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(Aug 8, 2000)
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Thursday, January 21, 2021
The Books of Poetry
Then Eli'phaz the Te'manite answered:
"Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge, and fill himself with the east wind?
Should he argue in unprofitable talk, or in words with which he can do no good?
But you are doing away with the fear of God, and hindering meditation before God.
For your iniquity teaches your mouth, and you choose the tongue of the crafty.
Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; your own lips testify against you.
"Are you the first man that was born? Or were you brought forth before the hills?
Have you listened in the council of God? And do you limit wisdom to yourself?
What do you know that we do not know? What do you understand that is not clear to us?
Both the gray-haired and the aged are among us, older than your father.
Are the consolations of God too small for you, or the word that deals gently with you?
Why does your heart carry you away, and why do your eyes flash,
that you turn your spirit against God, and let such words go out of your mouth?
What is man, that he can be clean? Or he that is born of a woman, that he can be righteous?
Behold, God puts no trust in his holy ones, and the heavens are not clean in his sight;
how much less one who is abominable and corrupt, a man who drinks iniquity like water!
"I will show you, hear me; and what I have seen I will declare
(what wise men have told, and their fathers have not hidden,
to whom alone the land was given, and no stranger passed among them).
The wicked man writhes in pain all his days, through all the years that are laid up for the ruthless.
Terrifying sounds are in his ears; in prosperity the destroyer will come upon him.
He does not believe that he will return out of darkness, and he is destined for the sword.
He wanders abroad for bread, saying, 'Where is it?' He knows that a day of darkness is ready at his hand;
distress and anguish terrify him; they prevail against him, like a king prepared for battle.
Because he has stretched forth his hand against God, and bids defiance to the Almighty,
running stubbornly against him with a thick-bossed shield;
because he has covered his face with his fat, and gathered fat upon his loins,
and has lived in desolate cities, in houses which no man should inhabit, which were destined to become heaps of ruins;
he will not be rich, and his wealth will not endure, nor will he strike root in the earth;
he will not escape from darkness; the flame will dry up his shoots, and his blossom will be swept away by the wind.
Let him not trust in emptiness, deceiving himself; for emptiness will be his recompense.
It will be paid in full before his time, and his branch will not be green.
He will shake off his unripe grape, like the vine, and cast off his blossom, like the olive tree.
For the company of the godless is barren, and fire consumes the tents of bribery.
They conceive mischief and bring forth evil and their heart prepares deceit."
Then Job answered:
"I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all.
Shall windy words have an end? Or what provokes you that you answer?
I also could speak as you do, if you were in my place; I could join words together against you, and shake my head at you.
I could strengthen you with my mouth, and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain.
"If I speak, my pain is not assuaged, and if I forbear, how much of it leaves me?
Surely now God has worn me out; he has made desolate all my company.
And he has shriveled me up, which is a witness against me; and my leanness has risen up against me, it testifies to my face.
He has torn me in his wrath, and hated me; he has gnashed his teeth at me; my adversary sharpens his eyes against me.
Men have gaped at me with their mouth, they have struck me insolently upon the cheek, they mass themselves together against me.
God gives me up to the ungodly, and casts me into the hands of the wicked.
I was at ease, and he broke me asunder; he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces; he set me up as his target,
his archers surround me. He slashes open my kidneys, and does not spare; he pours out my gall on the ground.
He breaks me with breach upon breach; he runs upon me like a warrior.
I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and have laid my strength in the dust.
My face is red with weeping, and on my eyelids is deep darkness;
although there is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure.
"O earth, cover not my blood, and let my cry find no resting place.
Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he that vouches for me is on high.
My friends scorn me; my eye pours out tears to God,
that he would maintain the right of a man with God, like that of a man with his neighbor.
For when a few years have come I shall go the way whence I shall not return.
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