2 “No doubt you are the [only wise] people [in the world], And wisdom will die with you! 3 “But I have intelligence and understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know such things as these [of God’s wisdom and might]? 4 “I am a joke to my friends; I, one whom God answered when he called upon Him— A just and blameless man is a joke [and laughed to scorn]. 5 “He who is at ease has contempt for misfortune, But misfortune is ready [and anxiously waiting] for those whose feet slip. 6 “The tents of the destroyers prosper; And those who provoke God are [apparently] secure, Whom God brings into their power.
7 “Now ask the animals, and let them teach you [that God does not deal with His creatures according to their character]; And ask the birds of the air, and let them tell you; 8 Or speak to the earth [with its many forms of life], and it will teach you; And let the fish of the sea declare [this truth] to you. 9 “Who among all these does not recognize [in all these things that good and evil are randomly scattered throughout nature and human life] That the hand of the Lord has done this, 10 In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind? 11 “Does the ear not put words to the test, Just as the palate tastes its food [distinguishing between the desirable and the undesirable]? 12 “With the aged [you say] is wisdom, And with[a]long life is understanding.
Job Speaks of the Power of God
13 “But [only] with Him are [perfect] wisdom and might; He [alone] has [true] counsel and understanding. 14 “Behold, He tears down, and it cannot be rebuilt; He imprisons a man, and there can be no release. 15 “Behold, He restrains the waters, and they dry up; Again, He sends the waters out, and they overwhelm and devastate the earth. 16 “With Him are might and sound wisdom, The misled and the misleader are His [and in His power]. 17 “He makes [great and scheming] counselors walk barefoot And makes fools of judges. 18 “He loosens the bond of kings And binds their loins with a loincloth. 19 “He makes priests walk barefoot, And He overturns men firmly seated and secure. 20 “He deprives the trusted ones of speech And takes away the discernment and discretion of the aged. 21 “He pours contempt on princes and nobles And loosens the belt of the strong [disabling them]. 22 “He uncovers mysteries [that are difficult to grasp and understand] out of the darkness And brings black gloom and the shadow of death into light. 23 “He makes nations great, and He destroys them; He enlarges nations, and leads them away [captive]. 24 “He removes intelligence and understanding from the leaders of the people of the earth And makes them wander and move blindly in a pathless waste. 25 “They grope in darkness without light, And He makes them stagger like a drunken man.”