Job: How Can I Contend with God?
1 Then Job answered:
2 “Yes, I know that it is so,
but how can a mortal be righteous before God?
he could not answer Him one time out of a thousand.
4 God is wise in heart and mighty in strength.
Who has resisted Him and prospered?
5 He moves mountains without their knowledge
and overturns them in His anger.
6 He shakes the earth from its place,
so that its foundations tremble.
He seals off the stars.
8 He alone stretches out the heavens
and treads on the waves of the sea.
9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
of the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He does great things beyond searching out,
and wonders without number.
11 Were He to pass by me, I would not see Him;
were He to move, I would not recognize Him.
Who dares to ask Him, ‘What are You doing?’
13 God does not restrain His anger;
the helpers of Rahab cower beneath Him.
14 How then can I answer Him
or choose my arguments against Him?
15 For even if I were right, I could not answer.
I could only beg my Judge for mercy.
16 If I summoned Him and He answered me,
I do not believe He would listen to my voice.
17 For He would crush me with a tempest
and multiply my wounds without cause.
18 He does not let me catch my breath,
but overwhelms me with bitterness.
19 If it is a matter of strength,
He is indeed mighty!
If it is a matter of justice,
who can summon Him d?
20 Even if I were righteous, my mouth would condemn me;
if I were blameless, it would declare me guilty. e
21 Though I am blameless, I have no concern for myself;
I despise my own life.
22 It is all the same, and so I say,
‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’
23 When the scourge brings sudden death,
He mocks the despair of the innocent.
24 The earth is given into the hand of the wicked;
He blindfolds its judges.
If it is not He, then who is it?
25 My days are swifter than a runner;
they flee without seeing good.
26 They sweep by like boats of papyrus,
like an eagle swooping down on its prey.
27 If I were to say, ‘I will forget my complaint
and change my expression and smile,’
28 I would still dread all my sufferings;
I know that You will not acquit me.
29 Since I am already found guilty,
why should I labor in vain?
and cleanse my hands with lye,
31 then You would plunge me into the pit,
and even my own clothes would despise me.
32 For He is not a man like me, that I can answer Him,
that we can take each other to court.
33 Nor is there a mediator between us,
to lay his hand upon us both.
34 Let Him remove His rod from me,
so that His terror will no longer frighten me.
35 Then I would speak without fear of Him.
But as it is, I am on my own.
3 a Or If God wished to contend with someone
7 b Or rise
12 c Or snatches someone in death
19 d See LXX; Hebrew me
20 e Or He would declare me guilty
30 f Or soap