When bad things happen to good people

An EasyEnglish Bible Version with Notes (1200 word vocabulary) of the Book of Job

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About this book

In this book we read the story of a man called Job. Job was a rich man. But *Satan destroyed everything that he owned. Job was also a very good man. So he does not understand why such bad things have happened in his life. He has three friends who try to give him answers. But the things that they say are not always right. Another man tries to help. But Job does not believe what he says either. At the end of the story, God speaks to Job. And Job, in the end, understands that he cannot know everything. Only God knows everything. Only God is completely powerful. But we, like Job, must obey God, even if very bad things happen in our lives.

Chapter 1

v1 Many years ago, a man lived in a place called Uz. His name was Job and he was a very good man. He loved God and he obeyed him. And he refused to do wrong things. v2 Job had seven sons and three daughters. v3 He had 7000 sheep and 3000 *camels. He had 500 pairs of *oxen and 500 *donkeys. And he had many servants. There was no one richer than Job for many miles.

Some of the events that you read about in this part of the book (to Chapter 2 verse 7) happen in *heaven. Job does not know anything about these events. So he does not know why all the bad things have happened. But he still wants us to worship God (to give thanks to God; to show God that he loves him very much) (verse 21).

v4 Each year, Job’s sons had birthday parties in their homes. They had lots to eat and lots to drink. And they always asked their three sisters to come. v5 After each party, Job would ask his children to visit him. He thought that they might have done wrong things. Or perhaps they had had wrong thoughts about God. So he would get up early the next morning and make a sacrifice (a gift that God will accept) to God for each of them. They might have done wrong things. So he would ask God to *forgive them those things.

v6 One day, the *Lord’s *angels were with him in *heaven. *Satan was with them. v7 The *Lord asked *Satan where he had been. *Satan replied, ‘I have been going all over the earth. I have been watching the things that happen there.’

v8 Then the *Lord asked *Satan, ‘You have seen Job, who is my servant. What do you think about him? There is no one on earth that is like him. He is a very good person. He loves me and he obeys me. He refuses to do things that are wrong.’

v9 ‘He may love you and obey you’, *Satan replied. ‘There are good reasons why he does that. v10 You stop bad things happening to him. So he knows that he will be safe. You do this for all his family. You make sure that all his things are safe. You have helped his business so that he has become very rich. He has many sheep and lots of cows. v11 But take away the things that he has. Then he will not love you or obey you.’

v12 So the *Lord told *Satan, ‘Job has many things. Do what you want with any of them. But do not hurt Job.’ Then *Satan left.

*Satan destroys everything that Job owns

v13 Job’s sons and daughters were at a party in the home of his oldest son. v14 A servant rushed up to Job. He told him about things that had just happened. This is what the servant told Job. ‘We were using your *oxen to plough the fields. Near where we worked, your *donkeys were eating grass in a field. v15 Some bad men from the south came and they attacked us. They took the *oxen and the *donkeys. And they killed nearly all your servants. But they did not kill me. Instead, I ran away. And I have come to tell you what has happened.’ v16 That servant was still speaking, when a second servant ran up to Job. He said, ‘God has sent a fire that has killed your sheep and nearly all your servants. But the fire did not kill me. And I have come to tell you what has happened.’ v17 Before that servant had finished speaking, a third servant ran up to Job. He said, ‘Bad men from the north have attacked your *camels and have taken them away. They killed nearly all your servants. But they did not kill me. Instead, I ran away. And I have come to tell you what has happened.’

*Satan kills Job’s children

v18 That servant was still speaking, when a fourth servant ran up to Job. He said, ‘Your children were at a party. They were drinking *wine at the home of your oldest son. v19 There was a bad storm and the wind destroyed the house. The house fell on all your children and it killed them. But I am still alive. And I have come to tell you what has happened.’

What Job did

v20 When Job heard all this he was very sad. He tore his clothes and he cut off all his hair. He did this because he was so sad. He fell to the ground, because he still wanted to *worship God. v21 And he said, ‘When we are born we have nothing. When we die, we take nothing with us. God has given us all the things that we have. Sometimes he takes away the things that we have. Only the *Lord gives us things. It is only the *Lord that takes them away again. But I will still praise the name of the *Lord!’ (‘Praise’ means to say how good a person is; to tell God how great he is.)

v22 Even after all the things that had happened, Job still did not do wrong things. Nor did he say that God had done anything wrong.

Chapter 2

v1 The next time that the *angels were with the *Lord, *Satan was there with them. v2 The *Lord asked *Satan where he had been. *Satan replied, ‘I have been going all over the earth.’ v3 Then the *Lord asked *Satan, ‘You have seen Job, who is my servant. What do you think about him? There is no one on earth that is like him. He is a very good person. He loves me and he obeys me. He refuses to do things that are wrong. Job had not done anything wrong. But I let you attack him. You destroyed all that he had. Even then, he did not change. He still loves me and he still obeys me.’

v4 *Satan answered, ‘A man will only feel pain if he, himself, is hurting. A man will do anything to save his own life. v5 But if Job had great pain in his own body, he would not love you. Nor would he obey you.’ v6 So the *Lord agreed that *Satan could cause Job pain. He could cause him as much pain as he wanted. But the *Lord told *Satan not to kill him. v7 So Satan left. And he caused Job to have very painful skin all over his body, from his head to his feet.

v8 Then Job sat down among the ashes. He did this to show how sad he was. He sat there and removed bad bits of skin with a piece of a broken pot. v9 His wife said, ‘You cannot still believe that God is good. You should *curse God and die.’ v10 Job replied, ‘Do not talk like a fool! We take the good things that God gives us. So we should not be surprised if he sends us trouble as well.’ Many bad things had happened to Job but he never said any wrong things about God.

Job’s friends come to try to help him

v11 Three of Job’s friends heard about his troubles and so they decided to visit him. The first friend was called Eliphaz. He lived in a place called Teman. The second friend was called Bildad. He lived in a place called Shuah. The third friend was called Zophar. He lived in a place called Naamah. They came because they wanted to help Job. v12 When they came near enough to see Job, they did not recognise him. He looked so ill. They were so sad that they tore their clothes. Then they put ash on their heads and cried a lot. v13 For a whole week, they sat on the ground near Job. All that time, they knew how bad his pain was. So they did not say anything to him.

Chapter 3

So many bad things have happened. Job knows that God is good. So he does not understand why these things have happened. He thinks that God is not fair. And he has so many troubles and so much pain that he wants to die.

Job speaks to God about the things that have happened

v1 In the end, Job *cursed the day when he was born.

v2 He spoke to God. And this is what he said to God.

v3 ‘Forget the day of my birth.

            Forget the night when a son was born to my parents.

v4 Forget about that day because it was a bad day.

v5 I want people to think about that day as a dark day.

            I want it to be as dark as night.

v6 Make it a date that no one remembers.

            Hide it from the thoughts of everyone.

v7 Do not let children be born on that date.

            Do not let people be happy on that date.

v8 Some people know how to speak with monsters (strange animals that we think about in our minds).

Let those people *curse that day.

v9 On that date, make dark the stars that shine in the morning.

            Do not let the sun shine at dawn.

v10 I ask all this because on that day I was born into a world full of trouble.

v11 It would have been better if I had died at birth.

            My mother should have let me die.

v12 Instead, she put me on her knee and I drank from her breast.

v13 If I had died at birth, I would now be with all the other dead people.

v14 Kings and rulers are there, too.

            Those kings had lived in buildings that had been beautiful. And I would be with them.

v15 I would be with rulers who once were rich with gold and silver (white metal like gold).

v16 If I had been born dead, my friends would have buried me.

            Then I would not have lived to wake each day.

Then I would not have had a life full of trouble.

v17 After death, no one causes any more troubles.

            This is true for people who have done wrong things during their lives.

And people who have been very tired during their lives can rest.

v18 Everyone is there. People who were rich are there.

            And people who were poor are there.

v19 It is a place where no one is in prison.

            It is a place where slaves do not have to work for a master.

v20 My life is so difficult that I always feel sad.

            So I want to know why God lets me live.

v21 Nothing could make me happier than to be dead.

v22 I want to die more than I want to be rich.

v23 I want to know why I should go on living.

            God has decided how my life will be.

I do not know the way that I should go.

            I cannot hope to have a happy life.

v24 I cannot eat because I am crying so much.

            I cannot drink because I weep all the time.

v25 The things that frighten me most have happened to me.

v26 I cannot rest because of all the troubles that I have.’

Chapter 4

Now Job’s friend Eliphaz tries to explain to Job why bad things have happened. He says that God is kind to good people. And he *punishes people who are bad. So if bad things have happened, Job must have done wrong things. But this is not right. Many bad things happen, even if we live our lives in the right way.

Job’s friend Eliphaz speaks to him

v1 Job’s friend Eliphaz lived in a place called Teman. He spoke with Job. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘Please be patient.

            Please listen to the things that I say.

v3 Remember how you have helped people.

            You have spoken to people.

And you have told them the right way to live.

            v4 You have told them how to be strong.

v5 But now you have many troubles.

            And you feel sad and weak because of your troubles.

v6 You love God and obey him. And you try to live the right way.

            So you can still hope that your troubles will go away.

v7 Many people live the right way. They do not die while they are young.

            God does not kill people who only do good things.

v8 I will tell you what I have seen.

            People have trouble in their lives when they do wrong things.

v9 God is angry with people who are like that.

            And he will kill them.

When God is angry it is like a strong wind.

            When he is angry bad people die. They die like they would in a bad storm.

v10 Think about *lions. They are strong animals.

            But if God breaks a *lion’s teeth, it cannot eat.

v11 So it is hungry and, in the end, it dies.

            And the young *lions will run away to find their food.

Bad people may be strong too.

            But, if God is angry, they cannot fight him.

v12 One night I heard a quiet voice.

            Someone spoke to me and told me a secret.

v13 I was asleep, but my dreams woke me.

            v14 I was afraid and my hair stood up.

A thing that I could not see passed across my face.

            v15 Then something appeared in front of me.

v16 It did not have a shape that I recognised.

            Everything was quiet and then I heard the voice. This is what I heard.

v17 “God made us all. And he sees the things that we do.

            He knows that no one is completely good.

v18 He says that even his servants and his *angels do wrong things.

            v19 God made us all from clay. (You mix earth and water to make clay.)

And we are no stronger than insects that fly.

            So we cannot hope to have lives with no troubles.

v20 All our lives are very short.

            Insects are born after dawn and they die before the end of the day.

No one will ever see them again.

            Our lives are so short that they seem like that.

v21 Our lives are like *tents.

            There are pegs (pieces of bent metal) that keep a *tent in the right place.

When you remove the pegs, you can take the *tent away.

            So a small thing can cause us to die.

And often people learn nothing during their lives.” ’

Chapter 5

v1 Eliphaz continued to speak.

‘You may shout, Job, and ask someone to help you. But no one will answer you.

            Even if you ask the *angels, they will not help you.

v2 A fool may be so angry with other people that he dies.

            He may want to have the things that they have. He may die because he wants them too much.

v3 I myself have seen the way that a fool lives. He seems to be happy.

            And his life seems to be comfortable. But soon God sends trouble to him.

v4 His children are not safe any more. People will say that they have done wrong things.

            Then no one will say that his children are honest.

v5 Hungry people take plants from his fields. They even take them from among the weeds.

            And other people use his money to buy their drinks.

v6 But difficulties do not grow like plants.

            And troubles do not come from the ground.

v7 You know that from every fire smoke rises into the air.

            So every man that is born has troubles in his life.

v8 I suggest that you ask God to help you.

            I suggest that you tell him about your problems.

v9 He does things that no one can understand.

            No one can count his miracles (things that only God can do).

v10 He gives rain for the earth.

            He sends water for the fields.

v11 He helps those who are poor.

            People may be sad because a friend has died. But God makes them happy again.

v12 Clever people may try to do wrong things.

            But God will not let them do such things.

v13 He sees the things that clever people are doing.

            And he causes them to stop doing those things.

v14 They find that it is dark at midday.

            They can see no better in the day than at night.

v15 He saves poor people from death.

            And he stops bad people from hitting them.

v16 God helps poor people. So they can hope that their future lives will be good.

            But those who do wrong things must be quiet.

v17 If God teaches you the right way to live, you should be happy.

            He may decide that you should have difficulties in your life.

            Do not be sad if the *Almighty decides that.

v18 He may cause you to have pain. But he will make you well again.

            He may hurt you, but he will give you health again.

v19 Often he will save you from trouble.

            Many times, he will keep you safe from danger.

v20 He will keep you alive if there is a famine (when plants have not grown and there is no food).

            And he will also keep you alive if there is a war.

v21 He will not let people say bad things about you.

            And you will not be afraid when people attack you.

v22 You will laugh if there is a famine. You will smile if there is danger.

            You will not be afraid of wild animals.

v23 They will not be wild any more when you are near them.

            And there will be no danger in your fields.

v24 You will know that your home is safe. You will check all the things you have.

            And you will find that they are all there.

v25 You will know that you will have a large family. You will have many children and grandchildren.

            It will not be any easier to count them than to count the grass in a field.

v26 You will live for many years. Plants grow until the right time to pick them.

            So you will live until it is the right time for you to die. And you will have good health until you die.

v27 We have checked all this. And we have found that it is true.

            So listen to what we say. And do what we suggest.’

Chapter 6

Now Job tells Eliphaz that he has not done any wrong things. His friends have disappointed him because they have not been able to help him. And he is angry with God, too.

Job replies to Eliphaz

v1 Then Job replied:

v2 ‘It is not possible to measure my troubles

            or to weigh my pains!

v3 If it were possible to weigh them, they would be heavier than all the sand on the shore.

            That is why I have spoken without thinking first.

v4 The *Almighty has shot his arrows at me (a hunter shoots arrows from his bow).

            Their poison is in my body. I am very afraid of what God is going to do to me.

v5 A wild *donkey is quiet when it has grass to eat.

            An *ox does not make a loud noise when it has food.

v6 You cannot enjoy food that has no salt in it.

            If you only eat the white part of an egg, it will not be very nice.

v7 I refuse to eat food like that.

            Whatever I eat makes me ill.

v8 God will not give me what I ask for. I want to know why this is.

            When I pray he does not answer.

v9 I want to die. And I have prayed that God would kill me.

            v10 I have had much pain. But I know that God is holy (all good with nothing bad in him).

