Daily reading for Tuesday, October 8, 2013

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Job 25:1 - Job 41:34 (New International Version)

Job 25-41

Bildad

25 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

“Dominion and awe belong to God;
    he establishes order in the heights of heaven.
Can his forces be numbered?
    On whom does his light not rise?
How then can a mortal be righteous before God?
    How can one born of woman be pure?
If even the moon is not bright
    and the stars are not pure in his eyes,
how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot—
    a human being, who is only a worm!”

Job

26 Then Job replied:

“How you have helped the powerless!
    How you have saved the arm that is feeble!
What advice you have offered to one without wisdom!
    And what great insight you have displayed!
Who has helped you utter these words?
    And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?

“The dead are in deep anguish,
    those beneath the waters and all that live in them.
The realm of the dead is naked before God;
    Destruction[a] lies uncovered.
He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
    he suspends the earth over nothing.
He wraps up the waters in his clouds,
    yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.
He covers the face of the full moon,
    spreading his clouds over it.
10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters
    for a boundary between light and darkness.
11 The pillars of the heavens quake,
    aghast at his rebuke.
12 By his power he churned up the sea;
    by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces.
13 By his breath the skies became fair;
    his hand pierced the gliding serpent.
14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works;
    how faint the whisper we hear of him!
    Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”

Job’s Final Word to His Friends

27 And Job continued his discourse:

“As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice,
    the Almighty, who has made my life bitter,
as long as I have life within me,
    the breath of God in my nostrils,
my lips will not say anything wicked,
    and my tongue will not utter lies.
I will never admit you are in the right;
    till I die, I will not deny my integrity.
I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it;
    my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.

“May my enemy be like the wicked,
    my adversary like the unjust!
For what hope have the godless when they are cut off,
    when God takes away their life?
Does God listen to their cry
    when distress comes upon them?
10 Will they find delight in the Almighty?
    Will they call on God at all times?

11 “I will teach you about the power of God;
    the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal.
12 You have all seen this yourselves.
    Why then this meaningless talk?

13 “Here is the fate God allots to the wicked,
    the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty:
14 However many his children, their fate is the sword;
    his offspring will never have enough to eat.
15 The plague will bury those who survive him,
    and their widows will not weep for them.
16 Though he heaps up silver like dust
    and clothes like piles of clay,
17 what he lays up the righteous will wear,
    and the innocent will divide his silver.
18 The house he builds is like a moth’s cocoon,
    like a hut made by a watchman.
19 He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more;
    when he opens his eyes, all is gone.
20 Terrors overtake him like a flood;
    a tempest snatches him away in the night.
21 The east wind carries him off, and he is gone;
    it sweeps him out of his place.
22 It hurls itself against him without mercy
    as he flees headlong from its power.
23 It claps its hands in derision
    and hisses him out of his place.”

Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found

28 There is a mine for silver
    and a place where gold is refined.
Iron is taken from the earth,
    and copper is smelted from ore.
Mortals put an end to the darkness;
    they search out the farthest recesses
    for ore in the blackest darkness.
Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,
    in places untouched by human feet;
    far from other people they dangle and sway.
The earth, from which food comes,
    is transformed below as by fire;
lapis lazuli comes from its rocks,
    and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
    no falcon’s eye has seen it.
Proud beasts do not set foot on it,
    and no lion prowls there.
People assault the flinty rock with their hands
    and lay bare the roots of the mountains.
10 They tunnel through the rock;
    their eyes see all its treasures.
11 They search[b] the sources of the rivers
    and bring hidden things to light.

12 But where can wisdom be found?
    Where does understanding dwell?
13 No mortal comprehends its worth;
    it cannot be found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, “It is not in me”;
    the sea says, “It is not with me.”
15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold,
    nor can its price be weighed out in silver.
16 It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,
    with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.
17 Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,
    nor can it be had for jewels of gold.
18 Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention;
    the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
19 The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it;
    it cannot be bought with pure gold.

