Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Medicare and Social Security

Since it was a Krugzilla column about the Republican plan to drastically cut Medicare and Social Security benefits, I'll let the Krug answer the people who say "But we have to cut these programs, we can't afford them, what are the Democrats going to do about it?" Here's your gift link. By all means do read, but let me summarize the main points. 

First, regarding Social Security, the rise in cost resulting from the Baby Boomers retiring and the general aging of the population will actually be pretty modest, from about 4.9% of GDP today to 6.4% in 2052, according to CBO projections. And that's assuming that life expectancy after retirement will continue to rise, which is not necessarily going to be the case. (In fact thanks to Covid, it recently fell.) In any case, people are tending to work longer, and either delay taking Social Security or paying into the system for longer, even without any policy changes. And the additional money can easily be found just by lifting the cap on income subject to the FICA tax. So that really is not a problem, unless you make $400,000 a year and don't want to pay taxes. Tough shit for you.

Medicare expenditures are expected to grow by more, but that's because of projected increases in health care costs, not the aging of the population. But the decades long trend of rising health care costs actually leveled off around 2010, and that has made all the doomsday predictions ring hollow. We do spend more than other wealthy countries on health care, and we get less for it. That's where we need to put our attention, not on cutting benefits or raising the eligibility age for Medicare, but on getting costs down to where they should be. We've already made a start by letting Medicare negotiate drug prices. We can accomplish more by taking the profit motive out of medicine and not doing ineffective or low value procedures. Or, as the Krugster puts it:

Anyway, C.B.O. projections now show social insurance spending as a percentage of G.D.P. eventually rising by about 5 points, which is still a lot but not unimaginably large. And here’s the thing: Half of that is still the assumed rise in health care costs. And there are things we can do to control costs that don’t involve cutting off Americans’ benefits. Bear in mind both that U.S. health care is far more expensive than that of any other nation — without delivering better results — and that since 2010 we’ve already done quite a lot to “bend the curve.” It’s not at all hard to imagine that improving the incentives to focus on medically effective care could limit cost growth to well below what the C.B.O. is projecting, even now.


Louise Sheiner of the Brookings Institution also discusses the issues.  She basically says, prediction is hard, especially about the future, but we don't need to panic:

I think the people who do the projections are trying to be balanced. Things may not be as bad as they predict, but they may be worse, right? I think a hard question is: What do you do when your policy has a lot of uncertainty? And people have different views on that. One approach is you should prepare for the worst-case scenario. Another is, no, let’s not cut benefits just because we think we might be in trouble in the future. I think I’m somewhere in between, which is: There’s a lot of uncertainty, so I would like to protect benefits, especially for lower-income people. I think there’s a lot we can do on the tax side. And figuring out a way to make the health system more efficient would have huge benefits all around. It would help people; it would help the budget; it’s a big deal. That should be a high priority.

 So that's it. We can preserve these popular and necessary programs without a lot of pain. So let's do it.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Sunday Sermonette: Elihu yammers on

I will address the question of the sustainability of Medicare and Social Security anon. I will say that while I don't know that there's a single, unified Democratic plan there are certainly some viable proposals. Unfortunately, right now I'm stuck with posting more endless gibberish.  Fortunately, today's post concludes our encounter with the logorrheic Elihu, after which the story will begin to move on.

36 And Eli′hu continued, and said:

“Bear with me a little, and I will show you,
    for I have yet something to say on God’s behalf.
I will fetch my knowledge from afar,
    and ascribe righteousness to my Maker.
For truly my words are not false;
    one who is perfect in knowledge is with you.

“Behold, God is mighty, and does not despise any;
    he is mighty in strength of understanding.
He does not keep the wicked alive,
    but gives the afflicted their right.
He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous,
    but with kings upon the throne
    he sets them for ever, and they are exalted.
And if they are bound in fetters
    and caught in the cords of affliction,
then he declares to them their work
    and their transgressions, that they are behaving arrogantly.
10 He opens their ears to instruction,
    and commands that they return from iniquity.
11 If they hearken and serve him,
    they complete their days in prosperity,
    and their years in pleasantness.
12 But if they do not hearken, they perish by the sword,
    and die without knowledge.

