Job’s Reply to Zophar

12 Then Job answered:

No doubt you are the people,
and wisdom will die with you!
But I also have a mind;
I am not inferior to you.
Who doesn’t know the things you are talking about?[a](A)

I am a laughingstock to my[b] friends,
by calling on God, who answers me.[c]
The righteous and upright man is a laughingstock.(B)
The one who is at ease(C) holds calamity in contempt
and thinks it is prepared for those whose feet are slipping.
The tents of robbers are safe,(D)
and those who provoke God are secure;
God’s power provides this.[d](E)

But ask the animals, and they will instruct you;
ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you.(F)
Or speak to the earth, and it will instruct you;
let the fish of the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?(G)
10 The life of every living thing is in His hand,
as well as the breath of all mankind.(H)
11 Doesn’t the ear test words
as the palate tastes food?
12 Wisdom is found with the elderly,
and understanding comes with long life.(I)

13 Wisdom and strength belong to God;
counsel and understanding are His.(J)
14 Whatever He tears down cannot be rebuilt;
whoever He imprisons cannot be released.(K)
15 When He withholds the waters, everything dries up,
and when He releases them, they destroy the land.(L)
16 True wisdom and power belong to Him.
The deceived and the deceiver are His.
17 He leads counselors away barefoot
and makes judges go mad.(M)
18 He releases the bonds[e] put on by kings(N)
and fastens a belt around their waists.
19 He leads priests away barefoot
and overthrows established leaders.(O)
20 He deprives trusted advisers of speech
and takes away the elders’ good judgment.
21 He pours out contempt on nobles
and disarms[f] the strong.
22 He reveals mysteries from the darkness
and brings the deepest darkness into the light.(P)
23 He makes nations great, then destroys them;
He enlarges nations,(Q) then leads them away.
24 He deprives the world’s leaders of reason,
and makes them wander in a trackless wasteland.(R)
25 They grope around in darkness without light;
He makes them stagger like drunken men.(S)


  1. Job 12:3 Lit With whom are not such things as these
  2. Job 12:4 Lit his
  3. Job 12:4 Lit him
  4. Job 12:6 Or secure; to those who bring their god in their hands
  5. Job 12:18 Text emended; MT reads discipline
  6. Job 12:21 Lit and loosens the belt of


12 Then Job replied:

“Doubtless you are the only people who matter,
    and wisdom will die with you!(A)
But I have a mind as well as you;
    I am not inferior to you.
    Who does not know all these things?(B)

“I have become a laughingstock(C) to my friends,(D)
    though I called on God and he answered(E)
    a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless!(F)
Those who are at ease have contempt(G) for misfortune
    as the fate of those whose feet are slipping.(H)
The tents of marauders are undisturbed,(I)
    and those who provoke God are secure(J)
    those God has in his hand.[a]

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,(K)
    or the birds in the sky,(L) and they will tell you;(M)
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
    or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know(N)
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?(O)
10 In his hand is the life(P) of every creature
    and the breath of all mankind.(Q)
11 Does not the ear test words
    as the tongue tastes food?(R)
12 Is not wisdom found among the aged?(S)
    Does not long life bring understanding?(T)

13 “To God belong wisdom(U) and power;(V)
    counsel and understanding are his.(W)
14 What he tears down(X) cannot be rebuilt;(Y)
    those he imprisons cannot be released.(Z)
15 If he holds back the waters,(AA) there is drought;(AB)
    if he lets them loose, they devastate the land.(AC)
16 To him belong strength and insight;(AD)
    both deceived and deceiver are his.(AE)
17 He leads rulers away stripped(AF)
    and makes fools of judges.(AG)
18 He takes off the shackles(AH) put on by kings
    and ties a loincloth[b] around their waist.(AI)
19 He leads priests away stripped(AJ)
    and overthrows officials long established.(AK)
20 He silences the lips of trusted advisers
    and takes away the discernment of elders.(AL)
21 He pours contempt on nobles(AM)
    and disarms the mighty.(AN)
22 He reveals the deep things of darkness(AO)
    and brings utter darkness(AP) into the light.(AQ)
23 He makes nations great, and destroys them;(AR)
    he enlarges nations,(AS) and disperses them.(AT)
24 He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason;(AU)
    he makes them wander in a trackless waste.(AV)
25 They grope in darkness with no light;(AW)
    he makes them stagger like drunkards.(AX)


  1. Job 12:6 Or those whose god is in their own hand
  2. Job 12:18 Or shackles of kings / and ties a belt