20 Where then does wisdom come from?
    Where does understanding dwell?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
    concealed even from the birds in the sky.
22 Destruction[c] and Death say,
    “Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”
23 God understands the way to it
    and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth
    and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he established the force of the wind
    and measured out the waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
    and a path for the thunderstorm,
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
    he confirmed it and tested it.
28 And he said to the human race,
    “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
    and to shun evil is understanding.”

Job’s Final Defense

29 Job continued his discourse:

“How I long for the months gone by,
    for the days when God watched over me,
when his lamp shone on my head
    and by his light I walked through darkness!
Oh, for the days when I was in my prime,
    when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house,
when the Almighty was still with me
    and my children were around me,
when my path was drenched with cream
    and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.

“When I went to the gate of the city
    and took my seat in the public square,
the young men saw me and stepped aside
    and the old men rose to their feet;
the chief men refrained from speaking
    and covered their mouths with their hands;
10 the voices of the nobles were hushed,
    and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.
11 Whoever heard me spoke well of me,
    and those who saw me commended me,
12 because I rescued the poor who cried for help,
    and the fatherless who had none to assist them.
13 The one who was dying blessed me;
    I made the widow’s heart sing.
14 I put on righteousness as my clothing;
    justice was my robe and my turban.
15 I was eyes to the blind
    and feet to the lame.
16 I was a father to the needy;
    I took up the case of the stranger.
17 I broke the fangs of the wicked
    and snatched the victims from their teeth.

18 “I thought, ‘I will die in my own house,
    my days as numerous as the grains of sand.
19 My roots will reach to the water,
    and the dew will lie all night on my branches.
20 My glory will not fade;
    the bow will be ever new in my hand.’

21 “People listened to me expectantly,
    waiting in silence for my counsel.
22 After I had spoken, they spoke no more;
    my words fell gently on their ears.
23 They waited for me as for showers
    and drank in my words as the spring rain.
24 When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;
    the light of my face was precious to them.[d]
25 I chose the way for them and sat as their chief;
    I dwelt as a king among his troops;
    I was like one who comforts mourners.

30 “But now they mock me,
    men younger than I,
whose fathers I would have disdained
    to put with my sheep dogs.
Of what use was the strength of their hands to me,
    since their vigor had gone from them?
Haggard from want and hunger,
    they roamed[e] the parched land
    in desolate wastelands at night.
In the brush they gathered salt herbs,
    and their food[f] was the root of the broom bush.
They were banished from human society,
    shouted at as if they were thieves.
They were forced to live in the dry stream beds,
    among the rocks and in holes in the ground.
They brayed among the bushes
    and huddled in the undergrowth.
A base and nameless brood,
    they were driven out of the land.

“And now those young men mock me in song;
    I have become a byword among them.
10 They detest me and keep their distance;
    they do not hesitate to spit in my face.
11 Now that God has unstrung my bow and afflicted me,
    they throw off restraint in my presence.
12 On my right the tribe[g] attacks;
    they lay snares for my feet,
    they build their siege ramps against me.
13 They break up my road;
    they succeed in destroying me.
    ‘No one can help him,’ they say.
14 They advance as through a gaping breach;
    amid the ruins they come rolling in.
15 Terrors overwhelm me;
    my dignity is driven away as by the wind,
    my safety vanishes like a cloud.

16 “And now my life ebbs away;
    days of suffering grip me.
17 Night pierces my bones;
    my gnawing pains never rest.
18 In his great power God becomes like clothing to me[h];
    he binds me like the neck of my garment.
19 He throws me into the mud,
    and I am reduced to dust and ashes.

20 “I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer;
    I stand up, but you merely look at me.
21 You turn on me ruthlessly;
    with the might of your hand you attack me.
22 You snatch me up and drive me before the wind;
    you toss me about in the storm.
23 I know you will bring me down to death,
    to the place appointed for all the living.

24 “Surely no one lays a hand on a broken man
    when he cries for help in his distress.
25 Have I not wept for those in trouble?
    Has not my soul grieved for the poor?
26 Yet when I hoped for good, evil came;
    when I looked for light, then came darkness.
27 The churning inside me never stops;
    days of suffering confront me.
28 I go about blackened, but not by the sun;
    I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.
29 I have become a brother of jackals,
    a companion of owls.
30 My skin grows black and peels;
    my body burns with fever.
31 My lyre is tuned to mourning,
    and my pipe to the sound of wailing.

