Reading for August 31st

Job 28-30 (Listen)

Job Continues: Where Is Wisdom?

“Surely there is a mine for silver,

and a place for gold that they refine.

Iron is taken out of the earth,

and copper is smelted from the ore.

Man puts an end to darkness

and searches out to the farthest limit

the ore in gloom and deep darkness.

He opens shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives;

they are forgotten by travelers;

they hang in the air, far away from mankind; they swing to and fro.

As for the earth, out of it comes bread,

but underneath it is turned up as by fire.

Its stones are the place of sapphires,

and it has dust of gold.

 

“That path no bird of prey knows,

and the falcon's eye has not seen it.

The proud beasts have not trodden it;

the lion has not passed over it.

 

“Man puts his hand to the flinty rock

and overturns mountains by the roots.

He cuts out channels in the rocks,

and his eye sees every precious thing.

He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle,

and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light.

 

“But where shall wisdom be found?

And where is the place of understanding?

Man does not know its worth,

and it is not found in the land of the living.

The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’

and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’

It cannot be bought for gold,

and silver cannot be weighed as its price.

It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,

in precious onyx or sapphire.

Gold and glass cannot equal it,

nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.

No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;

the price of wisdom is above pearls.

The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,

nor can it be valued in pure gold.

 

“From where, then, does wisdom come?

And where is the place of understanding?

It is hidden from the eyes of all living

and concealed from the birds of the air.

Abaddon and Death say,

‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’

 

“God understands the way to it,

and he knows its place.

For he looks to the ends of the earth

and sees everything under the heavens.

When he gave to the wind its weight

and apportioned the waters by measure,

when he made a decree for the rain

and a way for the lightning of the thunder,

then he saw it and declared it;

he established it, and searched it out.

And he said to man,

‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,

and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”

 

Job's Summary Defense

And Job again took up his discourse, and said:

 

“Oh, that I were as in the months of old,

as in the days when God watched over me,

when his lamp shone upon my head,

and by his light I walked through darkness,

as I was in my prime,

when the friendship of God was upon my tent,

when the Almighty was yet with me,

when my children were all around me,

when my steps were washed with butter,

and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!

When I went out to the gate of the city,

when I prepared my seat in the square,

the young men saw me and withdrew,

and the aged rose and stood;

the princes refrained from talking

and laid their hand on their mouth;

the voice of the nobles was hushed,

and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.

When the ear heard, it called me blessed,

and when the eye saw, it approved,

because I delivered the poor who cried for help,

and the fatherless who had none to help him.

The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me,

and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.

I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;

my justice was like a robe and a turban.

I was eyes to the blind

and feet to the lame.

I was a father to the needy,

and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.

I broke the fangs of the unrighteous

and made him drop his prey from his teeth.

Then I thought, ‘I shall die in my nest,

and I shall multiply my days as the sand,

my roots spread out to the waters,

with the dew all night on my branches,

my glory fresh with me,

and my bow ever new in my hand.’

 

“Men listened to me and waited

and kept silence for my counsel.

After I spoke they did not speak again,

and my word dropped upon them.

They waited for me as for the rain,

and they opened their mouths as for the spring rain.

I smiled on them when they had no confidence,

and the light of my face they did not cast down.

I chose their way and sat as chief,

and I lived like a king among his troops,

like one who comforts mourners.

 

“But now they laugh at me,

men who are younger than I,

whose fathers I would have disdained

to set with the dogs of my flock.

What could I gain from the strength of their hands,

men whose vigor is gone?

Through want and hard hunger

they gnaw the dry ground by night in waste and desolation;

they pick saltwort and the leaves of bushes,

and the roots of the broom tree for their food.

They are driven out from human company;

they shout after them as after a thief.

In the gullies of the torrents they must dwell,

in holes of the earth and of the rocks.

Among the bushes they bray;

under the nettles they huddle together.

A senseless, a nameless brood,

they have been whipped out of the land.

 

“And now I have become their song;

I am a byword to them.

They abhor me; they keep aloof from me;

they do not hesitate to spit at the sight of me.

Because God has loosed my cord and humbled me,

they have cast off restraint in my presence.

On my right hand the rabble rise;

they push away my feet;

they cast up against me their ways of destruction.

They break up my path;

they promote my calamity;

they need no one to help them.

As through a wide breach they come;

amid the crash they roll on.

Terrors are turned upon me;

my honor is pursued as by the wind,

and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud.

 

“And now my soul is poured out within me;

days of affliction have taken hold of me.

The night racks my bones,

and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.

With great force my garment is disfigured;

it binds me about like the collar of my tunic.

God5 has cast me into the mire,

and I have become like dust and ashes.

I cry to you for help and you do not answer me;

I stand, and you only look at me.

You have turned cruel to me;

with the might of your hand you persecute me.

You lift me up on the wind; you make me ride on it,

and you toss me about in the roar of the storm.

For I know that you will bring me to death

and to the house appointed for all living.

 

“Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand,

and in his disaster cry for help?

Did not I weep for him whose day was hard?

Was not my soul grieved for the needy?

But when I hoped for good, evil came,

and when I waited for light, darkness came.

My inward parts are in turmoil and never still;

days of affliction come to meet me.

I go about darkened, but not by the sun;

I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.

I am a brother of jackals

and a companion of ostriches.

My skin turns black and falls from me,

and my bones burn with heat.

My lyre is turned to mourning,

and my pipe to the voice of those who weep.