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Job: 21

Job.  Jb.21.1-34

1Then Job answered:

2"Listen carefully to my words,
and let this be your consolation.
3Bear with me, and I will speak,
and after I have spoken, mock on.
4As for me, is my complaint against man?
Why should I not be impatient?
5Look at me, and be appalled,
and lay your hand upon your mouth.
6When I think of it I am dismayed,
and shuddering seizes my flesh.
7Why do the wicked live,
reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
8Their children are established in their presence,
and their offspring before their eyes.
9Their houses are safe from fear,
and no rod of God is upon them.
10Their bull breeds without fail;
their cow calves, and does not cast her calf.
11They send forth their little ones like a flock,
and their children dance.
12They sing to the tambourine and the lyre,
and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.
13They spend their days in prosperity,
and in peace they go down to Sheol.
14They say to God, 'Depart from us!
We do not desire the knowledge of thy ways.
15What is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
And what profit do we get if we pray to him?'
16Behold, is not their prosperity in their hand?
The counsel of the wicked is far from me.

17"How often is it that the lamp of the wicked is put out?
That their calamity comes upon them?
That God distributes pains in his anger?
18That they are like straw before the wind,
and like chaff that the storm carries away?
19You say, 'God stores up their iniquity for their sons.'
Let him recompense it to themselves, that they may know it.
20Let their own eyes see their destruction,
and let them drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
21For what do they care for their houses after them,
when the number of their months is cut off?
22Will any teach God knowledge,
seeing that he judges those that are on high?
23One dies in full prosperity,
being wholly at ease and secure,
24his body full of fat
and the marrow of his bones moist.
25Another dies in bitterness of soul,
never having tasted of good.
26They lie down alike in the dust,
and the worms cover them.

27"Behold, I know your thoughts,
and your schemes to wrong me.
28For you say, 'Where is the house of the prince?
Where is the tent in which the wicked dwelt?'
29Have you not asked those who travel the roads,
and do you not accept their testimony
30that the wicked man is spared in the day of calamity,
that he is rescued in the day of wrath?
31Who declares his way to his face,
and who requites him for what he has done?
32When he is borne to the grave,
watch is kept over his tomb.
33The clods of the valley are sweet to him;
all men follow after him,
and those who go before him are innumerable.
34How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?
There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood."


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Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971], Apocrypha, copyright 1957; The Third and Fourth Books of the Maccabees and Psalm 151, copyright 1977, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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