31 “I made a covenant with my eyes
    not to look lustfully at a young woman.
For what is our lot from God above,
    our heritage from the Almighty on high?
Is it not ruin for the wicked,
    disaster for those who do wrong?
Does he not see my ways
    and count my every step?

“If I have walked with falsehood
    or my foot has hurried after deceit
let God weigh me in honest scales
    and he will know that I am blameless
if my steps have turned from the path,
    if my heart has been led by my eyes,
    or if my hands have been defiled,
then may others eat what I have sown,
    and may my crops be uprooted.

“If my heart has been enticed by a woman,
    or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door,
10 then may my wife grind another man’s grain,
    and may other men sleep with her.
11 For that would have been wicked,
    a sin to be judged.
12 It is a fire that burns to Destruction[i];
    it would have uprooted my harvest.

13 “If I have denied justice to any of my servants,
    whether male or female,
    when they had a grievance against me,
14 what will I do when God confronts me?
    What will I answer when called to account?
15 Did not he who made me in the womb make them?
    Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?

16 “If I have denied the desires of the poor
    or let the eyes of the widow grow weary,
17 if I have kept my bread to myself,
    not sharing it with the fatherless
18 but from my youth I reared them as a father would,
    and from my birth I guided the widow
19 if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing,
    or the needy without garments,
20 and their hearts did not bless me
    for warming them with the fleece from my sheep,
21 if I have raised my hand against the fatherless,
    knowing that I had influence in court,
22 then let my arm fall from the shoulder,
    let it be broken off at the joint.
23 For I dreaded destruction from God,
    and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things.

24 “If I have put my trust in gold
    or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’
25 if I have rejoiced over my great wealth,
    the fortune my hands had gained,
26 if I have regarded the sun in its radiance
    or the moon moving in splendor,
27 so that my heart was secretly enticed
    and my hand offered them a kiss of homage,
28 then these also would be sins to be judged,
    for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.

29 “If I have rejoiced at my enemy’s misfortune
    or gloated over the trouble that came to him
30 I have not allowed my mouth to sin
    by invoking a curse against their life
31 if those of my household have never said,
    ‘Who has not been filled with Job’s meat?’
32 but no stranger had to spend the night in the street,
    for my door was always open to the traveler
33 if I have concealed my sin as people do,[j]
    by hiding my guilt in my heart
34 because I so feared the crowd
    and so dreaded the contempt of the clans
    that I kept silent and would not go outside—

35 (“Oh, that I had someone to hear me!
    I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me;
    let my accuser put his indictment in writing.
36 Surely I would wear it on my shoulder,
    I would put it on like a crown.
37 I would give him an account of my every step;
    I would present it to him as to a ruler.)—

38 “if my land cries out against me
    and all its furrows are wet with tears,
39 if I have devoured its yield without payment
    or broken the spirit of its tenants,
40 then let briers come up instead of wheat
    and stinkweed instead of barley.”

The words of Job are ended.

Elihu

32 So these three men stopped answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. But Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God. He was also angry with the three friends, because they had found no way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him.[k] Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he. But when he saw that the three men had nothing more to say, his anger was aroused.

So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said:

“I am young in years,
    and you are old;
that is why I was fearful,
    not daring to tell you what I know.
I thought, ‘Age should speak;
    advanced years should teach wisdom.’
But it is the spirit[l] in a person,
    the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.
It is not only the old[m] who are wise,
    not only the aged who understand what is right.

10 “Therefore I say: Listen to me;
    I too will tell you what I know.
11 I waited while you spoke,
    I listened to your reasoning;
while you were searching for words,
12     I gave you my full attention.
But not one of you has proved Job wrong;
    none of you has answered his arguments.
13 Do not say, ‘We have found wisdom;
    let God, not a man, refute him.’
14 But Job has not marshaled his words against me,
    and I will not answer him with your arguments.

