“The perverse get what their ways deserve.
The good get what their deeds deserve.
The simple believes everything.
But the clever consider their steps.
The wise are cautious.
They turn away from evil.
But the fool throws off restraint.
The fool is careless.
One who is quick tempered
The schemer is hated.
The simple are adorned with folly.
But the clever are crowned with knowledge.
The evil bow down before the good.
The wicked are at the gates of the righteous.”
Both the perverse and the good get what they deserve based on their ways and deeds. The simple believe everything, but the clever ones watch their steps. The wise clever ones are cautious. They turn away from evil. The foolish ones throw off restraint and are careless. As usual, it is better to be good and wise than a simple perverse fool. The quick tempered ones act foolishly. The schemers are hated. The simple ones are full of folly, but the clever ones are crowned with knowledge. The evil wicked ones bow down before the gates of the good and righteous ones.
You God of vengeance!
You God of vengeance!
O judge of the earth!
Give to the proud what they deserve!
How long shall the wicked survive?
How long shall the wicked exult?”
Psalm 94 has no title so that it seems like a call to have Yahweh take vengeance on the wicked ones. Yahweh is a God of vengeance. The psalmist wanted God to shine forth and rise up. He wanted Yahweh to judge the earth. He wanted the proud to get what they deserve. He wanted to know how long would the wicked survive and exult themselves.
“Therefore, hear me!
You men of understanding!
Far be it from God
That he should do wickedness.
Far be it from the Almighty Shaddai
That he should do wrong.
According to their deeds
He will repay them.
According to his ways
He will make it befall them.
Of a truth,
God will not do wickedly.
The Almighty Shaddai will not pervert justice.
Who gave him charge over the earth?
Who laid on him the whole world?
If he should take back his Spirit to himself,
If he should gather to himself his breath,
All flesh would perish together.
All mortals would return to dust.”
Once again, Elihu turned to the 3 wise men. They should listen to him. God cannot do wickedness. He does not do wrong things. Thus according to your deeds you will be repaid. You will get what you deserve. The almighty God will not pervert justice. He is in charge of the earth and the whole world. If he wanted to take his Spirit back, then all humans would perish and return to dust. The all powerful God had control of everything even human lives.
“Then Zophar the Naamathite answered.
‘Should a multitude of words go unanswered?
Should one full of talk be vindicated?
Should your babble put others to silence?
When you mock,
Shall no one shame you?
‘My conduct is pure.
I am clean in God’s sight.’
But O that God would speak!
If he would open his lips to you!
He would tell you the secrets of wisdom!
Wisdom is many-sided.
Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves.’”
Finally we hear from Zophar. He cannot let so many words go unanswered. He seems to chide Job harsher than the other 2 comforters. Talk does not itself vindicate. If Job continued to babble, was everyone to be silent? Someone had to speak out. Job had protested that he was innocent in God’s sight. But has he heard God say that? God could tell you in his secret wisdom the many sides of things. God is merciful and exacts less than the guilty deserve. Notice the link between God and wisdom, which is key to the wisdom or sapiential biblical literature.