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38 Out of the raging storm, the Eternal One answered Job.

Eternal One: Who is this that darkens counsel,
        who covers over sound instruction with empty words void of knowledge?
    Now, prepare yourself and gather your courage like a warrior.
        Prepare yourself for the task at hand.
    I’ll be asking the questions, now—
        you will supply the answers.
    Where were you when I dug and laid the foundation of the earth?
        Explain it to me, if you are acquainted with understanding.
    Who decided on the measurements? Surely you know that!
        Who stretched out a line to measure the dimensions?
    Upon what base was the foundation set?
        Or who laid the cornerstone
    On the day when the stars of the morning broke out in song
        and God’s heavenly throng, elated, shouted along?

    Who held back the sea behind doors
        and brought the earth bursting forth from the womb of the deep,
    When for clothes I gave it a cloud
        and for swaddling I wrapped it in darkness,
10     When I placed shores around its limits
        and put up the doors and the bars;
11     And I said to the sea, “Here you may come, but no farther.
        And here is the shore where your grand waves will crash.”

12     In your short run of days, have you ever commanded the morning to begin
        or taught the sun to rise in its place?
13     Under your watch has the early light ever taken hold of the earth by the edges
        and shaken the wicked loose?
14     Under dawn’s early light the earth takes shape
        as does clay when a seal is firmly pressed in it;
    Its colors and features stand out
        as a well-made garment does from the body.
15     Yet the light is withheld from the wicked,
        and the arm is snapped off of the oppressors.

16     Have you entered into the sea’s tidewaters
        or trod the bottom of the ocean looking for the deepest cavern?
17     Have you found it, only for death’s infamous gates to be unveiled to you,
        or did you catch a glimpse of the gates of the deep darkness beneath the waters?
18     Have you roamed the earth in her entirety, comprehended her vast regions?
        If you know all of this, declare it! Make your statement!

19     Tell me, which way is it to where the light resides?
        And darkness? Where does the darkness live?
20     When you escort it through its regions every day,
        will you know the way to its home?
21     Ah, but of course you know!
        After all, you were born way back then when all this was created,
        and your days have been many indeed.

22     Have you visited the vast, cold treasury where the snow is stored,
        or have you gazed on the shimmering, frozen armories where the hail is held,
23     The hail which I keep on reserve for the time of great trouble,
        for the day of battle, the day of war?
24     Where is the way to the realm where light is scattered across creation,
        and where is the field where the east wind is divided up
        and sent across the face of the earth?

25     Who cut the channel for the flooding rivers
        or paved a path for the thunderbolt
26     So that rain might fall on an uninhabited land,
        even on a wilderness where no human sets foot
27     So that the desolate desert and the withering wasteland are satisfied,
        so that the grass is made to sprout in that seemingly forsaken place?
28     And does the rain have a father?
        Who sires the drops of dew?
29     From whose womb comes the ice?
        And who gives birth to the sky’s pale, thick frost?
30     When water seems to turn to stone,
        the face of the deep freezes to imprison its inhabitants.

31     Can you bind together a cluster of twinkling stars
        the seven sisters of Pleiades who keep company in the night sky?
        Can you loosen the cords of Orion’s bow?
32     Can you lead the stars[a] of the Zodiac out in their proper seasons
        and guide the Bear with her cubs?
33     Do you know the rules of the heavens,
        or apportion their influence on the seasons of the earth?

34     Can you bellow out orders at the clouds
        and pull down a flood of rain around you?
35     Can you dispatch bolts of lightning on their way,
        who instantly obey and say to you, “Here we are”?
36     Who put wisdom within the center of the created
        or granted understanding to the mind?[b]
37     Who has the wisdom to count the clouds and send them on their way
        or tip over the water skins of heaven to refresh the ground below
38     When the dry dust is as hard as metal
        and clods of clay clump together?

39     Can you hunt prey for the lioness
        or sate the appetites of her cubs
40     While they crouch in their dens
        and wait in the brush?
41     Who nourishes the hungry raven
        when its young chirp to God and wander for want of food?


  1. 38:32 Hebrew, Mazzaroth
  2. 38:36 Meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.

The Lord Speaks

38 Then the Lord spoke to Job(A) out of the storm.(B) He said:

“Who is this that obscures my plans(C)
    with words without knowledge?(D)
Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.(E)

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?(F)
    Tell me, if you understand.(G)
Who marked off its dimensions?(H) Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line(I) across it?
On what were its footings set,(J)
    or who laid its cornerstone(K)
while the morning stars(L) sang together(M)
    and all the angels[a](N) shouted for joy?(O)

“Who shut up the sea behind doors(P)
    when it burst forth from the womb,(Q)
when I made the clouds its garment
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,(R)
10 when I fixed limits for it(S)
    and set its doors and bars in place,(T)
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;(U)
    here is where your proud waves halt’?(V)

12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,(W)
    or shown the dawn its place,(X)
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
    and shake the wicked(Y) out of it?(Z)
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;(AA)
    its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,(AB)
    and their upraised arm is broken.(AC)

16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
    or walked in the recesses of the deep?(AD)
17 Have the gates of death(AE) been shown to you?
    Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?(AF)
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?(AG)
    Tell me, if you know all this.(AH)

19 “What is the way to the abode of light?
    And where does darkness reside?(AI)
20 Can you take them to their places?
    Do you know the paths(AJ) to their dwellings?
21 Surely you know, for you were already born!(AK)
    You have lived so many years!

22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow(AL)
    or seen the storehouses(AM) of the hail,(AN)
23 which I reserve for times of trouble,(AO)
    for days of war and battle?(AP)
24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,(AQ)
    or the place where the east winds(AR) are scattered over the earth?(AS)
25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
    and a path for the thunderstorm,(AT)
26 to water(AU) a land where no one lives,
    an uninhabited desert,(AV)
27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland
    and make it sprout with grass?(AW)
28 Does the rain have a father?(AX)
    Who fathers the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb comes the ice?
    Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens(AY)
30 when the waters become hard as stone,
    when the surface of the deep is frozen?(AZ)

31 “Can you bind the chains[b] of the Pleiades?
    Can you loosen Orion’s belt?(BA)
32 Can you bring forth the constellations(BB) in their seasons[c]
    or lead out the Bear[d] with its cubs?(BC)
33 Do you know the laws(BD) of the heavens?(BE)
    Can you set up God’s[e] dominion over the earth?

34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds
    and cover yourself with a flood of water?(BF)
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?(BG)
    Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 Who gives the ibis wisdom[f](BH)
    or gives the rooster understanding?[g](BI)
37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
    Who can tip over the water jars(BJ) of the heavens(BK)
38 when the dust becomes hard(BL)
    and the clods of earth stick together?(BM)

39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
    and satisfy the hunger of the lions(BN)
40 when they crouch in their dens(BO)
    or lie in wait in a thicket?(BP)
41 Who provides food(BQ) for the raven(BR)
    when its young cry out to God
    and wander about for lack of food?(BS)


  1. Job 38:7 Hebrew the sons of God
  2. Job 38:31 Septuagint; Hebrew beauty
  3. Job 38:32 Or the morning star in its season
  4. Job 38:32 Or out Leo
  5. Job 38:33 Or their
  6. Job 38:36 That is, wisdom about the flooding of the Nile
  7. Job 38:36 That is, understanding of when to crow; the meaning of the Hebrew for this verse is uncertain.

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