15 “They are dismayed and have no more to say;
    words have failed them.
16 Must I wait, now that they are silent,
    now that they stand there with no reply?
17 I too will have my say;
    I too will tell what I know.
18 For I am full of words,
    and the spirit within me compels me;
19 inside I am like bottled-up wine,
    like new wineskins ready to burst.
20 I must speak and find relief;
    I must open my lips and reply.
21 I will show no partiality,
    nor will I flatter anyone;
22 for if I were skilled in flattery,
    my Maker would soon take me away.

33 “But now, Job, listen to my words;
    pay attention to everything I say.
I am about to open my mouth;
    my words are on the tip of my tongue.
My words come from an upright heart;
    my lips sincerely speak what I know.
The Spirit of God has made me;
    the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Answer me then, if you can;
    stand up and argue your case before me.
I am the same as you in God’s sight;
    I too am a piece of clay.
No fear of me should alarm you,
    nor should my hand be heavy on you.

“But you have said in my hearing—
    I heard the very words—
‘I am pure, I have done no wrong;
    I am clean and free from sin.
10 Yet God has found fault with me;
    he considers me his enemy.
11 He fastens my feet in shackles;
    he keeps close watch on all my paths.’

12 “But I tell you, in this you are not right,
    for God is greater than any mortal.
13 Why do you complain to him
    that he responds to no one’s words[n]?
14 For God does speak—now one way, now another
    though no one perceives it.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,
    when deep sleep falls on people
    as they slumber in their beds,
16 he may speak in their ears
    and terrify them with warnings,
17 to turn them from wrongdoing
    and keep them from pride,
18 to preserve them from the pit,
    their lives from perishing by the sword.[o]

19 “Or someone may be chastened on a bed of pain
    with constant distress in their bones,
20 so that their body finds food repulsive
    and their soul loathes the choicest meal.
21 Their flesh wastes away to nothing,
    and their bones, once hidden, now stick out.
22 They draw near to the pit,
    and their life to the messengers of death.[p]
23 Yet if there is an angel at their side,
    a messenger, one out of a thousand,
    sent to tell them how to be upright,
24 and he is gracious to that person and says to God,
    ‘Spare them from going down to the pit;
    I have found a ransom for them
25 let their flesh be renewed like a child’s;
    let them be restored as in the days of their youth’
26 then that person can pray to God and find favor with him,
    they will see God’s face and shout for joy;
    he will restore them to full well-being.
27 And they will go to others and say,
    ‘I have sinned, I have perverted what is right,
    but I did not get what I deserved.
28 God has delivered me from going down to the pit,
    and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.’

29 “God does all these things to a person
    twice, even three times
30 to turn them back from the pit,
    that the light of life may shine on them.

31 “Pay attention, Job, and listen to me;
    be silent, and I will speak.
32 If you have anything to say, answer me;
    speak up, for I want to vindicate you.
33 But if not, then listen to me;
    be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.

34 Then Elihu said:

“Hear my words, you wise men;
    listen to me, you men of learning.
For the ear tests words
    as the tongue tastes food.
Let us discern for ourselves what is right;
    let us learn together what is good.

“Job says, ‘I am innocent,
    but God denies me justice.
Although I am right,
    I am considered a liar;
although I am guiltless,
    his arrow inflicts an incurable wound.’
Is there anyone like Job,
    who drinks scorn like water?
He keeps company with evildoers;
    he associates with the wicked.
For he says, ‘There is no profit
    in trying to please God.’

10 “So listen to me, you men of understanding.
    Far be it from God to do evil,
    from the Almighty to do wrong.
11 He repays everyone for what they have done;
    he brings on them what their conduct deserves.
12 It is unthinkable that God would do wrong,
    that the Almighty would pervert justice.
13 Who appointed him over the earth?
    Who put him in charge of the whole world?
14 If it were his intention
    and he withdrew his spirit[q] and breath,
15 all humanity would perish together
    and mankind would return to the dust.

