When God Was Still by My Side

29 1-6 Job now resumed his response:

“Oh, how I long for the good old days,
    when God took such very good care of me.
He always held a lamp before me
    and I walked through the dark by its light.
Oh, how I miss those golden years
    when God’s friendship graced my home,
When the Mighty One was still by my side
    and my children were all around me,
When everything was going my way,
    and nothing seemed too difficult.

7-20 “When I walked downtown
    and sat with my friends in the public square,
Young and old greeted me with respect;
    I was honored by everyone in town.
When I spoke, everyone listened;
    they hung on my every word.
People who knew me spoke well of me;
    my reputation went ahead of me.
I was known for helping people in trouble
    and standing up for those who were down on their luck.
The dying blessed me,
    and the bereaved were cheered by my visits.
All my dealings with people were good.
    I was known for being fair to everyone I met.
I was eyes to the blind
    and feet to the lame,
Father to the needy,
    and champion of abused aliens.
I grabbed street thieves by the scruff of the neck
    and made them give back what they’d stolen.
I thought, ‘I’ll die peacefully in my own bed,
    grateful for a long and full life,
A life deep-rooted and well-watered,
    a life limber and dew-fresh,
My soul suffused with glory
    and my body robust until the day I die.’

21-25 “Men and women listened when I spoke,
    hung expectantly on my every word.
After I spoke, they’d be quiet,
    taking it all in.
They welcomed my counsel like spring rain,
    drinking it all in.
When I smiled at them, they could hardly believe it;
    their faces lit up, their troubles took wing!
I was their leader, establishing the mood
    and setting the pace by which they lived.
    Where I led, they followed.”

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.

29 Moreover Job continued his parable, and said,

Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me;

When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness;

As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle;

When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me;

When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil;

When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street!

The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up.

The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth.

10 The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth.

11 When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me:

12 Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.

13 The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.

14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.

15 I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.

16 I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.

17 And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.

18 Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand.

19 My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch.

20 My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand.

21 Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel.

22 After my words they spake not again; and my speech dropped upon them.

23 And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain.

24 If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down.

25 I chose out their way, and sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comforteth the mourners.

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