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Job Wishes for the Old Days

29 Then Job continued with his discourse:

“I wish I could go back to how things were a few months ago;
    when God used to watch over me,
when his lamp used to shine over my head,
    so I could walk through the dark,
like when I was in my prime
    and God trusted me with his secrets![a]

“The Almighty was still with me back then,
    and my children were still around me.
I was successful wherever I went,[b]
    and even the rocks poured out streams of olive oil for me.”

Job Remembers His Respected Position

“Whenever I went out to the city gate,
    a seat had been reserved for me in the plaza.[c]
The young men would see me and withdraw,
    and the aged would rise and stand.
Nobles would refrain from speaking,
    covering their mouths with their hands.
10 The voices of the commanders-in-chief[d] were hushed,
    and their tongues would cling to the roofs of their mouths.”

Job Remembers His Acts of Kindness

11 “When people heard me speak, they blessed me;
    when people saw me, they approved me,
12 because I delivered the poor who were crying for help,
    along with orphans who had no one to help them.
13 Those who were about to die blessed me,
    and I made widows sing for joy.
14 I put on righteousness like clothing;
    my just decisions were like a robe and a turban.
15 I served as eyes for the blind
    and feet for the lame.
16 I was a father to the needy;
    I diligently inquired into the case of those I didn’t know.
17 I broke the fangs of the wicked,
    and made him drop the prey.”

Job Remembers His Previous Condition

18 “I used to say: ‘I will die in my home.[e]
    I’m going to live as many days
        as there are grains of sand on the shore.[f]
19 My roots have spread out and have found water,
    and dew settles at night on my branches.
20 My glory renews for me
    and my bow is as good as new in my hand.’

21 “They listened and waited for me,
    as they remained in silence for my counsel.
22 After I spoke, they had nothing to say,
    when what I said hit them.
23 They waited for me as one waits for rain,
    as one opens his mouth to drink in a spring rain shower.
24 I smiled at them when they had no confidence,
    and no one could discourage me.
25 I set an example of the way to live,[g] as a leader would;
    I lived like a king among his army;
        like one who comforts mourners.”

Footnotes

  1. Job 29:4 Lit. God’s counsel was over my tent
  2. Job 29:6 Lit. When my feet were bathed in cream
  3. Job 29:7 Lit. square; i.e. he served as a ruling elder in his home city
  4. Job 29:10 Lit. Nagidim; i.e. senior officers entrusted with dual roles of operational oversight and administrative authority
  5. Job 29:18 Lit. nest
  6. Job 29:18 The Heb. lacks on the shore
  7. Job 29:25 Lit. I chose their way

Job’s Final Defense

29 Job continued his discourse:(A)

“How I long for the months gone by,(B)
    for the days when God watched over me,(C)
when his lamp shone on my head
    and by his light I walked through darkness!(D)
Oh, for the days when I was in my prime,
    when God’s intimate friendship(E) blessed my house,(F)
when the Almighty was still with me
    and my children(G) were around me,(H)
when my path was drenched with cream(I)
    and the rock(J) poured out for me streams of olive oil.(K)

“When I went to the gate(L) of the city
    and took my seat in the public square,
the young men saw me and stepped aside(M)
    and the old men rose to their feet;(N)
the chief men refrained from speaking(O)
    and covered their mouths with their hands;(P)
10 the voices of the nobles were hushed,(Q)
    and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.(R)
11 Whoever heard me spoke well of me,
    and those who saw me commended me,(S)
12 because I rescued the poor(T) who cried for help,
    and the fatherless(U) who had none to assist them.(V)
13 The one who was dying blessed me;(W)
    I made the widow’s(X) heart sing.
14 I put on righteousness(Y) as my clothing;
    justice was my robe and my turban.(Z)
15 I was eyes(AA) to the blind
    and feet to the lame.(AB)
16 I was a father to the needy;(AC)
    I took up the case(AD) of the stranger.(AE)
17 I broke the fangs of the wicked
    and snatched the victims(AF) from their teeth.(AG)

18 “I thought, ‘I will die in my own house,
    my days as numerous as the grains of sand.(AH)
19 My roots will reach to the water,(AI)
    and the dew will lie all night on my branches.(AJ)
20 My glory will not fade;(AK)
    the bow(AL) will be ever new in my hand.’(AM)

21 “People listened to me expectantly,
    waiting in silence for my counsel.(AN)
22 After I had spoken, they spoke no more;(AO)
    my words fell gently on their ears.(AP)
23 They waited for me as for showers
    and drank in my words as the spring rain.(AQ)
24 When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;
    the light of my face(AR) was precious to them.[a](AS)
25 I chose the way for them and sat as their chief;(AT)
    I dwelt as a king(AU) among his troops;
    I was like one who comforts mourners.(AV)

Footnotes

  1. Job 29:24 The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.

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