Job 29

Job’s Final Speech: His Appeal to God

Chapter 29

The Happy Time.[a] 1 Then Job continued further with his solemn discourse, as he said:

2 “Oh, how I yearn for the months long gone
and for those days when God kept watch over me,
3 when his lamp continued to shine above my head
and by his light I could walk through darkness.
4 “In those days I was in my prime,
and God protected my tent.
5 The Almighty was ever present at my side,
and my children were around me.
6 My feet were bathed in milk,
and the rocks poured forth streams of oil[b] for me.
7 “When I would go forth to the gate of the city[c]
and take my seat in the public square,
8 the young men would see me and withdraw,
and the old men would rise to their feet.
9 The nobles would refrain from speaking
and would place their hands over their mouths.
10 The voices of the princes were silenced,
and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.

People Praised My Works

11 “Whoever heard my words spoke favorably of me,
and those who saw me testified to my merit,
12 because I delivered the poor who appealed for help
and the orphan who had no one to protect him.
13 The blessing of the wretched was given to me,
and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.
14 “I put on righteousness as my garment;
justice was my cloak and my turban.
15 I was eyes to the blind
and feet to the lame.
16 I was a father to the needy,
and I defended the rights of the stranger.
17 I broke the fangs of the wicked
and snatched their prey from their teeth.
18 “Then I thought, ‘I will die in honor
after having multiplied my days like grains of sand,[d]
19 with my roots spreading out to the waters
and the dew lying on my branches throughout the night.
20 My glory will be forever new
and the bow in my hand forever strong.’
21 [e]“Men waited expectantly to hear my words
and listened in silence to my counsel.
22 Once I had spoken, no one spoke further
but simply let my thoughts penetrate their minds.
23 They waited for me as for the rain,
with open mouths as though to drink in a spring shower.
24 “When I smiled at them, they were filled with gratitude,
and they were clearly strengthened because of the way I treated them.
25 As their leader I told them which course to follow,
and I lived like a king among his troops,
or as a comforter of mourners.

Footnotes

  1. Job 29:1 Job reminisces about days of yesteryear and brilliantly evokes his success as a great Eastern chieftain. Happiness was with him. He made laws with a sovereign authority, and an entire people surrounded him with honor and respect. (Verses 21-25 are normally placed after v. 10, although we have kept them in their place.)
  2. Job 29:6 Milk . . . oil: see note on Job 20:17.
  3. Job 29:7 Gate of the city: the place where business was transacted and court cases were heard. Job used to take his seat there as a member of the city council.
  4. Job 29:18 Grains of sand: another possible translation is: “the phoenix”—a symbol of long life. The ancients regarded the phoenix as a bird that lived for centuries, then became consumed in flames, and finally arose from the ashes with new life.
  5. Job 29:21 These verses should be read after verse 10.

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