13 “The godless in heart cherish anger;
    they do not cry for help when he binds them.
14 They die in youth,
    and their life ends in shame.[a]
15 He delivers the afflicted by their affliction,
    and opens their ear by adversity.
16 He also allured you out of distress
    into a broad place where there was no cramping,
    and what was set on your table was full of fatness.

17 “But you are full of the judgment on the wicked;
    judgment and justice seize you.
18 Beware lest wrath entice you into scoffing;
    and let not the greatness of the ransom turn you aside.
19 Will your cry avail to keep you from distress,
    or all the force of your strength?
20 Do not long for the night,
    when peoples are cut off in their place.
21 Take heed, do not turn to iniquity,
    for this you have chosen rather than affliction.
22 Behold, God is exalted in his power;
    who is a teacher like him?
23 Who has prescribed for him his way,
    or who can say, ‘Thou hast done wrong’?

Elihu Proclaims God’s Majesty

24 “Remember to extol his work,
    of which men have sung.
25 All men have looked on it;
    man beholds it from afar.
26 Behold, God is great, and we know him not;
    the number of his years is unsearchable.
27 For he draws up the drops of water,
    he[b] distils his mist in rain
28 which the skies pour down,
    and drop upon man abundantly.
29 Can any one understand the spreading of the clouds,
    the thunderings of his pavilion?
30 Behold, he scatters his lightning about him,
    and covers the roots of the sea.
31 For by these he judges peoples;
    he gives food in abundance.
32 He covers his hands with the lightning,
    and commands it to strike the mark.
33 Its crashing declares concerning him,
    who is jealous with anger against iniquity.


  1. Job 36:14 Heb among the cult prostitutes
  2. Job 36:27 Cn: Heb they distil

37 “At this also my heart trembles,
    and leaps out of its place.
Hearken to the thunder of his voice
    and the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
Under the whole heaven he lets it go,
    and his lightning to the corners of the earth.
After it his voice roars;
    he thunders with his majestic voice
    and he does not restrain the lightnings[a] when his voice is heard.
God thunders wondrously with his voice;
    he does great things which we cannot comprehend.
For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth’;
    and to the shower and the rain,[b] ‘Be strong.’
He seals up the hand of every man,
    that all men may know his work.[c]
Then the beasts go into their lairs,
    and remain in their dens.
From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
    and cold from the scattering winds.
10 By the breath of God ice is given,
    and the broad waters are frozen fast.
11 He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
    the clouds scatter his lightning.
12 They turn round and round by his guidance,
    to accomplish all that he commands them
    on the face of the habitable world.
13 Whether for correction, or for his land,
    or for love, he causes it to happen.

14 “Hear this, O Job;
    stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
15 Do you know how God lays his command upon them,
    and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?
16 Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
    the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge,
17 you whose garments are hot
    when the earth is still because of the south wind?
18 Can you, like him, spread out the skies,
    hard as a molten mirror?
19 Teach us what we shall say to him;
    we cannot draw up our case because of darkness.
20 Shall it be told him that I would speak?
    Did a man ever wish that he would be swallowed up?

21 “And now men cannot look on the light
    when it is bright in the skies,
    when the wind has passed and cleared them.
22 Out of the north comes golden splendor;
    God is clothed with terrible majesty.
23 The Almighty—we cannot find him;
    he is great in power and justice,
    and abundant righteousness he will not violate.
24 Therefore men fear him;
    he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.”