16 “If you have understanding, hear this;
    listen to what I say.
17 Can someone who hates justice govern?
    Will you condemn the just and mighty One?
18 Is he not the One who says to kings, ‘You are worthless,’
    and to nobles, ‘You are wicked,’
19 who shows no partiality to princes
    and does not favor the rich over the poor,
    for they are all the work of his hands?
20 They die in an instant, in the middle of the night;
    the people are shaken and they pass away;
    the mighty are removed without human hand.

21 “His eyes are on the ways of mortals;
    he sees their every step.
22 There is no deep shadow, no utter darkness,
    where evildoers can hide.
23 God has no need to examine people further,
    that they should come before him for judgment.
24 Without inquiry he shatters the mighty
    and sets up others in their place.
25 Because he takes note of their deeds,
    he overthrows them in the night and they are crushed.
26 He punishes them for their wickedness
    where everyone can see them,
27 because they turned from following him
    and had no regard for any of his ways.
28 They caused the cry of the poor to come before him,
    so that he heard the cry of the needy.
29 But if he remains silent, who can condemn him?
    If he hides his face, who can see him?
Yet he is over individual and nation alike,
30     to keep the godless from ruling,
    from laying snares for the people.

31 “Suppose someone says to God,
    ‘I am guilty but will offend no more.
32 Teach me what I cannot see;
    if I have done wrong, I will not do so again.’
33 Should God then reward you on your terms,
    when you refuse to repent?
You must decide, not I;
    so tell me what you know.

34 “Men of understanding declare,
    wise men who hear me say to me,
35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge;
    his words lack insight.’
36 Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost
    for answering like a wicked man!
37 To his sin he adds rebellion;
    scornfully he claps his hands among us
    and multiplies his words against God.”

35 Then Elihu said:

“Do you think this is just?
    You say, ‘I am in the right, not God.’
Yet you ask him, ‘What profit is it to me,[r]
    and what do I gain by not sinning?’

“I would like to reply to you
    and to your friends with you.
Look up at the heavens and see;
    gaze at the clouds so high above you.
If you sin, how does that affect him?
    If your sins are many, what does that do to him?
If you are righteous, what do you give to him,
    or what does he receive from your hand?
Your wickedness only affects humans like yourself,
    and your righteousness only other people.

“People cry out under a load of oppression;
    they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful.
10 But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker,
    who gives songs in the night,
11 who teaches us more than he teaches[s] the beasts of the earth
    and makes us wiser than[t] the birds in the sky?’
12 He does not answer when people cry out
    because of the arrogance of the wicked.
13 Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea;
    the Almighty pays no attention to it.
14 How much less, then, will he listen
    when you say that you do not see him,
that your case is before him
    and you must wait for him,
15 and further, that his anger never punishes
    and he does not take the least notice of wickedness.[u]
16 So Job opens his mouth with empty talk;
    without knowledge he multiplies words.”

36 Elihu continued:

“Bear with me a little longer and I will show you
    that there is more to be said in God’s behalf.
I get my knowledge from afar;
    I will ascribe justice to my Maker.
Be assured that my words are not false;
    one who has perfect knowledge is with you.

“God is mighty, but despises no one;
    he is mighty, and firm in his purpose.
He does not keep the wicked alive
    but gives the afflicted their rights.
He does not take his eyes off the righteous;
    he enthrones them with kings
    and exalts them forever.
But if people are bound in chains,
    held fast by cords of affliction,
he tells them what they have done—
    that they have sinned arrogantly.
10 He makes them listen to correction
    and commands them to repent of their evil.
11 If they obey and serve him,
    they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity
    and their years in contentment.
12 But if they do not listen,
    they will perish by the sword[v]
    and die without knowledge.

13 “The godless in heart harbor resentment;
    even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help.
14 They die in their youth,
    among male prostitutes of the shrines.
15 But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering;
    he speaks to them in their affliction.

