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The Lord Speaks

From Out of a Storm

38 From out of a storm,
    the Lord said to Job:
Why do you talk so much
    when you know so little?
Now get ready to face me!
Can you answer
    the questions I ask?
How did I lay the foundation
for the earth?
    Were you there?
Doubtless you know who decided
    its length and width.
What supports the foundation?
Who placed the cornerstone,
    while morning stars sang,
    and angels rejoiced?

When the ocean was born,
    I set its boundaries
and wrapped it in blankets
    of thickest fog.
10 Then I built a wall around it,
    locked the gates, 11 and said,
“Your powerful waves stop here!
    They can go no farther.”

Did You Ever Tell the Sun To Rise?

12 Did you ever tell the sun to rise?
    And did it obey?
13 Did it take hold of the earth
and shake out the wicked
    like dust from a rug?
14 Early dawn outlines the hills
like stitches on clothing
    or sketches on clay.
15 But its light is too much
for those who are evil,
    and their power is broken.

16 Job, have you ever walked
    on the ocean floor?
17 Have you seen the gate
    to the world of the dead?
18 And how large is the earth?
    Tell me, if you know!

19 Where is the home of light,
and where does darkness live?
20     Can you lead them home?
21 I’m certain you must be able to,
since you were already born
    when I created everything.

22 Have you been to the places
    where I keep snow and hail,
23 until I use them to punish
    and conquer nations?
24 From where does lightning leap,
    or the east wind blow?
25 Who carves out a path
    for thunderstorms?
Who sends torrents of rain
26 on empty deserts
    where no one lives?
27 Rain that changes barren land
    to meadows green with grass.
28 Who is the father of the dew
    and of the rain?
29 Who gives birth to the sleet
    and the frost
30 that fall in winter,
when streams and lakes
    freeze solid as a rock?

Can You Arrange Stars?

31 Can you arrange stars in groups
such as Orion
    and the Pleiades?
32 Do you control the stars
or set in place the Big Dipper
    and the Little Dipper?
33 Do you know the laws
    that govern the heavens,
and can you make them rule
    the earth?
34 Can you order the clouds
    to send a downpour,
35 or will lightning flash
    at your command?
36 Did you teach birds to know
that rain or floods
    are on their way?[a]
37 Can you count the clouds
or pour out their water
38     on the dry, lumpy soil?

39 When lions are hungry,
    do you help them hunt?
40 Do you send an animal
    into their den?
41 And when starving young ravens
cry out to me for food,
    do you satisfy their hunger?

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,[b]
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[c] 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.

Footnotes

  1. 38.36 way: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 36.
  2. 39.18 starts running: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 39.27 eagles: Or “vultures.”

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