December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- But what is man's lot from God above, his inheritance from the Almighty on high?
- Is it not calamity for the unrighteous, and woe for evildoers?
- Does he not see my ways, and number all my steps?
- Let God weigh me in the scales of justice; thus will he know my innocence!
- 1 If I have walked in falsehood and my foot has hastened to deceit;
- If my steps have turned out of the way, and my heart has followed my eyes, or any stain clings to my hands,
- Then may I sow, but another eat of it, or may my planting be rooted up!
- If my land has cried out against me till its very furrows complained;
- If I have eaten its produce without payment and grieved the hearts of its tenants;
- Then let the thistles grow instead of wheat and noxious weeds instead of barley!
- 2 If I have made an agreement with my eyes and entertained any thoughts against a maiden;
- If my heart has been enticed toward a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor's door;
- Then may my wife grind for another, and may others cohabit with her!
- For that would be heinous, a crime to be condemned;
- A fire that should burn down to the abyss till it consumed all my possessions to the roots.
- Had I refused justice to my manservant or to my maid, when they had a claim against me,
- What then should I do when God rose up; what could I answer when he demanded an account?
- Did not he who made me in the womb make him? Did not the same One fashion us before our birth?
- If I have denied anything to the poor, or allowed the eyes of the widow to languish
- While I ate my portion alone, with no share in it for the fatherless,
- Though like a father God has reared me from my youth, guiding me even from my mother's womb--
- If I have seen a wanderer without clothing, or a poor man without covering,
- Whose limbs have not blessed me when warmed with the fleece of my sheep;
- 3 If I have raised my hand against the innocent because I saw that I had supporters at the gate--
- Then may my arm fall from the shoulder, my forearm be broken at the elbow!
- For the dread of God will be upon me, and his majesty will overpower me.
- Had I put my trust in gold or called fine gold my security;
- Or had I rejoiced that my wealth was great, or that my hand had acquired abundance--
- 4 Had I looked upon the sun as it shone, or the moon in the splendor of its progress,
- And had my heart been secretly enticed to waft them a kiss with my hand;
- This too would be a crime for condemnation, for I should have denied God above.
- Had I rejoiced at the destruction of my enemy or exulted when evil fell upon him,
- Even though I had not suffered my mouth to sin by uttering a curse against his life--
- 5 Had not the men of my tent exclaimed, "Who has not been fed with his meat!"
- Because no stranger lodged in the street, but I opened my door to wayfarers--
- 6 Had I, out of human weakness, hidden my sins and buried my guilt in my bosom
- Because I feared the noisy multitude and the scorn of the tribes terrified me- then I should have remained silent, and not come out of doors!
- Oh, that I had one to hear my case, and that my accuser would write out his indictment!
- 7 Surely, I should wear it on my shoulder or put it on me like a diadem;
- 8 Of all my steps I should give him an account; like a prince I should present myself before him. This is my final plea; let the Almighty answer me! The words of Job are ended.
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1 [6-34] Job's final protestation of his innocence.
2 [8,9] Note the gradation: avoidance of sinful glances and thoughts against a maiden; desire for another's wife.
3  Gate: cf notes on Job 5:4; Ruth 4:1.
4 [26-28] Job never sinned by worshiping the sun or the moon; waft them a kiss: an act of idolatrous worship.
5  The members of his household will testify to his hospitality.
6 [33,34] Job's present protest is made, not in spite of hidden sins which he had been unwilling to disclose, but out of genuine innocence.
7  On my shoulder: i.e., boldly, proudly.
8  Like a prince: not as a frightened criminal. Final plea: literally, "tau," the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet; in the current Hebrew text this line is in Job 31:35, while the following one ends Job 31:40.
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