And I have always done what he has told me to do.

            So, because I know this, I am ready to die.

v11 I am not strong enough to hope for a better life.

            There is no reason why I should be patient.

v12 I am not as strong as stone.

            God did not make my body from bronze (a brown metal).

v13 I am not strong enough to help myself.

            And there is nowhere that I can go to get help.

v14 I may have stopped obeying God.

            But I still need friends who will love me. And I need friends who will help me.

v15 But, my friends, you are not here to help me when I need you.

            You are like some rivers. Sometimes there is water and sometimes there is no water.

v16 In the spring, the sun warms the ice and the snow and there is a lot of water.

            v17 But in the summer, there may be no rain. And the sun is so hot that there is no water.

v18 Travellers get lost when they go to look for water.

            They leave the proper paths and they die in the *desert.

v19 Travellers from Tema look for water. People on business from Sheba look for water.

            But they are all disappointed.

v20 They are sad, because they had hoped to find water.

            But when they arrive, they are disappointed.

v21 Now you too have failed to help me.

            You see what has happened to me. And you are afraid.

v22 I have never asked you to send me a gift.

            Nor have I asked you to pay money so that I could be free.

v23 I have not asked you to save me from my enemy.

            Nor have I asked you to help me get free from cruel people.

v24 Tell me things that are true. Then I will be quiet.

            Tell me if I have done something wrong.

v25 The true words that an honest man speaks will make the listener sad.

            You may argue with me. But the things that you say mean nothing.

v26 You do not believe me when I speak to you. So you should not try to argue with me.

            There is nothing more that I can hope for in this life. You know that.

v27 But you would sell to be slaves, children who had no parents.

            You would even sell your best friend.

v28 But now, please look at me.

            I only tell you things that are true.

v29 Please think again about what you say.

            Think again. I want people to know that I am an honest man.

v30 The things that I say are true.

            I know what is right. And I know what is wrong.

Chapter 7

v1 Men always have a lot of work to do on this earth.

            They have to work every day like servants.

v2 A slave waits for the end of the day so that he can stop his work.

            A servant waits until his master pays him.

v3 But I have nothing to wait for.

            Every night, when I lie down to sleep, I am sad.

v4 When I lie down I want the night to end.

            But it does not end, and I cannot sleep. At last, dawn comes.

v5 There are insects all over my body.

            All of my skin is painful.

v6 My life is passing very fast. It is passing as fast as the shuttle of a weaver.

            But I cannot hope that it will get any better.’

A ‘weaver’ is a person who makes cloth. A ‘shuttle’ is a thing that he uses to make the cloth.

v7 ‘Remember, God, that my life is as short as a *breath.

            I know that I will never be happy again.

v8 You see me now but soon you will not see me.

            You will look for me, but I will have gone.

v9 A cloud passes across the sky and then it is gone. You never see it again.

            That is like a person who dies. He never returns to the earth.

v10 He will never come back to his house again.

            People who knew him soon forget him.

v11 So I will not be quiet. I will speak to tell you how angry I am.

            I will speak to say how very sad I feel.

v12 Perhaps you have to watch the animals that live in the sea.

            But I do not understand why you have to watch me every day.

v13 I lie down and try to rest.

            Perhaps my pain will be less when I am asleep.

v14 But even then you cause me to dream and that frightens me.

            I am afraid when I see things in the night.

v15 I would rather die than continue a life like this.

v16 I hate my life and I do not want to live any more.

My life has no meaning.

            So let me die alone.

v17 Why do you think that men are so important?

            Why do you take such an interest in men?

v18 Why do you watch them every morning?

            Why do you check what they are doing each moment of the day?

v19 It seems that you never stop watching me.

            It seems that I cannot be alone, even for a moment.

v20 Have I done things that are wrong?

            You watch what men do. I know that. But what have I done to you?

Why have you chosen to watch me?

            Have I caused trouble for you?

v21 Why do you not excuse me?

            Why do you not *forgive me for the wrong things that I have done?

Soon I will die and my friends will bury me.

            Then you will look for me, but you will not find me.’

Chapter 8

Now Bildad tells Job that God is powerful. And he says that God is always fair. So if Job lives the right way, his life will soon be better. In chapters 9 and 10 Job says that he knows that God is powerful. He knows that God is *wise. He knows that God is fair. But that does not help him. He still does not understand why bad things have happened. And he cannot hope that his future life will be any better.

Job’s friend Bildad speaks to him

v1 Job’s friend Bildad lived in a place called Shuah.

            He spoke to Job. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘You should not continue to say such things.

            Your words are like the wind.

v3 Surely you know that God is fair.

            The *Almighty does not change something that is right. He will not make it wrong.

v4 Your children did things that were wrong.

            Because of the things that they did, God *punished them.

v5 But you should pray to God

            and ask the *Almighty to help you.

v6 If you are honest, God will listen to you.

            You may have lived the right way.

Then he will hear you when you speak to him.

            And he will give back to you the things that you have lost.

v7 You will be very rich.

            God will give you much more than you had before.

v8 People who lived before us knew many things.

            Try to discover what they learned.

v9 Our lives are like shadows that pass in a moment.

            They are so short that we learn nothing.

v10 But the people who lived before us can teach us.

            Listen to what they said. Then you will learn from them.

v11 You know that some trees only grow tall in wet ground.

            And plants can only live if they have water.

v12 They may be still growing and not ready to be cut.

            But if they have no water, they will soon die.

v13 People who forget about God are like those plants.

            They cannot hope to live. They, too, will die before they are old.

v14 They believe in something that is weak.

            It is as weak as a spider’s web.

v15 The spider climbs up his web, but it is not strong.

            He stays there but, in the end, it breaks.’

A ‘spider’ is an insect that builds its home of very thin material (its home is called a ‘web’). It uses its web to catch other smaller insects.

v16 ‘Bad people are like weeds when there is plenty of water.

            The weeds grow all over the garden.

v17 Their *roots grow round stones

            and find space between rocks.

v18 But in the end, someone will dig the ground and destroy the weeds.

            Then no one will remember that they had been there.

v19 So the weeds die.

            But other plants will grow in the ground where they had been.

v20 God will not refuse to help an honest man.

            Nor will he hurry to help a bad man.

v21 He will make you happy.

            And you will have reasons to laugh again. And you will smile again, too.

v22 Your enemies will be ashamed of what they have done.

            And they will even lose their homes.’

Chapter 9

Job replies to Bildad

v1 Then Job replied. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘The things that you have said are true. I know that they are true.

            But God will not agree that anyone is completely honest.

v3 We might decide to quarrel with him about that.

            But God can ask 1000 questions which we cannot answer.

v4 God is very *wise and he is very powerful.

            It is impossible to argue with him.

v5 He is so powerful that he can move mountains.

            When he is angry he can knock them down.

v6 He can make the earth itself move.

            He can even move it from the place where it belongs.

v7 He can tell the sun not to shine during the day.

            He can stop the stars shining at night.

v8 God made the sky and everything that is above the earth.

            He did not need anyone to help him. And he tells the seas what they should do.

v9 He made all the stars and he put them in their places in the sky.

            He made the *Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades.

They are all there in the shapes that he decided.

The *Bear, Orion and the Pleiades. When people look at the stars in the sky, they see different shapes. And they give names to different groups of stars. These are the names of three groups of stars.

v10 We cannot understand all the things that he does.

            We cannot count his miracles (things that only God can do).

v11 When God passes in front of me, I cannot see him.

            He may go somewhere else. And I cannot see where he has gone.

v12 He takes what he wants. And no one can stop him.

            No one can ask him what he is doing.

v13 God will always be angry with his enemies.

            They may fight against him but they will not beat him.

v14 I cannot cause God to change his thoughts about me.

            There are no words that I can use.

v15 I may not have done anything that was wrong. But I cannot explain that to God.

            I can only ask him to be merciful. (A merciful person is kind to bad people.)

v16 If I call to him he might answer me.

            But even then he would not listen to the things that I say.

v17 He would send a storm to cause me pain.

            He would hurt me for no reason.

v18 He would not let me get better.

            Instead, he would make me very sad.

v19 God is much stronger than I am.

            And no one can ask him to explain what he has done.

v20 I may not have done anything that was wrong.

            But my words do not show that this is true.

I may be completely honest.

            But when I speak, no one believes me.

v21 I have not done anything that was wrong.

            But my life is not important and I hate myself.

v22 It does not matter whether or not we have done wrong things.

            Whatever we have done, God will still destroy us.

v23 Sometimes an honest man will become ill while he is young.

            Then, if he dies, God laughs at him.

v24 Bad men may rule the countries in the world.

            And the *judges do not see what the bad men are doing.

It must be God who lets those things happen.

            I do not know anyone else that would do that.

v25 I am becoming old very quickly.

            But even if I live for many years, I will not be happy.

v26 A fast boat passes very quickly. My life is like that. It will soon end.

            A bird can catch a small animal in a moment. My life seems to be as short as that.

v27 I may try to smile.

            And I may try to forget about all my troubles.

v28 Even then, I will be afraid of the pain that God causes.

            God does not agree that I am an honest man. I know that.

v29 He has decided that I have done wrong things.

            So I do not see why I should argue with him any more.

v30 I might wash myself with soap

            and clean my hands with powder.

v31 Even then, God would throw me into a dirty hole.

            I would be so dirty that I could not wear my own clothes.

v32 God is not a man; so I cannot argue with him.

            We cannot argue with each other in *court.

v33 No one can decide which of us is right.

            What I say may be true. But no one can check if it is true.

v34 No one can stop God when he hurts me.

            If that were possible, then I would not be afraid any more.

v35 If that were possible, then I would not be afraid to speak.

            But it is not possible, so I cannot speak.

Chapter 10

v1 I do not enjoy my life any more. I am very, very sad.

            So I will speak about the thoughts that are in my mind.

v2 This is what I will say to God. “Do not say that I am a bad person.

            You may believe that I have done wrong things. Tell me what they are.

v3 Do you enjoy it when you hurt me? You made me. So why do you refuse to help me?

            And why do you let other people do bad things?

v4 Do you have eyes like men have eyes?

            Do you see things as people see them?

v5 Your life is not like the life of a human being.

            You live much longer than any man lives.

v6 Are you in a hurry to discover the wrong things that I have done?

            Why must you do that?

v7 You know that I have not done wrong things.

            But you also know that no one can save me from you.

v8 You made me with your hands.

            So do you really want to destroy me?

v9 Remember that you made me from dust (the dry top part of the ground. Many very small pieces of this make ‘dust’.)

Will you now make me into dust again?

v10 People make cheese with only a little milk.

            So you made my body with only a little material.

v11 You joined my bones together

            and you covered them with skin.

v12 You gave me my life and you have always loved me.

            You have always watched me to save me from danger.

v13 But I know what you decided to do.

            I know the thoughts that were in your mind.

v14 You were watching me to see if I did wrong things.

            And then you would not *forgive me.

v15 If I do wrong things, then you *punish me.

            But you never see the good things that I do.

Whatever I do, I am ashamed.

            Whatever I do, my life is full of trouble.

v16 If I do something well, I am happy.

            But then you catch me as a *lion catches other animals.

And you use your power against me.

v17 You continue to say that I do wrong things.

You become more and more angry with me.

            You attack me again and again.

v18 Why did you let me be born?

            I should have died before anyone saw me.

v19 It would have been better if I had never been born.

            Or perhaps I should have died straight after my birth.

v20 Will my life soon end?

            Turn yourself from me so I can be happy for a moment.

v21 I want to be happy before I die. I will soon die.

            Then I will go to a place from which I cannot return.

v22 I will go to a dark place where there are only shadows.

            In that place, it is as dark as midnight in the middle of the day.” ’

Chapter 11

Job’s friend Zophar speaks to him

Now Zophar is really angry with Job. He tells Job that only God knows everything. And he says that Job will be happy again. But he must stop doing wrong things. And Job must say sorry to God for the wrong things that he has done.

v1 Job’s friend Zophar lived in a place called Naamah. He spoke to Job. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘Someone must answer all the questions that you ask.

            Even if you talk a lot, God will still not excuse you.

v3 We will not be quiet while you continue to speak.

            You are saying wrong things about God. Someone should stop you doing that.

v4 You say to God, “The things that I believe are true.

            I am an honest man and I live the right way.”

v5 I wish that God would speak to you.

            And I wish that he would explain to you his thoughts.

v6 Then he might tell you the secret of *wisdom.

            True *wisdom is not easy to understand. But know this:

You have done things that were wrong.

            But God has forgotten some of those wrong things.

v7 You cannot understand the things that God does.

            You do not know how powerful he is.

v8 His power can reach beyond the sky.

            You cannot do that.

He knows what happens after death.

            You do not know that.

v9 The earth itself could not contain everything that God knows.

            Neither is the sea big enough to contain it.

v10 If he puts you in prison you will not be able to stop him.

            If he accuses you (says the wrong things that you have done) in *court,

            you will not be able to answer him.

v11 I am sure about this. God knows the people who do wrong things.

            He sees the wrong things that they do.

v12 Wild *donkeys do not change their nature and become friendly.

            And fools do not change their nature and become *wise.

v13 You should live the right way, Job.

            You should raise your hands and pray to God.

v14 Stop doing things that are wrong.

            Do not let people do wrong things in your home.

v15 If you do this, you will not be ashamed any more.

            Instead, you will be strong. And you will not be afraid.

v16 I am sure that you will forget your trouble.

            It will be like water that has gone under a bridge long ago. No one remembers it.

v17 Your life will be good. And you will be happy again.

            All day, it will seem brighter than noon. Even the dark night will seem like the morning.

v18 You will feel safe because your life will be so much better.

            God will help you and he will take your trouble away.

v19 When you sleep, you will not be afraid.

            Many people will ask you to help them.

v20 But bad people will not be able to hope for a better life.

            God will *punish them because of the things they have done.

It would be better if they died.’

Chapter 12

Job replies to Zophar

In chapters 12 to 14, Job speaks, first to Zophar and then to God. The things that Zophar has said do not help Job. Job knows everything that Zophar has told him. The wrong things that he has done have not caused his troubles. He knows that. Then Job speaks to God. He asks God to stop making him afraid. And he asks God to stop all the bad things that are happening. Job has become so sad that he is really very ill in his mind.

v1 Then Job replied. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘You seem to think that you know everything.

