21 Then Job answered:2 Pay close attention to my words;
let this be the consolation you offer.
3 Bear with me while I speak;
then after I have spoken, you may continue mocking.4 As for me, is my complaint against a human being?
Then why shouldn’t I be impatient?
5 Look at me and shudder;
put your hand over your mouth.
6 When I think about it, I am terrified
and my body trembles in horror.
7 Why do the wicked continue to live,
growing old and becoming powerful?
8 Their children are established while they are still alive,[a]
and their descendants, before their eyes.
9 Their homes are secure and free of fear;
no rod from God strikes them.
10 Their bulls breed without fail;
their cows calve and do not miscarry.
11 They let their little ones run around like lambs;
their children skip about,
12 singing to the tambourine and lyre
and rejoicing at the sound of the flute.
13 They spend[b] their days in prosperity
and go down to Sheol in peace.
14 Yet they say to God, “Leave us alone!
We don’t want to know your ways.
15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him,
and what will we gain by pleading with him?”
16 But their prosperity is not of their own doing.
The counsel of the wicked is far from me!17 How often is the lamp of the wicked put out?
Does disaster[c] come on them?
Does he apportion destruction in his anger?
18 Are they like straw before the wind,
like chaff a storm sweeps away?
19 God reserves a person’s punishment for his children.
Let God repay the person himself, so that he may know it.
20 Let his own eyes see his demise;
let him drink from the Almighty’s wrath!
21 For what does he care about his family once he is dead,
when the number of his months has run out?22 Can anyone teach God knowledge,
since he judges the exalted ones?[d]
23 One person dies in excellent health,[e]
completely secure[f] and at ease.
24 His body is[g] well fed,[h]
and his bones are full of marrow.[i]
25 Yet another person dies with a bitter soul,
having never tasted prosperity.
26 But they both lie in the dust,
and worms cover them.27 I know your thoughts very well,
the schemes by which you would wrong me.
28 For you say, “Where now is the nobleman’s house?”
and “Where are the tents the wicked lived in?”
29 Have you never consulted those who travel the roads?
Don’t you accept their reports?[j]
30 Indeed, the evil person is spared from the day of disaster,
rescued from the day of wrath.
31 Who would denounce his behavior to his face?
Who would repay him for what he has done?
32 He is carried to the grave,
and someone keeps watch over his tomb.
33 The dirt on his grave is[k] sweet to him.
Everyone follows behind him,
and those who go before him are without number.34 So how can you offer me such futile comfort?
Your answers are deceptive.
Third Series of Speeches
22 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:2 Can a man be of any use to God?
Can even a wise man be of use to him?
3 Does it delight the Almighty if you are righteous?
Does he profit if you perfect your behavior?4 Does he correct you and take you to court
because of your piety?
5 Isn’t your wickedness abundant
and aren’t your iniquities endless?
6 For you took collateral from your brothers without cause,
stripping off their clothes and leaving them naked.
7 You gave no water to the thirsty
and withheld food from the famished,
8 while the land belonged to a powerful man
and an influential man lived on it.
9 You sent widows away empty-handed,
and the strength of the fatherless was[l] crushed.
10 Therefore snares surround you,
and sudden dread terrifies you,
11 or darkness, so you cannot see,
and a flood of water covers you.12 Isn’t God as high as the heavens?
And look at the highest stars—how lofty they are!
13 Yet you say, “What does God know?
Can he judge through total darkness?
14 Clouds veil him so that he cannot see,
as he walks on the circle of the sky.”
15 Will you continue on the ancient path
that wicked men have walked?
16 They were snatched away before their time,
and their foundations were washed away by a river.
17 They were the ones who said to God, “Leave us alone!”
and “What can the Almighty do to us?” [m]
18 But it was he who filled their houses with good things.
The counsel of the wicked is far from me!
19 The righteous see this and rejoice;
the innocent mock them, saying,
20 “Surely our opponents are destroyed,
and fire has consumed what they left behind.”21 Come to terms with God and be at peace;
in this way[n] good will come to you.
22 Receive instruction from his mouth,
and place his sayings in your heart.
23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be renewed.
If you banish injustice from your tent
24 and consign your gold to the dust,
the gold of Ophir to the stones in the wadis,
25 the Almighty will be your gold
and your finest silver.
26 Then you will delight in the Almighty
and lift up your face to God.
27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you,
and you will fulfill your vows.
28 When you make a decision, it will be carried out,[o]
and light will shine on your ways.
29 When others are humiliated and you say, “Lift them up,”
God will save the humble.[p]
30 He will even rescue the guilty one,
who will be rescued by the purity of your hands.
Job’s Reply to Eliphaz
23 Then Job answered:2 Today also my complaint is bitter.[q]
His[r] hand is heavy despite my groaning.
3 If only I knew how to find him,
so that I could go to his throne.
4 I would plead my case before him
and fill my mouth with arguments.
5 I would learn how[s] he would answer me;
and understand what he would say to me.
6 Would he prosecute me forcefully?
No, he would certainly pay attention to me.
7 Then an upright man could reason with him,
and I would escape from my Judge[t] forever.8 If I go east, he is not there,
and if I go west, I cannot perceive him.
9 When he is at work to the north, I cannot see him;
when he turns south, I cannot find him.
10 Yet he knows the way I have taken;[u]
when he has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold.
11 My feet have followed in his tracks;
I have kept to his way and not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from the commands from his lips;
I have treasured[v] the words from his mouthmore than my daily food.
13 But he is unchangeable; who can oppose him?
He does what he desires.
14 He will certainly accomplish what he has decreed for me,
and he has many more things like these in mind.[w]
15 Therefore I am terrified in his presence;
when I consider this, I am afraid of him.
16 God has made my heart faint;
the Almighty has terrified me.
17 Yet I am not destroyed[x] by the darkness,
by the thick darkness that covers my face.
It can seem to us at times that the wicked prosper in this world. Have you ever asked yourself, “Why does this person have so many blessings surrounding them? They are wicked and unrighteous.” And on the flip side of that coin, have you ever asked yourself, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
Job is directly refuting all 3 of his friends in chapter 21. His friends continued to suggest that all of this calamity was happening because Job was unrighteous and wicked. Job makes the case that bad things happen to good people. The wicked do succeed, if only for a season. The righteous do encounter difficulty and tragedy from time to time. Such is life in a fallen world.
Don’t allow this reality to hinder your faith and trust in God. God will take care of His own, even when it seems the world is crumbling around you.