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Job 12 Good News Translation (GNT)

12 1-2 Yes, you are the voice of the people.
    When you die, wisdom will die with you.
But I have as much sense as you have;
    I am in no way inferior to you;
    everyone knows all that you have said.
Even my friends laugh at me now;
    they laugh, although I am righteous and blameless;
    but there was a time when God answered my prayers.
You have no troubles, and yet you make fun of me;
    you hit someone who is about to fall.
But thieves and godless people live in peace,
    though their only god is their own strength.

Even birds and animals have much they could teach you;
    ask the creatures of earth and sea for their wisdom.
All of them know that the Lord's hand made them.
10 It is God who directs the lives of his creatures;
    everyone's life is in his power.
11 But just as your tongue enjoys tasting food,
    your ears enjoy hearing words.

12-13 Old people have wisdom,
    but God has wisdom and power.
Old people have insight;
    God has insight and power to act.
14 When God tears down, who can rebuild,
    and who can free those God imprisons?
15 Drought comes when God withholds rain;
    floods come when he turns water loose.

16 God is strong and always victorious;
    both deceived and deceiver are in his power.
17 He takes away the wisdom of rulers
    and makes leaders act like fools.
18 He dethrones kings and makes them prisoners;
19     he humbles priests and men of power.
20 He silences those who are trusted,
    and takes the wisdom of old people away.
21 He disgraces those in power
    and puts an end to the strength of rulers.
22 He sends light to places dark as death.
23 He makes nations strong and great,
    but then he defeats and destroys them.
24 He makes their leaders foolish
    and lets them wander confused and lost;
25     they grope in the dark and stagger like drunkards.

Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Job 12 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Job Replies: I Am a Laughingstock

12 Then Job answered:

“No doubt you are the people,
    and wisdom will die with you.
But I have understanding as well as you;
    I am not inferior to you.
    Who does not know such things as these?
I am a laughingstock to my friends;
    I, who called upon God and he answered me,
    a just and blameless man, I am a laughingstock.
Those at ease have contempt for misfortune,[a]
    but it is ready for those whose feet are unstable.
The tents of robbers are at peace,
    and those who provoke God are secure,
    who bring their god in their hands.[b]

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
    the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth,[c] and they will teach you;
    and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every living thing
    and the breath of every human being.
11 Does not the ear test words
    as the palate tastes food?
12 Is wisdom with the aged,
    and understanding in length of days?

13 “With God[d] are wisdom and strength;
    he has counsel and understanding.
14 If he tears down, no one can rebuild;
    if he shuts someone in, no one can open up.
15 If he withholds the waters, they dry up;
    if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land.
16 With him are strength and wisdom;
    the deceived and the deceiver are his.
17 He leads counselors away stripped,
    and makes fools of judges.
18 He looses the sash of kings,
    and binds a waistcloth on their loins.
19 He leads priests away stripped,
    and overthrows the mighty.
20 He deprives of speech those who are trusted,
    and takes away the discernment of the elders.
21 He pours contempt on princes,
    and looses the belt of the strong.
22 He uncovers the deeps out of darkness,
    and brings deep darkness to light.
23 He makes nations great, then destroys them;
    he enlarges nations, then leads them away.
24 He strips understanding from the leaders[e] of the earth,
    and makes them wander in a pathless waste.
25 They grope in the dark without light;
    he makes them stagger like a drunkard.


  1. Job 12:5 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  2. Job 12:6 Or whom God brought forth by his hand; Meaning of Heb uncertain
  3. Job 12:8 Or speak to the earth
  4. Job 12:13 Heb him
  5. Job 12:24 Heb adds of the people
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Job 12 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

12 Iyov responded:

“No doubt you are [the only] people [that matter];
and when you die, so will wisdom.
But I too have a brain, as much as you,
In no way am I inferior to you.
Besides, who doesn’t know things like these?

