God Speaks Now to Job
38 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,
“Who is this that darkens counsel [questioning my authority and wisdom]
By words without knowledge?(A)
“Now [a]gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you know and have understanding.
“Who determined the measurements [of the earth], if you know?
Or who stretched the [measuring] line on it?
“On what were its foundations fastened?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
When the morning stars sang together
And all the sons of God (angels) shouted for joy?
“Or who enclosed the sea with doors
When it burst forth and went out of the womb;
When I made the clouds its garment
And thick darkness its swaddling band,
And marked for it My [appointed] boundary
And set bars and doors [defining the shorelines],(B)
And said, ‘This far you shall come, but no farther;
And here your proud waves shall stop’?(C)
God’s Mighty Power
“Since your days began, have you ever commanded the morning,
And caused the dawn to know its place,
So that light may take hold of the corners of the earth
And shake the wickedness out of it?
“The earth is changed like clay into which a seal is pressed;
And the things [of the earth] stand out like a [multi-colored] garment.
“Their light is withheld from the wicked,
And the uplifted arm is broken.
“Have you entered and explored the springs of the sea
Or [have you] walked in the recesses of the deep?
“Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
“Have you understood the expanse of the earth?
Tell Me, if you know all this.
“Where is the [b]way where light dwells?
And as for darkness, where is its place,
That you may take it to its territory
And that you may know the paths to its house?
“You [must] know, since you were born then,
And [c]because you are so extremely old!
“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
Which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
For the day of battle and war?(D)
“Where is the way that the light is distributed,
Or the east wind scattered over the earth?
“Who has prepared a channel for the torrents of rain and for the flood,
Or a path for the thunderbolt,
To bring rain on the uninhabited land,
And on the desert where no man lives,
To satisfy the barren and desolate ground
And to make the seeds of grass to sprout?
“Has the rain a father?
Or who has begotten the drops of dew?
“Out of whose womb has come the ice?
And the frost of heaven, who has given it birth?
“Water becomes like stone [and hides itself],
And the surface of the deep is frozen and imprisoned.
“Can you bind the chains of [the cluster of stars called] Pleiades,
Or loose the cords of [the constellation] Orion?
“Can you lead forth a [d]constellation in its season,
And guide [the stars of] the Bear with her [e]sons?
“Do you know the ordinances of the heavens,
Or [can you] establish their rule over the earth?
“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
So that an abundance of water will cover you?
“Can you send forth lightnings that they may go
And say to you, ‘Here we are’?
“Who has put wisdom in the innermost being [of man, or in the layers of clouds]
Or given understanding to the mind [of man, or to the heavenly display]?
“Who can count the clouds by [earthly] wisdom,
Or pour out the water jars of the heavens,
When the dust hardens into a mass
And the clods stick together [because of the heat]?
“Can you [Job] hunt the prey for the lion,
Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions
When they crouch in their dens
And lie in wait in their lair?
“Who provides prey for the raven
When its young cry to God
And wander about without food?
God Speaks of Nature and Its Beings
39 “Do you know the time when the wild goats of the rock give birth [to their young]?
Do you observe the calving of the deer?
“Can you count the months that they [f]carry offspring,
Or do you know the time when they give birth?
“They kneel down, they bring forth their young,
They cast out their labor pains.
“Their young ones become strong, they grow up in the open field;
They leave and do not return to them.
“Who sent out the wild donkey free [from dependence on man]?
And who has loosed the bonds of the wild donkey [to survive in the wild],
To whom I gave the wilderness as his home
And the salt land as his dwelling place?
“He scorns the tumult of the city,
And does not hear the shouting of the taskmaster.
“He explores the mountains as his pasture
And searches after every green thing.
“Will the wild ox be willing to serve you,
Or remain beside your manger at night?
“Can you bind the wild ox with a harness [to the plow] in the furrow?
Or will he plow the valleys for you?
“Will you trust him because his strength is great
And leave your labor to him?
“Will you have faith and depend on him to return your grain
And gather it from your threshing floor?
“The [flightless] wings of the ostrich wave joyously;
With the pinion (shackles, fetters) and plumage of love,
For she leaves her eggs on the ground
And warms them in the dust,
Forgetting that a foot may crush them,
Or that the wild beast may trample them.
“She treats her young cruelly, as if they were not hers;
Though her labor is in vain because she is unconcerned [for the safety of her brood],
For God has made her forget wisdom,
And has not given her a share of understanding.
“Yet when she lifts herself [g]on high,
[So swift is she that] she laughs at the horse and his rider.
“Have you given the horse his might?
Have you clothed his neck with quivering and a shaking mane?
“Have you [Job] made him leap like a locust?
The majesty of his snorting [nostrils] is terrible.
“He paws in the valley and rejoices in his strength;
He goes out to meet the weapons [of armed men].
“He laughs at fear and is not dismayed;
And [in battle] he does not turn back from the sword.
“The quiver rattles against him,
[As do] the flashing spear and the lance [of his rider].
“With fierceness and rage he races to devour the ground,
And he does not stand still at the sound of the [war] trumpet.
“As often as the trumpet sounds he says, ‘Aha!’
And he smells the battle from far away,
And senses the thunder of the captains and the war cry.
“Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars,
Stretching his wings toward the south [as winter approaches]?
“Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up
And makes his nest on high [in an inaccessible place]?
“On the cliff he dwells and remains [securely],
Upon the point of the rock and the inaccessible stronghold.
“From there he spies out the prey;
His eyes see it from far away.
“His young ones suck up blood;
And where the slain are, there is he.”
- Job 38:3 A phrase often found in the Bible that is an urgent call to get ready for immediate action, or it may be a call to prepare for a coming action or event. The phrase is related to the type of clothing worn in ancient times. To keep from impeding the wearer during any vigorous activity, e.g. battle, exercise, strenuous work, etc., the loose ends of garments (tunics, cloaks, mantles, etc.) had to be gathered up and tucked into the girdle. The girdle was a band about six inches wide that had fasteners in front. It was worn around the loins (the midsection of the body between the lower ribs and the hips). Gird up your mind or gird up your heart are examples of variants of this phrase and call for mental or spiritual preparation for a coming challenge.
- Job 38:19 Light travels on a path or “way” through empty space at 299,792,458 meters per second (approximately 186,282 miles per second).
- Job 38:21 Lit the number of your days is great.
- Job 38:32 Heb Mazzaroth.
- Job 38:32 Or satellites.
- Job 39:2 Lit fulfill.
- Job 39:18 Or to flee.