Twenty-Third Day of Great Lent
 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
 Gird up your loins like a man,
I will question you, and you shall declare to me.
 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
 Who determined its measurements — surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
 On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
 when the morning stars sang together,
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
 “Or who shut in the sea with doors,
when it burst forth from the womb;
 when I made clouds its garment,
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
 and prescribed bounds for it,
and set bars and doors,
 and said, `Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?
 “Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
and caused the dawn to know its place,
 that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
and the wicked be shaken out of it?
 It is changed like clay under the seal,
and it is dyed like a garment.
 From the wicked their light is withheld,
and their uplifted arm is broken.
 “Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
 Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
 Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
Declare, if you know all this.
 “Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
and where is the place of darkness,
 that you may take it to its territory
and that you may discern the paths to its home?
 You know, for you were born then,
and the number of your days is great!
 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
 which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war?
 What is the way to the place where the light is distributed,
or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?
 “Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a way for the thunderbolt,
 to bring rain on a land where no man is,
on the desert in which there is no man;
 to satisfy the waste and desolate land,
and to make the ground put forth grass?
 “Has the rain a father,
or who has begotten the drops of dew?
 From whose womb did the ice come forth,
and who has given birth to the hoarfrost of heaven?
 The waters become hard like stone,
and the face of the deep is frozen.
 “Can you bind the chains of the Plei’ades,
or loose the cords of Orion?
 Can you lead forth the Maz’zaroth in their season,
or can you guide the Bear with its children?
 Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
Can you establish their rule on the earth?
 “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
that a flood of waters may cover you?
 Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go
and say to you, `Here we are’?
 Who has put wisdom in the clouds,
or given understanding to the mists?
 Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
 when the dust runs into a mass
and the clods cleave fast together?
 “Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
 when they crouch in their dens,
or lie in wait in their covert?
 Who provides for the raven its prey,
when its young ones cry to God,
and wander about for lack of food?
 “Do you know when the mountain goats bring forth?
Do you observe the calving of the hinds?
 Can you number the months that they fulfil,
and do you know the time when they bring forth,
 when they crouch, bring forth their offspring,
and are delivered of their young?
 Their young ones become strong, they grow up in the open;
they go forth, and do not return to them.
 “Who has let the wild ass go free?
Who has loosed the bonds of the swift ass,
 to whom I have given the steppe for his home,
and the salt land for his dwelling place?
 He scorns the tumult of the city;
he hears not the shouts of the driver.
 He ranges the mountains as his pasture,
and he searches after every green thing.
 “Is the wild ox willing to serve you?
Will he spend the night at your crib?
 Can you bind him in the furrow with ropes,
or will he harrow the valleys after you?
 Will you depend on him because his strength is great,
and will you leave to him your labor?
 Do you have faith in him that he will return,
and bring your grain to your threshing floor?
 “The wings of the ostrich wave proudly;
but are they the pinions and plumage of love?
 For she leaves her eggs to the earth,
and lets them be warmed on the ground,
 forgetting that a foot may crush them,
and that the wild beast may trample them.
 She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers;
though her labor be in vain, yet she has no fear;
 because God has made her forget wisdom,
and given her no share in understanding.
 When she rouses herself to flee,
she laughs at the horse and his rider.
 “Do you give the horse his might?
Do you clothe his neck with strength?
 Do you make him leap like the locust?
His majestic snorting is terrible.
 He paws in the valley, and exults in his strength;
he goes out to meet the weapons.
 He laughs at fear, and is not dismayed;
he does not turn back from the sword.
 Upon him rattle the quiver,
the flashing spear and the javelin.
 With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground;
he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet.
 When the trumpet sounds, he says `Aha!’
He smells the battle from afar,
the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
 “Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars,
and spreads his wings toward the south?
 Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up
and makes his nest on high?
 On the rock he dwells and makes his home
in the fastness of the rocky crag.
 Thence he spies out the prey;
his eyes behold it afar off.
 His young ones suck up blood;
and where the slain are, there is he.”
 And the LORD said to Job:
 “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
He who argues with God, let him answer it.”
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America