  1. Job 37:4 Heb them
  2. Job 37:6 Cn Compare Syr: Heb shower of rain and shower of rains
  3. Job 37:7 Vg Compare Syr Tg: Heb that all men whom he has made may know it

Friday, October 27, 2023

Believe it or not

 I'm gifting Krugthulu's column today, which tells the amazing truth about our new Speaker of the House. Do read, but just for starters:

Much of the reporting on [Mike] Johnson has, understandably, focused on his role in the efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Let me say, by the way, that the widely used term “election denial” is a euphemism that softens and blurs what we’re really talking about. Trying to keep your party in power after it lost a free and fair election, without a shred of evidence of significant fraud, isn’t just denial; it’s a betrayal of democracy.

There has also been considerable coverage of Johnson’s right-wing social views, but I’m not sure how many people grasp the depth of his intolerance. Johnson isn’t just someone who wants to legalize discrimination against L.G.B.T.Q. Americans and ban gay marriage; he’s on record as defending the criminalization of gay sex.

But Johnson’s extremism, and that of the party that chose him, goes beyond rejecting democracy and trying to turn back the clock on decades of social progress. He has also espoused a startlingly reactionary economic agenda.


You probably never heard of Johnson, but he was actually chair of the Republican Study Committee, which made the party's policy proposals in 2020 for the new congress. Bet you didn't know that the Republican party is on record wanting to, among other things:

  • Raise the Social Security Retirement age to 69 or 70 - and possibly higher in the future.
  • Raise the Medicare eligibility age to 70, and then higher in the future.
  • Cut Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance, and Affordable Care Act subsidies by $3 trillion over a decade. 

As Krugthulu concludes, "So Mike Johnson is on record advocating policies on retirement, health care and other areas I don’t have space to get into, like food stamps, that would basically end American society as we know it. We would become a vastly crueler and less secure nation, with far more sheer misery."


But here's the thing. Not only do the vast majority of voters not know this, if you tell them, they don't believe it. If they did believe it, obviously, they would not vote for Republicans. But it just doesn't seem possible. Does it?


Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Wednesday Bible Study: Yadda yadda yadda

 Sí, estoy en Puerto Rico. 

As this endless vapid discourse meanders on, I will just say that although the Book of Job is as far as we know the earliest work in the Judeo-Christian tradition to deal with the theodicy problem, it ultimately fails to do so. The three comforters and Elihu all basically say the same thing, in the end: Job must have done something to deserve this, either because all humans are sinners or he transgressed in some particular way. Job says he is righteous and that God appears to him arbitrary and inscrutable. Sometimes the other four characters more or less agree with that, but still, there has to be a reason. What I have just said is essentially all that gets said, over and over again in endless circles.

We, the readers, know the truth: that this is all because of a bet God made with Satan, so it pretty much is just happening on a whim. Once we get through more of this dreck, God will show up and say, what the hell do you know and I'm not going to explain myself. Then, for no particular reason, Job gets healed and he gets everything back, which of course does not often happen in reality. End of story. 

Some scholars think that the prologue and epilogue were the original book, and that most of the stuff in between was added later. I don't know Hebrew, but apparently the style of the dialogues and monologues is affected, which is certainly how it comes across in translation. This is, in other words, a literary hack indulging himself with what he imagines to be deathless poetry but is actually just an interminable spewing of doggerel. In any event we have to put up with it for a few more days.

34 Then Eli′hu said:

“Hear my words, you wise men,
    and give ear to me, you who know;
for the ear tests words
    as the palate tastes food.
Let us choose what is right;
    let us determine among ourselves what is good.
For Job has said, ‘I am innocent,
    and God has taken away my right;
in spite of my right I am counted a liar;
    my wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.’
What man is like Job,
    who drinks up scoffing like water,
who goes in company with evildoers
    and walks with wicked men?
For he has said, ‘It profits a man nothing
    that he should take delight in God.’

10 “Therefore, hear me, you men of understanding,
    far be it from God that he should do wickedness,
    and from the Almighty that he should do wrong.
11 For according to the work of a man he will requite him,
    and according to his ways he will make it befall him.
12 Of a truth, God will not do wickedly,
    and the Almighty will not pervert justice.
13 Who gave him charge over the earth
    and who laid on him[a] the whole world?
14 If he should take back his spirit[b] to himself,
    and gather to himself his breath,
15 all flesh would perish together,
    and man would return to dust.

