1Then Job replied:2“Indeed, I know that this is true. But how can mere mortals prove their innocence before God?3Though they wished to dispute with him, they could not answer him one time out of a thousand.4His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?5He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in his anger.6He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble.7He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars.8He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.9He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.10He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.11When he passes me, I cannot see him; when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.12If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’13God does not restrain his anger; even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet.14“How then can I dispute with him? How can I find words to argue with him?15Though I were innocent, I could not answer him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy.16Even if I summoned him and he responded, I do not believe he would give me a hearing.17He would crush me with a storm and multiply my wounds for no reason.18He would not let me catch my breath but would overwhelm me with misery.19If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty! And if it is a matter of justice, who can challenge him?20Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty.21“Although I am blameless, I have no concern for myself; I despise my own life.22It is all the same; that is why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’23When a scourge brings sudden death, he mocks the despair of the innocent.24When a land falls into the hands of the wicked, he blindfolds its judges. If it is not he, then who is it?25“My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy.26They skim past like boats of papyrus, like eagles swooping down on their prey.27If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile,’28I still dread all my sufferings, for I know you will not hold me innocent.29Since I am already found guilty, why should I struggle in vain?30Even if I washed myself with soap and my hands with cleansing powder,31you would plunge me into a slime pit so that even my clothes would detest me.32“He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court.33If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together,34someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more.35Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.
English Standard Version
Job Replies: There Is No Arbiter
1Then Job answered and said:2“Truly I know that it is so: But how can a man be in the right before God? (Job 4:17)3If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times. (Job 10:2; Ps 143:2; Ro 3:20)4He is wise in heart and mighty in strength —who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?— (Ex 7:13; Ex 32:9; Job 12:13; Job 36:5)5he who removes mountains, and they know it not, when he overturns them in his anger,6who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; (Job 26:11; Ps 75:3; Isa 2:19; Isa 2:21; Isa 13:13; Hag 2:6; Hag 2:21; Heb 12:26)7who commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars;8who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea; (Job 26:7; Ps 104:2; Jer 10:12; Jer 51:15; Zec 12:1)9who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south; (Ge 1:16; Job 37:9; Job 38:31; Job 38:32; Am 5:8)10who does great things beyond searching out, and marvelous things beyond number. (Job 5:9)11Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not; he moves on, but I do not perceive him. (Job 23:8)12Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back? Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ (Job 11:10; Job 23:13; Isa 45:9; Jer 18:6; Ro 9:20)13“God will not turn back his anger; beneath him bowed the helpers of Rahab. (Job 26:12; Ps 87:4; Ps 89:10; Isa 30:7; Isa 51:9)14How then can I answer him, choosing my words with him? (Job 9:3; Job 15:16)15Though I am in the right, I cannot answer him; I must appeal for mercy to my accuser. (Job 8:5; Job 10:15)16If I summoned him and he answered me, I would not believe that he was listening to my voice.17For he crushes me with a tempest and multiplies my wounds without cause; (Job 2:3; Job 34:6)18he will not let me get my breath, but fills me with bitterness.19If it is a contest of strength, behold, he is mighty! If it is a matter of justice, who can summon him? (Job 9:4; Jer 49:19; Jer 50:44)20Though I am in the right, my own mouth would condemn me; though I am blameless, he would prove me perverse. (Job 15:6)21I am blameless; I regard not myself; I loathe my life. (Job 1:1; Job 7:16; Job 10:1)22It is all one; therefore I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’ (Ec 9:2; Eze 21:3)23When disaster brings sudden death, he mocks at the calamity of the innocent. (Isa 10:26)24The earth is given into the hand of the wicked; he covers the faces of its judges— if it is not he, who then is it? (Job 10:3; Job 12:17; Job 24:25)25“My days are swifter than a runner; they flee away; they see no good. (2Ch 30:6; Job 7:6; Jer 51:31)26They go by like skiffs of reed, like an eagle swooping on the prey. (Isa 18:2; Hab 1:8)27If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will put off my sad face, and be of good cheer,’ (Job 7:13; Ps 39:13)28I become afraid of all my suffering, for I know you will not hold me innocent. (Job 10:14; Ps 119:120)29I shall be condemned; why then do I labor in vain? (Job 10:2)30If I wash myself with snow and cleanse my hands with lye, (Job 22:30; Isa 1:25; Jer 2:22)31yet you will plunge me into a pit, and my own clothes will abhor me. (Job 19:19; Job 30:10)32For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, that we should come to trial together. (Ec 6:10; Ro 9:20)33There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both. (1Sa 2:25; Job 9:19; Job 16:21)34Let him take his rod away from me, and let not dread of him terrify me. (Job 13:21; Job 21:9; Job 33:7; Ps 39:10; Ps 89:32; Isa 10:24)35Then I would speak without fear of him, for I am not so in myself.