Hymnic praise

Job responded:
I know for certain that this is so;
and how can anyone be innocent before God?
If one wants to contend with him,
he won’t answer one in a thousand.
He is wise[a] and powerful;
who can resist him and prosper?
Who removes mountains, and they are unaware;
who overthrows them in anger?
Who shakes the earth from its place,
and its pillars shudder?
Who commands the sun, and it does not rise,
even seals up the stars;
stretched out the heavens alone
and trod on the waves of the Sea;[b]
made the Bear and Orion, Pleiades
and the southern constellations;
10 does great and unsearchable things,
wonders beyond number?

A mismatch

11 If God goes by me, I can’t see him;
he glides past, and I can’t perceive him.
12 If he seizes, who can bring back?
Who can say to him, “What are you doing?”
13 God won’t retract his anger;
the helpers of Rahab bow beneath him.
14 Yet I myself will answer him;
I’ll choose my words in a contest[c] with him.
15 Even if I’m innocent, I can’t answer;
I must plead for justice.
16 If I were to call and he answered me,
I couldn’t believe that he heard my voice.
17 Who bruises me with a tempest
and multiplies my wounds for no reason?
18 He doesn’t let me catch my breath,
for he fills me with bitterness.
19 If the issue is strength—behold power!
If justice—who calls God to meet me?

There is no justice

20 If I’m innocent, my mouth condemns me;
I have integrity; but God declares me perverse.
21 I’m blameless, yet don’t know myself;
I reject my life.
22 It’s all the same;
therefore, I say God destroys the blameless and the sinners.
23 If calamity suddenly kills,
he mocks at the slaying[d] of innocents.
24 The earth is handed over to the wicked;
he covers the faces of its judges.
If not God, then who does?

Job wants an arbitrator

25 My days are swifter than a runner;
they flee and don’t experience good.
26 They sweep by like ships made of reeds,
as an eagle swoops on prey.
27 If I say, “I’ll forget my lament,
put on a different face so I can smile,”
28 I’m still afraid of all my suffering;
I know that you won’t declare me innocent.
29 I myself am thought guilty;
why have I tried so hard in vain?
30 If I wash myself with snow,
purify my hands with soap,
31 then you’ll hurl me into a slimy pit
so that my clothes detest me.
32 God is not a man like me—someone I could answer—
so that we could come together in court.
33 Oh, that[e] there were a mediator between us;
he would lay his hand on both of us,
34 remove his rod from me,
so his fury wouldn’t frighten me.
35 Then I would speak—unafraid—
for I’m not that way.


  1. Job 9:4 Or wise in heart; cf 37:24
  2. Job 9:8 Heb Yam, a sea god
  3. Job 9:14 Heb lacks in a contest.
  4. Job 9:23 Heb uncertain
  5. Job 9:33 Or There is no