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Yahweh Challenges Job

38 Then[a] Yahweh answered Job from the storm, and he said,

“Who is this darkening counsel
by words without knowledge?
Prepare yourself for a difficult task like a man,[b]
and I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

Yahweh Interrogates Job

“Where were you at my laying the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you possess understanding.
Who determined its measurement? Yes, you do know.
Or who stretched the measuring line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars were singing together
and all the sons of God[c] shouted for joy?
“Or who shut the sea in with doors
at its bursting, when it went out of the womb,
at my making the clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10 and I prescribed my rule for it,
and I set bars and doors,
11 and I said, ‘You shall come up to here, but[d] you shall not go further,
and here it will set a boundary for your proud surging waves’?[e]
12 “Have you ever in your life[f] commanded the morning?
Have you made the dawn know its place,
13 to take hold of the earth’s skirts
so that[g] the wicked might be shaken off from it?
14 It is changed like clay under a seal,
and they appear like a garment.
15 And their light is withheld from the wicked,
and their uplifted arm is broken.
16 “Have you entered into the sea’s sources?
Or have you walked around in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you?
Or have you seen the gates of deep shadow?
18 Have you considered closely the earth’s vast expanse?
Declare it, if you know all of it.
19 “Where then[h] is the way where the light dwells?
And where then[i] is its place,
20 that you may take it to its territory,
and that you might discern the paths to its home?
21 You know, for you were born then,
and the number of your days is great.
22 Have you entered into the storehouses of the snow,
or[j] have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war?
24 Where then[k] is the way where the light is distributed,
where he scatters the east wind upon the earth?
25 “Who has cut open a channel for the torrents
and a way for the thunder bolts,[l]
26 to bring rain on a land where no one lives,[m]
a desert where no humans live,[n]
27 to satisfy desert and wasteland,
and to cause the ground to put forth the rising of grass?
28 Is there a father for the rain,
or who fathered the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb did the ice come forth,
and who fathered the frost of heaven?
30 Like stone the waters become hard,
and the faces of the deep freeze.
31 “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades,
or can you loosen the cords of Orion?
32 Can you lead forth the southern constellations at their appointed time,
or[o] can you lead the Bear with its children?
33 Do you know heaven’s statutes,
or can you establish their rule on the earth?
34 Can you lift up your voice to the clouds
so that[p] a flood of water may cover you?
35 Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go?
And will they say to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 Who has put wisdom in the ibis,[q]
or who has given understanding to the rooster?[r]
37 Who can number the clouds with wisdom?
Or[s] who can tilt heaven’s jars,
38 at the flowing of the dust into a cast
and the clods cling together?
39 “Can you hunt prey for the lion?
And can you satisfy the hunger of strong lions
40 when they are crouched in the dens,
when they lie in the thicket in an ambush?
41 Who prepares for the crow its prey,
when its young ones cry to God for help,
and they wander around for lack of food?[t]


  1. Job 38:1 Hebrew “And”
  2. Job 38:3 Literally “Gird up like a man your loins”
  3. Job 38:7 Or “heavenly beings”
  4. Job 38:11 Hebrew “and”
  5. Job 38:11 Literally “for the pride of your surging waves”
  6. Job 38:12 Literally “from your days”
  7. Job 38:13 Hebrew “and”
  8. Job 38:19 Or “Where exactly”
  9. Job 38:19 Or “where exactly”
  10. Job 38:22 Hebrew “and”
  11. Job 38:24 Or “Where exactly”
  12. Job 38:25 Literally “bolt of thunders”
  13. Job 38:26 Literally “not a man”
  14. Job 38:26 Literally “not humans in it”
  15. Job 38:32 Hebrew “and”
  16. Job 38:34 Hebrew “and”
  17. Job 38:36 Or “inner parts”
  18. Job 38:36 Or “mind”
  19. Job 38:37 Hebrew “And”
  20. Job 38:41 Literally “for no food”