- Do you know about the birth of the mountain goats, watch for the birth pangs of the hinds,
- Number the months that they must fulfill, and fix the time of their bringing forth?
- They crouch down and bear their young; they deliver their progeny in the desert.
- When their offspring thrive and grow, they leave and do not return.
- Who has given the wild ass his freedom, and who has loosed him from bonds?
- I have made the wilderness his home and the salt flats his dwelling.
- He scoffs at the uproar of the city, and hears no shouts of a driver.
- He ranges the mountains for pasture, and seeks out every patch of green.
- Will the wild ox consent to serve you, and to pass the nights by your manger?
- Will a rope bind him in the furrow, and will he harrow the valleys after you?
- Will you trust him for his great strength and leave to him the fruits of your toil?
- Can you rely on him to thresh out your grain and gather in the yield of your threshing floor?
- 1 The wings of the ostrich beat idly; her plumage is lacking in pinions.
- 2 When she leaves her eggs on the ground and deposits them in the sand,
- Unmindful that a foot may crush them, that the wild beasts may trample them,
- She cruelly disowns her young and ruthlessly makes nought of her brood;
- For God has withheld wisdom from her and has given her no share in understanding.
- Yet in her swiftness of foot she makes sport of the horse and his rider.
- 3 Do you give the horse his strength, and endow his neck with splendor?
- Do you make the steed to quiver while his thunderous snorting spreads terror?
- He jubilantly paws the plain and rushes in his might against the weapons.
- He laughs at fear and cannot be deterred; he turns not back from the sword.
- Around him rattles the quiver, flashes the spear and the javelin.
- Frenzied and trembling he devours the ground; he holds not back at the sound of the trumpet,
- but at each blast he cries, "Aha!" Even from afar he scents the battle, the roar of the chiefs and the shouting.
- Is it by your discernment that the hawk soars, that he spreads his wings toward the south?
- Does the eagle fly up at your command to build his nest aloft?
- On the cliff he dwells and spends the night, on the spur of the cliff or the fortress.
- From thence he watches for his prey; his eyes behold it afar off.
- His young ones greedily drink blood; where the slain are, there is he.
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Footnotes1 The wings of the ostrich cannot raise her from the ground, but they help her to run swiftly.
2 [14-16] It was popularly believed that, because the ostrich laid her eggs on the sand, she was thereby cruelly abandoning them; cf Lam 4:3.
3 [19-25] The famous description of a war horse.
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