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scripture

 

CHAPTER 38

1Then the LORD* answered Job out of the storm and said:

2Who is this who darkens counsel

with words of ignorance?

3Gird up your loins* now, like a man;

I will question you, and you tell me the answers!a

4Where were you when I founded the earth?

Tell me, if you have understanding.

5Who determined its size? Surely you know?

Who stretched out the measuring line for it?

6Into what were its pedestals sunk,

and who laid its cornerstone,

7While the morning stars sang together

and all the sons of God* shouted for joy?

8Who shut within doors the sea,

when it burst forth from the womb,b

9When I made the clouds its garment

and thick darkness its swaddling bands?

10When I set limits for it

and fastened the bar of its door,

11And said: Thus far shall you come but no farther,

and here shall your proud waves stop?

12Have you ever in your lifetime commanded the morning

and shown the dawn its place

13For taking hold of the ends of the earth,

till the wicked are shaken from it?

14The earth is changed as clay by the seal,

and dyed like a garment;

15But from the wicked their light is withheld,

and the arm of pride is shattered.

16Have you entered into the sources of the sea,

or walked about on the bottom of the deep?

17Have the gates of death been shown to you,

or have you seen the gates of darkness?

18Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth?

Tell me, if you know it all.

19What is the way to the dwelling of light,

and darkness—where is its place?

20That you may take it to its territory

and know the paths to its home?

21You know, because you were born then,

and the number of your days is great!*

22Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,

and seen the storehouses of the hail

23Which I have reserved for times of distress,

for a day of war and battle?c

24What is the way to the parting of the winds,

where the east wind spreads over the earth?

25Who has laid out a channel for the downpour

and a path for the thunderstorm

26To bring rain to uninhabited land,

the unpeopled wilderness;

27To drench the desolate wasteland

till the desert blooms with verdure?

28Has the rain a father?

Who has begotten the drops of dew?

29Out of whose womb comes the ice,

and who gives the hoarfrost its birth in the skies,

30When the waters lie covered as though with stone

that holds captive the surface of the deep?

31Have you tied cords to the Pleiades,*

or loosened the bonds of Orion?

32Can you bring forth the Mazzaroth in their season,

or guide the Bear with her children?

33Do you know the ordinances of the heavens;

can you put into effect their plan on the earth?

34Can you raise your voice to the clouds,

for them to cover you with a deluge of waters?

35Can you send forth the lightnings on their way,

so that they say to you, “Here we are”?

36Who gives wisdom to the ibis,

and gives the rooster* understanding?

37Who counts the clouds with wisdom?

Who tilts the water jars of heaven

38So that the dust of earth is fused into a mass

and its clods stick together?

39Do you hunt the prey for the lion

or appease the hunger of young lions,

40While they crouch in their dens,

or lie in ambush in the thicket?

41Who provides nourishment for the raven

when its young cry out to God,d

wandering about without food?

* [38:1] Now the Lord enters the debate and addresses two discourses (chaps. 3839 and 4041) to Job, speaking of divine wisdom and power. Such things are altogether beyond the capacity of Job. Out of the storm: frequently the background of the appearances of the Lord in the Old Testament; cf. Ps 18; 50; Na 1:3; Hb 3:215.

* [38:3] Gird up your loins: prepare for combat—figuratively, be ready to defend yourself in debate.

* [38:7] Sons of God: see note on 1:6.

* [38:21] Ironic, but not a harsh rebuke.

* [38:3132] Pleiades…Orion…Bear: cf. 9:9. Mazzaroth: it is uncertain what astronomical group is meant by this Hebrew word; perhaps a southern constellation.

* [38:36] Ibis…rooster: the translation is uncertain.

a. [38:3] Jb 40:2.

b. [38:8] Gn 1:9.

c. [38:23] Jos 10:11; Sir 46:5.

d. [38:41] Ps 147:9.






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