Job’s Reply to Zophar
21:1 Then Job answered:
21:2 “Listen carefully to my words;
let this be the consolation you offer me.
21:3 Bear with me and I will speak,
and after I have spoken you may mock.
21:4 Is my complaint against a man?
If so, why should I not be impatient?
21:5 Look at me and be appalled;
put your hands over your mouths.
21:6 For, when I think about this, I am terrified
and my body feels a shudder.
The Wicked Prosper
21:7 “Why do the wicked go on living,
grow old, even increase in power?
21:8 Their children are firmly established
in their presence,
their offspring before their eyes.
21:9 Their houses are safe and without fear;
and no rod of punishment from God is upon them.
21:10 Their bulls breed without fail;
their cows calve and do not miscarry.
21:11 They allow their children to run like a flock;
their little ones dance about.
21:12 They sing to the accompaniment of tambourine and harp,
and make merry to the sound of the flute.
21:13 They live out their years in prosperity
and go down to the grave in peace.
21:14 So they say to God, ‘Turn away from us!
We do not want to know your ways.
21:15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
What would we gain
if we were to pray to him?’
21:16 But their prosperity is not their own doing.
The counsel of the wicked is far from me!
How Often Do the Wicked Suffer?
21:17 “How often is the lamp of the wicked extinguished?
How often does their misfortune come upon them?
How often does God apportion pain to them in his anger?
21:18 How often are they like straw before the wind,
and like chaff swept away by a whirlwind?
21:19 You may say, ‘God stores up a man’s punishment for his children!’
Instead let him repay the man himself
so that he may know it!
21:20 Let his own eyes see his destruction;
let him drink of the anger of the Almighty.
21:21 For what is his interest in his home
after his death,
when the number of his months
has been broken off?
21:22 Can anyone teach God knowledge,
since he judges those that are on high?
Death Levels Everything
21:23 “One man dies in his full vigor,
completely secure and prosperous,
21:24 his body well nourished,
and the marrow of his bones moist.
21:25 And another man dies in bitterness of soul,
never having tasted anything good.
21:26 Together they lie down in the dust,
and worms cover over them both.
Futile Words, Deceptive Answers
21:27 “Yes, I know what you are thinking,
the schemes by which you would wrong me.
21:28 For you say,
‘Where now is the nobleman’s house,
and where are the tents in which the wicked lived?’
21:29 Have you never questioned those who travel the roads?
Do you not recognize their accounts –
21:30 that the evil man is spared
from the day of his misfortune,
that he is delivered
from the day of God’s wrath?
21:31 No one denounces his conduct to his face;
no one repays him for what he has done.
21:32 And when he is carried to the tombs,
and watch is kept over the funeral mound,
21:33 The clods of the torrent valley are sweet to him;
behind him everybody follows in procession,
and before him goes a countless throng.
21:34 So how can you console me with your futile words?
Nothing is left of your answers but deception!”