            And you think that, after your death, no one else will be *wise.

v3 But I have a mind too. And you are no better than I am.

            Everyone knows the things that you have told me.

v4 All my friends think that I am a fool.

            But I pray to God and he answers me.

I have always lived the right way.

            But still my friends think that I am a fool.

v5 Some people have no troubles in their lives.

            It is easy for them to think that they are better than people with troubles in their lives.

That is like pushing a man who is going to fall.

            v6 Men who rob other people are safe in their homes.

They make God angry. But they think that they are safe.

v7 But ask the animals, and they will teach you.

            Or ask the birds in the air. They will tell you things that are true.

v8 Speak to the earth, and it will teach you.

            Or let the fish that are in the sea speak to you.

v9 Any of them can tell you what the *Lord has done.

v10 He gives life to all the animals.

            And he decides what the lives of men will be like.

v11 We can taste food when we put it into our mouths.

            And we learn the things that we hear with our ears.

v12 Old people are often *wise.

            And they understand more things if they live for a long time.

v13 But God is *wise. And he helps us to be *wise too.

            He is strong and he makes us strong too.

v14 No one can repair something that he has destroyed.

            And if God puts someone in prison he must stay there. No one can help that person.

v15 If God stops the rain, the land becomes a *desert (land where there is no water).

            If he sends too much rain, there are *floods.

v16 God is strong. He will always beat anyone who fights against him.

            He has power over good people and over bad people.

v17 He takes away the *wisdom of rulers.

            And he makes leaders seem like fools.

v18 He takes from kings the special clothes that they wear.

            He gives them instead cloths to tie round them.

v19 God causes priests to lose their jobs. (A priest is a man whom God chose to do things for him.)

            Because of what he decides, important men lose their jobs too.

v20 He confuses *wise men.

            And he removes *wisdom from old men.

v21 He causes rulers to be ashamed.

            And he destroys the power of strong men.

v22 He shows to us things that were hidden in the dark.

            And he makes the shadows of the night shine like the day.

v23 He makes countries great, and then he destroys them.

            He makes countries grow bigger. Then he sends the people away.

v24 He destroys the understanding of kings.

            And then he sends them to walk about in the *desert.

v25 They have no light as they walk in the dark.

            And he makes them walk like men who have drunk a lot of alcohol.

Chapter 13

v1 I have seen with my own eyes all the things that you have told me.

            I have heard everything that you have said. And I have understood all of it.

v2 I know as much as you do.

            You are no better than I am.

v3 But I want to speak to the *Almighty. I want to tell him how I feel.

            And I want him to explain the things that he has done to me.

v4 But you tell me things that are not true.

            You are like doctors who cannot make sick people better.

v5 It would be better if you said nothing.

            That would be a *wise thing to do.

v6 Listen now to me when I speak to you.

            Listen to the things that I say.

v7 You should not speak on behalf of God!

You are saying things on his behalf; but they are not true.

v8 You should be fair when you speak on his behalf.

            But are you really trying to explain his thoughts to me?

v9 God may check what you have been doing.

            Other people may not understand.

But he will see the wrong things that you have done.

v10 It may be a secret that you have not been fair.

            Even so, God will still *punish you.

v11 I am sure that his power will frighten you.

            I am sure that you will be afraid of him.

v12 The things that you say are worth no more than ashes.

            You are not strong enough to save yourself.

v13 So be quiet and let me speak.

            Then I will not cry about the things that happen to me.

v14 If anything happens to me, it will be my mistake.

            But I do want to say what I really think.

v15 Even if God kills me, I will still believe him.

            But I will explain to him the reason why he should not kill me.

v16 No bad man would be brave enough to speak with God.

            So if I speak to him, I may save myself.

v17 Listen well when I speak.

            Do not forget the things that I say to you.

v18 Now I have prepared the things that I want to say.

I have not done anything that was wrong. So I know that he will excuse me.

v19 Even God cannot show me any wrong thing that I have done.

            If he could, I would be quiet. And then I would die.

v20 God, I do not want to hide myself from you any more.

            So I want to ask you to do two things.

v21 Stop making bad things happen to me.

            And stop making me afraid of you.

v22 Call to me and I will answer you.

            Or let me speak, and then reply to me.

v23 Tell me how many wrong things I have done.

            Show me one wrong thing that I have done.

v24 Why do you hide yourself from me?

            Why do you think that I am your enemy?

v25 I am as weak as a leaf that the wind blows along the road.

            I am only as strong as dry grass.

So I do not understand why you want to frighten me.

v26 You write down bad things about me.

            I may have done wrong things when I was young. And you remember them.

v27 You fasten my feet with metal ties.

            You watch me to see where I am going.

You even put marks on my feet so that you can follow me.

v28 So my life is worth nothing.

            I am like an old coat that the insects have eaten.

Chapter 14

v1 Every man that is born will only live for a few years.

            And his life will be full of trouble.

v2 Flowers grow and soon die. Our lives are not long, either.

            We are like shadows that soon pass by.

v3 So why, God, do you always watch a weak person like me?

            You always want me to explain the wrong things that I have done. Why do you do this?

v4 People who are bad do not know the right way to live.

            No one can change them so that they live like that.

v5 You have decided whether we will live for a long time or for a short time.

            You know the number of months that we will live. And we cannot change that.

v6 So do not watch me any more.

            I may live like a servant. But please let me enjoy my life.

v7 If someone cuts branches off a tree, the tree will not die.

            Instead, new branches will grow.

v8 Its *roots may be old.

            Its branches may have fallen off and the tree may be nearly dead.

v9 But if there is even a little water, the tree will not die.

            And its branches will start to grow again.

v10 But when people are dying, they become very weak.

            Then they die and they can never live again.

v11 When there is no water in the river or the lake,

            they both become dry.

v12 People are like that. They die and they never live again.

            They will not wake while the sky is above the earth.

v13 I want you to hide me among all the dead people.

            Hide me until you are no longer angry with me.

Then decide when you are going to remember me.

v14 If a man dies, he will not live again.

            So I will wait until my troubles have gone.

Then I might hope to have a better life.

v15 You will call me and I will answer you.

            Then you will have pleasure, because you made me.

v16 Then you will watch what I do. And you will watch where I go.

            But you will remember no longer the wrong things that I have done.

v17 You will *forgive me for those wrong things.

            And you will hide them so that you never see them again.

v18 In the end, mountains fall

            and rocks move from their places.

v19 In the end, water will break stones.

            When the rain falls, nothing remains on the earth.

And in the end, because of the things that you do,

            no man can hope to have a better life.

v20 In the end, you kill him. Then he is gone for always.

            His face changes and you send him away.

v21 He does not know if his sons become famous.

            Nor does he know if they have wasted their lives.

v22 He thinks only about the pain that he feels.

            He does not think about the pain that other people feel.

And when he is sad, he thinks only about himself.’

Chapter 15

Eliphaz speaks to Job again

This time, Eliphaz says that Job should not say such bad things about God. He asks Job why he is so angry with God. Job may be a good man. But he cannot be good enough for God. Eliphaz tells Job what will happen to bad people. He seems to think that Job is a bad person. He thinks that Job must have done wrong things.

v1 Then Eliphaz replied to Job. This is what he said.

v2 ‘A *wise man would not have such silly ideas.

            Nor would he use words that mean so little.

v3 No *wise man would talk as you do.

            The things that you say do not mean anything.

v4 You do not seem to be afraid of God.

            Nor do you want people to pray to him.

v5 The wrong things that you say come from bad thoughts in your mind.

            You try to be clever. And you try to make people believe you.

v6 I will not say that you are wrong.

            The things that you say, by themselves, show that.

v7 You were not the first human to be born.

            You were not alive when God made the hills.

v8 You are not with God so you cannot know his thoughts.

            You are not the only *wise person in the world.

v9 You do not know any more than we do.

            We have as much *wisdom as you do.

v10 There are men who agree with us.

            They have grey hair and they are older than your father.

v11 God is so good to you. And he is kind when he speaks to you.

            That ought to be enough for you.

v12 Why are there wrong thoughts in your mind?

            When we look at you, you seem so angry.

v13 Why are you so angry with God?

            Why do you say such bad things when you speak to him?

v14 No person can say that he is always honest.

            Nor can anyone say that he has never done wrong things.

v15 God does not even believe that his *angels are honest.

            When he looks at them, they seem to him to be bad.

v16 So people must seem to God to be very bad.

            Something inside them causes them to want to do wrong things.

v17 Listen to me and I will explain something to you.

            Let me tell you what I have seen.

v18 *Wise men have taught me many things. They have even told me secret things.

            They learned such things from people who lived before them.

v19 There were no strangers in the country where those people lived.

            So they did not learn any foreign ideas.

v20 A man who is cruel will not have a happy life.

            Instead, he will have pain during all the years that he lives.

v21 He will hear things that frighten him.

            He may think that he is safe. But bad people will attack him and they will rob him.

v22 He will not go out in the dark, because someone may kill him.

v23 Vultures (large birds that eat dead animals or people) wait to eat him if he dies.

            He is afraid of what will happen to him.

v24 He is afraid and confused.

            He is like a king who is frightened before a war.

v25 This happens if a man does not obey God.

            This happens if a man thinks that he is more important than the *Almighty.

v26 He is the kind of man who tries to argue with God.

            He even tries to attack God.

v27 He may have had plenty of food to eat.

            And he may be very fat.

v28 But he will live in a town where no one else lives.

            And he will not have a home because people will have destroyed his house.

v29 He will have lost all his money.

            He may have had many valuable things. He will have lost those too.

v30 It will be dark and he will not be able to hide. God will find him.

            God’s *breath will be like a fire. And it will destroy everything that he has.

v31 He may think that his money will save him. If he thinks that, he is a fool.

            He will not get back anything. His money will have no value.

v32 Before he is old, his life will end.

            He will not be able to do all the things that he wanted to do.

v33 A *vine may lose its fruit before it is ready for people to eat. Or an *olive tree may lose its flowers before the *olives have grown. He will be like that *vine or that *olive tree.

v34 If people do not obey God, they will have no children.

            Such people may have done wrong things to get homes for themselves.

If they have done that, fire will destroy those homes.

            v35 Such people have only wrong thoughts in their minds.

Other people have trouble because of the things that they do.

            And through all their lives they do things that are bad.’

Chapter 16

Job replies to Eliphaz

Now Job replies to his friends. Nothing that they have said has helped him. They have not been able to make him happy again. Job understands that God *punishes bad people. But he does not understand why bad things have happened to him. He still thinks that God has not been fair. But he begins to think that perhaps God will, in the end, help him. (See 16:19 and 17:3.)

v1 Then Job replied. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘I have heard all these things before. When you speak to me, you do not help me.

            Nor do you make me any happier.

v3 I want you to stop talking to me. I want you to stop arguing.

            I do not know what I have done to make you argue with me.

v4 If your life was like mine, I could say the same things to you.

            I could speak about the wrong things that you had done.

v5 But, instead, I would try to help you.

            I would say things that made you happier.

v6 But even if I speak, my pain does not go away.

            And if I stop speaking, my pain is still there.

v7 God, you have been very cruel to me.

            You have killed my whole family.

v8 You and I are enemies.

            And you do not let me move.

I am so thin that people can see my bones.

            People think that you made me like this because of the wrong things in my life.

v9 God attacks me because he is angry. I look at his face. I look at his eyes.

            And I can see how angry he is.

v10 Crowds of people say unkind things about me.

            They are not afraid of me and they even slap my face.

v11 It was God who let these bad people take me away.

            He let them do these things to me.

            v12 I was enjoying my life.

            Then he held me and everything changed.

He held my neck and he hurt me.

            He has made me his target (something that people shoot at for practice).

v13 Soldiers with bows seem to be all round me.

            He tears my body and my blood falls on the ground. Still he does not feel sorry for me.

v14 He attacks me again and again.

            He rushes at me like a soldier.

v15 My clothes show how sad I am.

            I sit among ashes to show that he has beaten me.

v16 I have cried so much that my eyes are red.

            I am so tired that there are shadows under my eyes.

v17 But I have never done anything that was cruel or wrong.

            And when I pray, I speak honestly to God.

v18 I ask the earth not to hide my blood. I do not want people to forget me.

            I want them always to hear my cry for help.

v19 Even now God is in *heaven, which is high above the earth.

            He can speak on my behalf.

v20 My friends do not help me; so I cry to God.

            My tears fall to the ground.

v21 Sometimes another person can help friends when they have a quarrel.

            I want someone to help me to be God’s friend again.

v22 Soon my life will end.

            And I will never again return to this earth.

Chapter 17

v1 I am very weak and I will soon die.

            Then my friends will bury me in the ground.

v2 All round me people say that I am a fool.

            I have to stand and watch them.

v3 God, you must help me.

            There is nobody else who can help me.

v4 Because of what you have done, my friends will not listen to me.

            But I do not want them to think that they were right.

v5 They have said very bad things about me.

            They wanted people to think that they were clever.

Now I want you to make their children blind. (Blind people cannot see.)

            Do this, God, because of what they have said about me.

v6 When people see me, they are not polite to me.

            You, God, have caused them to be like this.

v7 I have cried so much that I can hardly see.

            I am so thin that I am like a shadow.

v8 Honest people know that this is not fair.

            They are angry because I seem to be so bad.

v9 Honest people always know the right thing to do.

            And people who only do good things get stronger.

v10 But, my friends, come and try again to help me.

            I will not find a *wise man among you.

v11 I will not live for many more days.

            I will not be able to do the things that I wanted to do.

v12 My friends say that it is day when it is still night.

            They say that it is nearly morning. But I know that it is still dark.

v13 If I die I will go to a dark place.

            There I will lie in the dark.

v14 There I might speak to the grave (where you bury dead people) where my body will lie.

            And I might say to the grave, “You are my father.”

Or I might speak to the *worms that I find there.

            I might say to them, “Hello, my mother. Hello, my sister.”

v15 I can hope for nothing that is better than that.

            No one can find anything that is better for me.

v16 When I die, I will go to my grave with nothing.

            I will have lost everything that I had hoped for.’

Chapter 18

Bildad speaks to Job again

Now Bildad tells Job how God will *punish bad people. He thinks that Job is becoming a bad person. And he tells Job to listen to people who can help him. Job must become *wise, he says. Then he will understand what has happened.

v1 Then Bildad replied. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘You should not talk so much!

