1 “Now, Job, listen to me.
Listen carefully to what I say.
2 I am ready to speak.
3 My heart is honest, so my words are sincere.
I will speak the truth about what I know.
4 God’s Spirit made me.
My life comes from God All-Powerful.
5 Listen to me and answer if you can.
Get your arguments ready to face me.
6 You and I are the same before God.
He used clay to make us both.
7 Don’t be afraid of me.
I will not be hard on you.
8 “But, Job, I heard what you said.
These were your very words:
9 ‘I am pure and innocent;
I did nothing wrong; I am not guilty!
10 But God found an excuse to attack me.
He treats me like an enemy.
11 He put chains on my feet
and watches everything I do.’
12 “But you are wrong about this, and I will prove it to you.
God knows more than any of us.
13 You are arguing with God!
Why do you think he should explain everything to you?
14 But maybe God does explain what he does
but speaks in ways that people don’t understand.
15 He may speak in a dream, or in a vision at night,
when people are in a deep sleep lying in their beds.
16 He may whisper something in their ear,
and they are frightened when they hear his warnings.
17 God warns people to stop them from doing wrong
and to keep them from becoming proud.
18 He does this to save them from death.
He wants to keep them from being destroyed.
19 “Or those who are sick in bed might be suffering punishment from God.
The pain that makes their bones ache might be a warning from him.
20 They feel so bad they cannot eat.
Even the best food makes them sick.
21 Their bodies might waste away until they become thin
and all their bones stick out.
22 They might be close to death,
their lives about to end.
23 But maybe one of God’s thousands of angels is watching over them,
to speak for them and tell about the good things they have done.
24 Maybe the angel will be kind and say to God,
‘Save this one from the place of death!
I have found a way to pay for his life.’
25 Then that person’s body will become young and strong again.
He will be as he was when he was young.
26 He will pray and God will answer.
He will worship God and shout with joy.
He will again stand as right before God.
27 He will tell everyone, ‘I sinned.
I changed good into bad,
but God didn’t give me the punishment I deserved!
28 God saved me from going down to the place of death.
Now I can enjoy life again.’
29 “God does all these things for people again and again.
30 He wants them to be saved from death
so that they can enjoy life.
31 “Job, pay attention and listen to me.
Be quiet and let me talk.
32 But if you have an answer, go ahead and speak.
Tell me your argument.
I would be happy to know that you are innocent!
33 But if you have nothing to say, then listen to me.
Be quiet, and I will teach you wisdom.”