What a comfort it is to know that in our hour of darkness, the Lord will remember those things which we have done in secret for the poor and will reward us openly (Matthew 6:4)!
Job rehearsed his heart for the poor as a statement of his genuine consistency before God. He looked at his servants as his equals because he believed that "God created both me and my servants. He created us both" (Job 31:15). He ministered to the needs of those less fortunate by helping widows and caring for the fatherless (v. 18).
James said, "Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us" (James 1:27). David observed, "Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor. The Lord rescues them in times of trouble" (Psalm 41:1).
Rather than seeing it as a burden, we must look upon helping someone in need as an opportunity from God to show love. Our concern for the less fortunate may one day be revisited upon us!
3 Is it not ruin
5 “If I have walked with falsehood
or my foot has hurried after deceit
7 if my steps have turned from the path,
if my heart has been led by my eyes,
or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door,
10 then may my wife grind
and may other men sleep with her.
11 For that would have been wicked,
it would have uprooted my harvest.
13 “If I have denied justice to any of my servants,
whether male or female,
14 what will I do when God confronts me?
17 if I have kept my bread to myself,
18 but from my youth I reared them as a father would,
and from my birth I guided the widow
or the needy
20 and their hearts did not bless me
for warming them with the fleece
22 then let my arm fall from the shoulder,
24 “If I have put my trust in gold
26 if I have regarded the sun
or the moon
30 I have not allowed my mouth to sin
31 if those of my household have never said,
‘Who has not been filled with Job’s meat?’
32 but no stranger had to spend the night in the street,
34 because I so feared the crowd
and so dreaded the contempt of the clans
I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me;
let my accuser
36 Surely I would wear it on my shoulder,
I would put it on like a crown.
I would present it to him as to a ruler.
38 “if my land cries out against me
and all its furrows are wet
39 if I have devoured its yield without payment
32 So these three men stopped answering Job,
6 So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said:
“I am young in years,
and you are old;
that is why I was fearful,
not daring to tell you what I know.
7 I thought, ‘Age should speak;
8 But it is the spirit
9 It is not only the old
I too will tell you what I know.
11 I waited while you spoke,
I listened to your reasoning;
while you were searching for words,
12 I gave you my full attention.
But not one of you has proved Job wrong;
none of you has answered his arguments.
let God, not a man, refute
14 But Job has not marshaled his words against me,
and I will not answer him with your arguments.
15 “They are dismayed and have no more to say;
words have failed them.
16 Must I wait, now that they are silent,
now that they stand there with no reply?
17 I too will have my say;
18 For I am full of words,
19 inside I am like bottled-up wine,
20 I must speak and find relief;
22 for if I were skilled in flattery,
33 “But now, Job, listen
2 I am about to open my mouth;
my words are on the tip of my tongue.
my lips sincerely speak what I know.
5 Answer me
I too am a piece of clay.
7 No fear of me should alarm you,
8 “But you have said in my hearing—
I heard the very words—
I am clean and free from sin.
10 Yet God has found fault with me;
he considers me his enemy.
11 He fastens my feet in shackles;
12 “But I tell you, in this you are not right,
that he responds to no one’s words
though no one perceives it.
when deep sleep
as they slumber in their beds,
17 to turn them from wrongdoing
and keep them from pride,
21 Their flesh wastes away to nothing,
22 They draw near to the pit,
23 Yet if there is an angel at their side,
24 and he is gracious to that person and says to God,
‘Spare them from going down to the pit;
I have found a ransom for them
25 let their flesh be renewed
let them be restored as in the days of their youth’
27 And they will go to others and say,
and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.’
twice, even three times
32 If you have anything to say, answer me;
33 But if not, then listen to me;
31 “I made a covenant with my eyes
not to look with lust at a young woman.
2 For what has God above chosen for us?
What is our inheritance from the Almighty on high?
3 Isn’t it calamity for the wicked
and misfortune for those who do evil?
4 Doesn’t he see everything I do
and every step I take?
5 “Have I lied to anyone
or deceived anyone?
6 Let God weigh me on the scales of justice,
for he knows my integrity.
7 If I have strayed from his pathway,
or if my heart has lusted for what my eyes have seen,
or if I am guilty of any other sin,
8 then let someone else eat the crops I have planted.
Let all that I have planted be uprooted.
9 “If my heart has been seduced by a woman,
or if I have lusted for my neighbor’s wife,
10 then let my wife serve
let other men sleep with her.
