Job 39

Chapter 39

The Mountain Goat and the Deer

1 “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
Have you ever observed deer in labor?
2 Can you accurately number the months that they carry their young
or know the time of their delivery
3 when they crouch down to give birth
and deliver their offspring?
4 Once their fawns grow strong and become independent,
they go forth on their own and do not return.

The Wild Donkey and the Wild Ox

5 “Who has given the wild donkey its freedom?
Who has untied its ropes?
6 I gave it the wastelands as its home
and the salt flats for its dwelling.
7 It scorns the noise of the city;
it is not forced to obey a driver’s shouted order.
8 The mountains are the pasture over which it ranges
in search of any green foliage.
9 “Is the wild ox willing to serve you?
Will it stay by your manger during the night?
10 Can you use ropes to harness its strength?
Will it harrow the furrows after you?
11 Can you depend upon its massive strength
to do your heavy work?
12 Can you rely upon it to return home
and bring your grain to your threshing floor?

The Ostrich and the Horse[a]

13 “The wings of an ostrich are ineffectual,
since its pinions and its plumage are scanty.
14 It leaves its eggs on the ground
and depends on the earth to warm them,
15 forgetting that a foot may crush them
or that a wild animal may trample upon them.
16 It cruelly disowns its young
as if they were not its own,
unconcerned if its labor has been wasted.
17 For God has denied it wisdom
and deprived it of understanding.
18 Yet with its swiftness of foot
it leaves both horse and rider in the dust.
19 “Do you give the horse its strength?
Have you clothed its neck with a mane?
20 Do you make it leap like a locust,
striking terror with its proud snorting?
21 It paws the plain jubilantly and prances
as it charges the battle line with all its strength.
22 It laughs at fear and is frightened of nothing;
it does not shy away when confronted with the sword.
23 “The quiver rattles at its side;
the spear and the javelin flash.
24 Trembling with eagerness it eats up the ground,
and when the trumpet sounds, there is no holding it back.
25 At each blast of the trumpet it cries ‘Aha!’
From afar it scents the battle,
the shouts of the commanders, and the war cries.

The Hawk and the Eagle

26 “Did your wisdom enable the hawk to soar
as it spreads its wings toward the south?
27 Does the eagle soar aloft at your command
to build its nest on the lofty heights?
28 It dwells on the cliff in security,
spending its nights on a rocky crag.
29 From there it watches for its prey;
its eyes are able to behold it from afar.
30 Its young ones hungrily drink the blood;
wherever the slain are, it is there.”

Footnotes

  1. Job 39:13 The ostrich seems to be bizarre, lacking foresight, and hard on its little ones (Lam 4:3), but it has incomparable speed. Inexplicable is the bravery of the war horse, described here by a connoisseur and an artist.

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