The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Job
But Job answered:
No need to teach me that; how should a man win his suit, matched against God?
Who would go to law, where one plea on this side is arrayed against a thousand on that?
His all-knowing mind, his all-conquering arms, what man ever throve yet that defied them?
God, the unseen power that can thrust mountains this way and that, uproot them in his anger,
can move earth from its place, and set all its pillars quaking,
can prevent, with a word, the sun’s rising, or imprison, under his royal seal, the very stars?
He it was, and no other, that spread out heaven to be his covering, made ocean a floor under his feet;
that created Arcturus, and Orion, and the Hyades, and the nooks of the south;✻
great wonders he does, beyond all our understanding and all our reckoning.
Hidden from my sight, hidden from my thought, he comes and goes;
comes suddenly, and how should I defend my doings? goes suddenly, and how should I question his?
There is no braving the anger of such a God, when even the Titanic powers obey him;✻
and what am I that I should use phrases of studied eloquence for my pleading?
Nay, though I had right on my side, I would not plead against him as an adversary, I would sue to him for mercy as a judge.
What though I should cry upon him, and he should answer my summons? Well I know he would listen to no pleadings of mine;
his storms would overwhelm me, faster than ever the unmerited blows would fall;
never a breathing-space, never a draught but of gall!
Nought avails might, when a giant threatens me; nought avails right, when none dares to support my quarrel.
Would I plead in defence, he turns my own words against me; be I never so upright, he will prove me hypocrite.
And innocent I am, but of that I take regard no longer; I am aweary of life itself.
Still unchanged is the burden of my complaint; innocent and guilty, he sweeps all away.✻
If his scourge must fall, should not a single blow suffice? Why does he look on and laugh, when the unoffending, too, must suffer?
So the whole world is given up into the power of wrong-doers; he blinds the eyes of justice. He is answerable for it; who else?
Swift as a royal courier my days pass, and joyless each one,
like a pinnace gliding down stream,✻ or an eagle swooping on its prey.
Ere now, I have been minded to put away such talk as this, wear a sad face and live on the rack no more; still would I have pains to daunt me;
still thou wouldst hold me guilty, wouldst not spare.
Blamed I must be, in spite of all; vain was my striving,
vainly I washed me in water pure as snow, kept my hands shining clean;
thy condemnation must roll me in the mire again, till the very clothes I wear shun the touch of me!
I cannot meet him in judgement as man to man, claim an impartial hearing for my plea;
there can be no arbiter between us, to claim jurisdiction over both.
Let him lay by his rod, let his terrors cease to daunt me;
then I will speak out bravely to his face; it is fear that holds me dumb.
The Holy Bible