December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 Then the LORD addressed Job out of the storm and said:
- Who is this that obscures divine plans with words of ignorance?
- 2 Gird up your loins now, like a man; I will question you, and you tell me the answers!
- Where were you when I founded the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.
- Who determined its size; do you know? Who stretched out the measuring line for it?
- Into what were its pedestals sunk, and who laid the cornerstone,
- 3 While the morning stars sang in chorus and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
- And who shut within doors the sea, when it burst forth from the womb;
- When I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling bands?
- When I set limits for it and fastened the bar of its door,
- And said: Thus far shall you come but no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stilled!
- Have you ever in your lifetime commanded the morning and shown the dawn its place
- For taking hold of the ends of the earth, till the wicked are shaken from its surface?
- The earth is changed as is clay by the seal, and dyed as though it were a garment;
- But from the wicked the light is withheld, and the arm of pride is shattered.
- Have you entered into the sources of the sea, or walked about in the depths of the abyss?
- Have the gates of death been shown to you, or have you seen the gates of darkness?
- Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell me, if you know all:
- Which is the way to the dwelling place of light, and where is the abode of darkness,
- That you may take them to their boundaries and set them on their homeward paths?
- 4 You know, because you were born before them, and the number of your years is great!
- 5 Have you entered the storehouse of the snow, and seen the treasury of the hail
- Which I have reserved for times of stress, for the days of war and of battle?
- Which way to the parting of the winds, whence the east wind spreads over the earth?
- Who has laid out a channel for the downpour and for the thunderstorm a path
- To bring rain to no man's land, the unpeopled wilderness;
- To enrich the waste and desolate ground till the desert blooms with verdure?
- Has the rain a father; or who has begotten the drops of dew?
- Out of whose womb comes the ice, and who gives the hoarfrost its birth in the skies,
- When the waters lie covered as though with stone that holds captive the surface of the deep?
- 6 Have you fitted a curb to the Pleiades, or loosened the bonds of Orion?
- Can you bring forth the Mazzaroth in their season, or guide the Bear with its train?
- Do you know the ordinances of the heavens; can you put into effect their plan on the earth?
- 7 Can you raise your voice among the clouds, or veil yourself in the waters of the storm?
- 8 Can you send forth the lightnings on their way, or will they say to you, "Here we are"?
- Who counts the clouds in his wisdom? Or who tilts the water jars of heaven
- So that the dust of earth is fused into a mass and its clods made solid?
- Do you hunt the prey for the lioness or appease the hunger of her cubs,
- While they crouch in their dens, or lie in wait in the thicket?
- 9 Who puts wisdom in the heart, and gives the cock its understanding?
- Who provides nourishment for the ravens when their young ones cry out to God, and they rove abroad without food?
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1  Now the LORD enters the debate and addresses two discourses (Job 38-39 and Job 40-41) to Job, in which he speaks of his wisdom and power, which are altogether beyond the capacity of Job, who therefore should never dare to demand a reason for the divine actions. Out of the storm: frequently the background of the appearances of the LORD in the Old Testament; cf Psalm 18; 50; Nahum 1:3; Hebrews 3.
2  Gird up your loins: prepare for combat--figuratively, be ready to defend yourself in debate.
3  Sons of God: angels; cf Job 1:6.
4  Divine irony.
5 [22-23] Hail . . . of war: thus God used a hailstorm to rout Joshua's foes in the battle of Gibeon; cf Joshua 10:11; Sirach 46:5.
6 [31-32] Pleiades . . . Orion . . . Bear: cf Job 9:9. Mazzaroth: It is uncertain what astronomical group is meant by this Hebrew word; perhaps a southern constellation (cf Job 9:9).
7  Veil yourself . . . storm: wrap yourself in a cloud, as God comes in a theophany; cf Psalm 18:12.
8  Here we are: at your service.
9  Understanding: the reflection of divine Wisdom discernible in the created animal instincts of the cock.
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