2“Keep listening to my words,
and let this be your comfort.
3Bear with me, and I will speak,
and after I have spoken, mock on.
4As for me, is my complaint against man?
Why should I not be impatient?
5Look at me and be appalled,
and lay your hand over your mouth.
6When I remember, I am dismayed,
and shuddering seizes my flesh.
7Why do the wicked live,
reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
8Their offspring are established in their presence,
and their descendants before their eyes.
9Their houses are safe from fear,
and no rod of God is upon them.
10Their bull breeds without fail;
their cow calves and does not miscarry.
11They send out their little boys like a flock,
and their children dance.
12They sing to the tambourine and the lyre
and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.
13They spend their days in prosperity,
and in peace they go down to Sheol.
14They say to God, ‘Depart from us!
We do not desire the knowledge of your ways.
15What is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’
16Behold, is not their prosperity in their hand?
The counsel of the wicked is far from me.
17“How often is it that the lamp of the wicked is put out?
That their calamity comes upon them?
That God distributes pains in his anger?
18That they are like straw before the wind,
and like chaff that the storm carries away?
19You say, ‘God stores up their iniquity for their children.’
Let him pay it out to them, that they may know it.
20Let their own eyes see their destruction,
and let them drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
21For what do they care for their houses after them,
when the number of their months is cut off?
22Will any teach God knowledge,
seeing that he judges those who are on high?
23One dies in his full vigor,
being wholly at ease and secure,
24his pails full of milk
and the marrow of his bones moist.
25Another dies in bitterness of soul,
never having tasted of prosperity.
26They lie down alike in the dust,
and the worms cover them.
27“Behold, I know your thoughts
and your schemes to wrong me.
28For you say, ‘Where is the house of the prince?
Where is the tent in which the wicked lived?’
29Have you not asked those who travel the roads,
and do you not accept their testimony
30that the evil man is spared in the day of calamity,
that he is rescued in the day of wrath?
31Who declares his way to his face,
and who repays him for what he has done?
32When he is carried to the grave,
watch is kept over his tomb.
33The clods of the valley are sweet to him;
all mankind follows after him,
and those who go before him are innumerable.
34How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?
There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”
17 Hebrew he
24 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain