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Home > Reading Thru the Bible > Chronological > Old Testament > Job

Job's Closing Speech: Job 38.1-42.6

The LORD Speaks

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.
Then I built a wall around it, locked the gates, and said,
"Your powerful waves stop here! They can go no farther."

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

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

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

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

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

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

The LORD Continues

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?
Could you force him to plow or to drag a heavy log
    to smooth out the soil?
Can you depend on him to use his great strength
    and do your heavy work?
Can you trust him to harvest your grain
    or take it to your barn from the threshing place?

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

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

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

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

The LORD Continues

I am the LORD All-Powerful,
but you have argued that I am wrong.
    Now you must answer me.

Job said to the LORD:
Who am I to answer you?
     I did speak once or twice, but never again.

Then out of the storm
    the LORD said to Job:
Face me and answer the questions I ask!
Are you trying to prove that you are innocent
    by accusing me of injustice?
Do you have a powerful arm and a thundering voice
     that compare with mine?
If so, then surround yourself with glory and majesty.
Show your furious anger!
Throw down and crush all who are proud and evil.
Wrap them in grave clothes and bury them together
     in the dusty soil.
Do this, and I will agree that you have won this argument.

I created both you and the hippopotamus.
It eats only grass like an ox,
     but look at the mighty muscles in its body and legs.
Its tail is like a cedar tree, and its thighs are thick.
     The bones in its legs are like bronze or iron.

I made it more powerful than any other creature,
    yet I am stronger still.
Undisturbed, it eats grass
    while the other animals play nearby.
It rests in the shade of trees along the riverbank
    or hides among reeds in the swamp.
It remains calm and unafraid
    with the Jordan River rushing and splashing in its face.
There is no way to capturea hippopotamus—
     not even by hooking its nose or blinding its eyes.

The LORD Continues

Can you catch a sea monster by using a fishhook?
    Can you tie its mouth shut with a rope?
Can it be led around by a ring in its nose
    or a hook in its jaw?
Will it beg for mercy?
     Will it surrender as a slave for life?
Can it be tied by the leg
     like a pet bird for little girls?
Is it ever chopped up and its pieces bargained for
     in the fish—market?
Can it be killed with harpoons or spears?
     Wrestle it just once—that will be the end.
Merely a glimpse of this monster makes all courage melt.
And if it is too fierce for anyone to attack,
    who would dare oppose me?
I am in command of the world and in debt to no one.

What powerful legs, what a stout body
    this monster possesses!
Who could strip off its armor
    or bring it under control with a harness?
Who would try to open its jaws, full of fearsome teeth?
Its back is covered with shield after shield,
     firmly bound and closer together than breath to breath.

When this monster sneezes, lightning flashes,
     and its eyes glow like the dawn.
Sparks and fiery flames explode from its mouth.
And smoke spews from its nose
    like steam from a boiling pot,
while its blazing breath
     scorches everything in sight.

Its neck is so tremendous that everyone trembles,
the weakest parts of its body are harder than iron,
     and its heart is stone.
When this noisy monster appears, even the most powerful
    turn and run in fear.
No sword or spear can harm it,
and weapons of bronze or iron are as useless
     as straw or rotten wood.
Rocks thrown from a sling cause it no more harm
    than husks of grain.
This monster fears no arrows, it simply smiles at spears,
    and striking it with a stick is like slapping it with straw.

As it crawls through the mud, its sharp and spiny hide
     tears the ground apart.
And when it swims down deep,
the sea starts churning like boiling oil,
     and it leaves behind a trail of shining white foam.
No other creature on earth is so fearless.
It is king of all proud creatures,
    and it looks upon the others as nothing.

Job's Reply to the LORD

Job said:
No one can oppose you, because you have the power
    to do what you want.
You asked why I talk so much when I know so little.
I have talked about things
     that are far beyond my understanding.
You told me to listen and answer your questions.
I heard about you from others;
    now I have seen you with my own eyes.
That's why I hate myself and sit here in dust and ashes
    to show my sorrow.

Old Testament



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