Job Answers His Critics

12 Then Job answered and said:

“No doubt you are the people,
And wisdom will die with you!
But I have [a]understanding as well as you;
I am not (A)inferior to you.
Indeed, who does not know such things as these?

“I(B) am one mocked by his friends,
Who (C)called on God, and He answered him,
The just and blameless who is ridiculed.
A [b]lamp is despised in the thought of one who is at ease;
It is made ready for (D)those whose feet slip.
(E)The tents of robbers prosper,
And those who provoke God are secure—
In what God provides by His hand.

“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
And the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you;
And the fish of the sea will explain to you.
Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the Lord has done this,
10 (F)In whose hand is the [c]life of every living thing,
And the (G)breath of [d]all mankind?
11 Does not the ear test words
And the [e]mouth taste its food?
12 Wisdom is with aged men,
And with [f]length of days, understanding.

13 “With Him are (H)wisdom and strength,
He has counsel and understanding.
14 If (I)He breaks a thing down, it cannot be rebuilt;
If He imprisons a man, there can be no release.
15 If He (J)withholds the waters, they dry up;
If He (K)sends them out, they overwhelm the earth.
16 With Him are strength and prudence.
The deceived and the deceiver are His.
17 He leads counselors away plundered,
And makes fools of the judges.
18 He loosens the bonds of kings,
And binds their waist with a belt.
19 He leads [g]princes away plundered,
And overthrows the mighty.
20 (L)He deprives the trusted ones of speech,
And takes away the discernment of the elders.
21 (M)He pours contempt on princes,
And [h]disarms the mighty.
22 He (N)uncovers deep things out of darkness,
And brings the shadow of death to light.
23 (O)He makes nations great, and destroys them;
He [i]enlarges nations, and guides them.
24 He takes away the [j]understanding of the chiefs of the people of the earth,
And (P)makes them wander in a pathless wilderness.
25 (Q)They grope in the dark without light,
And He makes them (R)stagger like a drunken man.


  1. Job 12:3 Lit. a heart
  2. Job 12:5 Or disaster
  3. Job 12:10 Or soul
  4. Job 12:10 Lit. all flesh of men
  5. Job 12:11 palate
  6. Job 12:12 Long life
  7. Job 12:19 Lit. priests, but not in a technical sense
  8. Job 12:21 loosens the belt of
  9. Job 12:23 Lit. spreads out
  10. Job 12:24 Lit. heart

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