December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- At this my heart trembles and leaps out of its place,
- 1 To hear his angry voice as it rumbles forth from his mouth!
- Everywhere under the heavens he sends it, with his lightning, to the ends of the earth.
- Again his voice roars-- the majestic sound of his thunder.
- He does great things beyond our knowing; wonders past our searching out.
- For he says to the snow, "Fall to the earth"; likewise to his heavy, drenching rain.
- He shuts up all mankind indoors;
- the wild beasts take to cover and remain quietly in their dens.
- 2 Out of its chamber comes forth the tempest; from the north winds, the cold.
- With his breath God brings the frost, and the broad waters become congealed.
- With hail, also, the clouds are laden, as they scatter their flashes of light.
- 3 He it is who changes their rounds, according to his plans, in their task upon the surface of the earth,
- whether for punishment or mercy, as he commands.
- Hearken to this, O Job! Stand and consider the wondrous works of God!
- Do you know how God lays his commands upon them, and makes the light shine forth from his clouds?
- Do you know how the clouds are banked, the wondrous work of him who is perfect in knowledge?
- You, whom the streams of water fail when a calm from the south comes over the land,
- 4 Do you spread out with him the firmament of the skies, hard as a brazen mirror?
- Teach us then what we shall say to him; we cannot, for the darkness, make our plea.
- 5 Will he be told about it when I speak, or when a man says he is being destroyed?
- 6 Nay, rather, it is as the light which men see not while it is obscured among the clouds, till the wind comes by and sweeps the clouds away.
- 7 From the North the splendor comes, surrounding God's awesome majesty!
- The Almighty! we cannot discover him, pre-eminent in power and judgment; his great justice owes no one an accounting.
- Therefore men revere him, though none can see him, however wise their hearts.
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1  Voice: the thunder.
2  Chamber: where it was popularly believed storms were kept enclosed.
3  Their rounds: of rain (Job 36:27), of clouds (Job 36:29-30), of lightning and thunder (Job 36:32-33), of snow (Job 37:6), of winds (Job 37:9).
4  The firmament . . . mirror: the ancients thought of the sky as a ceiling above which were the "upper waters" (cf Genesis 1:6-7; 7:11); when this ceiling became as hard as metal, the usual rain failed to fall on the earth (cf Lev 26:19; Deut 28:23).
5  Will an angel bring this to God's attention?
6  Even though God seems not to know our circumstances, he does know them, just as surely as the sun shines, unseen by man, behind the clouds.
7  Now the storms of doubt and ignorance disappear, and from the North, used here as a symbol for God's mysterious abode, comes the splendor of the manifestation of God's majestic ways.
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