16 “He is wooing you from the jaws of distress
    to a spacious place free from restriction,
    to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.
17 But now you are laden with the judgment due the wicked;
    judgment and justice have taken hold of you.
18 Be careful that no one entices you by riches;
    do not let a large bribe turn you aside.
19 Would your wealth or even all your mighty efforts
    sustain you so you would not be in distress?
20 Do not long for the night,
    to drag people away from their homes.[w]
21 Beware of turning to evil,
    which you seem to prefer to affliction.

22 “God is exalted in his power.
    Who is a teacher like him?
23 Who has prescribed his ways for him,
    or said to him, ‘You have done wrong’?
24 Remember to extol his work,
    which people have praised in song.
25 All humanity has seen it;
    mortals gaze on it from afar.
26 How great is God—beyond our understanding!
    The number of his years is past finding out.

27 “He draws up the drops of water,
    which distill as rain to the streams[x];
28 the clouds pour down their moisture
    and abundant showers fall on mankind.
29 Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds,
    how he thunders from his pavilion?
30 See how he scatters his lightning about him,
    bathing the depths of the sea.
31 This is the way he governs[y] the nations
    and provides food in abundance.
32 He fills his hands with lightning
    and commands it to strike its mark.
33 His thunder announces the coming storm;
    even the cattle make known its approach.[z]

37 “At this my heart pounds
    and leaps from its place.
Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice,
    to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven
    and sends it to the ends of the earth.
After that comes the sound of his roar;
    he thunders with his majestic voice.
When his voice resounds,
    he holds nothing back.
God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;
    he does great things beyond our understanding.
He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’
    and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’
So that everyone he has made may know his work,
    he stops all people from their labor.[aa]
The animals take cover;
    they remain in their dens.
The tempest comes out from its chamber,
    the cold from the driving winds.
10 The breath of God produces ice,
    and the broad waters become frozen.
11 He loads the clouds with moisture;
    he scatters his lightning through them.
12 At his direction they swirl around
    over the face of the whole earth
    to do whatever he commands them.
13 He brings the clouds to punish people,
    or to water his earth and show his love.

14 “Listen to this, Job;
    stop and consider God’s wonders.
15 Do you know how God controls the clouds
    and makes his lightning flash?
16 Do you know how the clouds hang poised,
    those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?
17 You who swelter in your clothes
    when the land lies hushed under the south wind,
18 can you join him in spreading out the skies,
    hard as a mirror of cast bronze?

19 “Tell us what we should say to him;
    we cannot draw up our case because of our darkness.
20 Should he be told that I want to speak?
    Would anyone ask to be swallowed up?
21 Now no one can look at the sun,
    bright as it is in the skies
    after the wind has swept them clean.
22 Out of the north he comes in golden splendor;
    God comes in awesome majesty.
23 The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power;
    in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.
24 Therefore, people revere him,
    for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?[ab]

The Lord Speaks

38 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:

“Who is this that obscures my plans
    with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone
while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels[ac] shouted for joy?

“Who shut up the sea behind doors
    when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
    and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
    here is where your proud waves halt’?

12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
    or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
    and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
    its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
    and their upraised arm is broken.

16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
    or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
    Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
    Tell me, if you know all this.

19 “What is the way to the abode of light?
    And where does darkness reside?
20 Can you take them to their places?
    Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
    You have lived so many years!

22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
    or seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
    for days of war and battle?
24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
    or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
    and a path for the thunderstorm,
26 to water a land where no one lives,
    an uninhabited desert,
27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland
    and make it sprout with grass?
28 Does the rain have a father?
    Who fathers the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb comes the ice?
    Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
30 when the waters become hard as stone,
    when the surface of the deep is frozen?

31 “Can you bind the chains[ad] of the Pleiades?
    Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons[ae]
    or lead out the Bear[af] with its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
    Can you set up God’s[ag] dominion over the earth?

34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds
    and cover yourself with a flood of water?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
    Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 Who gives the ibis wisdom[ah]
    or gives the rooster understanding?[ai]
37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
    Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
38 when the dust becomes hard
    and the clods of earth stick together?

39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
    and satisfy the hunger of the lions
40 when they crouch in their dens
    or lie in wait in a thicket?
41 Who provides food for the raven
    when its young cry out to God
    and wander about for lack of food?

