1“Job, listen now to my words.
Pay attention to everything I say.
2I’m about to open my mouth.
My words are on the tip of my tongue.
3What I say comes from an honest heart.
My lips speak only what I know is true.
4The Spirit of God has made me.
The breath of the Mighty One gives me life.
5So answer me if you can.
Stand up and argue your case in front of me.
6To God I’m just the same as you.
I too am a piece of clay.
7You don’t have to be afraid of me.
My hand won’t be too heavy on you.
8“But I heard what you said.
And here are the exact words I heard.
9You said, ‘I’m pure. I have done no wrong.
I’m clean. I’m free from sin.
10But God has found fault with me.
He thinks I’m his enemy.
11He puts my feet in chains.
He watches every step I take.’
12“But I’m telling you that you aren’t right when you talk like that.
After all, God is greater than any human being.
13Why do you claim that God
never answers anybody’s questions?
14He speaks in one way and then another.
But we do not even realize it.
15He might speak in a dream or in a vision at night.
That’s when people are sound asleep in their beds.
16He might speak in their ears.
His warnings might terrify them.
17He warns them in order to turn them away from sinning.
He wants to keep them from being proud.
18He wants to stop them from going down into the grave.
He doesn’t want them to be killed by swords.
19Someone might be punished by suffering in bed.
The pain in their bones might never go away.
20They might feel so bad they can’t eat anything.
They might even hate the finest food.
21Their body might waste away to nothing.
Their bones might have been hidden.
But now they stick out.
22They might approach the very edge of the grave.
The messengers of death might come for them.
23“But suppose there is an angel who will speak up for him.
The angel is very special. He’s one out of a thousand.
He will tell that person how to do what is right.
24That angel will be gracious to them. He’ll say to God,
‘Spare them from going down into the grave.
I know a way that can set them free.’
25Then their body is made like new again.
They become as strong and healthy as when they were young.
26Then that person can pray to God and be blessed by him.
They will see God’s face and shout for joy.
God will make them well and happy again.
27Then that person will come to others and say,
‘I sinned. I made what is wrong appear to be right.
But I wasn’t punished as I should have been.
28God has set me free. He has kept me from going down into the darkness of the grave.
So I’ll live to enjoy the light of life.’
29“God does all these things to people.
In fact, he does them again and again.
30He wants to stop people from going down into the darkness of the grave.
Then the light of life will shine on them.
31“Pay attention, Job! Listen to me!
Be quiet so I can speak.
32If you have anything to say, answer me.
Speak up. I want to help you be cleared of all charges.
33But if you don’t have anything to say, listen to me.
Be quiet so I can teach you how to be wise.”