Job 12
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition

Job Replies: I Am a Laughingstock

1Then Job answered:

2“No doubt you are the people,
    and wisdom will die with you.
3But I have understanding as well as you;
    I am not inferior to you.
    Who does not know such things as these?
4I am a laughingstock to my friends;
    I, who called upon God and he answered me,
    a just and blameless man, I am a laughingstock.
5Those at ease have contempt for misfortune,[a]
    but it is ready for those whose feet are unstable.
6The tents of robbers are at peace,
    and those who provoke God are secure,
    who bring their god in their hands.[b]

7“But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
    the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
8ask the plants of the earth,[c] and they will teach you;
    and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
9Who among all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10In his hand is the life of every living thing
    and the breath of every human being.
11Does not the ear test words
    as the palate tastes food?
12Is wisdom with the aged,
    and understanding in length of days?

13“With God[d] are wisdom and strength;
    he has counsel and understanding.
14If he tears down, no one can rebuild;
    if he shuts someone in, no one can open up.
15If he withholds the waters, they dry up;
    if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land.
16With him are strength and wisdom;
    the deceived and the deceiver are his.
17He leads counselors away stripped,
    and makes fools of judges.
18He looses the sash of kings,
    and binds a waistcloth on their loins.
19He leads priests away stripped,
    and overthrows the mighty.
20He deprives of speech those who are trusted,
    and takes away the discernment of the elders.
21He pours contempt on princes,
    and looses the belt of the strong.
22He uncovers the deeps out of darkness,
    and brings deep darkness to light.
23He makes nations great, then destroys them;
    he enlarges nations, then leads them away.
24He strips understanding from the leaders[e] of the earth,
    and makes them wander in a pathless waste.
25They grope in the dark without light;
    he makes them stagger like a drunkard.


  1. Job 12:5 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  2. Job 12:6 Or whom God brought forth by his hand; Meaning of Heb uncertain
  3. Job 12:8 Or speak to the earth
  4. Job 12:13 Heb him
  5. Job 12:24 Heb adds of the people
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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