            Be *wise, and then we can talk.

v3 You seem to think that we are as silly as cows.

            You should not think that we are as silly as that.

v4 You are so angry that you will hurt yourself.

            You may be very angry, but you will not be able to change anything.

You may be angry. But that will not make the earth move.

            Nor will you be able to make the rocks move from their place.

v5 The light of a bad person will go out.

            His fire will stop burning.

v6 He will not be able to see anything in his *tent because it is dark.

            And the light that is near him will go out.

v7 Once he was strong but now his legs are weak.

            The things that he decided to do have confused him.

v8 Where he is walking there is danger.

v9 He cannot move because his foot is in a *trap.

v10 Someone has hidden the *trap on the ground where he walks.

            It is on the path in front of him.

v11 A bad person is afraid of everything that is round him.

            He thinks that there is trouble everywhere.

v12 Years ago, he was rich but now he is hungry.

            If he makes a mistake, he will have many troubles.

v13 An illness will make his skin painful.

            When he is nearly dead, he will not be able to use his arms or his legs.

v14 He will die. Then, it will like a man who leaves his *tent to go to another place.

            It will be like a man who goes to meet a bad king. Then the bad person will be really afraid.

v15 People will live in his house. They will not be his family.

            They will live there after they have lit a fire to clean the house.

v16 He is like a tree whose *roots have died.

            He is like a tree whose branches have fallen off.

v17 Then he will not be famous, either in his own country or in any other country.

            No one will remember him now.

v18 He will have to leave the world where he has lived.

            He will go to a place where it is always dark.

v19 He will have no children or grandchildren.

            He will have no family to live in his house where he lived.

v20 People from the east heard about the things that happened to him.

            People who lived in the west heard about them too.

And they were all afraid because of what they heard.

            v21 I am sure that there is a reason for all these things.

They happened because he is a bad man.

            And they happened because he did not know God.’

Chapter 19

Job replies to Bildad

Now Job is angry with his friends because of the things that they have said. He thinks that God has gone away. He feels that he is alone. He is sad because his friends and his family see him as a stranger. But then Job says something that is very special (verses 25 to 27). He believes that God will save him. Even if he dies, God will make him alive again. He is sure that, some day, he will see God.

v1 Then Job replied. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘You are still trying to hurt me with the things that you say about me.

            You should not still be doing that after such a long time.

v3 Many times, you have been angry because of the things that I have done.

            And you have been quick to say bad things about me.

v4 It may be true that I have done wrong things.

            But the things that I have done have not hurt you.

v5 Are you a better person than I am? You seem to think so.

            My troubles do not mean that I am a bad person.

But you seem to think that they do mean that.

v6 But you should be able to see that God has caused all my troubles.

            He is trying to catch me in a *trap.

v7 God is not fair. He did not have a good reason to cause my troubles.

            I shouted and I asked for help. But no one came to help me.

v8 He stopped me so that I could not go past.

            He made my path dark so that I could not see the way to go.

v9 He has removed all the things that I had.

            He has caused people to think that I am a bad person.

v10 Everywhere I go, God is there to attack me. My life is nearly finished.

            I am like a tree that he has dug out of the ground.

            There is nothing more that I can hope for in my life.

v11 He is very angry with me.

            I am one of the people that he sees as his enemies.

v12 He sends his army to attack me. They build roads so that they can reach me.

            They are all round me.

v13 Now my brothers do not want to meet me.

            And my friends think that I am a stranger.

v14 My children have left me.

            And my friends have forgotten me.

v15 Visitors to my house think that I am a stranger.

            And my servants think that I come from a foreign country.

v16 I ask my servant to come to me. But he does not answer me.

            Even when I ask him again, he still does not come to me.

v17 My wife does not like the smell of my *breath.

            My brothers will not come near me.

v18 Even little boys think that I am a fool.

            When I appear, they turn away from me.

v19 My best friends hate me (‘hate’ is the opposite of ‘love’).

            People that I have loved do not want to be my friends.

v20 My body is nothing more than skin and bones.

            I could easily have died.

v21 Be kind to me, my friends.

            Be kind because God has been cruel to me.

v22 God looks for me as a hunter looks for an animal.

            I want to know why you do the same thing.

v23 I want someone to write down the words that I speak.

            I want him to write my words on a scroll (a kind of paper that people used long ago).

v24 I want him to write them on a stone with an iron tool.

            I want people to be able to read them always.

v25 I know that my Redeemer lives.

            I know that, in the end, he will stand upon the earth.

v26 One day I will die and people will bury me in the ground.

            But in this, my body, I will see God.

v27 I will see him with my own eyes.

            I really want that to happen soon.

A ‘redeemer’ (verse 25) is someone who pays another person’s debts. It is used here as a name for God. In the *New Testament, we learn that Jesus ‘paid our debts’. In other words, he paid the price for all the wrong things that we have done.

v28 You say that I have caused my own troubles.

            And because of that, you cause me to have even more trouble.

v29 But you should be afraid of what may happen to you.

            God will decide if you have done good things or bad things.

He may decide that you have done bad things.

            And he may then *punish you.’

Chapter 20

Zophar speaks to Job again

Sadly, Zophar now says things that do not help Job. He tells him, again, that God will *punish bad people. He does not understand how Job feels. He does not know how to help Job.

v1 Then Zophar replied. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘The things that you said have caused me to be very confused.

            I have troubles in my mind but I must answer you.

v3 You have said bad things about me.

            But now I know how to reply to you.

v4 I am sure that you know this fact.

            It has been true ever since men lived on the earth.

v5 A bad man will only be happy for a short time.

            He will only enjoy his life for a few moments.

v6 He may think that he is very important.

            He may be very powerful and his head may seem to touch the sky.

You may think that verse 6 is a strange verse. ‘His head may seem to touch the sky.’ It means that important people seem to be taller than other people. Sometimes they seem so tall that their heads almost touch the sky.

v7 But he will die and he will never return.

            His friends will ask where he is.

He will be like things that you put into the toilet.

            They, too, go away and never come back.

v8 You will not find him again. He will be like a dream that you do not see in the morning.

            He will have gone, like something that you saw in your dream.

v9 People who knew him will not see him again.

            No one will see him in the house where he lived before.

v10 He was not a fair man and he took money from poor people.

            So his children must pay that money back to them.

v11 When he was a young man, he was very strong.

            But he will die and his bones will lie in the ground.

v12 He enjoys the wrong things that he does.

            They are like something sweet in his mouth.

v13 He continues to do wrong things.

            That is like a man who keeps something in his mouth to taste it again and again.

v14 But this will be like food that has become bad in his stomach.

            It will be like the poison of a snake inside him.

v15 He cannot keep all the money that he has taken from other people.

            God will say that he should give it all back to them.

v16 He will drink the poison of snakes.

            An adder (a kind of snake) will bite him and it will kill him.

v17 He might get as much oil from *olives as there is water in the stream.

            But he will not enjoy that oil.

He may have as much cream as there is water in the river.

            But he will not enjoy that cream either.

Nor will he enjoy rivers of cream and other sweet things.

v18 He will have to give back everything that he owned.

            He will not enjoy the things for which he has worked.

v19 This will happen because he took money from poor people.

            And he took houses that someone else had built.

v20 He will always want to have more money.

            But his riches will not save him.

v21 Now there is nothing that he can eat.

            So his good health will not continue.

v22 He may be very rich,

            but he will soon have many troubles.

v23 When he has filled his stomach with food, God will be very angry with him.

            God will show him how angry he is. And God will *punish him.

v24 He may run from a soldier who has a *sword.

            But another soldier, with a bow, will catch him and he will shoot an arrow (sharp stick) at him.

v25 He pulls the arrow out of his back.

            Its point hurts him and he is very afraid.

v26 He will not be able to save the things that he had.

            God will send a fire to kill him and to destroy everything that he had.

v27 God in *heaven knows about all the wrong things that a bad man does.

            People on earth have also seen him do those wrong things.

v28 God will very angry. And he will destroy the bad man’s home and all his things.

            It will be like a *flood that destroys a house.

v29 This is what will happen to bad people.

            God has decided that this will happen to them.’

Chapter 21

Job replies to Zophar

In this chapter, Job says that he wants to argue with God. His friends have told him that God *punishes bad people. But Job has seen lots of bad people who have lived long and happy lives. They did not obey God. God may have been angry with them, but he does not *punish them. God decides whom he will *punish. Job knows that. And God decides whom he will not *punish. No man can tell God what he should do.

v1 Then Job replied. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘Please listen to the things that I say.

            You can only help me if you hear my words.

v3 Be patient while I speak to you.

            You may not agree with me. Then you may want to say bad things about me.

v4 It is God that I want to argue with.

            I do not see why I should be patient.

v5 Look at me and be surprised.

            Put your hand over your mouth.

v6 I think about the things that I am saying.

            Then I am afraid and my body becomes weak.

v7 I do not understand why bad people live for a long time.

            As they get older, they become more powerful. I do not know why this happens.

v8 They see their children grow up.

            Their grandchildren make them happy.

v9 Such people feel safe in their homes.

            God is kind to them so that they are not afraid.

v10 It is easy for their cows to have calves (what cows are called when they are young).

            And many calves are born without difficulty.

v11 Their children jump like lambs (young sheep).

            And the children love to dance, too.

v12 Such people enjoy the music of a *tambourine or a *harp.

            And they are happy when they hear the sound of a *flute.

v13 All through their lives they have plenty of money.

            They do not have any troubles until the day that they die.

v14 But they say to God, “Do not come near us!

            We do not want to know about your ways.”

v15 They do not want to obey God. Nor do they want to do what he tells them to do.

            And they do not see why they should pray to him.

v16 They think that they have made themselves rich. But it is not true.

            So I do not listen to the things that they say.

v17 Bad people may do wrong things. But bad things do not often happen to them.

            Even when God is angry, they do not have troubles in their lives.

v18 They are not often like dry grass that the wind blows away.

            Nor are they like something that a storm can sweep away.

v19 You say that God will *punish the children of a bad person.

            He will *punish them because of the wrong things that the bad person has done.

But I say that God should *punish the bad person, and not his children.

            Then he will know that he has done something wrong.

v20 He must understand what will happen to him.

            He should know that God is angry. And he should know what God will do to him.

v21 He will not feel sad about the things that may happen to his children after his death.

            So God should *punish him if he does wrong things.

v22 No one can tell God what he should do.

            He sees the things that important people do. And he decides if those things are right or wrong.

v23 One person has good health all his life.

            He has been happy and he has had plenty of money.

v24 He has always had enough to eat.

            And he has never been ill until the day when he dies.

v25 Another person has been sad all his life, until the day when he dies.

            He has never had good health or enjoyed lots of money.

v26 But they lie together in the ground.

            And the *worms are all round them.

v27 I know your thoughts.

            You want me to do things that are wrong.

v28 You seem to know what happens to bad men.

            You say that people destroy their houses.

v29 But you should ask people who travel, “What have you seen?”

            You should listen to the things that they say.

v30 They would tell you this. God does not always *punish a bad man.

            The bad man may have done wrong things but often nothing will happen to him.

v31 No one asks him why he has done wrong things.

            And no one *punishes him for the things that he has done.

v32 When he dies people bury him.

            And then they stand near the place where his body lies.

v33 The ground is soft where his body lies.

            And many people come to say “goodbye” to the man who has died.

v34 You have tried to help me and you have told me many things.

            But nothing that you have told me is true!’

Chapter 22

Eliphaz speaks to Job a third time

In this chapter, Eliphaz suggests three things to Job. First, God does not really have any interest in the things that happen in people’s lives. But second, he suggests that Job must have done many wrong things. That is why God has *punished him. Third, he suggests that Job should not argue with God. Instead Job should obey God. Then his life will be better and God will be kind to him again.

v1 Then Eliphaz replied. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘Nothing that a man can do is worth anything to God.

            Even a *wise man cannot give God pleasure.

v3 It would not make God happy if you lived a good life.

            It would not give him pleasure if you always lived the right way.

v4 Think about why God *punishes you.

            It is not because you are a good person.

v5 No! It is because you are a bad person.

            And it is because you have done many wrong things.

v6 You lent some money to your brother.

            But you wanted to be sure that you would get your money back. So you took his clothes.

v7 When you met tired people, you did not give them any water to drink.

            And when you met hungry people you did not feed them.

v8 You, Job, were a powerful man and you owned land.

            But you kept for yourself everything that grew on that land.

v9 You were not kind to women whose husbands had died.

            And you were cruel to children who had no parents.

v10 That is why you have so many troubles.

            And that is why you are so afraid.

v11 That is why you seem to be walking in the dark.

            And that is why you seem to be drowning in deep water.

v12 God lives in *heaven, which is beyond the stars.

            From there, he can see everything that happens on earth.

v13 But you say, “God does not know.

            He cannot see us from so far away.”

v14 You think that thick clouds hide him.

            So he does not see us as he walks on the circle of the sky.

Eliphaz says that God ‘walks on the circle of the sky’. This is poetry (a special way to use words).

v15 You must stop living the wrong way.

            That is what bad people have done for a long time.

v16 They died while they were still young.

            They thought that they were safe.

But they were not safe.

            They were like people who had drowned in a *flood.

v17 They did not believe God.

            And they thought that God would not do anything to them.

v18 But God gave them all the good things that they enjoyed.

            So I do not understand the thoughts of bad people.

v19 But, in the end, God *punishes bad people.

            Good people see that when it happens. And they are happy because they have seen it.

v20 “God has killed our enemies”, the good people say.

            “Fire has destroyed all the things that they owned.”

v21 So, Job, do not argue with God but obey him instead.

            Then your troubles will end and you will be rich again.

v22 Listen to what he tells you to do.

            And remember all that he says.

v23 You should live the way that God wants you to live.

            And you should stop doing wrong things. Then your life will be comfortable again.

v24 You may have lots of gold but it will not make you happy.

            So you should throw it into the dry valley where, years ago, there was a river.

v25 Then you will see that God is more valuable than gold.

            And he is more valuable than silver (a white metal that is like gold).

This verse is about the things that are most important in Job’s life. He may have valuable things like silver and gold. These may be important to him. But if he obeys God, then God will more important to him than his silver and gold. To know God is the most important thing in anyone’s life.

v26 Then you will find that it is a pleasure to know God.