39 “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
    Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?
Do you count the months till they bear?
    Do you know the time they give birth?
They crouch down and bring forth their young;
    their labor pains are ended.
Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds;
    they leave and do not return.

“Who let the wild donkey go free?
    Who untied its ropes?
I gave it the wasteland as its home,
    the salt flats as its habitat.
It laughs at the commotion in the town;
    it does not hear a driver’s shout.
It ranges the hills for its pasture
    and searches for any green thing.

“Will the wild ox consent to serve you?
    Will it stay by your manger at night?
10 Can you hold it to the furrow with a harness?
    Will it till the valleys behind you?
11 Will you rely on it for its great strength?
    Will you leave your heavy work to it?
12 Can you trust it to haul in your grain
    and bring it to your threshing floor?

13 “The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully,
    though they cannot compare
    with the wings and feathers of the stork.
14 She lays her eggs on the ground
    and lets them warm in the sand,
15 unmindful that a foot may crush them,
    that some wild animal may trample them.
16 She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers;
    she cares not that her labor was in vain,
17 for God did not endow her with wisdom
    or give her a share of good sense.
18 Yet when she spreads her feathers to run,
    she laughs at horse and rider.

19 “Do you give the horse its strength
    or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?
20 Do you make it leap like a locust,
    striking terror with its proud snorting?
21 It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength,
    and charges into the fray.
22 It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing;
    it does not shy away from the sword.
23 The quiver rattles against its side,
    along with the flashing spear and lance.
24 In frenzied excitement it eats up the ground;
    it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.
25 At the blast of the trumpet it snorts, ‘Aha!’
    It catches the scent of battle from afar,
    the shout of commanders and the battle cry.

26 “Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom
    and spread its wings toward the south?
27 Does the eagle soar at your command
    and build its nest on high?
28 It dwells on a cliff and stays there at night;
    a rocky crag is its stronghold.
29 From there it looks for food;
    its eyes detect it from afar.
30 Its young ones feast on blood,
    and where the slain are, there it is.”

40 The Lord said to Job:

“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
    Let him who accuses God answer him!”

Then Job answered the Lord:

“I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
    I put my hand over my mouth.
I spoke once, but I have no answer
    twice, but I will say no more.”

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm:

“Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.

“Would you discredit my justice?
    Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
Do you have an arm like God’s,
    and can your voice thunder like his?
10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
    and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
11 Unleash the fury of your wrath,
    look at all who are proud and bring them low,
12 look at all who are proud and humble them,
    crush the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them all in the dust together;
    shroud their faces in the grave.
14 Then I myself will admit to you
    that your own right hand can save you.

15 “Look at Behemoth,
    which I made along with you
    and which feeds on grass like an ox.
16 What strength it has in its loins,
    what power in the muscles of its belly!
17 Its tail sways like a cedar;
    the sinews of its thighs are close-knit.
18 Its bones are tubes of bronze,
    its limbs like rods of iron.
19 It ranks first among the works of God,
    yet its Maker can approach it with his sword.
20 The hills bring it their produce,
    and all the wild animals play nearby.
21 Under the lotus plants it lies,
    hidden among the reeds in the marsh.
22 The lotuses conceal it in their shadow;
    the poplars by the stream surround it.
23 A raging river does not alarm it;
    it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth.
24 Can anyone capture it by the eyes,
    or trap it and pierce its nose?

41 [aj]“Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook
    or tie down its tongue with a rope?
Can you put a cord through its nose
    or pierce its jaw with a hook?
Will it keep begging you for mercy?
    Will it speak to you with gentle words?
Will it make an agreement with you
    for you to take it as your slave for life?
Can you make a pet of it like a bird
    or put it on a leash for the young women in your house?
Will traders barter for it?
    Will they divide it up among the merchants?
Can you fill its hide with harpoons
    or its head with fishing spears?
If you lay a hand on it,
    you will remember the struggle and never do it again!
Any hope of subduing it is false;
    the mere sight of it is overpowering.
10 No one is fierce enough to rouse it.
    Who then is able to stand against me?
11 Who has a claim against me that I must pay?
    Everything under heaven belongs to me.

