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The Lord Continues

When Do Mountain Goats Give Birth?

39 When do mountain goats
    and deer give birth?
Have you been there
    when their young are born?
How long are they pregnant
    before they deliver?
Soon their young grow strong
and then leave
    to be on their own.

Who set wild donkeys free?
I alone help them survive
    in salty desert sand.
They stay far from crowded cities
    and refuse to be tamed.
Instead, they roam the hills,
    searching for pastureland.

Would a wild ox agree
to live in your barn
    and labor for you?
10 Could you force him to plow
or to drag a heavy log
    to smooth out the soil?
11 Can you depend on him
to use his great strength
    and do your heavy work?
12 Can you trust him
    to harvest your grain
or take it to your barn
    from the threshing place?

An Ostrich Proudly Flaps Her Wings

13 An ostrich proudly
    flaps her wings,
but not because
    she loves her young.
14 She abandons her eggs
and lets the dusty ground
    keep them warm.
15 And she doesn’t seem to worry
that the feet of an animal
    could crush them all.
16 She treats her eggs as though
    they were not her own,
unconcerned that her work
    might be for nothing.
17 I myself made her foolish
    and without common sense.
18 But once she starts running,[a]
she laughs at a rider
    on the fastest horse.

Did You Give Horses Their Strength?

19 Did you give horses their strength
and the flowing hair
    along their necks?
20 Did you make them able
    to jump like grasshoppers
or to frighten people
    with their snorting?

21 Before horses are ridden
    into battle,
they paw at the ground,
    proud of their strength.
22 Laughing at fear, they rush
    toward the fighting,
23 while the weapons of their riders
    rattle and flash in the sun.
24 Unable to stand still,
they gallop eagerly into battle
    when trumpets blast.
25 Stirred by the distant smells
and sounds of war,
they snort
    in reply to the trumpet.

26 Did you teach hawks to fly south
    for the winter?
27 Did you train eagles[b] to build
28     their nests on rocky cliffs,
29 where they can look down
    to spot their next meal?
30 Then their young gather to feast
    wherever the victim lies.


  1. 39.18 starts running: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 39.27 eagles: Or “vultures.”

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