            You will enjoy your life more if you *worship him.

v27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you.

            And you will keep the promises that you make to him.

v28 You will be able to do all the things that you want to do.

            And God will say that you are living the right way.

v29 You will pray for people who have difficulties in their lives.

            And when you pray, God will make their lives better.

v30 God will even *forgive people who have done wrong things.

            He will do that because you have lived a good life.’

Chapter 23

Job replies to Eliphaz

In chapter 23, Job says that he wants to find God. God seems to be so far away. But God sees everything that Job does. Job knows that. And Job has tried to obey God and live the right way. But still he is afraid of God.

In chapter 24, Job speaks about the bad things that happen in the world. He does not understand why God does not *punish bad people. And then he remembers that bad people, like everyone else, die in the end.

v1 Then Job replied. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘I am still angry because of the things that God has done.

            He was cruel to me even when I asked him to help me.

v3 I wish that I knew where to find him.

            I would like to go to the place where he lives.

v4 I would explain to him that I have not done any wrong things.

            I would say many things to him.

v5 I would want to know how he would reply to me.

            I would try to understand all the things that he would say to me.

v6 God is much stronger than I am.

            But he would be fair and he would listen to me.

v7 People may obey him and may live the right way.

            He will listen to such people.

If I have lived like that, he will listen to me.

            And he will agree that I have not done wrong things.

v8 But if I go to the east, God is not there.

            And if I go to the west, I cannot find him there either.

v9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him.

            And when he goes to the south, I still cannot find him.

v10 But he watches where I go. And he knows the things that I do.

            Many bad things have happened in my life.

But he will check the way that I have lived.

            Then he will see that I am a good man.

I will be like gold that has been in a fire.

            People see that it really is gold.

v11 I have always lived in the way that he would have wanted.

            I have never done things for my own pleasure.

v12 I always do the things that God tells me to do. The things that he says are very important.

            They are more important than the food that I eat each day.

v13 I may want God to change the things that he has decided to do.

            But he will not change them. Whatever he wants to do, he does.

v14 He will do to me the things that he has decided to do.

            And there are many things that he wants to do to me.

v15 When he is near me, I am afraid.

            And when I think about all this, I am afraid of him.

v16 God has frightened me.

            The *Almighty has caused me to be afraid.

v17 So many bad things have happened to me that it seems to be dark all round me.

            Everything may be dark. But I will still want to speak about all these things.

Chapter 24

v1 The *Almighty will not decide when to open his *court.

            I do not know why he will not decide.

In the end, he will *punish bad people for the wrong things they have done.

            But good people will have to wait a long time to see this happen.

v2 Bad men move the stones that mark the edge of their fields.

            They do this to take fields that belong to other people.

Then they take the sheep that belong to those people.

            And they bring them to eat the grass in their own fields.

v3 Bad men will take a *donkey from a child who has no parent.

            They will take a cow from a woman who has no husband.

She may have to pay them some money.

            So they keep the cow until she pays that money to them.

v4 They push away people who need help.

            And poor people have to hide because they are afraid of such bad men.

v5 Poor people are like wild *donkeys in the *desert where they have to look for food.

            There is nowhere else that they can go to find food for their children.

v6 These poor people have to work in the fields of bad men.

            They pick the plants and the fruit that grow there.

v7 They have no clothes to wear during the cold night.

            They do not have anything with which to cover themselves.

v8 The rain that falls in the mountains makes them very wet.

            So they hide among the rocks where they try to keep dry.

v9 Bad men take children without parents and they make them slaves.

            These men also take the children of poor people who cannot pay their debts.

v10 Poor people have to go out with no clothes to cover them.

            They may be hungry. But they cannot eat the plants that they pick from the fields.

v11 They make oil from the *olives and *wine from the *grapes.

            But they still do not have anything to drink.

v12 In the city, men who are dying shout for help.

            But God does not do anything to the people who have hurt them.

v13 A bad person does not like the light.

            He does not understand it. Nor does he follow where it leads him.

v14 At sunset, he gets up and he goes out to murder poor people.

            In the night, he goes out to take things that belong to other people.

v15 A man may want to have sex with another man’s wife.

            He waits until it is dark.

Then he thinks that no one will see him.

            And he covers his face so that no one will recognise him.

v16 In the dark, bad men go out to rob other people.

            But in the day, they stay in their homes and sleep.

v17 They all like the night rather than the morning.

            And they are not afraid of things that happen at night.

v18 If people throw things into a river, they quickly go away.

            Bad people go from the earth as quickly as that.

Nothing grows in their fields.

            And there are no *grapes on their *vines.

v19 Snow on the ground soon goes away when the sun shines.

            And people who do wrong things soon die.

v20 Their mothers soon forget them.

            *Worms eat their bodies.

No one remembers people who have done wrong things.

            Like a dead tree, they will never live again.

v21 They are cruel to women who have no children.

            And they are not kind to women whose husbands have died.

v22 But God is strong. And he can kill people who are rich and powerful.

            They may be important. But they do not know when they will die.

v23 They think that they are safe. God may let them think that.

            But he always watches them. And he sees the things that they do.

v24 For a short time, bad people may be important, but then they die.

            They are no different from anyone else and they soon die, like weeds in the ground.

v25 I believe that my words are true. But perhaps someone can say that they are not true.

            Then the words that I speak will have no value.’

Chapter 25

In this chapter, Bildad tells Job that God is great. He says that God is powerful. So God cannot have any interest in people, who are not very important. This does not answer Job’s questions about all his troubles.

Bildad speaks to Job a third time

v1 Then Bildad replied. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘God is great and he is powerful, too. So we should love him and we should be afraid of him.

            In *heaven everyone obeys him.

v3 No one can count his armies.

            And his light shines over all the earth.

v4 God looks at all the people who live on the earth.

            But he does not see anyone who is really good and completely honest.

v5 When God looks at the moon and the stars,

            they do not seem to be very bright.

v6 So God must think that people are not very important.

            In his mind they are no more important than insects.’

Chapter 26

Job replies to Bildad

In chapters 26 and 27, it is not clear who is speaking. It may be Job, or someone else may have spoken parts of these chapters. But Job says two things. First, he does not agree with the things that his friends have said (chapter 27, verse 5). Second, he is sure that he has never done wrong things (chapter 27, verse 6).

v1 Then Job replied. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘I am a weak man. But nothing that you have done has saved me.

            And nothing that you have said has helped me.

v3 I am a fool. But you have not been able to make me *wise.

            And still you think that you are very clever.

v4 Someone must have helped you to speak these words.

            And someone must have told you the things that you should say.

v5 Dead people go to a place that is under the sea.

            But even there, they are afraid of God.

v6 God watches the place where dead people go.

            There is nothing that can hide it from him.

v7 He puts the sky in the right place so that it covers everything.

            And he hangs the earth in the skies and he holds it there.

v8 He puts water in the clouds.

            The clouds are full of water but they do not break.

v9 When the moon is big and round, he hides it.

            He causes clouds to cover it.

v10 Look across the sea.

            You can see the end of the sea.

There the sky begins.

            God decided where that place should be.

v11 If God is angry, even the walls of *heaven move.

            And because he is angry, they are afraid.

v12 He is strong enough to fight against the sea.

            And he is *wise enough to beat everything that lives in the sea.

v13 When he blows, the sky becomes bright.

            And he is able to kill the sea serpent (like a very large snake that lives in the sea).

v14 These are only a few of the things that God can do.

            No one really knows how powerful God is.’

Chapter 27

v1 Job continued to speak. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘God has not been fair to me.

            And he has made my life to be very sad.

v3 That is what my life has been like.

            But while I am alive, I will make this promise.

v4 I will always say things that are true.

            And I will always be honest.

v5 I will never agree that you are right.

            Until my death, I will never say things that are wrong.

v6 I will continue to be honest.

            During all of my life, my conscience (a voice in you that tells you if a thing is good or bad) will never say anything bad about me.

v7 My enemies are bad people.

            I pray that God will *punish them.

v8 A bad person cannot hope to have a happy life.

            In the end, God will cause him to die.

v9 God does not hear him when he asks for God’s help.

v10 He should always ask God to show him the right way to live.

            But because he does not do that, he does not enjoy his life.

v11 I will teach you about the power of God.

            And I will explain to you the things that God will do to bad people.

v12 You have all seen this yourselves.

            So you should not still say things that mean nothing.

v13 I will tell you what God will do to a bad person.

            I will tell you how God will *punish him.

v14 A bad person may have many children, but they will all die.

            Some will die in the war. Other people will die because they do not have enough food to eat.

v15 Some will live for a longer time but, in the end, an illness will kill them.

            And their wives will not weep when they are dead.

v16 A bad man may have more money than he can count.

            And he may have more clothes than he could ever wear.

v17 But, in the end, a good man will wear those clothes.

            And an honest man will spend all that money.

v18 The house of a bad man will not be any stronger than the home of an insect.

            Nor will it be any better than a worker’s hut.

v19 A bad man may be very rich.

            But soon he will find that all his money has gone.

v20 He will become afraid as quickly as a *flood comes.

            A storm will come in the night and it will kill him.

v21 The east wind takes him away, and he is gone.

            It removes him from his home.

v22 It is so strong that he cannot fight against it.

            He can only do one thing. He can try to run away from it.

v23 People will see a bad man leave his home.

            And God will make them happy when they see that.’

Chapter 28

No one knows who wrote this chapter. But it is an important chapter. In verse 28, we learn how we can find true *wisdom. Men know how to do very many things. But only God can tell us how we can be really *wise. We should fear God and we should *worship him. And we should never do things that are wrong. That is how we can be *wise. (‘Fear’ means when we are afraid of something or someone. But to fear God is different. God is great and he is powerful. God is good and he knows everything. God is sad when people do wrong things. And that makes him angry, too. To fear God means to know these things and then live the right way.)

v1 Job continued to speak.

‘People know how to dig under the ground to find silver (white metal like gold).

            And they know how to heat gold to remove all the dirt from it.

v2 They understand how to get iron from under the ground.

            And they know the stones to choose from which they can make copper.

v3 They look for these metals in places that are deep under the ground.

            They take lights with them to help them see in the dark.

v4 They dig a very deep hole that is far from towns or cities.

            They work alone. And they hang on strong lines to help them climb down into the hole.

v5 We grow our food in the fields.

            But deep under the ground there is fire.

v6 Sapphires (valuable stones) come from the rocks deep under the ground.

            And among the stones there, people can find pieces of gold.

v7 People go to places where birds have never been.

            And they find things that birds have never seen.

v8 Wild animals do not walk there.

            And *lions do not go there.

v9 Men break into the hard rock.

            And they look beneath the mountains.

v10 They dig through the rock.

            And they discover stones that are very valuable.

v11 They look in the places where rivers start.

            And they bring into the light the things that they find there.

v12 But people do not know where they can find *wisdom.

            Nor do they know where they can learn to be *wise.

v13 People do not understand that it is good to be *wise.

            And in none of the places where people live can anyone find *wisdom.

v14 No one will find *wisdom in the sea.

            Even in the deepest sea, no one will find it.

v15 You cannot buy *wisdom, even if you are very rich.

            You may have lots of gold and silver (white metal like gold), but you cannot buy *wisdom.

v16 *Wisdom is worth more than all the gold that comes from Ophir.

            It is worth more than onyx or sapphires (valuable stones).

v17 Neither a gold cup nor a beautiful glass is as valuable as *wisdom.

            If you sold all your gold, you still could not buy *wisdom.

v18 Coral and jasper are not as valuable as *wisdom.

            The price of it is more than the price of rubies.

v19 Topaz from Cush is not equal to the value of *wisdom.

            Nor can anyone buy it, not even with the best gold.

In verse 6, the writer speaks about ‘sapphires’. And in verses 16 to 19, he speaks about ‘onyx’, ‘sapphires’, ‘coral’, ‘jasper’, ‘rubies’ and ‘topaz’. These are all things like stones. People say that these things are valuable. They are like stones that shine and they have many different colours. People use them, for example, to make rings.

v20 So people know how to do many things.

            But they do not know where to find *wisdom.

v21 Many people live on the earth, but none of them has found *wisdom.

            Even the birds that fly above the earth cannot see it.

v22 People who have died may have heard about *wisdom.

            But they cannot tell us where we can find it.

v23 Only God understands how we can be *wise.

            And only he knows where to find *wisdom.

v24 He knows this because he knows everything.

            And he sees everything that happens on the earth.

v25 He decided the power of the wind.

            And he decided the size of the seas.

v26 He tells the rain where it should fall.

            And he decides where storms should go.

v27 When he had done these things, he thought about *wisdom.

            He knew its value. And he decided that it was good.

v28 God spoke to all the people. And this is what he said.

            “If you want to live the right way, you must not do wrong things.

If you want to be *wise, you should be afraid not to obey me.

            You should do these things because I am God.” ’

Chapter 29

Job explains the way that he feels

In chapter 29, Job remembers his life before all his troubles. He was a happy man. And God was always with him. He remembers, too, all the people that he helped.

In chapter 30, Job speaks about his troubles. He has no money. He has no friends who can help him. But he does have a lot of pain. And the worst thing is that God will not answer his questions any more (verse 20).

In chapter 31, Job says that he has always lived the right way. He says that he has always spoken true words. He says that he has always been fair. And he has helped other people who have had troubles. He is sure that God knows this. But God may think that it is not right. So he should tell Job about the wrong things that Job has done.

v1 Job continued to speak. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘There was a time, many months ago, when I was happy.

            At that time, God watched the things that I did.

And because he was with me, bad things did not happen to me.

v3 He was my guide and he showed me how to live the right way.

            His light seemed to shine on my head.

v4 At that time, I was strong and I had good health.

            God was my best friend and he kept my home safe.

v5 He was always with me.

            And my children were still alive.

v6 At that time, I got plenty of milk from my cows.

            And I got lots of oil from my *olive-trees.

v7 Sometimes I went to the gate of the city.

            There I sat down with the people who ruled the city.

v8 Young men moved to let me go by.

            Even the old men stood up when I arrived.

v9 Princes (sons of the king) stopped speaking.

            And they covered their mouths with their hands.

v10 The nobles (important people in the city) were quiet.

            They closed their mouths and they did not say anything.

v11 People heard the things that I said. They saw the things that I did.