12 “I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs,
    its strength and its graceful form.
13 Who can strip off its outer coat?
    Who can penetrate its double coat of armor[ak]?
14 Who dares open the doors of its mouth,
    ringed about with fearsome teeth?
15 Its back has[al] rows of shields
    tightly sealed together;
16 each is so close to the next
    that no air can pass between.
17 They are joined fast to one another;
    they cling together and cannot be parted.
18 Its snorting throws out flashes of light;
    its eyes are like the rays of dawn.
19 Flames stream from its mouth;
    sparks of fire shoot out.
20 Smoke pours from its nostrils
    as from a boiling pot over burning reeds.
21 Its breath sets coals ablaze,
    and flames dart from its mouth.
22 Strength resides in its neck;
    dismay goes before it.
23 The folds of its flesh are tightly joined;
    they are firm and immovable.
24 Its chest is hard as rock,
    hard as a lower millstone.
25 When it rises up, the mighty are terrified;
    they retreat before its thrashing.
26 The sword that reaches it has no effect,
    nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.
27 Iron it treats like straw
    and bronze like rotten wood.
28 Arrows do not make it flee;
    slingstones are like chaff to it.
29 A club seems to it but a piece of straw;
    it laughs at the rattling of the lance.
30 Its undersides are jagged potsherds,
    leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge.
31 It makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron
    and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.
32 It leaves a glistening wake behind it;
    one would think the deep had white hair.
33 Nothing on earth is its equal
    a creature without fear.
34 It looks down on all that are haughty;
    it is king over all that are proud.

Footnotes:

  1. Job 26:6 Hebrew Abaddon
  2. Job 28:11 Septuagint, Aquila and Vulgate; Hebrew They dam up
  3. Job 28:22 Hebrew Abaddon
  4. Job 29:24 The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.
  5. Job 30:3 Or gnawed
  6. Job 30:4 Or fuel
  7. Job 30:12 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  8. Job 30:18 Hebrew; Septuagint power he grasps my clothing
  9. Job 31:12 Hebrew Abaddon
  10. Job 31:33 Or as Adam did
  11. Job 32:3 Masoretic Text; an ancient Hebrew scribal tradition Job, and so had condemned God
  12. Job 32:8 Or Spirit; also in verse 18
  13. Job 32:9 Or many; or great
  14. Job 33:13 Or that he does not answer for any of his actions
  15. Job 33:18 Or from crossing the river
  16. Job 33:22 Or to the place of the dead
  17. Job 34:14 Or Spirit
  18. Job 35:3 Or you
  19. Job 35:11 Or night, / 11 who teaches us by
  20. Job 35:11 Or us wise by
  21. Job 35:15 Symmachus, Theodotion and Vulgate; the meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  22. Job 36:12 Or will cross the river
  23. Job 36:20 The meaning of the Hebrew for verses 18-20 is uncertain.
  24. Job 36:27 Or distill from the mist as rain
  25. Job 36:31 Or nourishes
  26. Job 36:33 Or announces his coming— / the One zealous against evil
  27. Job 37:7 Or work, / he fills all people with fear by his power
  28. Job 37:24 Or for he does not have regard for any who think they are wise.
  29. Job 38:7 Hebrew the sons of God
  30. Job 38:31 Septuagint; Hebrew beauty
  31. Job 38:32 Or the morning star in its season
  32. Job 38:32 Or out Leo
  33. Job 38:33 Or their
  34. Job 38:36 That is, wisdom about the flooding of the Nile
  35. Job 38:36 That is, understanding of when to crow; the meaning of the Hebrew for this verse is uncertain.
  36. Job 41:1 In Hebrew texts 41:1-8 is numbered 40:25-32, and 41:9-34 is numbered 41:1-26.
  37. Job 41:13 Septuagint; Hebrew double bridle
  38. Job 41:15 Or Its pride is its
New International Version (NIV)

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