16 “If you have understanding, hear this;
    listen to what I say.
17 Shall one who hates justice govern?
    Will you condemn him who is righteous and mighty,
18 who says to a king, ‘Worthless one,’
    and to nobles, ‘Wicked man’;
19 who shows no partiality to princes,
    nor regards the rich more than the poor,
    for they are all the work of his hands?
20 In a moment they die;
    at midnight the people are shaken and pass away,
    and the mighty are taken away by no human hand.

21 “For his eyes are upon the ways of a man,
    and he sees all his steps.
22 There is no gloom or deep darkness
    where evildoers may hide themselves.
23 For he has not appointed a time[c] for any man
    to go before God in judgment.
24 He shatters the mighty without investigation,
    and sets others in their place.
25 Thus, knowing their works,
    he overturns them in the night, and they are crushed.
26 He strikes them for their wickedness
    in the sight of men,
27 because they turned aside from following him,
    and had no regard for any of his ways,
28 so that they caused the cry of the poor to come to him,
    and he heard the cry of the afflicted—
29 When he is quiet, who can condemn?
    When he hides his face, who can behold him,
    whether it be a nation or a man?—
30 that a godless man should not reign,
    that he should not ensnare the people.

31 “For has any one said to God,
    ‘I have borne chastisement; I will not offend any more;
32 teach me what I do not see;
    if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more’?
33 Will he then make requital to suit you,
    because you reject it?
For you must choose, and not I;
    therefore declare what you know.[d]
34 Men of understanding will say to me,
    and the wise man who hears me will say:
35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge,
    his words are without insight.’
36 Would that Job were tried to the end,
    because he answers like wicked men.
37 For he adds rebellion to his sin;
    he claps his hands among us,
    and multiplies his words against God.”


  1. Job 34:13 Heb lacks on him
  2. Job 34:14 Heb his heart his spirit
  3. Job 34:23 Cn: Heb yet
  4. Job 34:33 The Hebrew of verses 29–33 is obscure

    35 And Eli′hu said:

    “Do you think this to be just?
        Do you say, ‘It is my right before God,’
    that you ask, ‘What advantage have I?
        How am I better off than if I had sinned?’
    I will answer you
        and your friends with you.
    Look at the heavens, and see;
        and behold the clouds, which are higher than you.
    If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against him?
        And if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to him?
    If you are righteous, what do you give to him;
        or what does he receive from your hand?
    Your wickedness concerns a man like yourself,
        and your righteousness a son of man.

    “Because of the multitude of oppressions people cry out;
        they call for help because of the arm of the mighty.
    10 But none says, ‘Where is God my Maker,
        who gives songs in the night,
    11 who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth,
        and makes us wiser than the birds of the air?’
    12 There they cry out, but he does not answer,
        because of the pride of evil men.
    13 Surely God does not hear an empty cry,
        nor does the Almighty regard it.
    14 How much less when you say that you do not see him,
        that the case is before him, and you are waiting for him!
    15 And now, because his anger does not punish,
        and he does not greatly heed transgression,[a]
    16 Job opens his mouth in empty talk,
        he multiplies words without knowledge.”


    1. Job 35:15 Theodotion Symmachus Compare Vg: The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

He can duck the Republican primary debates . . .

 ... but at some point he's going to have to present himself to the general electorate. The deterioration is actually accelerating. He won't be able to participate in debates with Joe Biden, and his campaign speeches are becoming a ludicrous embarrassment to anyone who isn't utterly besotted. 