            And they were happy because of them.

v12 When poor people needed help, I saved them.

            And if children had no parents, I helped them.

v13 I helped men who were near to death. And they thanked me for my help.

            I made widows happy again when they were sad.

            (A widow is a woman whose husband has died.)

v14 Everyone knew that I always did right things.

            I was always fair and I was always honest.

v15 If people could not see, I guided them.

            If people could not walk, I fetched things for them.

v16 If poor people came to me for help, I was like their father.

            I helped strangers when they had no one else to speak for them.

v17 I destroyed the power of cruel men.

            I saved the people that they had attacked.

v18 I thought that I would live to be an old man.

            And then I would die in my own house with my family round me.

v19 I always had good health.

            I was like a tree that had plenty of water.

v20 I thought that I would always be strong.

            I thought that I would always be a great man.

v21 Men waited patiently to hear what I would say.

            They knew that I was *wise. So they waited quietly to learn from me.

v22 After I spoke, they did not speak again.

            They were happy to hear the things that I said to them.

v23 They waited for me to speak to them.

            The things that I said were valuable to them, like rain in the spring.

v24 They were surprised when I smiled at them.

            And my smile made them happy.

v25 I told them what they should do. I lived among them like a king who lives with his army.

            And when they were sad, I helped them to be happy again.

Chapter 30

v1 Now young men are cruel to me and they say bad things about me.

            I would not even let their fathers help me with my sheep.

v2 These fathers were strong when they were young. But now they are old.

            And they are so weak that they cannot do any work for me.

v3 They are thin because they do not have anything to eat.

            At night, they run and hide in the *desert.

v4 In the *desert, they eat leaves or *roots.

            And to keep warm at night, they burn the *roots of trees and they light fires with them.

v5 People tell them to go away from the towns and cities.

            The same people shout at them as they would have shouted at thieves. (Thieves are bad men who rob other people.)

v6 They live among the rocks in dry valleys where there had been rivers.

            Or they live in holes that they make in the sides of hills.

v7 The sounds that they make are like the sounds of wild animals.

            And they hide together among the bushes to try to get warm.

v8 They are like fools and no one recognises them.

            And people do not want them to live near them.

v9 Now their sons sing songs about me that are not nice.

            They enjoy it when they are cruel to me.

v10 They do not like me and they stay away from me.

            But if they see me, they spit at me.

            (To ‘spit’ means to shoot water out of the mouth.)

v11 God has made me weak and he has nearly killed me.

            So they can do to me anything that they want.

v12 From one side, the crowd attacks me. They push me so that I have to run away.

            They are like an army that waits to beat the enemy. And I am their enemy.

v13 They do not let me get away from them. When they attack, they really want to kill me.

            And they know that no one will come to help me.

v14 I cannot stop them when they come near me.

            When I fall down, they rush to attack me.

v15 Every day that I live, I am afraid. No one thinks that I am an important man now.

            And my money has gone as quickly as a cloud passes across the sky.

v16 My life will soon end.

            Every day I have pains in my body.

v17 At night, my bones are painful.

            The pains that I feel never go away.

v18 Because of the things that God has done to me, my clothes do not fit me.

            And my skin does not seem to be the right shape any more.

v19 He knocks me down and I fall in the dirt.

            I am no better than ashes on the ground.

v20 I shout to you, God, but you do not answer me.

            When I stand to pray, you do not listen to me.

v21 You have become cruel to me.

            You are strong. And you can attack me when you choose.

v22 You send a strong wind to attack me.

            And you destroy me in the storm.

v23 I know that you will cause me to die soon.

            That happens to everyone who lives on this earth.

v24 People do not usually attack someone who has fallen.

            They do not refuse to help someone who asks for help.

v25 I wept when I saw people with troubles in their lives.

            I was sorry to see poor people who needed help.

v26 I hoped that I would be happy. But bad things happened to me.

            And when I looked for light, everything round me was dark.

v27 There is never a day when I feel well.

            Every day I have pain and I feel sick.

v28 I feel sad. And even when the sun shines it seems to me to be dark.

            I stand up in a public place and there I shout to ask for help.

v29 My voice is like that of the jackal (a kind of wild dog).

            After dark, I make noises like birds in the night.

v30 There are holes in my skin, which has become black.

            And I have a fever (an illness that makes the body very hot).

v31 Before all these things happened to me, I was happy. And I enjoyed music.

            Now I am not happy. So I only sing songs that are sad.

Chapter 31

v1 Sometimes, when I look at a woman, I want to have sex with her.

            So I promised that I would not look at women in that way.

v2 God is angry with men who have thoughts like that.

            He will cause bad things to happen to me if I do that.

v3 He is angry with people who do any kind of wrong thing.

            And bad things will happen to people who do not live the right way.

v4 God sees all the things that I do.

            And he watches where I go.

v5 I have always said things that are true.

            And I have always been an honest man.

v6 I ask God to be fair when he thinks about me.

            He should know that I have never done any wrong things.

v7 God may think that I have not lived the right way.

            Or he may think that I have not always obeyed him.

            Perhaps, in some other way, I have done something that was wrong.

v8 If any of these things is true, someone else can dig my fields.

            And they can eat the plants that have grown there.

v9 Perhaps I wanted to have the wife of another man.

            I might have waited outside her door until she was alone.

v10 If this is true, my wife will cook food for someone else.

            And she will have sex with other men.

v11 If I loved the wife of another man, it would be a very bad thing.

            If I did something as bad as that, God might kill me.

v12 It would be very dangerous if I loved another woman.

            It could destroy my whole life.

v13 My servants, both men and women, sometimes had problems.

            But if they spoke to me about their problems, I always answered them fairly.

v14 God might ask me questions about that.

            But if I had not listened to them, I could not have answered him honestly.

v15 God made me and he made my servants too.

            He made us both and we both grew inside our mothers.

v16 I have never refused to help people who are poor.

            And I have always helped widows (women whose husbands have died.)

v17 I have never kept my food for myself.

            I have always given some of my food to orphans (children whose parents have died.)

v18 Since I was a young man, I have been kind to orphans.

            And I have always been kind to widows too.

v19 I have seen people who were too poor to buy clothes.

            I have met people who had no coat to wear.

v20 So I took material from my sheep’s backs and I made warm clothes for them.

            And they thanked me because I was so kind to them.

v21 I did not have to be kind to orphans.

            But I was never cruel to them.

v22 The things that I say are true.

            But if they are not true, then someone can break my arm.

v23 I could never do wrong things because I was afraid of God.

            He hates people who do wrong things. And I was afraid that he would kill me.

v24 I know that money will not make me happy.

            And if I own lots of gold I will still not be a powerful man.

v25 I have worked all my life and got a lot of money.

            But that has never been the most important thing to me.

v26 Sometimes I look at the sun when it shines in the sky.

            And sometimes I watch the moon when it shines at night.

v27 But I have never believed the sun or the moon to be gods.

            Nor have I ever wanted to *worship them.

v28 That would have been false.

            And God would have been angry if I had done something like that.

v29 I do not smile if someone beats my enemy in a war.

            It does not make me happy when I see my enemy’s troubles.

v30 I have never wanted to see the death of my enemy.

            That would have been a wrong thing for me to do.

v31 There are many men who work in my house as my servants.

            They know that I always welcome strangers.

v32 Travellers are always welcome in my home.

            And no stranger has ever slept in the street outside my house.

v33 Some people try to hide the wrong things that they have done.

            I have never done that.

v34 I do not stay inside my house and refuse to speak.

            I am not afraid to hear the things that people say about me.

I am an honest man.

            And I will speak about the wrong things that I have done.

v35 I really need someone to listen to the things that I say.

            All the things that I say are true.

God may believe that I have done wrong things.

            If he does, then he should write them down.

v36 Then I would wear his list on my shoulder.

            Or I would put it on my head like a crown (a beautiful hat that a king wears on his head).

v37 I would tell God everything that I have done.

            I would come to speak to him, as a king would come to visit another king.

v38 I have not taken land from anyone else.

            I have not taken it from other people who owned it.

v39 I have not taken food that I did not grow.

            And I have never caused the farmers to die (because they were hungry).

v40 But if I have done any of these things, then weeds can grow in my fields.

            Weeds can grow instead of the things that I planted there.’

These are all the words that Job spoke.

Chapter 32

In the next six chapters, we read the words of a man called Elihu. He helps Job more than Job’s friends have done. In chapters 32 and 33, he tries to help Job to understand several things. First, Job had said that God had not answered his questions. Elihu tells Job that God does speak to people. He speaks if people will listen (chapter 33, verses 14 to 17). Second, Job thinks that God has not been fair. This is how Elihu answers that. Sometimes God sends an illness to teach people the right way to live (chapter 33, verses 19 to 28).

Elihu had been listening to everyone and he now speaks to Job

v1 Job had said again and again that he was a completely honest man. So his three friends did not argue with him any more. v2 But another man called Elihu was also there. He was the son of Barakel. (Elihu and Barakel lived in a place called Buz.) And Elihu became very angry with Job because of the things that Job had said. Job had said that he had never done any wrong things. And he had said that God had caused all his troubles. v3 Elihu was also angry with Job’s three friends. They had not been able to answer Job’s questions. And they had said that Job had caused all his own problems. v4 The three friends were older than Elihu. So he had not spoken to Job. Instead, he had let them speak first. v5 But, in the end, he saw that the three men did not have anything more to say. And he became very angry. v6 So Elihu spoke. And this is what he said.

‘I am young and you are old.

            So I was afraid to tell you the things that I know.

v7 I thought, “Older men should speak.

            They should be able to teach other people how to be *wise.”

v8 But it is the Spirit of *Almighty God that comes to men.

            And the Spirit helps men to be *wise.

v9 It is not only older people who are *wise.

            It is not only older people who know the right way to live.

v10 So I say, listen to me.

            I too will tell you the things that I know.

v11 I waited while you spoke. I listened while you explained your reasons to Job.

            And I listened while you tried to find the right words to say to him.

v12 I listened carefully to you. But Job did not believe the things that you said.

            And none of you was able to answer his questions.

v13 Do not say, “Job is much *wiser than we are.

            Let God answer his questions. Let God speak to Job.

God can tell him why he has so many problems.”

v14 Job was speaking to you and not to me.

            But I will not answer his questions in the way that you did.

v15 Your friends, Job, are sad and confused. They are quiet now because they cannot help you.

            There is nothing more that they can say.

v16 They stand there and are not able to answer you.

            But surely I need not be quiet because they do not say anything.

v17 There are things that I, too, want to say to you.

            I, too, will tell you what I know.

v18 There are many things that I want to say.

            It is now time for me to tell you my thoughts.

v19 I can hardly wait to speak to you.

            I am like a bottle of *wine that is ready to break.

v20 Please help me. Let me speak to you.

            I must open my mouth and reply to you.

v21 I will not say good things about someone because he is important.

            Nor will I say good things about anyone if they are not true.

v22 I am too honest to do that.

            If I am not honest, then God will remove me.

Chapter 33

v1 But now, Job, listen to the things that I will tell you.

            Listen carefully to everything that I say.

v2 I will speak to you now.

            I am ready to tell you the thoughts that are in my mind.

v3 I am an honest man. So you can believe the words that I speak.

            All the things that I will say are true.

v4 The Spirit of God has made me.

            I am alive because of him.

v5 Answer me now, Job, if you can.

            Prepare yourself and get ready to speak with me.

v6 When God looks at us, we are all like each other.

            God made both of us from dirt.

v7 There is no reason why you should be afraid of me.

            I will not do anything that might hurt you.

v8 But I have heard you speak, Job.

            And these are the words that you spoke.

v9 You said, “I am an honest man.

            I have not done anything that was wrong.

v10 But God says that I have done wrong things.

            And he thinks that I am his enemy.

v11 I cannot go far because he has tied my feet.

            And he always watches me. So he knows where I go.”

v12 But I tell you this, Job, you are not right.

            You know that God is greater than any man.

v13 So you should not argue with him.

            You should not say that he does not answer any of your questions.

v14 God does speak to people.

            He speaks to them again and again.

But often people do not listen to him.

            Nor do they hear the things that he has said.

v15 Sometimes God speaks to people at night, while they are asleep in bed.

            He speaks through the things that they dream about.

v16 When God speaks that way, people listen to him.

            And sometimes they are afraid because of the things that he says to them.

v17 God speaks to them to tell them not to do wrong things.

            People may think that they are important.

But God tells them that they are not so important.

v18 God will not let anyone kill them.

            He saves them from death.

v19 People may have illnesses that are very painful.

            God can send such an illness to teach people the right way to live.

v20 Then people feel sick if they look at food.

            They cannot eat even the food that they like most.

v21 They were well but now they have become very thin.

            They are so thin that people can see their bones.

v22 They are so ill that they will soon die.

            Then they will go to the place where all dead people go.

v23 God has thousands of *angels who can help people like that.

            Perhaps one of the *angels will say, “These are good people.”

v24 Then God will be kind to a person like that and he will not die.

            That person will live because someone has spoken on his behalf.

v25 He will become well again.

            And he will be strong, like a young man.

v26 He will pray to God and God will answer him.

            He will again be God’s friend.

And he will enjoy that.

            God will know him to be a good man again.

v27 Then he will say to people, “I did wrong things.

            I did not live the right way but God *forgave me.

v28 He saved me from death.

            And now I will live to enjoy the light.”

v29 God does all these things to people.

            He does them twice and sometimes three times.

v30 He saves them from death.

            Then he lets them again enjoy their lives.

v31 Now, Job, listen to the things that I will say.

            Be quiet, and I will speak to you.

v32 There may be something that you want to say. If there is, then say it.

            Then I will be able to say to everyone that you are a good man.

v33 But you may not want to say anything. If not, then listen to me.

            Be quiet and I will teach you about *wisdom.’

Chapter 34

The things that Elihu says in this chapter do not help Job. Elihu may be speaking to Job’s friends (verse 2). He says some bad things about Job (verses 7 to 9). Then he says things about God that do not help Job. God cannot do anything wrong (verse 12). God is powerful but he is always fair (verse 17). God knows everything (verses 21 to 23). And Job has not said sorry to God. So Elihu says that God will not *forgive him. None of these things helps Job to understand why bad things have happened to him.

v1 Then Elihu continued to speak. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘Hear the words that I speak, you *wise men.

