May 24: Job 20-23, Psalm 140

Job 20

Zophar Speaks: The Wicked Will Suffer

1 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:

2 “Therefore my thoughts answer me,
    because of my haste within me.
3 I hear censure that insults me,
    and out of my understanding a spirit answers me.
4 Do you not know this from of old,
    since man was placed on earth,
5 that the exulting of the wicked is short,
    and the joy of the godless but for a moment?
6 Though his height mount up to the heavens,
    and his head reach to the clouds,
7 he will perish forever like his own dung;
    those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’
8 He will fly away like a dream and not be found;
    he will be chased away like a vision of the night.
9 The eye that saw him will see him no more,
    nor will his place any more behold him.
10 His children will seek the favor of the poor,
    and his hands will give back his wealth.
11 His bones are full of his youthful vigor,
    but it will lie down with him in the dust.

12 “Though evil is sweet in his mouth,
    though he hides it under his tongue,
13 though he is loath to let it go
    and holds it in his mouth,
14 yet his food is turned in his stomach;
    it is the venom of cobras within him.
15 He swallows down riches and vomits them up again;
    God casts them out of his belly.
16 He will suck the poison of cobras;
    the tongue of a viper will kill him.
17 He will not look upon the rivers,
    the streams flowing with honey and curds.
18 He will give back the fruit of his toil
    and will not swallow it down;
from the profit of his trading
    he will get no enjoyment.
19 For he has crushed and abandoned the poor;
    he has seized a house that he did not build.

20 “Because he knew no contentment in his belly,
    he will not let anything in which he delights escape him.
21 There was nothing left after he had eaten;
    therefore his prosperity will not endure.
22 In the fullness of his sufficiency he will be in distress;
    the hand of everyone in misery will come against him.
23 To fill his belly to the full,
    God will send his burning anger against him
    and rain it upon him into his body.
24 He will flee from an iron weapon;
    a bronze arrow will strike him through.
25 It is drawn forth and comes out of his body;
    the glittering point comes out of his gallbladder;
    terrors come upon him.
26 Utter darkness is laid up for his treasures;
    a fire not fanned will devour him;
    what is left in his tent will be consumed.
27 The heavens will reveal his iniquity,
    and the earth will rise up against him.
28 The possessions of his house will be carried away,
    dragged off in the day of God's wrath.
29 This is the wicked man's portion from God,
    the heritage decreed for him by God.”

Job 21

Job Replies: The Wicked Do Prosper

1 Then Job answered and said:

2 “Keep listening to my words,
    and let this be your comfort.
3 Bear with me, and I will speak,
    and after I have spoken, mock on.
4 As for me, is my complaint against man?
    Why should I not be impatient?
5 Look at me and be appalled,
    and lay your hand over your mouth.
6 When I remember, I am dismayed,
    and shuddering seizes my flesh.
7 Why do the wicked live,
    reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
8 Their offspring are established in their presence,
    and their descendants before their eyes.
9 Their houses are safe from fear,
    and no rod of God is upon them.
10 Their bull breeds without fail;
    their cow calves and does not miscarry.
11 They send out their little boys like a flock,
    and their children dance.
12 They sing to the tambourine and the lyre
    and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.
13 They spend their days in prosperity,
    and in peace they go down to Sheol.
14 They say to God, ‘Depart from us!
    We do not desire the knowledge of your ways.
15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
    And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’
16 Behold, is not their prosperity in their hand?
    The counsel of the wicked is far from me.

17 “How often is it that the lamp of the wicked is put out?
    That their calamity comes upon them?
    That God distributes pains in his anger?
18 That they are like straw before the wind,
    and like chaff that the storm carries away?
19 You say, ‘God stores up their iniquity for their children.’
    Let him pay it out to them, that they may know it.
20 Let their own eyes see their destruction,
    and let them drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
21 For what do they care for their houses after them,
    when the number of their months is cut off?
22 Will any teach God knowledge,
    seeing that he judges those who are on high?
23 One dies in his full vigor,
    being wholly at ease and secure,
24 his pails full of milk
    and the marrow of his bones moist.
25 Another dies in bitterness of soul,
    never having tasted of prosperity.
26 They lie down alike in the dust,
    and the worms cover them.