The latter is the puzzle however. Sure, other cults work the same way. When the apocalypse doesn't come, they just decide they miscalculated and set a new date. Whatever happens on the podium in front of them, they just see their god emperor. They can't see anything else. But it's getting to the point that his speech is largely gibberish, and it's going to keep getting worse. Also keep in mind that while the higher order functions deteriorate first, lower order functions follow. I expect to see that become obvious pretty soon. Will the party finally abandon him? I don't see how they cannot. But a whole lot has surprised me lately.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Sunday Sermonette: Yet another blowhard

It seems that four endless yammerers isn't enough. Now we get a fifth. Elihu runs his mouth for the next six chapters and says approximately nothing. He spends the first chapter just blathering about how he is about to speak. Then he says that Job is wrong to claim he hasn't done anything to deserve his fate, but the other three Bozos are losers because they haven't been able to prove that he's wrong. But then Elihu spends the next four chapters equally failing to prove anything and just spewing more endless dreck about the greatness of God. This book could easily be one twentieth as long, probably a lot less, and still say everything that's in it. But it seems we're stuck with it. So here's more of the interminable spew.

32 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then Eli′hu the son of Bar′achel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became angry. He was angry at Job because he justified himself rather than God; he was angry also at Job’s three friends because they had found no answer, although they had declared Job to be in the wrong. Now Eli′hu had waited to speak to Job because they were older than he. And when Eli′hu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, he became angry.

And Eli′hu the son of Bar′achel the Buzite answered:

“I am young in years,
    and you are aged;
therefore I was timid and afraid
    to declare my opinion to you.
I said, ‘Let days speak,
    and many years teach wisdom.’
But it is the spirit in a man,
    the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.
It is not the old[a] that are wise,
    nor the aged that understand what is right.
10 Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me;
    let me also declare my opinion.’

11 “Behold, I waited for your words,
    I listened for your wise sayings,
    while you searched out what to say.
12 I gave you my attention,
    and, behold, there was none that confuted Job,
    or that answered his words, among you.
13 Beware lest you say, ‘We have found wisdom;
    God may vanquish him, not man.’
14 He has not directed his words against me,
    and I will not answer him with your speeches.

15 “They are discomfited, they answer no more;
    they have not a word to say.
16 And shall I wait, because they do not speak,
    because they stand there, and answer no more?
17 I also will give my answer;
    I also will declare my opinion.
18 For I am full of words,
    the spirit within me constrains me.
19 Behold, my heart is like wine that has no vent;
    like new wineskins, it is ready to burst.
20 I must speak, that I may find relief;
    I must open my lips and answer.
21 I will not show partiality to any person
    or use flattery toward any man.
22 For I do not know how to flatter,
    else would my Maker soon put an end to me.


  1. Job 32:9 Gk Syr Vg: Heb many

33 “But now, hear my speech, O Job,
    and listen to all my words.
Behold, I open my mouth;
    the tongue in my mouth speaks.
My words declare the uprightness of my heart,
    and what my lips know they speak sincerely.
The spirit of God has made me,
    and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Answer me, if you can;
    set your words in order before me; take your stand.
Behold, I am toward God as you are;
    I too was formed from a piece of clay.
Behold, no fear of me need terrify you;
    my pressure will not be heavy upon you.

“Surely, you have spoken in my hearing,
    and I have heard the sound of your words.
You say, ‘I am clean, without transgression;
    I am pure, and there is no iniquity in me.
10 Behold, he finds occasions against me,
    he counts me as his enemy;
11 he puts my feet in the stocks,
    and watches all my paths.’

12 “Behold, in this you are not right. I will answer you.
    God is greater than man.
13 Why do you contend against him,
    saying, ‘He will answer none of my[a] words’?
14 For God speaks in one way,
    and in two, though man does not perceive it.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,
    when deep sleep falls upon men,
    while they slumber on their beds,
16 then he opens the ears of men,
    and terrifies them with warnings,
17 that he may turn man aside from his deed,
    and cut off[b] pride from man;
18 he keeps back his soul from the Pit,
    his life from perishing by the sword.

