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Job 21 Healthy, Wealthy and Whys
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This is the 19th in a series of 40 poems I wrote based on the book of Job. This is from Job 21, Job's seventh speech: a response to Zophar. Open your Bible, read along and let me know your thoughts!
why do the wicked prosper, growing old and powerful
Then Job spoke again:
Listen carefully to what I'm saying to you
for in this, a great comfort you'd be.
Just bear with me a bit, let me say all of it;
when I'm done, please — resume mocking me.
My complaint, understand, is with God — not with man.
Should I not be impatient for speed?
Look at me, be appalled! Are you stunned — yet enthralled?
You can stifle your gasp, if you need.
I'm afraid to recall — to remember it all,
and I shudder and tremble in fright.
Why do wicked men seem to be living the dream;
growing old, gaining power and might?
Watch their children live lives — every one of them thrives,
and the next generation, beyond.
Where their houses appear free of worry and fear,
and God's rod is a magical wand.
And their cattle are hale, and they breed without fail,
and the cows calve their young without chance.
And their small children run, frisk like lambs in the sun,
as they frolic about and they dance.
And they sing and rejoice, blending harps with their voice
and their flutes make the merriest sound.
They're as rich in their health as they are in their wealth
till they're peacefully laid in the ground.
Yet they say in their heart, Let us be, God — depart!
We don't want to acknowledge your way.
What's this Almighty done that we'd serve such a one?
What is in it for us if we pray?
They don't profit alone, nor is wealth theirs to own
so I distance myself from their path.
Are their lamps never snuffed? Are their lives never rough?
Does not God mete out pain in his wrath?
Just how often are they like the straw blown away
or the chaff in the fiercest of winds?
You have stood by your claim that the wicked man's shame
is compounded with his children's sins.
But, let God now repay them without a delay
so they'd know just how God's justice felt.
Let them see with their eyes their impending demise;
let them drink from God's judgement themselves.
For they’ll no longer care what befalls to an heir
once their time has run out and they die.
Can God's knowledge expand if we gave him a hand
since he's already ruling on high?
Say, a certain man dies and he closes his eyes,
full of strength from a lifetime of ease.
He lived life full and long; his bones, healthy and strong,
and he lived without any disease.
Say, another man died who was bitter inside
for he never had money to spare.
At the end of the day, in the graves where they lay,
worms and maggots will cover the pair.
I'm aware of your thoughts, evil schemes and your plots
and the ways that you wrong me too well.
You would question me, though: Where'd the prince's house go?
Or the tents where the wicked men dwell?
Have you never pressed those dressed in traveling clothes?
Nor paid heed to their news they've brought back?
That the wicked survive when disasters arrive,
even thrive when misfortunes attack.
Who will stand to confront what the wicked men want,
or repay them for how they behave?
Yet, the masses appear as they carry his bier,
and an honor guard watches his grave.
And the soil is sweet under shuffling feet
of the mourners with tears in their eyes.
No more comfort, I pray! Not another cliché!
All your answers are nothing but lies!
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