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The Bible – Old Testament
Then Job answered and said:
I know well that it is so; but how can a man be justified before God?
Should one wish to contend with him, he could not answer him once in a thousand times.
God is wise in heart and mighty in strength; who has withstood him and remained unscathed?
He removes the mountains before they know it; he overturns them in his anger.
He shakes the earth out of its place, and the pillars beneath it tremble.
He commands the sun, and it rises not; he seals up the stars.
He alone stretches out the heavens and treads upon the crests of the sea.
He made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south;
He does great things past finding out, marvelous things beyond reckoning.
Should he come near me, I see him not; should he pass by, I am not aware of him;
Should he seize me forcibly, who can say him nay? Who can say to him, «What are you doing?»
1 He is God and he does not relent; the helpers of Rahab bow beneath him.
How much less shall I give him any answer, or choose out arguments against him!
Even though I were right, I could not answer him, but should rather beg for what was due me.
If I appealed to him and he answered my call, I could not believe that he would hearken to my words;
With a tempest he might overwhelm me, and multiply my wounds without cause;
He need not suffer me to draw breath, but might fill me with bitter griefs.
If it be a question of strength, he is mighty; and if of judgment, who will call him to account?
Though I were right, my own mouth might condemn me; were I innocent, he might put me in the wrong.
Though I am innocent, I myself cannot know it; I despise my life.
It is all one! therefore I say: Both the innocent and the wicked he destroys.
When the scourge slays suddenly, he laughs at the despair of the innocent.
The earth is given into the hands of the wicked; he covers the faces of its judges. If it is not he, who then is it?
My days are swifter than a runner, they flee away; they see no happiness;
They shoot by like skiffs of reed, like an eagle swooping upon its prey.
If I say: I will forget my complaining, I will lay aside my sadness and be of good cheer,
2 Then I am in dread of all my pains; I know that you will not hold me innocent.
If I must be accounted guilty, why then should I strive in vain?
If I should wash myself with snow and cleanse my hands with lye,
Yet you would plunge me in the ditch, so that my garments would abhor me.
For he is not a man like myself, that I should answer him, that we should come together in judgment.
Would that there were an arbiter between us, who could lay his hand upon us both
and withdraw his rod from me. Would that his terrors did not frighten me;
that I might speak without being afraid of him. Since this is not the case with me,
1  Rehab: cf ⇒ Job 26:12. See note on ⇒ Psalm 89:11.
2 [28-31] You: refers to God.