December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Then Job replied and said:
- No doubt you are the intelligent folk, and with you wisdom shall die!
- But I have intelligence as well as you; for who does not know such things as these?
- 1 I have become the sport of my neighbors: "The one whom God answers when he calls upon him, The just, the perfect man," is a laughing-stock;
- The undisturbed esteem my downfall a disgrace such as awaits unsteady feet;
- Yet the tents of robbers are prosperous, and those who provoke God are secure.
- But now ask the beasts to teach you, and the birds of the air to tell you;
- Or the reptiles on earth to instruct you, and the fish of the sea to inform you.
- Which of all these does not know that the hand of God has done this?
- In his hand is the soul of every living thing, and the life breath of all mankind.
- Does not the ear judge words as the mouth tastes food?
- So with old age is wisdom, and with length of days understanding.
- With him are wisdom and might; his are counsel and understanding.
- If he breaks a thing down, there is no rebuilding; if he imprisons a man, there is no release.
- He holds back the waters and there is drought; he sends them forth and they overwhelm the land.
- With him are strength and prudence; the misled and the misleaders are his.
- He sends counselors away barefoot, and of judges he makes fools.
- 2 He loosens the bonds imposed by kings and leaves but a waistcloth to bind the king's own loins.
- and lets their never-failing waters flow away.
- He silences the trusted adviser, and takes discretion from the aged.
- He breaks down the barriers of the streams
- The recesses of the darkness he discloses, and brings the gloom forth to the light.
- He makes nations great and he destroys them; he spreads peoples abroad and he abandons them.
- He takes understanding from the leaders of the land,
- till they grope in the darkness without light; he makes them stagger like drunken men.
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1 [4-5] The Hebrew is somewhat obscure, but the general sense is that the wicked mock at the pious when the latter appear to be abandoned by God; cf Psalm 22:7-9; Matthew 27:39-43.
2  (18)Waistcloth . . . loins: he reduces kings to the condition of slaves, who wear only a cloth wrapped about the waist.
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