11 For lust is a shameful sin,
a crime that should be punished.
12 It is a fire that burns all the way to hell.
It would wipe out everything I own.
13 “If I have been unfair to my male or female servants
when they brought their complaints to me,
14 how could I face God?
What could I say when he questioned me?
15 For God created both me and my servants.
He created us both in the womb.
16 “Have I refused to help the poor,
or crushed the hopes of widows?
17 Have I been stingy with my food
and refused to share it with orphans?
18 No, from childhood I have cared for orphans like a father,
and all my life I have cared for widows.
19 Whenever I saw the homeless without clothes
and the needy with nothing to wear,
20 did they not praise me
for providing wool clothing to keep them warm?
21 “If I raised my hand against an orphan,
knowing the judges would take my side,
22 then let my shoulder be wrenched out of place!
Let my arm be torn from its socket!
23 That would be better than facing God’s judgment.
For if the majesty of God opposes me, what hope is there?
24 “Have I put my trust in money
or felt secure because of my gold?
25 Have I gloated about my wealth
and all that I own?
26 “Have I looked at the sun shining in the skies,
or the moon walking down its silver pathway,
27 and been secretly enticed in my heart
to throw kisses at them in worship?
28 If so, I should be punished by the judges,
for it would mean I had denied the God of heaven.
29 “Have I ever rejoiced when disaster struck my enemies,
or become excited when harm came their way?
30 No, I have never sinned by cursing anyone
or by asking for revenge.
31 “My servants have never said,
‘He let others go hungry.’
32 I have never turned away a stranger
but have opened my doors to everyone.
33 “Have I tried to hide my sins like other people do,
concealing my guilt in my heart?
34 Have I feared the crowd
or the contempt of the masses,
so that I kept quiet and stayed indoors?
35 “If only someone would listen to me!
Look, I will sign my name to my defense.
Let the Almighty answer me.
Let my accuser write out the charges against me.
36 I would face the accusation proudly.
I would wear it like a crown.
37 For I would tell him exactly what I have done.
I would come before him like a prince.
38 “If my land accuses me
and all its furrows cry out together,
39 or if I have stolen its crops
or murdered its owners,
40 then let thistles grow on that land instead of wheat,
and weeds instead of barley.”
Job’s words are ended.
32 Job’s three friends refused to reply further to him because he kept insisting on his innocence.
2 Then Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the clan of Ram, became angry. He was angry because Job refused to admit that he had sinned and that God was right in punishing him.3 He was also angry with Job’s three friends, for they made God
“I am young and you are old,
so I held back from telling you what I think.
7 I thought, ‘Those who are older should speak,
for wisdom comes with age.’
8 But there is a spirit
the breath of the Almighty within them,
that makes them intelligent.
9 Sometimes the elders are not wise.
Sometimes the aged do not understand justice.
10 So listen to me,
and let me tell you what I think.
11 “I have waited all this time,
listening very carefully to your arguments,
listening to you grope for words.
12 I have listened,
but not one of you has refuted Job
or answered his arguments.
13 And don’t tell me, ‘He is too wise for us.
Only God can convince him.’
14 If Job had been arguing with me,
I would not answer with your kind of logic!
15 You sit there baffled,
with nothing more to say.
16 Should I continue to wait, now that you are silent?
Must I also remain silent?
17 No, I will say my piece.
I will speak my mind.
18 For I am full of pent-up words,
and the spirit within me urges me on.
19 I am like a cask of wine without a vent,
like a new wineskin ready to burst!
20 I must speak to find relief,
so let me give my answers.
21 I won’t play favorites
or try to flatter anyone.
22 For if I tried flattery,
my Creator would soon destroy me.
33 “Listen to my words, Job;
pay attention to what I have to say.
2 Now that I have begun to speak,
let me continue.
3 I speak with all sincerity;
I speak the truth.
4 For the Spirit of God has made me,
and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
5 Answer me, if you can;
make your case and take your stand.
6 Look, you and I both belong to God.
I, too, was formed from clay.
7 So you don’t need to be afraid of me.
I won’t come down hard on you.
8 “You have spoken in my hearing,
and I have heard your very words.
9 You said, ‘I am pure; I am without sin;
I am innocent; I have no guilt.
10 God is picking a quarrel with me,
and he considers me his enemy.
11 He puts my feet in the stocks
and watches my every move.’
