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Job’s Fourth Speech

12 Then[a] Job answered and said,

“Truly indeed you[b] are the people,
and wisdom will die with you.[c]
I also have insight[d] like you;[e]
I am not more inferior than you.[f]
And who does not know things like these?[g]
I am a laughingstock to my friends:[h]
He calls on God, and he answers him.’
A righteous, blameless man is a laughingstock.
Those at ease have contempt[i] for the thought of disaster,[j]
but it is ready for those unstable of foot.
The tents of the destroyers are at peace,
and there is security for those who provoke God,
for those whom God brings into his hand.[k]
“But[l] ask[m] the animals, and they will teach you,
and the birds of the heaven, and they will tell you;
or ask the earth, and it will teach you,
and the fishes of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all of these does not know
that Yahweh’s hand has done this?
10 In whose hand is the life of all living things
and the breath of every human being?[n]
11 Does not the ear test words
and the palate taste food for itself?
12 Wisdom is with the aged,
and understanding is in length of days.
13 “With him are wisdom and powerful deeds,
and to him belong counsel and understanding.
14 If he tears down, then[o] it will not be rebuilt;
if he shuts a man in, then[p] he cannot be freed.
15 Look, if he withholds the water,[q] then[r] they dry up;
and if he sends them out, then[s] they overwhelm the land.
16 “Strength and sound wisdom are with him;
the deceived and the deceiver are his.[t]
17 He leads counselors away stripped,
and he makes fools of judges.
18 He loosens the fetters of kings,
and he binds a loincloth on their loins.
19 He leads priests away stripped,
and he overthrows the members of ancient families.[u]
20 He deprives the trustworthy of speech,
and he takes away the discretion of elders.
21 He pours contempt on noblemen,
and he loosens the girdle of the mighty.
22 “He uncovers mysteries out of darkness,
and he brings deep shadow to the light.
23 He makes the nations great, then[v] he destroys them;
he expands the nations, then[w] he guides them.
24 He strips away the insight of the heads of the earth’s people,
and he makes them wander in a pathless wasteland.[x]
25 They grope in the dark without[y] light,
and he makes them stagger like a[z] drunkard.


  1. Job 12:1 Hebrew “And”
  2. Job 12:2 Plural
  3. Job 12:2 Plural
  4. Job 12:3 Literally “Also for me heart”
  5. Job 12:3 Plural
  6. Job 12:3 Plural
  7. Job 12:3 Literally “and who there is not like these”
  8. Job 12:4 Hebrew “to his friends”
  9. Job 12:5 Literally “Contempt is according to the thought of the complacent”
  10. Job 12:5 Literally “a torch”
  11. Job 12:6 Or “power”
  12. Job 12:7 Hebrew “And”
  13. Job 12:7 Or “ask now,” or “please ask”
  14. Job 12:10 Literally “the breath of all the flesh of man”
  15. Job 12:14 Hebrew “and”
  16. Job 12:14 Hebrew “and”
  17. Job 12:15 Or “waters”
  18. Job 12:15 Hebrew “and”
  19. Job 12:15 Hebrew “and”
  20. Job 12:16 Or “for him”
  21. Job 12:19 Literally “the constant”
  22. Job 12:23 Hebrew “and”
  23. Job 12:23 Hebrew “and”
  24. Job 12:24 Literally “in a wasteland not a way”
  25. Job 12:25 Literally “and not”
  26. Job 12:25 Hebrew “the”