Add parallel Print Page Options

Job Speaks: My Friends Have No Wisdom

12 Then Job replied to his friends,

“You certainly are wise people,
    and when you die, wisdom will die.
Like you, I have a mind.
    I am not inferior to you.
        But who doesn’t know these things?
I am a laughingstock to my neighbors.
    I am one who calls on Eloah and expects an answer.
    A man of integrity, a man who is righteous, has become a laughingstock.

“A person who has an easy life has no appreciation for misfortune.
    He thinks it is the fate of those who slip up.
But robbers’ tents are prosperous,
    and there is security for those who provoke El,
        for those whose god is their power.[a]

“Instead, ask the animals, and they will teach you.
    Ask the birds, and they will tell you.
Or speak with the earth, and it will teach you.
    Even the fish will relate the story to you.
What creature doesn’t know that Yahweh’s hands made it?
10 The life of every living creature
    and the spirit in every human body are in his hands.
11 Doesn’t the ear distinguish sounds
    and the tongue taste food?

Wisdom Comes from God

12 “Wisdom is with the ancient one.
    The one who has had many days has insight.[b]
13 Elohim has wisdom and strength.
    Advice and insight are his.
14 When he tears something down, it cannot be rebuilt.
    When he puts someone in prison, that person cannot be freed.
15 When he holds back the waters, there is a drought.
    When he releases them, they flood the earth.

16 Elohim has power and priceless wisdom.
    He owns both the deceiver and the person who is deceived.
17 He leads counselors away barefoot
    and makes fools out of judges.
18 He loosens kings’ belts
    and strips them of their pants.
19 He leads priests away barefoot
    and misleads those who serve in a temple.
20 He makes trusted advisers unable to speak
    and takes away the good judgment of respected leaders.
21 He pours contempt on influential people
    and unbuckles the belt of the mighty.
22 He uncovers mysteries hidden in the darkness
    and brings gloom into the light.
23 He makes nations important and then destroys them.
    He makes nations large and leads them away.
24 He takes away the common sense of a country’s leaders
    and makes them stumble about in a pathless wilderness.
25 They grope in the dark with no light,
    and he makes them stumble like drunks.


  1. Job 12:6 Hebrew meaning of this line uncertain.
  2. Job 12:12 Or “Wisdom is with the elderly, and understanding with those who have lived a long time.”