1But now, Job, listen to my words, attend carefully to everything I say. 2I am ready with my answer as you see; the words are on the tip of my tongue. 3My heart assures me that I speak with knowledge, that my lips speak with sincerity. 4For the spirit of God made me, the breath of the Almighty gave me life. 5Answer me, if you can, marshal your arguments and confront me. 6In God's sight a 33:6 In God's sight: or In strength. I am just what you are; I too am only a handful of clay. 7Fear of me need not abash you, nor any pressure from me overawe you.
8You have said your say in my hearing; I have listened to the words you spoke: 9‘I am innocent’, you said, ‘and free from offence, blameless and without guilt. 10Yet God finds occasions to put me in the wrong b 33:10 finds … wrong: so Syriac; Heb. finds ways of thwarting me. and counts me his enemy; 11he puts my feet in the stocks and keeps a close watch on all my conduct.’
12You are not in the right—that is my answer; for God is greater than any mortal. 13Why then plead your case with him, for no one can answer his arguments? 14Indeed, once God has spoken he does not speak a second time to confirm it. 15In dreams, in visions of the night, when deepest slumber falls on mortals, while they lie asleep in bed 16God imparts his message, and as a warning strikes them with terror. 17To turn someone from his evil deeds, to check human pride c 33:17 pride: prob. rdg; Heb. obscure. , 18at the edge of the pit he holds him back alive and stops him from crossing the river of death. 19Or again, someone learns his lesson on a bed of pain, tormented by a ceaseless ague in his bones; 20he turns from his food with loathing and has no relish for the choicest dishes; 21his flesh hangs loose on him, his bones are loosened and out of joint, 22his soul draws near to the pit, his life to the waters d 33:22 waters: Heb. killers. of death.
23Yet if an angel, one of a thousand, stands by him, a mediator between him and God, to expound God's righteousness to man and to secure mortal man his due e 33:23 and to … due: line transposed from verse 26. ; 24if he speaks on behalf of him and says, ‘Reprieve f 33:24 Reprieve: so some MSS; others have an unknown word. him from going down to the pit; I have the price of his release’: 25then his body will grow sturdier g 33:25 will grow sturdier: prob. rdg; Heb. unintelligible. than it was in his youth; he will return to the days of his prime.
26 h 33:26 See note on verse 23. If he entreats God to show him favour, to let him enter his presence with joy; 27if he affirms before everyone, ‘I have sinned, turned right into wrong without a thought’: 28then he saves himself from going down to the pit, he lives and sees the light. 29All these things God may do to someone again and yet again, 30bringing him back from the pit to enjoy the full light of life.
31Listen, Job, and attend to me; be silent, and let me speak. 32If you have anything to say, answer me; speak, for I shall gladly find you proved right. 33But if you have nothing, then listen to me: be silent, and I shall teach you wisdom.
a 33:6 In God's sight: or In strength.
b 33:10 finds … wrong: so Syriac; Heb. finds ways of thwarting me.
c 33:17 pride: prob. rdg; Heb. obscure.
d 33:22 waters: Heb. killers.
e 33:23 and to … due: line transposed from verse 26.
f 33:24 Reprieve: so some MSS; others have an unknown word.
g 33:25 will grow sturdier: prob. rdg; Heb. unintelligible.
h 33:26 See note on verse 23.