            Listen to me, you men who have learned many things.

v3 You recognise nice food when you eat it.

            And you ought to understand the words that you hear.

v4 We should decide what is right.

            And we should agree together what is true.

v5 Job says that he is an honest man.

            But he says that God does not agree with him.

v6 He says that he speaks true words.

            But God says that they are not true.

He says that he has never done any wrong things.

            But God has caused bad things to happen to him.

v7 There has never been a man like Job.

            He does not even seem to believe God.

v8 He meets with men who do wrong things.

            And his friends are bad people.

v9 Job says that people should not try to obey God.

            If they do, they will not get anything back.

v10 So listen to me, you men who understand everything.

            *Almighty God will not do anything that is wrong.

v11 If people have lived the right way, he is kind to them.

            If they have done wrong things, he may *punish them.

v12 No one thinks that God could ever do anything wrong.

            All the things that he does, he does fairly.

v13 God was so powerful that he made the world.

            And it is he who rules the whole world.

v14 God gave us our lives.

            So he can decide if he wants to take them from us.

v15 If he did that, everyone would die together.

            And people would become dirt again.

v16 If you can understand my words, then hear me.

            And listen to me when I speak to you.

v17 God could not rule fairly if he were not a good God.

            He is powerful and he is always fair. So you cannot say that he has been cruel to you.

v18 It is God who removes kings and rulers.

            He may do this if they have been bad kings or bad rulers.

v19 God made us all. So it does matter to him that someone is a king’s son.

            And he is no kinder to a rich person than he is to a poor person.

v20 Anyone can die in a moment, in the middle of the night.

            People die, even if no person has tried to kill them.

v21 He watches the way that people live.

            They can go anywhere that they want. But he will always be able to see them.

v22 There is no place dark enough for people to hide from God.

            It does not matter where they are. He can always see them.

v23 In the end, people will have to explain to God how they have lived their lives.

            But God does not need to tell them when they will have to do that.

v24 God does not need to ask what rulers have done. He may decide to remove them.

            And he will make other men rulers instead of them.

v25 He knows that the bad rulers have done wrong things.

            So, in the night, he kills them.

v26 He *punishes them where everyone can see them.

            He does this because they have done wrong things.

v27 They have not lived in the way that he wanted them to live.

            And they have not done the things that he told them to do.

v28 Because of the things that they did, poor people had to ask God for help.

            And God heard those poor people and he helped them.

v29 But God might have decided not to help those poor people.

            And no one could say that he was wrong to decide that.

If he hides himself, no one can see him.

            But he rules over men and countries.

v30 He does not let bad people rule.

            In this way, he saves the people from bad rulers.

v31 Someone may say to God, “I have done wrong things.

            But I am sorry and I will not do them again.

v32 I may not have understood that some things were wrong.

            Tell me about such things and I will not do them again either.”

v33 But Job, you refuse to say that you are sorry.

            So there is no reason why God should *forgive you.

You must decide what you will do. I cannot decide for you.

            So give me a true answer - what have you decided?

v34 *Wise men agree with the things that I say.

            This is what they will say to me.

v35 “Job speaks like a fool.

            He does not understand the things that he says.”

v36 Job, it is right that bad things should happen to you.

            You have spoken like a bad man would speak.

v37 You have done wrong things. But you have also refused to obey God.

            And you have now said very bad things about God.’

Chapter 35

Job has asked why he should live the right way. Elihu answers him now. Job may do good things or bad things. It does not matter to God, Elihu says (verses 1 to 8). Job has also asked why God does not answer his *prayers. Elihu answers this, too. Job may have done wrong things, so God does not answer his *prayers (verse 12). Or Job may not believe that God answers people’s *prayers (verse 13). None of these answers helps Job.

v1 Then Elihu spoke to Job again. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘The things that you say cannot be right.

            “God knows that I have not done anything wrong.” That is what you say.

v3 But you ask him why you should live the right way.

            You ask this also. “What do I get if I only do good things?”

v4 I would like to reply to you.

            And I will speak, too, to the friends who are with you.

v5 Look up at the sky to see what is there.

            Look at the clouds that are so high above you.

v6 If you do wrong things, that will not hurt God.

            If you do many wrong things, it will not change him.

v7 You do not give anything to God if you are always good.

            He does not receive from you because you do good things.

v8 Only you feel the result of the wrong things that you do.

            And only other people get something as a result of the good things that you do.

v9 People shout when they have a lot of trouble in their lives.

            They ask for help when powerful people attack them.

v10 God made men. And when they are sad, he causes them to be happy.

            But none of them asks where he is.

v11 He teaches more things to us than he teaches to animals.

            And he makes us *wiser than the birds. But people still do not ask him to help them.

v12 People may ask him to help them.

            But he does not help them because they do so many wrong things.

v13 They may pray to God. But they do not believe that he will answer them.

            So God does not even listen to them.

v14 You say that you do not see him. And you say that you wait for him to answer you.

            So there is no reason why he should listen to you either.

v15 You say that God does not *punish bad people. You do things that are wrong.

            But you think that he does not see them.

v16 So, Job, you do not understand what you say.

            And the words that you speak do not mean anything.’

Chapter 36

Perhaps the most important thing that Elihu says is in this chapter. God does help people who have trouble in their lives. Often this is the best time for them to hear God’s voice. And in chapters 36 and 37, Elihu describes for Job what God is like. God is always fair (chapter 36, verse 3). He is powerful and he does not hate anyone (‘hates’ is the opposite of ‘loves’) (chapter 36, verse 5). He is a good teacher (chapter 36, verse 22). He rules the world (chapter 36, verse 31). He speaks to people (chapter 37, verse 5). He does great things (chapter 37, verse 14). Only God is really *wise (chapter 37, verse 24). And there are lots of other things about God that you can read about in these chapters.

v1 Elihu continued to speak. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘Please be patient and listen to me.

            I want to say something else on behalf of God.

v3 I have learned many things during my life.

            And I know that God is always fair.

v4 Everything that I say to you is true.

            You can be sure about that because I am a really *wise man.

v5 God is powerful and he does not hate anyone (‘hate’ is the opposite of ‘love’).

            But when he decides to do something, he does it.

v6 He does not let bad people live for a long time.

            But he is always fair to people who have problems.

v7 He sees people who live the right way.

            And he makes them famous so that they rule like kings.

v8 Sometimes people have trouble in their lives.

            And they cannot discover what has caused their trouble.

v9 Then he tells them what they have done.

            They have done wrong things and they have not listened to him.

v10 He tells them to listen to him.

            And he wants them to be sorry about the wrong things that they have done.

v11 God wants them to be his servants and to obey him.

            If they do that, they will be rich. And they will be happy until they die.

v12 But some people do not listen to God or obey him.

            Such people do not know the right way to live.

And someone will fight against them and kill them.

v13 When people do not obey God, they become angry.

            Even when God *punishes them, they do not ask him to help them.

v14 They die while they are still young.

            They have wasted their lives. They have lived among men who have sex with other men.

v15 But God helps people who have trouble in their lives.

            Often, this is the best time for people to hear God’s voice.

v16 God does not want you to have trouble in your life, Job.

            He wants to make you safe and to take your problems away.

He wants you to have a comfortable life.

            And he wants you to have plenty of nice food.

v17 But now God is *punishing you because of the wrong things that you have done.

            But, in the end, he will be fair to you.

v18 You are a rich man, but be careful.

            Rich people often do wrong things to get even more money.

v19 You may be a rich man, but this will not help you.

            Even if you try, you will not be able to get out of trouble.

v20 Do not wait until it is night.

            Do not take people away from their homes in the dark.

v21 God let you have troubles in your life. He did this to make you think about your life.

            So be careful that you live the right way.

v22 You know that God is powerful.

            And he is also the best teacher.

v23 Nobody can tell God what he should do.

            And no one can say to him, “You have done things that are wrong.”

v24 People sing songs to say that God is great.

            You should do that, too.

v25 Men everywhere have seen the things that God has done.

            But we can only see them from far away.

v26 God is so great that we cannot know him completely.

            We do not know how long he has lived.

v27 It is God who takes water from the earth.

            Then he makes it into rain.

v28 The rain falls from the clouds.

            And so there is enough water for everyone.

v29 No one understands how the clouds move through the sky.

            Nor does anyone understand the noise that storms make.

v30 In a storm, the clouds are dark. But he makes the light shine brightly.

            It shines even on things that are deep under the sea.

v31 This is the way that God rules the world.

            He sends storms. But he gives to people all the food that they need.

v32 He sends the storms where he wants them to go.

            And he tells them what they should hit.

v33 Loud noises in the sky show that a storm is coming soon.

            Then even the cows in the fields know that there will soon be a storm.

Chapter 37

v1 A storm like that makes me very afraid.

v2 Listen well to God’s voice.

            Listen to the loud noise when he speaks.

v3 He sends *lightning across the sky.

            It goes in all directions.

v4 After the lightening comes the sound of his voice.

            When he speaks, it is like the sound of thunder (loud noise in the sky during a storm).

v5 When God speaks, great things happen.

            He does things that we can never understand.

v6 He tells the snow to drop on the earth.

            And when it rains, he causes lots of rain to drop on the ground.

v7 People need to see what God can do. He made them and he rules the weather.

            And when the weather is bad like that, people are not able to work.

v8 The wild animals hide among the rocks.

            Or they stay in the places where they sleep at night.

v9 The storm comes from the south.

            And the cold winds come from the north.

v10 Ice covers the rivers and lakes.

            The cold wind that makes the ice is like God’s *breath.

v11 He fills the clouds with water.

            And he sends the *lightning through the clouds.

v12 The clouds move across all the earth.

            They go where he sends them.

v13 He sends the clouds so that there is water on the earth.

            Sometimes he does this when he has to *punish people.

Sometimes he does it to show them that he loves them.

v14 Listen to the things that I tell you.

            Stop, Job. Think about all the great things that God does.

v15 God makes the clouds move.

            But you do not know how he does that.

He makes the *lightning shine for a moment in the sky.

            But you do not know how he does that either.

v16 You cannot explain how the clouds stay up in the sky.

            Only God can do all these things, because he knows how to do everything.

v17 When the warm wind blows from the south in summer, everything is hot.

            And you are too warm in the clothes that you wear.

v18 Then the sky becomes like a metal mirror that makes everything even warmer.

            God has made it like that. And you cannot help him do it.

v19 You think that you are *wise. So tell us what we should say to God.

            Help us, Job, because we do not know what to say to him.

v20 I will not ask if I can speak to God.

            If I ask, he might kill me.

v21 The winds have blown all the clouds away.

            Now no one can look at the sun, which shines brightly in the sky.

v22 People can see lovely colours in the sky, towards the north. But they cannot see God.

            He is too bright and too beautiful for us to look at.

v23 God is so powerful that we cannot come near to him.

            But he is always kind and fair to everyone.

v24 People may think that they are *wise.

            But they are afraid of him, because only he is really *wise.’

Chapter 38

In chapters 38 to 41, God speaks to Job. He tells Job all about himself. He tells Job how he made the world and the stars. He tells Job about all the animals that he has made. He tells Job about the biggest animals in the world. Job could not catch such animals - but God made them.

There are so many things that God knows, But Job does not know these things. There are so many things that God can do. But Job cannot do any of these things. Everything that God says shows that only he is really *wise. And only he is really powerful. And only he is always fair.

The *Lord speaks to Job

v1 While a storm continued, the *Lord spoke to Job. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘You have asked many questions about the things that I do, Job.

            But you do not really understand the things that you say.

v3 Now be brave, and listen to me.

            There are many things that I want to tell you.

v4 You were not there when I made the world.

            If you know so many things, tell me about that.

v5 I decided how large the world should be.

            I am sure that you know that!

v6 You do not know how I made the world.

            But it was I who put it in the right place.

v7 When I did this, the *angels sang. They were so happy.

            And even the stars seemed to sing, too.

v8 At the beginning of time, I made the sea.

            I decided where it should begin. And I decided how far it should go.

v9 Above the sea, I made the clouds.

            And everything was dark.

v10 I decided where the land would be.

            And the sea could not come there.

v11 I said to the sea, “This is as far as you may come.

            This is where you must stop.”

v12 You, Job, have never said when night should end.

            And you could not tell the morning when it should start.

v13 Bad things happen at night. And when day comes, they stop.

            But you could not tell the light when to cover the earth.

v14 When the day comes, people can see things clearly.

            And the shape of the earth becomes clear, like someone who is wearing a coat.

v15 The light of day is too bright for people who do bad things.

            In the day, they stop doing things that are wrong.

v16 You have not explored where the water in the sea comes from.

            Nor have you gone to the deepest part of the sea.

v17 You have not seen the place where dead people go.

            Nor do you know the way to that place.

v18 You do not understand how big the world is.

            Tell me, Job, if you know all these things.

v19 You do not know where light comes from.

            Nor do you know how the dark begins.

v20 You do not know where to find them.

            You do not know how to get there.

v21 But you have lived for many years.

            So perhaps you do know all these things.

v22 You have not visited the place where I keep all the snow.

            Nor have you seen the place where I keep the hail (rain that is so cold that it has become hard).

v23 I keep the snow and the hail until trouble comes.

            I keep them to use when there are wars.

v24 You do not understand where *lightning comes from.

            Nor do you know how the wind from the east blows over the earth.

v25 I decide where the rivers should go.

            And I tell the storm which way to go.

v26 I send the rain to places where no one lives.

            And it falls in the *desert.

v27 It falls on ground where there has been no rain for a long time.

            And it makes the grass grow again.

v28 The rain does not have a father.

            No one knows where dew (water that you find on the ground in the morning) comes from.

v29 Ice does not have a mother.

            No one knows why the ground is cold and hard in the morning.

v30 In very cold weather, water becomes hard like stone.

            And there is even ice on top of the sea.

v31 You cannot tie together the beautiful Pleiades (a group of stars in the sky).

            Nor can you change the shape of Orion (another group of stars in the sky).

v32 You cannot put the stars in the right place at different times of the year.

            Nor can you tell the Great *Bear and Little *Bear (more groups of stars) where to go in the sky.

v33 You do not know how everything in the sky stays in the right place.

            And you do not understand, either, how I rule the earth.

v34 You cannot speak to the clouds.

            You cannot tell them to cover the earth with water.

v35 You cannot send the *lightning to the place where it must go.

