1 Then Job replied:
2 "I have heard many things like these; ¶ you are miserable comforters, all of you!
3 Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing?
4 I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; ¶ I could make fine speeches against you ¶ and shake my head at you.
5 But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.
6 "Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; ¶ and if I refrain, it does not go away.
7 Surely, God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household.
8 You have shriveled me up —and it has become a witness; my gauntness rises up and testifies against me.
9 God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me; ¶ my opponent fastens on me his piercing eyes.
10 People open their mouths to jeer at me; they strike my cheek in scorn ¶ and unite together against me.
11 God has turned me over to the ungodly and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked.
12 All was well with me, but he shattered me; he seized me by the neck and crushed me. ¶ He has made me his target;
13 his archers surround me. ¶ Without pity, he pierces my kidneys ¶ and spills my gall on the ground.
14 Again and again he bursts upon me; he rushes at me like a warrior.
15 "I have sewed sackcloth over my skin ¶ and buried my brow in the dust.
16 My face is red with weeping, dark shadows ring my eyes;
17 yet my hands have been free of violence and my prayer is pure.
18 "Earth, do not cover my blood; ¶ may my cry never be laid to rest!
19 Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high.
20 My intercessor is my friend [^1] as my eyes pour out tears to God;
21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.
22 "Only a few years will pass ¶ before I take the path of no return.