Job 8:1-10:22 Reading the Passage

How to Deal with the “Inconsistencies” of God’s Justice – Job 8:1-10:22

8 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered, (2) How long will you speak such things? The words of your mouth are only a blustering wind! (3) Does God pervert justice? Or does the Almighty pervert righteousness? (4) If your children sinned against him, he has merely delivered them into the hand of their transgression. (5) If you will seek God diligently, and plead with the Almighty for mercy; (6) if you are pure and upright, he will rouse himself on your behalf, and restore your righteous estate. (7) Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be!

(8) Ask the previous generations and find out what their fathers learned, (9) for we were only born yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are only a shadow. (10) Will they not instruct you and tell you? Will they not utter words from the depths of their experience? (11) Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water? (12) While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass. (13) Such is the fate of all those who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless. (14) His confidence will be cut off—that in which he trusts is like a spider’s web. (15) He leans against his web, but it cannot support him; he clings to it, but it does not hold his weight. (16) He is like a lush plant thriving in the sunshine; his shoots spread out over the garden. (17) His roots become entwined around a pile of rocks; they grasp a bed of rocks. (18) But when it is ripped from its place, that place disowns it and says, I never knew you. (19) Listen: This is the “joy” that comes from his way of life—and from the soil another plant grows.

(20) Surely God will not reject a blameless man, and neither will he strengthen the hand of evildoers. (21) He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. (22) Those who hate you will be clothed with shame, and the tents of the wicked will be gone.

9 Then Job replied, (2) Indeed, I know that this is true. But how can a man be righteous before God? (3) If one plans to dispute with him, that man could not answer God once in a thousand times. (4) His wisdom is profound, his power is vast; who can defy him and succeed? (5) He moves the mountains without their consent, and overturns them in his anger. (6) He shakes the earth out of its place and makes its pillars tremble. (7) He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; and he seals up the stars. (8) He stretches out the heavens by himself, and walks upon the sea’s back. (9) He made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. (10) He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, and miracles that cannot be counted. (11) He goes by me, but I do not see him; he passes on, but I cannot perceive him. (12) When he seizes the prey, who can restrain him? Who can say to him, What are you doing? (13) God will not restrain his anger; Rahab’s helpers lie prostrate before him.

(14) How then can I dispute with him? How can I find words to argue with him? (15) Though I am righteous, I cannot answer him; I can only implore the mercy of my Judge. (16) If I summoned him and he responded, I cannot believe that he would listen to me; because (17) he crushes me with a tempest and multiplies my wounds without just cause. (18) He does not permit my spirit to be restored, but saturates me with bitterness. (19) If it is a matter of strength, he is the Mighty One! And if it is a matter of justice, who can summon him? (20) Though I am innocent, my mouth would condemn me; I am blameless, but it would pronounce me guilty. (21) I am blameless! But I have no regard for myself; I loathe my life!

(22) It is all the same; that is why I say, He destroys both the blameless and the wicked. (23) When a scourge brings sudden death, he mocks the calamity of the innocent. (24) The earth is given into the hands of the wicked; he blindfolds its judges. If it is not he, who then is it?

(25) My days pass swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy. (26) They skim by like sailing vessels made of papyrus, like eagles swooping down on their prey. (27) If I say, “I will forget about my complaint; I will change my expression and be cheerful,” (28) I still dread my suffering, because I know that you will not acquit me. (29) Since I am considered wicked, why should I struggle in vain? (30) Even if I washed myself with soap and cleansed my hands with lye, (31) you would plunge me into the filthy ditch so that my very clothes would detest me. (32) A man like me cannot answer him, we cannot confront each other in court. (33) There is no arbitrator between us who can lay his hand on both of us—(34) some one who could remove God’s rod from me and not let his terror dismay me. (35) If there were such an arbitrator, I would speak, not fearing God; but as it is, I cannot do so by myself.

10 My soul loathes life; I will freely vent my complaint; I will speak from the bitterness of my soul. (2) I will say to God, Do not condemn me! Tell me what charges you have against me! (3) Do you derive a benefit from oppressing me and rejecting the work your hands have made, while you smile upon the schemes of the wicked? (4) Do you have eyes like a mortal? Do you see like a man sees? (5) Are your days like those of a mortal or your years like those of a man, (6) that you must search out my faults and probe after my sin—(7) even though you know that I am not guilty and that no one can rescue me from your hand?

(8) Your hands shaped me and assembled me; now you are destroying me! (9) Remember that you have made me out of clay; will you now turn me back to dust? (10) Did you not pour me out like milk, and curdle me like cheese? (11) Did you not clothe me with skin and flesh, did you not knit me together with bones and sinews? (12) You granted me life and showed me kindness, and by your providence you watched over my spirit. (13) But you have now hidden these things in your heart; I know that they are still with you.

(14) If I sin, you take note and you will not allow my offense to go unpunished. (15) If I am guilty, woe to me! But even if I am innocent, I cannot lift up my head. I am filled with disgrace and very much aware of my misery. (16) If I hold my head high in defiance, you would stalk me like a lion and display your awesome power against me. (17) You keep bringing new witnesses against me; your anger builds against me; you continually send reinforcements of troops against me. (18) Why did you bring me out of the womb? I wish I had died before any eye saw me! (19) I wish I had been as though I had never lived; I wish I had been taken directly from the womb to the grave. (20) Are not my few days almost over? Turn away from me so that I may smile for a moment, (21) before I go—never to return—to the land of darkness and shadows, (22) to the land of gloom and darkness, to the place of deep shadows and the dissolution of the body, where even the light is like darkness.

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