12 “But you are wrong, and I will show you why.
For God is greater than any human being.
13 So why are you bringing a charge against him?
Why say he does not respond to people’s complaints?
14 For God speaks again and again,
though people do not recognize it.
15 He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night,
when deep sleep falls on people
as they lie in their beds.
16 He whispers in their ears
and terrifies them with warnings.
17 He makes them turn from doing wrong;
he keeps them from pride.
18 He protects them from the grave,
from crossing over the river of death.
19 “Or God disciplines people with pain on their sickbeds,
with ceaseless aching in their bones.
20 They lose their appetite
for even the most delicious food.
21 Their flesh wastes away,
and their bones stick out.
22 They are at death’s door;
the angels of death wait for them.
23 “But if an angel from heaven appears—
a special messenger to intercede for a person
and declare that he is upright—
24 he will be gracious and say,
‘Rescue him from the grave,
for I have found a ransom for his life.’
25 Then his body will become as healthy as a child’s,
firm and youthful again.
26 When he prays to God,
he will be accepted.
And God will receive him with joy
and restore him to good standing.
27 He will declare to his friends,
‘I sinned and twisted the truth,
but it was not worth it.
28 God rescued me from the grave,
and now my life is filled with light.’
29 “Yes, God does these things
again and again for people.
30 He rescues them from the grave
so they may enjoy the light of life.
31 Mark this well, Job. Listen to me,
for I have more to say.
32 But if you have anything to say, go ahead.
Speak, for I am anxious to see you justified.
33 But if not, then listen to me.
Keep silent and I will teach you wisdom!”
31 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?
2 For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high?
3 Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?
4 Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?
5 If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit;
6 Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity.
7 If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands;
8 Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out.
9 If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour's door;
10 Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her.
11 For this is an heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges.
12 For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase.
13 If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me;
14 What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?
15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?
16 If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail;
17 Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof;
18 (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother's womb;)
19 If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering;
20 If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;
21 If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate:
22 Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone.
23 For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure.
24 If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence;
25 If I rejoice because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much;
26 If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness;
27 And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand:
28 This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.
29 If I rejoice at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him:
30 Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul.
31 If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied.
32 The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller.
33 If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom:
34 Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door?
35 Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.
36 Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me.
37 I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him.
38 If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain;
39 If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life:
40 Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.
32 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.
2 Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.
3 Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.
4 Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he.
5 When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.
6 And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.
7 I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.
8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
9 Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.
10 Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.
11 Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say.
12 Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words:
13 Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man.
14 Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches.
15 They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking.
16 When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;)
17 I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion.
18 For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.
19 Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.
20 I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer.
21 Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.
22 For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.
33 Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words.
2 Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth.
3 My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.
4 The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.
5 If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up.
6 Behold, I am according to thy wish in God's stead: I also am formed out of the clay.
7 Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee.
8 Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying,
9 I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.
10 Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy,
11 He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths.
12 Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.
13 Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.
14 For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
16 Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
17 That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
18 He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.
19 He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:
20 So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.
21 His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.
22 Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.
23 If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:
24 Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.
25 His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the days of his youth:
26 He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.
27 He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;
28 He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.
29 Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,
30 To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.
31 Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak.
32 If thou hast anything to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee.
33 If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.
3 Are we beginning to commend ourselves
4 Such confidence
7 Now if the ministry that brought death,
12 Therefore, since we have such a hope,
3 Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not!2 The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our
4 We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ.5 It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.6 He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.
7 The old way,
12 Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold.13 We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away.14 But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ.15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.
16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
3 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?
2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:
13 And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:
14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.
15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.
17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
1 Vindicate me, my God,
and plead my cause
against an unfaithful nation.
2 You are God my stronghold.
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.
I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.
5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
1 Declare me innocent, O God!
Defend me against these ungodly people.
Rescue me from these unjust liars.
2 For you are God, my only safe haven.
Why have you tossed me aside?
Why must I wander around in grief,
oppressed by my enemies?
3 Send out your light and your truth;
let them guide me.
Let them lead me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you live.
4 There I will go to the altar of God,
to God—the source of all my joy.
I will praise you with my harp,
O God, my God!
5 Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God!
43 Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.
2 For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
and the rod they wield in fury will be broken.
8 Those who plant injustice will harvest disaster,
and their reign of terror will come to an end.
9 Blessed are those who are generous,
because they feed the poor.
8 He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.
9 He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.