Job’s Reply. 1Then Job answered and said:*

2What help you give to the powerless,

what strength to the feeble arm!

3How you give counsel to one without wisdom;

how profuse is the advice you offer!

4With whose help have you uttered those words,

whose breath comes forth from you?a

5The shades* beneath writhe in terror,b

the waters, and their inhabitants.

6Naked before him is Sheol,*

and Abaddon has no covering.c

7He stretches out Zaphon* over the void,

and suspends the earth over nothing at all;

8He binds up the waters in his clouds,

yet the cloud is not split by their weight;

9He holds back the appearance of the full moon

by spreading his clouds before it.

10He has marked out a circle* on the surface of the deepd

as the boundary of light and darkness.

11The pillars of the heavens tremble

and are stunned at his thunderous rebuke;e

12By his power he stilled Sea,

by his skill he crushed Rahab;*

13By his wind the heavens were made clear,

his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.* f

14Lo, these are but the outlines of his ways,

and what a whisper of a word we hear of him:

Who can comprehend the thunder of his power?

* [26:114] Perhaps to be read as Job’s reply to Bildad’s short speech.

* [26:5] Shades: the dead in Sheol, the nether world; cf. Ps 88:11; Is 26:14.

* [26:6] Sheol: cf. note on Ps 6:6. Abaddon: Hebrew for “(place of) destruction,” a synonym for nether world; cf. Jb 28:22; Rev 9:11.

* [26:7] Zaphon: lit., “the north,” used here as a synonym for the firmament, the heavens; cf. Is 14:13.

* [26:10] Circle: the horizon of the ocean which serves as the boundary for the activity of light and darkness; cf. Prv 8:27.

* [26:12] Rahab: another name for the primeval sea-monster; see notes on Jb 3:8 and Ps 89:11; cf. also Jb 7:12; 9:13.

* [26:13] The fleeing serpent: the same term occurs in Is 27:1 in apposition to Leviathan; see note on Jb 3:8.

a. [26:4] Gn 2:7.

b. [26:5] Prv 9:18.

c. [26:6] Ps 139:712.

d. [26:10] Jb 38:811; Prv 8:29.

e. [26:11] Jb 9:6; Ps 18:16; 104:7.

f. [26:13] Is 27:1.

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