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Chapter 26

Job’s Reply. Then Job answered and said:[a]

What help you give to the powerless,
    what strength to the feeble arm!
How you give counsel to one without wisdom;
    how profuse is the advice you offer!
With whose help have you uttered those words,
    whose breath comes forth from you?(A)
The shades[b] beneath writhe in terror,(B)
    the waters, and their inhabitants.
Naked before him is Sheol,[c]
    and Abaddon has no covering.(C)
He stretches out Zaphon[d] over the void,
    and suspends the earth over nothing at all;
He binds up the waters in his clouds,
    yet the cloud is not split by their weight;
He holds back the appearance of the full moon
    by spreading his clouds before it.
10 He has marked out a circle[e] on the surface of the deep(D)
    as the boundary of light and darkness.
11 The pillars of the heavens tremble
    and are stunned at his thunderous rebuke;(E)
12 By his power he stilled Sea,
    by his skill he crushed Rahab;[f]
13 By his wind the heavens were made clear,
    his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.[g](F)
14 Lo, these are but the outlines of his ways,
    and what a whisper of a word we hear of him:
    Who can comprehend the thunder of his power?


  1. 26:1–14 Perhaps to be read as Job’s reply to Bildad’s short speech.
  2. 26:5 Shades: the dead in Sheol, the nether world; cf. Ps 88:11; Is 26:14.
  3. 26:6 Sheol: cf. note on Ps 6:6. Abaddon: Hebrew for “(place of) destruction,” a synonym for nether world; cf. Jb 28:22; Rev 9:11.
  4. 26:7 Zaphon: lit., “the north,” used here as a synonym for the firmament, the heavens; cf. Is 14:13.
  5. 26:10 Circle: the horizon of the ocean which serves as the boundary for the activity of light and darkness; cf. Prv 8:27.
  6. 26:12 Rahab: another name for the primeval sea-monster; see notes on Jb 3:8 and Ps 89:11; cf. also Jb 7:12; 9:13.
  7. 26:13 The fleeing serpent: the same term occurs in Is 27:1 in apposition to Leviathan; see note on Jb 3:8.