We are still working through Job at Moring Prayer. Job’s speech, in chapter 13, having had a belly-full of his friend’s opinion, and demanding that God give him a fair hearing, is as brilliant as any Shakespeare. How I would love to see this work, unabridged, on the stage.
‘Look, my eye has
seen all this,
my ear has heard and understood it.
What you know, I also know;
I am not inferior to you.
But I would speak to the Almighty,
and I desire to argue my case with God.
As for you, you whitewash with lies;
all of you are worthless physicians.
If you would only keep silent,
that would be your wisdom!
Hear now my reasoning,
and listen to the pleadings of my lips.
Will you speak falsely for God,
and speak deceitfully for him?
Will you show partiality towards him,
will you plead the case for God?
Will it be well with you when he searches you out?
Or can you deceive him, as one person deceives another?
He will surely rebuke you
if in secret you show partiality.
Will not his majesty terrify you,
and the dread of him fall upon you?
Your maxims are proverbs of ashes,
your defences are defences of clay.
‘Let me have silence,
and I will speak,
and let come on me what may.
I will take my flesh in my teeth,
and put my life in my hand.
See, he will kill me; I have no hope;
but I will defend my ways to his face.
This will be my salvation,
that the godless shall not come before him.
Listen carefully to my words,
and let my declaration be in your ears.
I have indeed prepared my case;
I know that I shall be vindicated.
Who is there that will contend with me?
For then I would be silent and die.
‘Only grant two
things to me,
then I will not hide myself from your face:
withdraw your hand far from me,
and do not let dread of you terrify me.
Then call, and I will answer;
or let me speak, and you reply to me.
How many are my iniquities and my sins?
Make me know my transgression and my sin.
Why do you hide your face,
and count me as your enemy?
Will you frighten a windblown leaf
and pursue dry chaff?
For you write bitter things against me,
and make me reap the iniquities of my youth.
You put my feet in the stocks,
and watch all my paths;
you set a bound to the soles of my feet.
One wastes away like a rotten thing,
like a garment that is moth-eaten.’