1Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
2“How long will you say such things?
Your words are a blustering wind.
3Does God pervert justice?
Does the Almighty pervert what is right?
4When your children sinned against him,
he gave them over to the penalty of their sin.
5But if you will seek God earnestly
and plead with the Almighty,
6if you are pure and upright,
even now he will rouse himself on your behalf
and restore you to your prosperous state.
7Your beginnings will seem humble,
so prosperous will your future be.
8“Ask the former generation
and find out what their ancestors learned,
9for we were born only yesterday and know nothing,
and our days on earth are but a shadow.
10Will they not instruct you and tell you?
Will they not bring forth words from their understanding?
11Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh?
Can reeds thrive without water?
12While still growing and uncut,
they wither more quickly than grass.
13Such is the destiny of all who forget God;
so perishes the hope of the godless.
14What they trust in is fragile;
what they rely on is a spider’s web.
15They lean on the web, but it gives way;
they cling to it, but it does not hold.
16They are like a well-watered plant in the sunshine,
spreading its shoots over the garden;
17it entwines its roots around a pile of rocks
and looks for a place among the stones.
18But when it is torn from its spot,
that place disowns it and says, ‘I never saw you.’
19Surely its life withers away,
and from the soil other plants grow.
20“Surely God does not reject one who is blameless
or strengthen the hands of evildoers.
21He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
and your lips with shouts of joy.
22Your enemies will be clothed in shame,
and the tents of the wicked will be no more.”