The Lord Appears to Job and His Friends

Job 38:1-40:2

Highlights from this Passage

  • God speaks to Job and declares the weakness of humankind in consideration of his creatures, by whose excellency the power, justice, and providence of the Creator is known.
  • The bounty and providence of God give humankind full occasion to put their confidence in God.


Then Yahweh answered Job out of the whirlwind,

“Who is this who darkens counsel
    by words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man,
    for I will question you, then you answer me!

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
    Declare, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measures, if you know?
    Or who stretched the line on it?
What were its foundations fastened on?
    Or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together,
    and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

“Or who shut up the sea with doors,
    when it broke out of the womb,
when I made clouds its garment,
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,
marked out for it my bound,
    set bars and doors,
and said, ‘You may come here, but no further.
    Your proud waves shall be stopped here’?

“Have you commanded the morning in your days,
    and caused the dawn to know its place,
that it might take hold of the ends of the earth,
    and shake the wicked out of it?
It is changed as clay under the seal,
    and presented as a garment.
From the wicked, their light is withheld.
    The high arm is broken.

“Have you entered into 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 the shadow of death?
Have you comprehended the earth in its width?
    Declare, if you know it all.

“What is the way to the dwelling of light?
    As for darkness, where is its place,
that you should take it to its bound,
    that you should discern the paths to its house?
Surely you know, for you were born then,
    and the number of your days is great!
Have you entered the treasuries of the snow,
    or have you seen the treasures of the hail,
which I have reserved against the time of trouble,
    against the day of battle and war?
By what way is the lightning distributed,
    or the east wind scattered on the earth?

Who has cut a channel for the flood water,
    or the path for the thunder storm,
to cause it to rain on a land where there is no man,
    on the wilderness, in which there is no man,
to satisfy the waste and desolate ground,
    to cause the tender grass to grow?
Does the rain have a father?
    Or who fathers the drops of dew?
Whose womb did the ice come out of?
    Who has given birth to the gray frost of the sky?
The waters become hard like stone,
    when the surface of the deep is frozen.

“Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades,
    or loosen the cords of Orion?
Can you lead the constellations out in their season?
    Or can you guide the Bear with her cubs?
Do you know the laws of the heavens?
    Can you establish its dominion over the earth?

“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
    That abundance of waters may cover you?
Can you send out lightnings, that they may go?
    Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
Who has put wisdom in the inward parts?
    Or who has given understanding to the mind?
Who can count the clouds by wisdom?
    Or who can pour out the containers of the sky,
when the dust runs into a mass,
    and the clods of earth stick together?

“Can you hunt the prey for the lioness,
    or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
when they crouch in their dens,
    and lie in wait in the thicket?
Who provides for the raven his prey,
    when his young ones cry to God,
    and wander for lack of food?

“Do you know the time when the mountain goats give birth?
    Do you watch when the doe bears fawns?
Can you count the months that they fulfill?
    Or do you know the time when they give birth?
They bow themselves. They bear their young.
    They end their labor pains.
Their young ones become strong.
    They grow up in the open field.
    They go out, and don’t return again.

“Who has set the wild donkey free?
    Or who has loosened the bonds of the swift donkey,
whose home I have made the wilderness,
    and the salt land his dwelling place?
He scorns the tumult of the city,
    neither does he hear the shouting of the driver.
The range of the mountains is his pasture,
    He searches after every green thing.

“Will the wild ox be content to serve you?
    Or will he stay by your feeding trough?
Can you hold the wild ox in the furrow with his harness?
    Or will he till the valleys after you?
Will you trust him, because his strength is great?
    Or will you leave to him your labor?
Will you confide in him, that he will bring home your seed,
    and gather the grain of your threshing floor?

“The wings of the ostrich wave proudly;
    but are they the feathers and plumage of love?
For she leaves her eggs on the earth,
    warms them in the dust,
and forgets that the foot may crush them,
    or that the wild animal may trample them.
She deals harshly with her young ones, as if they were not hers.
    Though her labor is in vain, she is without fear,
because God has deprived her of wisdom,
    neither has he imparted to her understanding.
When she lifts up herself on high,
    she scorns the horse and his rider.

“Have you given the horse might?
    Have you clothed his neck with a quivering mane?
Have you made him to leap as a locust?
    The glory of his snorting is awesome.
He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength.
    He goes out to meet the armed men.
He mocks at fear, and is not dismayed,
    neither does he turn back from the sword.
The quiver rattles against him,
    the flashing spear and the javelin.
He eats up the ground with fierceness and rage,
    neither does he stand still at the sound of the trumpet.
As often as the trumpet sounds he snorts, ‘Aha!’
    He smells the battle afar off,
    the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

“Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars,
    and stretches her wings toward the south?
Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up,
    and makes his nest on high?
On the cliff he dwells, and makes his home,
    on the point of the cliff, and the stronghold.
From there he spies out the prey.
    His eyes see it afar off.
His young ones also suck up blood.
    Where the slain are, there he is.”

Moreover Yahweh answered Job,

“Shall he who argues contend with the Almighty?
    He who argues with God, let him answer it.”

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