The Lord Speaks

38 Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind.(A) He said:

Who is this who obscures my counsel
with ignorant words?(B)
Get ready to answer me like a man;
when I question(C) you, you will inform me.
Where were you when I established(D) the earth?
Tell me, if you have[a] understanding.
Who fixed its dimensions? Certainly you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
What supports its foundations?
Or who laid its cornerstone
while the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God(E) shouted for joy?

Who enclosed the sea behind doors
when it burst from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
and total darkness its blanket,[b](F)
10 when I determined its boundaries[c]
and put its bars and doors in place,
11 when I declared, “You may come this far, but no farther;
your proud waves stop here”?

12 Have you ever in your life commanded the morning
or assigned the dawn its place,
13 so it may seize the edges of the earth
and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth is changed as clay is by a seal;
its hills stand out like the folds of a garment.
15 Light[d] is withheld from the wicked,
and the arm raised in violence is broken.

16 Have you traveled to the sources of the sea
or walked in the depths of the oceans?
17 Have the gates(G) of death been revealed to you?
Have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the extent of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.

19 Where is the road to the home of light?
Do you know where darkness lives,
20 so you can lead it back to its border?
Are you familiar with the paths to its home?
21 Don’t you know? You were already born;(H)
you have lived so long![e]
22 Have you entered the place where the snow is stored?
Or have you seen the storehouses of hail,(I)
23 which I hold in reserve for times of trouble,
for the day of warfare and battle?(J)
24 What road leads to the place where light is dispersed?[f]
Where is the source of the east wind that spreads across the earth?

25 Who cuts a channel for the flooding rain
or clears the way for lightning,
26 to bring rain on an uninhabited land,
on a desert with no human life,[g]
27 to satisfy the parched wasteland
and cause the grass to sprout?(K)
28 Does the rain have a father?
Who fathered the drops of dew?(L)
29 Whose womb did the ice come from?
Who gave birth to the frost of heaven
30 when water becomes as hard as stone,[h]
and the surface of the watery depths is frozen?(M)

31 Can you fasten the chains of the Pleiades
or loosen the belt of Orion?
32 Can you bring out the constellations[i] in their season
and lead the Bear[j] and her cubs?(N)
33 Do you know the laws(O) of heaven?
Can you impose its[k] authority on earth?
34 Can you command[l] the clouds
so that a flood of water covers you?(P)
35 Can you send out lightning(Q) bolts, and they go?
Do they report to you, “Here we are”?

36 Who put wisdom(R) in the heart[m]
or gave the mind understanding?
37 Who has the wisdom to number the clouds?
Or who can tilt the water jars of heaven
38 when the dust hardens like cast metal
and the clods of dirt stick together?

39 Can you hunt prey for a lioness
or satisfy the appetite of young lions(S)
40 when they crouch in their dens
and lie in wait within their lairs?
41 Who provides the raven’s food(T)
when its young cry out to God
and wander about for lack of food?


  1. 38:4 Lit know
  2. 38:9 Lit swaddling clothes
  3. 38:10 Lit I broke my statute on it
  4. 38:15 Lit Their light
  5. 38:21 Lit born; the number of your days is great
  6. 38:24 Or where lightning is distributed
  7. 38:26 Lit no man in it
  8. 38:30 Lit water hides itself as the stone
  9. 38:32 Or Mazzaroth; Hb obscure
  10. 38:32 Or lead Aldebaran
  11. 38:33 Or God’s
  12. 38:34 Lit lift up your voice to
  13. 38:36 Or the inner self; Ps 51:6

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