1 “Look, I have seen all this with my own eyes
and heard it with my own ears, and now I understand.
2 I know as much as you do.
You are no better than I am.
3 As for me, I would speak directly to the Almighty.
I want to argue my case with God himself.
4 As for you, you smear me with lies.
As physicians, you are worthless quacks.
5 If only you could be silent!
That’s the wisest thing you could do.
6 Listen to my charge;
pay attention to my arguments.
7 “Are you defending God with lies?
Do you make your dishonest arguments for his sake?
8 Will you slant your testimony in his favor?
Will you argue God’s case for him?
9 What will happen when he finds out what you are doing?
Can you fool him as easily as you fool people?
10 No, you will be in trouble with him
if you secretly slant your testimony in his favor.
11 Doesn’t his majesty terrify you?
Doesn’t your fear of him overwhelm you?
12 Your platitudes are as valuable as ashes.
Your defense is as fragile as a clay pot.
13 “Be silent now and leave me alone.
Let me speak, and I will face the consequences.
14 Why should I put myself in mortal dangera
and take my life in my own hands?
15 God might kill me, but I have no other hope.b
I am going to argue my case with him.
16 But this is what will save me—I am not godless.
If I were, I could not stand before him.
17 “Listen closely to what I am about to say.
Hear me out.
18 I have prepared my case;
I will be proved innocent.
19 Who can argue with me over this?
And if you prove me wrong, I will remain silent and die.
20 “O God, grant me these two things,
and then I will be able to face you.
21 Remove your heavy hand from me,
and don’t terrify me with your awesome presence.
22 Now summon me, and I will answer!
Or let me speak to you, and you reply.
23 Tell me, what have I done wrong?
Show me my rebellion and my sin.
24 Why do you turn away from me?
Why do you treat me as your enemy?
25 Would you terrify a leaf blown by the wind?
Would you chase dry straw?
26 “You write bitter accusations against me
and bring up all the sins of my youth.
27 You put my feet in stocks.
You examine all my paths.
You trace all my footprints.
28 I waste away like rotting wood,
like a moth-eaten coat.
a. 13:14 Hebrew Why should I take my flesh in my teeth.
b. 13:15 An alternate reading in the Masoretic Text reads God might kill me, but I hope in him.