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Job 12 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 12

Job’s Third Reply. [a]Then Job answered and said:

No doubt you are the people
    with whom wisdom shall die!
But I have intelligence as well as you;
    I do not fall short of you;
    for who does not know such things as these?
I have become the sport of my neighbors:[b]
    “The one whom God answers when he calls upon him,
    The just, the perfect man,” is a laughingstock;
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,
    whom God has in his power.[c]
But now ask the beasts to teach you,
    the birds of the air to tell you;
Or speak to the 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?
10 In his hand is the soul of every living thing,
    and the life breath of all mortal flesh.
11 Does not the ear judge words
    as the mouth tastes food?
12 So with old age is wisdom,
    and with length of days understanding.
13 With him are wisdom and might;
    his are counsel and understanding.
14 If he knocks a thing down, there is no rebuilding;
    if he imprisons, there is no release.
15 He holds back the waters and there is drought;
    he sends them forth and they overwhelm the land.
16 With him are strength and prudence;
    the misled and the misleaders are his.
17 He sends counselors away barefoot,
    makes fools of judges.
18 He loosens the belt of kings,
    ties a waistcloth on their loins.[d]
19 He sends priests away barefoot,
    leads the powerful astray.
20 He silences the trusted adviser,
    takes discretion from the elders.
21 He pours shame on nobles,
    the waistband of the strong he loosens.
22 He uncovers deep things from the darkness,
    brings the gloom into the light.
23 He makes nations great and destroys them,
    spreads peoples abroad and abandons them.
24 He takes understanding from the leaders of the land,
    makes them wander in a pathless desert.
25 They grope in the darkness without light;
    he makes them wander like drunkards.


  1. 12:1 Job begins his third and longest speech to the friends with sarcasm, and eventually he accuses them of falsehood (13:4–11). The dialogue between them becomes increasingly sharp. With the appeal to learning from beasts and birds (12:7), Job launches into what seems to be a bitter parody of the power of God.
  2. 12:4–5 The Hebrew is somewhat obscure, but the general sense is that the wicked mock the pious when the latter appear to be abandoned by God; cf. Ps 22:7–9; Mt 27:39–43.
  3. 12:6 Whom God has in his power: the Hebrew is obscure. The line may be a scribal error; some of the phrases occur in vv. 9, 10.
  4. 12:18 He reduces kings to the condition of slaves, who wear only a cloth wrapped about the waist.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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