1So, Job, please listen to my words and attend to al I have to say. 2Now as I open my mouth, and my tongue shapes words against my palate, 3I shal utter words of wisdom from the heart, my lips will speak in all sincerity. 4God's was the spirit that made me, Shaddai's the breath that gave me life. 5Refute me, if you can. Prepare yourself, take up your position! 6Look, I am your equal, not some god, like you I was moulded out of clay. 7No fear of me, therefore, need affright you, my hand wil not lie heavy over you. 8How could you say in my hearing -- for the sound of your words did not escape me- 9'I am clean, and sinless, I am pure, without fault.10But he keeps inventing excuses against me and regards me as his enemy. 11He puts me in the stocks, he watches my every path'? 12In saying so, I tel you, you are wrong: for God is greater than any human being. 13Why then quarrel with him for not replying to you, word for word? 14God speaks first in one way, and then in another, although we do not realise it. 15In dreams and in night-visions, when slumber has settled on humanity and people are asleep in bed, 16he speaks in someone's ear, frightens him with apparitions 17to turn him from what he is doing and to put an end to his pride. 18And thus he preserves his soul from the abyss, his life from passing down the Canal. 19Or again, he corrects by the sufferings of the sick-bed, when someone's bones tremble continuously 20and the thought of food revolts him, however tasty it is, 21and his flesh rots away while you watch it and the bones beneath begin to show, 22and his soul is drawing nearer to the abyss and his life to the dwel ing of the dead. 23Then, if there is an Angel near him, a Mediator, one in a thousand, to remind him where his duty lies, 24to take pity on him and to say, 'Spare him from going down to the abyss: I have found the ransom forhis life,' 25his flesh wil recover its childhood freshness, he wil return to the days of his youth. 26He wil pray to God who has restored him to favour, and wil come into his presence with joy. He wiltel others how he has received saving justice 27and sing this hymn before his companions, 'I sinned and left the path of right, but God has notpunished me as my sin deserved. 28He has spared my soul from going down to the abyss and is making my life see the light.' 29All this is what God keeps doing again and yet again for human beings, 30to snatch souls back from the abyss and to make the light of the living stil shine. 31Pay attention, Job, listen to me: keep quiet, I have more to say. 32If you have anything to say, refute me, speak out, for I would gladly accept that you are upright. 33If not, then listen to me: keep quiet, and I wil teach you wisdom.
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