            Even if you tried to do that, nothing would happen.

v36 *Wisdom does not come from you, Job.

            And you do not understand everything about the weather, either.

v37 You are not clever enough to count the clouds.

            Nor can you send water from the sky, like a person who pours it from a pot.

v38 Rain can make the soil (the ground that people put seeds into) wet.

            But you cannot cause the rain to fall.

v39 You do not look for food to feed hungry *lions.

            The mother of the young *lions does that herself.

v40 She looks for food while the young *lions hide in their holes.

            She brings them food while they wait in the bushes.

v41 You do not feed the ravens (big, black birds that live in the mountains).

            When the young ravens are hungry, they ask me for food.

Chapter 39

v1 You do not know when young goats are born on the mountains.

            You are not there to see the young deer when they are born.

v2 You do not know how many months it will be until the birth of the young deer.

            Nor do you know when they will be born.

v3 The deer bend down and the young deer are born.

            Then they have no more pain.

A ‘deer’ is an animal that looks like a small cow and it often lives in the woods.

v4 The young animals become fit and strong.

            When they have grown, they leave their parents. And they will not return to them.

v5 The wild *donkeys are free to run where they want.

            I let them do that.

v6 I decided that the *desert would be their home.

            And I decided that they would live there.

v7 They do not go near cities where there is a lot of noise.

            They do not listen to people who might want them to work.

v8 They live on the hills where they look for food.

            They look for nice green grass to eat.

v9 A wild *ox will not do what you tell it to do.

            Nor will it stay in your farm at night.

v10 It will not let you fasten it to a plough.

            Nor will it plough the fields for you.

v11 The wild *ox is a very strong animal.

            But you cannot be sure that it will help you to do your work.

v12 It will not help you pick the plants in your fields.

            Nor will it help you to bring them into your farm.

v13 The ostrich (a very large bird that cannot fly) makes its wings (part of a bird that helps it to fly) move a lot.

But the ostrich cannot fly, so its wings are not as good as the wings of a stork (a big white bird).

v14 The ostrich puts its eggs on the ground.

            And it lets them get warm in the sand.

v15 It does not know that a person’s foot may break them.

            Nor does it know that a wild animal may walk on them.

v16 It is careless with its eggs. It does not know that they are its eggs.

            They were the result of its work. But it will not be sad if someone breaks them.

v17 This is because I did not make the ostrich *wise.

            Nor did I make it able to think properly.

v18 But when the ostrich begins to run, it can run very fast.

            It can run past the fastest horse.

v19 You, Job, did not make horses strong.

            Nor did you give them all the long hair that they have on their necks.

v20 You did not make them able to jump like locusts (large insects that can jump a long way).

            And horses also frighten people because of the loud noises that they make.

v21 A horse knows that it is very strong.

            It hits its foot on the ground when it is ready to fight.

v22 A horse is not afraid of anything.

It is not even afraid when it carries a soldier with his weapons (things that soldiers use to fight with).

v23 The soldier’s *sword shines in the sun.

            And the horse feels the *sword as it hits against its side.

v24 It wants to run as fast as it can.

            When it hears the trumpet, it wants to run faster.

v25 When it hears the sound of the trumpet it makes a loud noise.

            People may be far away. But it can hear them when they fight.

It can hear the officers in the army when they shout to the soldiers.

A ‘trumpet’ is a metal pipe with a wide end. People blow through it to make loud music.

v26 The hawk (a very large bird) does not learn from you how to fly.

            You do not teach it to fly toward the south in winter.

v27 You do not tell the eagle (a big bird that lives in the mountains) to fly high into the sky.

            You do not show it where to build its home up in the mountains

v28 Its home is among the highest rocks where it stays at night.

            It knows that it is safe there.

v29 From there it can look for its food, even if it is far away.

            It can see small animals that it wants to catch.

v30 Its food is the small animals that it kills.

            And then the young eagles come and drink the blood of the dead animals.’

Chapter 40

v1 The *Lord spoke to Job. And this is what he said.

v2 ‘I am God. Do you still want to argue with me?

            You say that I have done wrong things. Now you must explain what you mean.’

v3 Then Job answered the *Lord. And this is what he said.

v4 ‘I am a silly man and I cannot reply to you properly.

            I put my hand over my mouth and I will not say anything.

v5 I have said too much already.

            There is nothing more that I want to say.’

v6 Then the *Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. And this is what he said.

v7 ‘Stand up and be brave.

            I will speak to you, and you must answer me.

v8 You think that I am not fair to you.

            And you think that you are always right.

v9 But you are not as strong as I am.

            And your voice is not as loud as mine is.

v10 If you were like me, you could put on lovely clothes.

            And you could show everyone how beautiful you are.

v11 You could show everyone how angry you can be.

            People think that they are very clever. You could show them that they are not so clever.

v12 You could do that, Job, if you were like me.

            And, when you find them, you could kill bad people, too.

v13 You could bury them all in the ground.

            You could send them to the place where dead people go.

v14 If you can do these things, then even I would praise you.

            (‘Praise’ means to say how good a person is; to tell him how great he is.)

Then I would agree that you could save yourself.

v15 Look at the Great Animal.

            I made it and I made you. It eats only grass, like a cow.

v16 But how strong its legs are!

            And how powerful its stomach is!

v17 Its tail is as straight as a tall tree.

            Its legs are thick and they are strong.

v18 Its bones are as strong as bronze (a kind of brown metal).

            Its back legs and its front legs are as strong as iron.

v19 I have not made anything bigger or better than the Great Animal.

            And only I am stronger than the Great Animal.

v20 The wild animals may play in the grass on the side of the hill.

            But the Great Animal comes and eats the grass next to them.

v21 It lies under the bushes.

            It hides among the plants that grow at the edge of the lake.

v22 It rests under the trees that grow near the river.

            Then it can stay cool because the sun does not shine on it.

v23 Even when the river is deep and strong, it is not afraid.

            The River Jordan may be all round it, but it still feels safe.

v24 No one can catch the Great Animal.

            No one can put a ring in its nose and lead it away.

Chapter 41

v1 You cannot catch Leviathan in the same way that you catch a fish.

            Nor can you tie its mouth to stop it biting you.

Nobody knows what this animal was.

v2 You cannot fasten a line to its nose.

            Nor can you put a hook (a bent piece of metal) in its mouth.

v3 It will not ask you to stop being cruel to it.

            Nor will it speak to you politely.

v4 It will not agree to work for you.

            And you cannot make it your slave for always.

v5 It is not a friendly animal, like a bird that you can keep in your home.

            And it is not the kind of animal that your children can play with.

v6 No one will buy it to sell it.

            And no one will cut it up and try to sell it in shops.

v7 You cannot put long knives into its skin to catch it.

            Nor can you put a sharp stick into its head to kill it.

v8 If you touch it, you will never forget it.

            It will fight with you and you will never touch it again!

v9 You cannot hope to catch it, because it will always be too strong.

            As soon as you see it, you will be afraid of it.

v10 No one is silly enough to wake it. Everyone knows that it is too strong.

            And I made it! So no one will be able to fight against me.

v11 There is nothing that I must pay to anyone.

            Everything in the world is mine.

v12 Let me tell you all about this animal.

            It is strong and it has a large body and powerful legs.

v13 Its skin is so thick that no one could remove it.

            And people are afraid to go near it.

v14 It is too dangerous to try to open its mouth.

            Anyone who sees its teeth would be very afraid.

v15 Its back has very thick skin to keep it safe.

            There are no spaces into which you could put a knife.

v16 Each piece of skin is very near the next one.

            Not even air can pass between them.

v17 There is no space between the pieces of skin.

            And no one can separate them.

v18 It makes a loud noise and its eyes are very bright.

            Its eyes are as red as the sky at dawn.

v19 Fire comes from its mouth.

            And sparks (little pieces of burning material that come out of a fire and fly into the air) fly out of its mouth.

v20 Smoke comes from its nose.

            It is like smoke that comes from a fire of weeds under a pot.

v21 The air that comes from its mouth can light a fire.

            And flames (what you get when you burn something) come quickly out of its mouth.

v22 Its neck is very strong.

            It frightens people when they see it.

v23 There is no weak place anywhere on its skin.

            Its whole body is as strong as iron.

v24 Its front is hard as a rock.

            It is harder than the stones that people use to make flour.

v25 Even strong and brave people are afraid when it moves towards them.

            They run away because it might hit them with its tail.

v26 No one can hurt it, even with a sword.

            Nor will a spear or a dart or a javelin hurt it.

Swords, spears, darts, javelins and lances (verse 29) are all arms that soldiers would use. Most of them are like long, sharp sticks.

v27 It can break iron as easily as a thin stick.

            It can break bronze (brown metal) as easily as an old piece of wood.

v28 Arrows (pointed sticks that a man shoots with a bow) do not frighten it.

            Stones cannot hurt it.

v29 A heavy stick seems to it like a piece of straw (dry grass).

            It laughs when it hears the sound of a lance (long sharp stick).

v30 Its stomach is sharp, like bits of a pot that someone has broken.

            When it moves along, it leaves marks on the ground, like a plough.

v31 The water seems to boil when it swims in it.

            When it swims down deep, the water is like a pot of oil.

v32 When it moves through the water, the water behind it shines.

            The water seems to have become white.

v33 Nowhere in the world is there anything that is as strong as this animal.

            And it is not afraid of anything.

v34 It is stronger than even the strongest of animals.

            It is like the king of all the wild animals.’

Chapter 42

Job replies to the *Lord

Job has heard God speak. Job has heard God speak about himself. And now Job sees that God’s *wisdom is so much greater than Job’s *wisdom. He sees that God’s power is so much greater than the power of any man. Job is now sorry about the things that he said. He is ready to believe God again.

At the end of this chapter, God speaks to Job’s three friends. He tells them that Job was right. And he tells them that they were wrong. But he asks Job to pray for them and he promises to *forgive them. God is kind to Job after all his troubles. And he makes Job richer than he had been before.

v1 Then Job replied to the *Lord,

v2 ‘I know that you can do all things.

You are powerful. And you can do anything that you want to do.

v3 I know so little. And you asked me why I talk so much.

            I have talked about things that I did not understand.

v4 You told me to listen and to answer your questions.

v5 I had heard about you from other people.

            Now I have seen you with my own eyes.

v6 That is why I do not like myself.

            I sit here in the ashes because I am so sad.’

The end of the story

v7 The *Lord said to Eliphaz,

‘The things that my servant Job has said about me are true. But the things that you said were not true. So I am angry with you and your two friends. v8 I want you to go to Job and *sacrifice 7 bulls (male cows) and 7 goats. If you do this, I will be happy. After you have *sacrificed the animals, Job will pray for you. You have been like fools, but I will *forgive you.’

v9 So Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar obeyed the *Lord and they *sacrificed the animals. And Job prayed for his three friends. Then the *Lord did as he had promised. He *forgave them for all the wrong things that they had said.

v10 So Job prayed for his three friends. After this, the *Lord made him twice as rich as he had been before. v11 Then Job had a party for his brothers and sisters and for his friends. They each told Job how sad they had been. They had been very sad because the *Lord had caused Job much pain. They each gave Job a coin and a gold ring.

v12 The *Lord made Job richer than he had been before. The *Lord gave him 14 000 sheep, 6000 *camels, 1000 pairs of *oxen, and 1000 *donkeys. v13 As well as seven sons, Job had three daughters. v14 Their names were Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren Happuch. v15 They were the most beautiful women in the whole country. Job said what should happen after his death. His sons and daughters should have all the things that had belonged to him. v16 Job lived for another 140 years. He lived until he had seen his grandchildren and their grandchildren. v17 When, in the end, he died, he was a very old man.

Word List

almighty ~ a name that people give to God; it means that he is over everything.

angel ~ angels live with God and they bring messages from God to his people.

bear ~ a large animal.

breath ~ the air that goes in and out of the mouth.

camel ~ an animal that can carry people or things; it can walk for a long time without a drink.

court ~ people go there. Then a *judge can say who is right and who is wrong.

curse ~ to say very bad things about someone.

desert ~ a dry place with much sand.

donkey ~ an animal like a small horse. It carries people or things.

flood ~ when it rains and there is too much water everywhere.

flute ~ people use their mouths to make music with it.

forgive ~ to show love and not to remember bad things.

grape ~ fruit of a *vine; it can be made into *wine.

harp ~ it has lines across it. People pull the lines with their fingers to make music.

heaven ~ the place where God lives; the place where God and Jesus are.

judge ~ a judge says who is right and who is wrong.

lightning ~ narrow lines of light in the sky during a storm.

lion ~ a big animal (like a cat) that can kill a man.

Lord ~ a special name for God that his people use.

New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus.

olive ~ fruit that people use to make a kind of oil; they use the oil to cook with.

olive-tree ~ the tree that olives grow on.

ox, oxen ~ a big, strong cow; if there is more than one ox we say ‘oxen’.

prayers ~ when we talk to God or ask him for something.

punish ~ hurt someone who has done wrong to teach them not to do wrong again.

roots ~ the parts of plants that grow below the ground.

sacrifice ~ to kill an animal and burn its body as a gift to God.

Satan ~ the worst of the bad *angels. He is also called the devil and he is God’s enemy.

sword ~ a long, sharp knife that soldiers use to fight people with.

tambourine ~ people hit it or move it about quickly to make music.

tent ~ a home or building that people make from cloth or animal skins.

trap ~ a hole that someone cannot see is an example of a trap; someone may want people to fall into it.

vine ~ a plant that climbs. Its fruit is called a *grape.

wine ~ a drink with alcohol in it. People make it from *grapes.

wisdom ~ a person who has wisdom always knows the best thing to do.

wise ~ when we understand God’s word; when we know what God wants us to do; wise people know what is good and right; and they do it.

worms ~ little animals, like snakes, that live under the ground.

worship ~ to give thanks to God; to show God that we love him very much.

Book List

David Atkinson ~ The Message of Job (The Bible Speaks Today) ~ IVP

Deryck Sheriffs ~ The Friendship of the Lord: an Old Testament Spirituality ~ Paternoster Press

The New Bible Commentary Revised ~ IVP

The Bible

            Contemporary English Version

            Good News Bible

            New International Version

            New Living Translation

 

© 1997-2005, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

September 2005

Visit our website: www.easyenglish.info