19 “Man is also chastened with pain upon his bed,
    and with continual strife in his bones;
20 so that his life loathes bread,
    and his appetite dainty food.
21 His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen;
    and his bones which were not seen stick out.
22 His soul draws near the Pit,
    and his life to those who bring death.
23 If there be for him an angel,
    a mediator, one of the thousand,
    to declare to man what is right for him;
24 and he is gracious to him, and says,
    ‘Deliver him from going down into the Pit,
    I have found a ransom;
25 let his flesh become fresh with youth;
    let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’;
26 then man prays to God, and he accepts him,
    he comes into his presence with joy.
He recounts[c] to men his salvation,
27     and he sings before men, and says:
‘I sinned, and perverted what was right,
    and it was not requited to me.
28 He has redeemed my soul from going down into the Pit,
    and my life shall see the light.’

29 “Behold, God does all these things,
    twice, three times, with a man,
30 to bring back his soul from the Pit,
    that he may see the light of life.[d]
31 Give heed, O Job, listen to me;
    be silent, and I will speak.
32 If you have anything to say, answer me;
    speak, for I desire to justify you.
33 If not, listen to me;
    be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”


  1. Job 33:13 Compare Gk: Heb his
  2. Job 33:17 Cn: Heb hide
  3. Job 33:26 Cn: Heb returns
  4. Job 33:30 Syr: Heb to be lighted with the light of life

Saturday, October 21, 2023

La Isla Incantada

Tomorrow I'm going to Puerto Rico for a conference, returning Wednesday night. It's the International Conference on Communication in Healthcare. I'm doing a poster and an oral presentation, and moderating three sessions, so I'll be busy. I should still have time to post however and if there are any interesting highlights you'll get them.

My own talk is about experiences of people with substance use disorder with health care. The technical term for my finding is that they are treated like shit. There's much more than I can fit in there but I'll give you a few quotations from my interviews. These are people who were hospitalized.

I actually went in for appendicitis or pancreatitis. They said I was only there for drugs, and I was like “What’s this lump on my stomach if I’m only here for drugs. My appendix had burst. I passed out in the waiting room.

I get wicked bad abscesses on my face, I will go into the ER and they’ll immediately think I’m drug seeking. Any time they need to give me a shot and I have to pull my sleeves up, the nurse will stop and run out and tell “Oh you got track marks.” They always do that.

I had a gastro issue, I would get sick for the whole day, throwing up. So I went to the hospital and they kept asking me “Did you take your methadone?” I started throwing up violently and I peed my pants. I asked the nurse, “Can you please help me?” after he’s coming into my room every five minutes “Did you take your methadone? Did you sell it?” and I said “Look, I peed myself. Can you get me a johnny, can you get me some scrubs?” He’s like “No, I can’t help you.” And that’s happened to me a few times, having a healthcare provider treat you like crap.”

These aren't even necessarily the worst stories. In one case, they refused to treat an open wound. In another, the woman's boyfriend was lying on a gurney in the hallway having seizures for  an hour and they ignored him. So yeah, this is a problem. And half the time, the reason they got addicted in the first place is because a doctor wrote them a prescription. We'll see what the audience thinks.

Friday, October 20, 2023

A Puzzlement

I get that the "conservative" movement in the U.S. is not part of the Reality Based Community -- as Karl Rove proudly proclaimed -- but I thought that extended to social and scientific facts and public policy, not to the hard facts of the actual, physical world in which they live.

I mean, what the actual fuck does Jim Jordan think he is doing? The Republican House caucus meets, 20 or more members tell him they are not going to vote for him, and he insists on calling a vote anyway, which he loses. Then he does it again. And again. Why? Does he think that people calling in death threats to the members, their spouses, their children and their dogs is going to make him Speaker? Who knows, maybe he does. 

Is there some purpose to this? Some occult strategy, some sudden reveal awaiting us? If anyone has an idea, let me know.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Wednesday Bible Study: Job finally shuts up

 Yep. He spends the next three chapters saying, endlessly, the following:

I used to be riding high, fortunate and admired, benevolent and generous.

Now I'm in the pits.

If I'd done anything wrong I could understand it. 


And then, thank God, "The words of Job are ended." It's long past time for this guy to STFU.

