Job 29:1-31:40 Reading the Passage

Let Us Maintain a Christ-like Integrity – Job 29:1-31:40

29 Job continued his discourse, (2) How I long for the months gone by, for those days when God watched over me, (3) when he made his lamp shine above my head, and by his light I walked through the darkness! (4) I yearn for those days when I was in the prime of my life, when God was an intimate friend residing in my tent, (5) when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, (6) when my steps were bathed in cream and the rock poured out streams of oil for me.

(7) When I went to the gate of the city and took my seat in the public square, (8) the young men saw me and stepped aside and the old men rose to their feet. (9) Princes refrained from speaking and covered their mouths with their hands; (10) the voices of the nobles were hushed, and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths. (11) Indeed, whoever heard me, spoke well of me, and those who saw me, commended me, (12) because I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had no one to assist him. (13) The man who was destitute blessed me; I made the widow’s heart sing for joy. (14) I put on righteousness as my clothing, and the justice I practiced was like a robe and a turban. (15) I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. (16) I was a father to the needy; I investigated the stranger’s case. (17) I broke the fangs of the wicked and snatched the victims from their teeth.

(18) I thought, “I will die in my ‘nest,’ after my days have been as numerous as the grains of sand. (19) My roots will spread out to the water, and the dew will lie all night on my branches. (20) My life will remain fresh within me, and I will always have a new bow in my hand.”

(21) Men listened to me expectantly, waiting in silence for my counsel. (22) After I had spoken, they were quiet; my words fell gently on their ears. (23) They waited for me like men wait for showers and they drank in my words like the spring rain. (24) When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them. (25) I directed their way and sat as their chief; I was like a king among his troops; I was like one who comforts those who mourn.

30 But now I am mocked by men who are younger than I, men whose fathers I would have disdained to put with my sheep dogs. (2) Of what use was the strength of their hands to me, since their vigor was gone from them? (3) Gaunt from want and hunger, they roam the parched land in desolate wastelands at night. (4) They gather salt herbs in the brush, their fuel is the root of the broom tree. (5) They are banished from the community; men shout at them as though they were thieves. (6) They are forced to live in the dried up stream beds, among the rocks and in holes in the ground. (7) Like donkeys, they bray among the bushes and huddle in the undergrowth. (8) They are a foolish, nameless brood, they have been reduced to being lower than the ground. (9) Now their sons mock me with their songs; I have become a byword among them. (10) They detest me and stand aloof from me; they do not hesitate to spit in my face. (11) Because God has loosened my tent cord and afflicted me, they throw off restraint in my presence. (12) At my right hand the young rabble attack; they lay snares for my feet, they erect their siege ramps against me. (13) They break up my pathway; they contribute to my calamity; there is no one to help me against them. (14) They advance as though pouring through a gaping breach in the wall; they come rolling in amid the ruins.

(15) Terrors overwhelm me; my dignity is driven away as though by the wind, my safety vanishes like a cloud. (16) Now my life is ebbing away; days of affliction grip me. (17) At night God pierces my bones; my gnawing pains never cease. (18) With great force he seizes my clothing, squeezing me tightly in it; he wraps a belt around me that is no larger than the collar of my tunic. (19) He throws me into the mire; I am reduced to dust and ashes. (20) I cry out to you, O God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you do not acknowledge me. (21) You turn against me ruthlessly; with your mighty hand you attack me. (22) You pick me up and mount me on the wind; you toss me about with a tempest. (23) I know that you will bring me down to death, to the place appointed for all the living. (24) Does not one stretch out his hand to break his fall? Or in his calamity, does not one cry for help? (25) Did I not weep for those whose days were hard? Was not my soul grieved for the poor? (26) But when I hoped for good, calamity came; when I looked for light, darkness came. (27) The churning within my bowels never ceases; I am confronted with days of affliction. (28) My complexion has become dark, but not by the sun. I stand up in the assembly and cry for help. (29) I have become a brother to jackals, a companion of owls. (30) My skin becomes black and peels; my body burns with fever. (31) My harp is tuned for mourning, and my flute for the sound of wailing.

31 I made a covenant with my eyes that I would never look lustfully at a young woman; (2) for what would be one’s lot from God above, his “inheritance” from the Almighty? (3) Is it not disaster for the unrighteous and ruin for the workers of iniquity? (4) Does he not see my ways and count all my steps? (5) If I have walked with falsehood or my foot hurried after deceit—(6) let God weigh me on honest scales, so that he may know my integrity—(7) if my steps have turned from the path, if my heart has been led by my eyes, or if my hands have been defiled, (8) then may others eat what I have sown, and may my crops be uprooted.

(9) If my heart has been enticed by a woman, or I have lurked at my neighbor’s door, (10) then let my wife have intercourse with another man, and let someone else lay upon her; (11) for my action would be a heinous crime, it would be an iniquity to be punished. (12) Because it is a fire that consumes to destruction, it would burn up all my harvest.

(13) If I have denied justice to my servant or my maidservant when they had a grievance against me,(14) what could I do when God confronts me? What would I answer when called to account? (15) Did not he who made me in the womb also make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?

(16) If I have denied the poor when they begged, or caused the widow’s eye to be downcast in hopelessness, (17) if I have eaten my food by myself and did not share it with the fatherless—(18) indeed, from my youth he grew up with me as though I were his father, and from my birth I have guided the widow—(19) if I have seen anyone perishing due to lack of clothing, or a poor man without a garment, (20) and his heart did not bless me for being warmed with the fleece of my sheep, (21) if I have raised my hand against the fatherless because I saw that I had support from the court, (22) then let my shoulder fall from its socket; let my arm be broken at the elbow. (23) I dread destruction from God; I could not endure his majesty.

(24) If I have put my trust in gold or identified pure gold as my security, (25) if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, or because my hands have gained a fortune, (26) if I have regarded the sun in its radiance or the moon moving in splendor, (27) and my heart was secretly enticed and my hand offered them a kiss of homage from my mouth, (28) that also would be an iniquity worthy of judgment—I would have been unfaithful to God on high.

(29) If I have rejoiced at my enemy’s ruin and exulted when calamity befell him—(30) I have never allowed my mouth to sin by asking for his life with a curse. (31) If the men of my household have never said, “Who has not been filled with Job’s meat?”—(32) the stranger has not had to spend the night in the street; I have opened my door to the traveler.

(33) If I have concealed my sin the way men do, hiding my guilt in my bosom (34) because I so feared the public’s opinion of me and so dreaded the contempt of my clan that I kept silent and would not leave my house—(35) Oh I wish that my Judge would give me a hearing! Here is my affidavit! Let the Almighty answer me! Let my accuser put his indictment into writing! (36) I would surely carry it on my shoulder; I would wear it like a crown. (37) I would give him an account of all my steps; like a prince, I would present myself before him.

(38) If my land cries out against me and all its furrows are wet with tears, (39) if I have devoured its yield without paying the laborers, or if I have snuffed out the life of its tenants by overtaxing their strength, (40) then let briers grow instead of wheat and weeds instead of barley. Job’s words are ended.

Now proceed to the next section of this study, entitled, Exploring the Passage.