“Anyone who calls on God,
and he answers him,
becomes a laughingstock to his friends —
they make fun of an innocent, blameless man.
Those at ease have contempt for misfortune,
for the blow that strikes somebody already staggering.
The tents of robbers prosper,
[the homes of] those who anger God are secure,
those who carry their gods in their hands.

“But ask the animals — they will teach you —
and the birds in the air — they will tell you;
or speak to the earth — it will teach you —
and the fish in the sea will inform you:
every one of them knows
that the hand of Adonai has done this!
10 In his hand is the life of every living thing
and the spirit of every human being.
11 Shouldn’t the ear test words,
just as the palate tastes food?
12 Is wisdom [only] with aged men?
discernment [only] with long life?

13 “With God are wisdom and power;
he has [good] counsel and understanding.
14 When he breaks something down, it can’t be rebuilt;
when he imprisons someone, he can’t be released.
15 When he holds back water, there is drought;
when he sends it out, it overruns the land.
16 With him are strength and common sense;
both the misled and those who mislead are his.
17 He leads counselors away captive,
he makes fools of judges.
18 He removes authority from kings,
then binds them up [as prisoners].
19 He leads cohanim away captive
and overthrows those long in power.
20 Those who are trusted he deprives of speech,
and he removes the discernment of the aged.
21 He pours contempt on princes
and loosens the belt of the strong.
22 He discloses the deepest recesses of darkness
and brings light into shadows dark as death.
23 He makes nations great and destroys them;
he enlarges nations, then leads them away.
24 He removes understanding from a country’s leaders
and makes them wander in trackless deserts.
25 They grope in unlit darkness;
he makes them stagger like drunks.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Job 12 The Message (MSG)

Job Answers Zophar

Put Your Ear to the Earth

12 1-3 Job answered:

“I’m sure you speak for all the experts,
    and when you die there’ll be no one left to tell us how to live.
But don’t forget that I also have a brain—
    I don’t intend to play second fiddle to you.
    It doesn’t take an expert to know these things.

4-6 “I’m ridiculed by my friends:
    ‘So that’s the man who had conversations with God!’
Ridiculed without mercy:
    ‘Look at the man who never did wrong!’
It’s easy for the well-to-do to point their fingers in blame,
    for the well-fixed to pour scorn on the strugglers.
Crooks reside safely in high-security houses,
    insolent blasphemers live in luxury;
    they’ve bought and paid for a god who’ll protect them.

7-12 “But ask the animals what they think—let them teach you;
    let the birds tell you what’s going on.
Put your ear to the earth—learn the basics.
    Listen—the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories.
Isn’t it clear that they all know and agree
    that God is sovereign, that he holds all things in his hand—
Every living soul, yes,
    every breathing creature?
Isn’t this all just common sense,
    as common as the sense of taste?
Do you think the elderly have a corner on wisdom,
    that you have to grow old before you understand life?

From God We Learn How to Live

13-25 “True wisdom and real power belong to God;
    from him we learn how to live,
    and also what to live for.
If he tears something down, it’s down for good;
    if he locks people up, they’re locked up for good.
If he holds back the rain, there’s a drought;
    if he lets it loose, there’s a flood.
Strength and success belong to God;
    both deceived and deceiver must answer to him.
He strips experts of their vaunted credentials,
    exposes judges as witless fools.
He divests kings of their royal garments,
    then ties a rag around their waists.
He strips priests of their robes,
    and fires high officials from their jobs.
He forces trusted sages to keep silence,
    deprives elders of their good sense and wisdom.
He dumps contempt on famous people,
    disarms the strong and mighty.
He shines a spotlight into caves of darkness,
    hauls deepest darkness into the noonday sun.
He makes nations rise and then fall,
    builds up some and abandons others.
He robs world leaders of their reason,
    and sends them off into no-man’s-land.
They grope in the dark without a clue,
    lurching and staggering like drunks.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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