29 And Job again took up his discourse, and said:

“Oh, that I were as in the months of old,
    as in the days when God watched over me;
when his lamp shone upon my head,
    and by his light I walked through darkness;
as I was in my autumn days,
    when the friendship of God was upon my tent;
when the Almighty was yet with me,
    when my children were about me;
when my steps were washed with milk,
    and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!
When I went out to the gate of the city,
    when I prepared my seat in the square,
the young men saw me and withdrew,
    and the aged rose and stood;
the princes refrained from talking,
    and laid their hand on their mouth;
10 the voice of the nobles was hushed,
    and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth.
11 When the ear heard, it called me blessed,
    and when the eye saw, it approved;
12 because I delivered the poor who cried,
    and the fatherless who had none to help him.
13 The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me,
    and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.
14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
    my justice was like a robe and a turban.
15 I was eyes to the blind,
    and feet to the lame.
16 I was a father to the poor,
    and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.
17 I broke the fangs of the unrighteous,
    and made him drop his prey from his teeth.
18 Then I thought, ‘I shall die in my nest,
    and I shall multiply my days as the sand,
19 my roots spread out to the waters,
    with the dew all night on my branches,
20 my glory fresh with me,
    and my bow ever new in my hand.’

21 “Men listened to me, and waited,
    and kept silence for my counsel.
22 After I spoke they did not speak again,
    and my word dropped upon them.
23 They waited for me as for the rain;
    and they opened their mouths as for the spring rain.
24 I smiled on them when they had no confidence;
    and the light of my countenance they did not cast down.
25 I chose their way, and sat as chief,
    and I dwelt like a king among his troops,
    like one who comforts mourners.


30 “But now they make sport of me,
    men who are younger than I,
whose fathers I would have disdained
    to set with the dogs of my flock.
What could I gain from the strength of their hands,
    men whose vigor is gone?
Through want and hard hunger
    they gnaw the dry and desolate ground;[a]
they pick mallow and the leaves of bushes,
    and to warm themselves the roots of the broom.
They are driven out from among men;
    they shout after them as after a thief.
In the gullies of the torrents they must dwell,
    in holes of the earth and of the rocks.
Among the bushes they bray;
    under the nettles they huddle together.
A senseless, a disreputable brood,
    they have been whipped out of the land.

“And now I have become their song,
    I am a byword to them.
10 They abhor me, they keep aloof from me;
    they do not hesitate to spit at the sight of me.
11 Because God has loosed my cord and humbled me,
    they have cast off restraint in my presence.
12 On my right hand the rabble rise,
    they drive me[b] forth,
    they cast up against me their ways of destruction.
13 They break up my path,
    they promote my calamity;
    no one restrains[c] them.
14 As through[d] a wide breach they come;
    amid the crash they roll on.
15 Terrors are turned upon me;
    my honor is pursued as by the wind,
    and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud.

16 “And now my soul is poured out within me;
    days of affliction have taken hold of me.
17 The night racks my bones,
    and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.
18 With violence it seizes my garment;[e]
    it binds me about like the collar of my tunic.
19 God has cast me into the mire,
    and I have become like dust and ashes.
20 I cry to thee and thou dost not answer me;
    I stand, and thou dost not[f] heed me.
21 Thou hast turned cruel to me;
    with the might of thy hand thou dost persecute me.
22 Thou liftest me up on the wind, thou makest me ride on it,
    and thou tossest me about in the roar of the storm.
23 Yea, I know that thou wilt bring me to death,
    and to the house appointed for all living.

24 “Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand,
    and in his disaster cry for help?[g]
25 Did not I weep for him whose day was hard?
    Was not my soul grieved for the poor?
26 But when I looked for good, evil came;
    and when I waited for light, darkness came.
27 My heart is in turmoil, and is never still;
    days of affliction come to meet me.
28 I go about blackened, but not by the sun;
    I stand up in the assembly, and cry for help.
29 I am a brother of jackals,
    and a companion of ostriches.
30 My skin turns black and falls from me,
    and my bones burn with heat.
31 My lyre is turned to mourning,
    and my pipe to the voice of those who weep.


