Isn't mankind consigned to forced labor on earth? Are not his days like those of a hired hand?
Like a slave he longs for shade; like a hired man he waits for his pay.
So I have been made to inherit months of futility, and troubled nights have been assigned to me.
When I lie down I think: When will I get up? But the evening drags on endlessly, and I toss and turn until dawn.
My flesh is clothed with maggots and encrusted with dirt. My skin forms scabs and then oozes.
My days pass more swiftly than a weaver's shuttle; they come to an end without hope.
Remember that my life is [but] a breath. My eye will never again see anything good.
The eye of anyone who looks on me will no longer see me. Your eyes will look for me, but I will be gone.
As a cloud fades away and vanishes, so the one who goes down to Sheol will never rise again.
He will never return to his house; his hometown will no longer remember him.
Therefore I will not restrain my mouth. I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
Am I the sea or a sea monster, that You keep me under guard?
When I say: My bed will comfort me, and my couch will ease my complaint,
then You frighten me with dreams, and terrify me with visions,
so that I prefer strangling, death rather than life in this body.
I give up! I will not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are a breath.
What is man, that You think so highly of him and pay so much attention to him?
You inspect him every morning, and put him to the test every moment.
Will You ever look away from me, or leave me alone until I swallow my saliva?
[If] I have sinned, what have I done to You, Watcher of mankind? Why have You made me Your target, so that I have become a burden to You?
Why not forgive my sin and pardon my transgression? For soon I will lie down in the grave. You will eagerly seek me, but I will be gone.
Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
How long will you go on saying these things? Your words are a blast of wind.
Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right?
Since your children sinned against Him, He gave them over to their rebellion.
But if you earnestly seek God and ask the Almighty for mercy,
if you are pure and upright, then He will move even now on your behalf and restore the home where your righteousness dwells.
Then, even if your beginnings were modest, your final days will be full of prosperity.
For ask the previous generation, and pay attention to what their fathers discovered,
since we were [born only] yesterday and know nothing. Our days on earth are but a shadow.
Will they not teach you and tell you and speak from their understanding?
Does papyrus grow where there is no marsh? Do reeds flourish without water?
While still uncut shoots, they would dry up quicker than any [other] plant.
Such is the destiny of all who forget God; the hope of the godless will perish.
His source of confidence is fragile; what he trusts in is a spider's web.
He leans on his web, but it doesn't stand firm. He grabs it, but it does not hold up.
He is an amply watered plant in the sunshine; his shoots spread out over his garden.
His roots are intertwined around a pile of rocks. He looks for a home among the stones.
If he is uprooted from his place, it will deny [knowing] him, saying, "I never saw you."
Surely this is the joy of his way of life; yet others will sprout from the dust.
Look, God does not reject a person of integrity, and He will not support evildoers.
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with a shout of joy.
Your enemies will be clothed with shame; the tent of the wicked will exist no longer.
Yes, I know what you've said is true, but how can a person be justified before God?
If one wanted to take Him to court, he could not answer God once in a thousand [times].
God is wise and all-powerful. Who has opposed Him and come out unharmed?
He removes mountains without their knowledge, overturning them in His anger.
He shakes the earth from its place so that its pillars tremble.
He commands the sun not to shine and seals off the stars.
He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.
He makes [the stars]: the Bear, Orion, the Pleiades, and the constellations of the southern sky.
He performs great and unsearchable things, wonders without number.
If He passes by me, I wouldn't see Him; [if] He goes right by, I wouldn't recognize Him.
If He snatches [something], who can stop Him? Who can ask Him, "What are You doing?"
God does not hold back His anger; Rahab's assistants cringe in fear beneath Him!
How then can I answer Him or choose my arguments against Him?
Even if I were in the right, I could not answer. I could only beg my judge for mercy.
If I summoned [Him] and He answered me, I do not believe He would pay attention to what I said.
He batters me with a whirlwind and multiplies my wounds without cause.
He doesn't let me catch my breath but soaks me with bitter experiences.
If it is a matter of strength, look, He is the Mighty One! If it is a matter of justice, who can summon Him?
Even if I were in the right, my own mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, my mouth would declare me guilty.
Though I am blameless, I no longer care about myself; I renounce my life.
It is all the same. Therefore I say, "He destroys both the blameless and the wicked."
When disaster brings sudden death, He mocks the despair of the innocent.
The earth is handed over to the wicked; He blindfolds its judges. If it isn't He, then who is it?
My days fly by faster than a runner; they flee without seeing any good.
They sweep by like boats made of papyrus, like an eagle swooping down on [its] prey.
If I said, "I will forget my complaint, change my expression, and smile,"
I would still live in terror of all my pains. I know You will not acquit me.
Since I will be found guilty, why should I labor in vain?
If I wash myself with snow, and cleanse my hands with lye,
then You dip me in a pit [of mud], and my own clothes despise me!
For He is not a man like me, that I can answer Him, that we can take each other to court.
There is no one to judge between us, to lay his hand on both of us.
Let Him take His rod away from me so His terror will no longer frighten me.
Then I would speak and not fear Him. But that is not the case; I am on my own.