"Job, listen now to my words.
Pay attention to everything I say.
I'm about to open my mouth.
My words are on the tip of my tongue.
What I say comes from an honest heart.
My lips speak only what I know is true.
The Spirit of God has made me.
The breath of the Mighty One gives me life.
So answer me if you can.
Prepare yourself to face me.
In God's sight I'm just like you.
I too have been made out of clay.
You don't have to be afraid of me.
My hand won't be too heavy on you.
"But I heard what you said.
And here are the exact words I heard.
You said, 'I'm pure. I haven't sinned in the ways you have charged.
I'm clean. I'm not guilty of doing anything wrong.
But God has found fault with me.
He thinks I'm his enemy.
He puts my feet in chains.
He watches every step I take.'
"But I'm telling you that you aren't right when you talk like that.
After all, God is greater than human beings.
Why do you claim that God
never answers any of our questions?
He speaks in one way and then another.
We might not even realize it.
He might speak in a dream or in a vision at night.
That's when people are sound asleep in their beds.
He might speak in their ears.
His warnings might terrify them.
He warns them in order to turn them away from sinning.
He wants to keep them from being proud.
He wants to stop them from going down into the grave.
He doesn't want them to be killed with swords.
They might be punished by suffering in bed.
The pain in their bones might never go away.
They might feel so bad they can't eat anything.
They might even hate the finest food.
Their bodies might waste away to nothing.
Their bones might have been hidden.
But now they stick out.
They might approach the very edge of the grave.
The messengers of death might come for them.
"But suppose there is an angel who will speak up for them.
He's very special. He's one out of a thousand.
He will tell them what is right for them.
He'll be gracious to them. He'll say to God,
'Spare them from going down into the grave.
I know a way that can set them free.'
Then their bodies are made like new again.
They become as strong and healthy as when they were young.
They pray to God and find favor with him.
They see his face and shout with joy.
He makes them right with himself again.
Then they come to others and say,
'We sinned. We made what was wrong appear to be right.
But we weren't punished as we should have been.
God set us free. He kept us from going down into the grave.
So we'll live to enjoy the light that leads to life.'
"God does all of those things to people.
In fact, he does them again and again.
He wants to stop people from going down into the grave.
Then the light that leads to life will shine on them.
"Pay attention, Job! Listen to me!
Be quiet so I can speak.
If you have anything to say, answer me.
Speak up. I want to help you be cleared of all charges.
But if you don't have anything to say, listen to me.
Be quiet so I can teach you how to be wise."