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?
* [26:1–14] 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.
d. [26:10] Jb 38:8–11; Prv 8:29.
e. [26:11] Jb 9:6; Ps 18:16; 104:7.