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scripture

 

CHAPTER 39

1Do you know when mountain goats are born,

or watch for the birth pangs of deer,

2Number the months that they must fulfill,

or know when they give birth,

3When they crouch down and drop their young,

when they deliver their progeny?

4Their offspring thrive and grow in the open,

they leave and do not return.

5Who has given the wild donkey his freedom,

and who has loosed the wild ass from bonds?

6I have made the wilderness his home

and the salt flats his dwelling.

7He scoffs at the uproar of the city,

hears no shouts of a driver.

8He ranges the mountains for pasture,

and seeks out every patch of green.

9Will the wild ox consent to serve you,

or pass the nights at your manger?

10Will you bind the wild ox with a rope in the furrow,

and will he plow the valleys after you?

11Will you depend on him for his great strength

and leave to him the fruits of your toil?

12Can you rely on him to bring in your grain

and gather in the yield of your threshing floor?

13The wings of the ostrich* flap away;

her plumage is lacking in feathers.

14When she abandons her eggs on the ground*

and lets them warm in the sand,

15She forgets that a foot may crush them,

that the wild beasts may trample them;

16She cruelly disowns her young

and her labor is useless; she has no fear.

17For God has withheld wisdom from her

and given her no share in understanding.

18Yet when she spreads her wings high,

she laughs at a horse and rider.

19Do you give the horse his strength,*

and clothe his neck with a mane?

20Do you make him quiver like a locust,

while his thunderous snorting spreads terror?

21He paws the valley, he rejoices in his strength,

and charges into battle.

22He laughs at fear and cannot be terrified;

he does not retreat from the sword.

23Around him rattles the quiver,

flashes the spear and the javelin.

24Frenzied and trembling he devours the ground;

he does not hold back at the sound of the trumpet;

25at the trumpet’s call he cries, “Aha!”

Even from afar he scents the battle,

the roar of the officers and the shouting.

26Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars,

that he spreads his wings toward the south?

27Does the eagle fly up at your command

to build his nest up high?

28On a cliff he dwells and spends the night,

on the spur of cliff or fortress.

29From there he watches for his food;

his eyes behold it afar off.

30His young ones greedily drink blood;

where the slain are, there is he.a

* [39:13] The wings of the ostrich cannot raise her from the ground, but they help her to run swiftly.

* [39:1416] People thought that, because the ostrich laid her eggs on the sand, she was thereby cruelly abandoning them; cf. Lam 4:3.

* [39:1925] A classic description of a war horse.

a. [39:30] Mt 24:28; Lk 17:37.




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