27 “Behold, I know your thoughts
    and your schemes to wrong me.
28 For you say, ‘Where is the house of the prince?
    Where is the tent in which the wicked lived?’
29 Have you not asked those who travel the roads,
    and do you not accept their testimony
30 that the evil man is spared in the day of calamity,
    that he is rescued in the day of wrath?
31 Who declares his way to his face,
    and who repays him for what he has done?
32 When he is carried to the grave,
    watch is kept over his tomb.
33 The clods of the valley are sweet to him;
    all mankind follows after him,
    and those who go before him are innumerable.
34 How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?
    There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”

Job 22

Eliphaz Speaks: Job's Wickedness Is Great

1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

2 “Can a man be profitable to God?
    Surely he who is wise is profitable to himself.
3 Is it any pleasure to the Almighty if you are in the right,
    or is it gain to him if you make your ways blameless?
4 Is it for your fear of him that he reproves you
    and enters into judgment with you?
5 Is not your evil abundant?
    There is no end to your iniquities.
6 For you have exacted pledges of your brothers for nothing
    and stripped the naked of their clothing.
7 You have given no water to the weary to drink,
    and you have withheld bread from the hungry.
8 The man with power possessed the land,
    and the favored man lived in it.
9 You have sent widows away empty,
    and the arms of the fatherless were crushed.
10 Therefore snares are all around you,
    and sudden terror overwhelms you,
11 or darkness, so that you cannot see,
    and a flood of water covers you.

12 “Is not God high in the heavens?
    See the highest stars, how lofty they are!
13 But you say, ‘What does God know?
    Can he judge through the deep darkness?
14 Thick clouds veil him, so that he does not see,
    and he walks on the vault of heaven.’
15 Will you keep to the old way
    that wicked men have trod?
16 They were snatched away before their time;
    their foundation was washed away.
17 They said to God, ‘Depart from us,’
    and ‘What can the Almighty do to us?’
18 Yet he filled their houses with good things—
    but the counsel of the wicked is far from me.
19 The righteous see it and are glad;
    the innocent one mocks at them,
20 saying, ‘Surely our adversaries are cut off,
    and what they left the fire has consumed.’

21 “Agree with God, and be at peace;
    thereby good will come to you.
22 Receive instruction from his mouth,
    and lay up his words in your heart.
23 If you return to the Almighty you will be built up;
    if you remove injustice far from your tents,
24 if you lay gold in the dust,
    and gold of Ophir among the stones of the torrent-bed,
25 then the Almighty will be your gold
    and your precious silver.
26 For then you will delight yourself in the Almighty
    and lift up your face to God.
27 You will make your prayer to him, and he will hear you,
    and you will pay your vows.
28 You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you,
    and light will shine on your ways.
29 For when they are humbled you say, ‘It is because of pride’;
    but he saves the lowly.
30 He delivers even the one who is not innocent,
    who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”

Job 23

Job Replies: Where Is God?

1 Then Job answered and said:

2 “Today also my complaint is bitter;
    my hand is heavy on account of my groaning.
3 Oh, that I knew where I might find him,
    that I might come even to his seat!
4 I would lay my case before him
    and fill my mouth with arguments.
5 I would know what he would answer me
    and understand what he would say to me.
6 Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power?
    No; he would pay attention to me.
7 There an upright man could argue with him,
    and I would be acquitted forever by my judge.

8 “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there,
    and backward, but I do not perceive him;
9 on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him;
    he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
    when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.
11 My foot has held fast to his steps;
    I have kept his way and have not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from the commandment of his lips;
    I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.
13 But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back?
    What he desires, that he does.
14 For he will complete what he appoints for me,
    and many such things are in his mind.
15 Therefore I am terrified at his presence;
    when I consider, I am in dread of him.
16 God has made my heart faint;
    the Almighty has terrified me;
17 yet I am not silenced because of the darkness,
    nor because thick darkness covers my face.

Psalm 140

Deliver Me, O Lord, from Evil Men

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

1 Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men;
    preserve me from violent men,
2 who plan evil things in their heart
    and stir up wars continually.
3 They make their tongue sharp as a serpent's,
    and under their lips is the venom of asps. Selah

4 Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
    preserve me from violent men,
    who have planned to trip up my feet.
5 The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
    and with cords they have spread a net;
    beside the way they have set snares for me. Selah

6 I say to the Lord, You are my God;
    give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O Lord!
7 O Lord, my Lord, the strength of my salvation,
    you have covered my head in the day of battle.
8 Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
    do not further their evil plot, or they will be exalted! Selah

9 As for the head of those who surround me,
    let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
10 Let burning coals fall upon them!
    Let them be cast into fire,
    into miry pits, no more to rise!
11 Let not the slanderer be established in the land;
    let evil hunt down the violent man speedily!

12 I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted,
    and will execute justice for the needy.
13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
    the upright shall dwell in your presence.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.