  1. Job 30:3 Heb ground yesterday waste
  2. Job 30:12 Heb my feet
  3. Job 30:13 Cn: Heb helps
  4. Job 30:14 Cn: Heb like
  5. Job 30:18 Gk: Heb my garment is disfigured
  6. Job 30:20 One Heb Ms and Vg: Heb lacks not
  7. Job 30:24 Cn: Heb obscure
  1. 31 “I have made a covenant with my eyes;
        how then could I look upon a virgin?
    What would be my portion from God above,
        and my heritage from the Almighty on high?
    Does not calamity befall the unrighteous,
        and disaster the workers of iniquity?
    Does not he see my ways,
        and number all my steps?

    “If I have walked with falsehood,
        and my foot has hastened to deceit;
    (Let me be weighed in a just balance,
        and let God know my integrity!)
    if my step has turned aside from the way,
        and my heart has gone after my eyes,
        and if any spot has cleaved to my hands;
    then let me sow, and another eat;
        and let what grows for me be rooted out.

    “If my heart has been enticed to a woman,
        and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door;
    10 then let my wife grind for another,
        and let others bow down upon her.
    11 For that would be a heinous crime;
        that would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges;
    12 for that would be a fire which consumes unto Abaddon,
        and it would burn to the root all my increase.

    13 “If I have rejected the cause of my manservant or my maidservant,
        when they brought a complaint against me;
    14 what then shall I do when God rises up?
        When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him?
    15 Did not he who made me in the womb make him?
        And did not one fashion us in the womb?

    16 “If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,
        or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
    17 or have eaten my morsel alone,
        and the fatherless has not eaten of it
    18 (for from his youth I reared him as a father,
        and from his mother’s womb I guided him[a]);
    19 if I have seen any one perish for lack of clothing,
        or a poor man without covering;
    20 if his loins have not blessed me,
        and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;
    21 if I have raised my hand against the fatherless,
        because I saw help in the gate;
    22 then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder,
        and let my arm be broken from its socket.
    23 For I was in terror of calamity from God,
        and I could not have faced his majesty.

    24 “If I have made gold my trust,
        or called fine gold my confidence;
    25 if I have rejoiced because my wealth was great,
        or because my hand had gotten much;
    26 if I have looked at the sun[b] when it shone,
        or the moon moving in splendor,
    27 and my heart has been secretly enticed,
        and my mouth has kissed my hand;
    28 this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges,
        for I should have been false to God above.

    29 “If I have rejoiced at the ruin of him that hated me,
        or exulted when evil overtook him
    30 (I have not let my mouth sin
        by asking for his life with a curse);
    31 if the men of my tent have not said,
        ‘Who is there that has not been filled with his meat?’
    32 (the sojourner has not lodged in the street;
        I have opened my doors to the wayfarer);
    33 if I have concealed my transgressions from men,[c]
        by hiding my iniquity in my bosom,
    34 because I stood in great fear of the multitude,
        and the contempt of families terrified me,
        so that I kept silence, and did not go out of doors—
    35 Oh, that I had one to hear me!
        (Here is my signature! let the Almighty answer me!)
        Oh, that I had the indictment written by my adversary!
    36 Surely I would carry it on my shoulder;
        I would bind it on me as a crown;
    37 I would give him an account of all my steps;
        like a prince I would approach him.

    38 “If my land has cried out against me,
        and its furrows have wept together;
    39 if I have eaten its yield without payment,
        and caused the death of its owners;
    40 let thorns grow instead of wheat,
        and foul weeds instead of barley.”

    The words of Job are ended.


    1. Job 31:18 Cn: Heb for from my youth he grew up to me as a father, and from my mother’s womb I guided her
    2. Job 31:26 Heb the light
    3. Job 31:33 Cn: Heb like men or like Adam