He will ugive back the fruit of his toil
and will not vswallow it down;
from the profit of his trading
he will get no enjoyment.
19 For he has crushed and abandoned the poor;
he has seized a house that he did not build.
yhe will not let anything in which he delights escape him.
21 There was nothing left after he had eaten;
therefore his prosperity will not endure.
22 In the fullness of his sufficiency he will be in distress;
the hand of everyone in misery will come against him.
23 To fill his belly to the full,
God1 will send his burning anger against him
and rain it upon him zinto his body.
24 aHe will flee from an iron weapon;
25 It dis drawn forth and comes out of his body;
gterrors come upon him.
26 Utter darkness is laid up for his treasures;
ha fire not fanned will devour him;
what is left in his tent will be consumed.
27 iThe heavens will reveal his iniquity,
and the earth will rise up against him.
28 The possessions of his house will be carried away,
dragged off in the day of God's2 wrath.
29 jThis is the wicked man's portion from God,
jthe heritage decreed for him by God.”
Job Replies: The Wicked Do Prosper
21 Then Job answered and said:
2 k“Keep listening to my words,
and let this be your comfort.
3 Bear with me, and I will speak,
and after I have spoken, lmock on.
4 As for me, is my mcomplaint against man?
Why should I not be impatient?
5 Look at me and be appalled,
and nlay your hand over your mouth.
6 When I remember, I am dismayed,
and shuddering seizes my flesh.
7 oWhy do the wicked live,
reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
8 Their poffspring are established in their presence,
and their descendants before their eyes.
9 Their houses are qsafe from fear,
and rno rod of God is upon them.
10 Their bull breeds without fail;
their cow calves and sdoes not miscarry.
11 They send out their tlittle boys like a flock,
and their children dance.
and rejoice to the sound of vthe pipe.
13 They wspend their days in prosperity,
14 They say to God, z‘Depart from us!
We do not desire the knowledge of your ways.
15 aWhat is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
And what bprofit do we get if we pray to him?’
16 Behold, is not their prosperity in their hand?
cThe counsel of the wicked is far from me.
17 “How often is it that dthe lamp of the wicked is put out?
That their calamity comes upon them?
That God3 distributes pains in his anger?
18 That they are like estraw before the wind,
and like fchaff that the storm carries away?
Let him pay it out to them, that they may iknow it.
20 Let their own eyes see their destruction,
and let them jdrink of the wrath of the Almighty.
21 For what do they care for their houses after them,
when kthe number of their months is cut off?
22 lWill any teach God knowledge,
seeing that he mjudges those who are on high?
23 One dies in his full vigor,
being wholly at ease and secure,
24 his pails4 full of milk
and nthe marrow of his bones moist.
25 Another dies in obitterness of soul,
never having tasted of prosperity.
26 They plie down alike in the dust,
and qthe worms cover them.
27 “Behold, I know your thoughts
and your schemes to wrong me.
28 For you say, r‘Where is the house of the prince?
Where is sthe tent in which the wicked lived?’
29 Have you not asked those who travel the roads,
and do you not accept their testimony
30 that tthe evil man is spared in the day of calamity,
that he is rescued in the day of wrath?
31 Who declares his way uto his face,
and who vrepays him for what he has done?
32 When he is wcarried to the grave,
watch is kept over his tomb.
33 xThe clods of the valley are sweet to him;
yall mankind follows after him,
and those who go before him are innumerable.
34 How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?
There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”
20 rEach one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a bondservant1 when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is sa freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is ta bondservant of Christ. 23 uYou were bought with a price; vdo not become bondservants of men. 24 So, brothers,2 win whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.
The Unmarried and the Widowed
25 Now concerning3 the betrothed,4 xI have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as yone who by the Lord's mercy is ztrustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present5 distress ait is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman6 marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: bthe appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy cas though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For dthe present form of this world is passing away.
32 I want you to be efree from anxieties. fThe unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, gnot to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed,7 if his8 passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38 So then he who marries his betrothed hdoes well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.
39 iA wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only jin the Lord. 40 Yet kin my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think lthat I too have the Spirit of God.