The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Job
Then, from the midst of a whirlwind, the Lord gave Job his answer:
Here is one that must ever be clouding the truth of things with words ill considered!
Strip, then, and enter the lists; it is my turn to ask questions now, thine to answer them.
From what vantage-point wast thou watching, when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, whence comes this sure knowledge of thine?
Tell me, since thou art so wise, was it thou or I designed earth’s plan, measuring it out with the line?
How came its base to stand so firm; who laid its corner-stone?
To me, that day, all the morning stars sang together, all the powers of heaven uttered their joyful praise.
Was it thou or I shut in the sea behind bars? No sooner had it broken forth from the womb
than I dressed it in swaddling-clothes of dark mist,
set it within bounds of my own choosing, made fast with bolt and bar;
Thus far thou shalt come, said I, and no further; here let thy swelling waves spend their force.
Dost thou, a mortal, take command of the day’s breaking, and shew the dawn its appointed post,
twitching away earth’s coverlet, scaring away the ill-doers?
The dawn, that stamps its image on the clay of earth; stands there, flung over it like a garment,✻
taking away from the ill-doers the darkness that is their light, so that all their power goes for nothing.
Didst thou ever make thy way into the sea’s depths, walk at thy ease through its hidden caverns?
When did the gates of death open to thee, and give thee sight of its gloomy threshold?
Nay, hast thou viewed the whole surface of earth itself? Tell me, if such knowledge is thine, all its secrets;
where the light dwells, where darkness finds its home;
hast thou followed either of these to the end of its journey, tracked it to its lair?
Didst thou foresee the time of thy own birth, couldst thou foretell the years of life that lay before thee?
Hast thou found thy way in to see the chambers where snow and hail lie stored,
my armoury against the times of stress, when there are wars to be fought, battles to be won?
Tell me by what means the light is scattered over earth, the heat diffused;
tell me what power carved out a channel for the tempestuous rain, a vent for the echoing thunderstorm,
that they should fall on some lonely desert where foot of man never trod,
water those trackless wastes, and make the green grass spring?
What sire gendered the rain, or the drops of dew;
what mother’s womb bore the ice, the frost that comes from heaven
to make water hard as stone, imprison the depths beneath its surface?
Is it at thy command the glittering bright Pleiads cluster so close, and Orion’s circlet spreads so wide?
Dost thou tell the day star when to shine out, the evening star when to rise over the sons of earth?✻
Is it thine to understand the motions of the heavens, and rule earth by their influence?
Can thy voice reach the clouds, and bid their showers fall on thee;
canst thou send out lightnings that will do thy errand, and come back to await thy pleasure?
What power gives either man’s heart its prescience, or the cock its sure instinct,✻
knows all the motions of heaven, and lulls the music of the spheres?✻
When was it that earth’s dust was piled, and the solid ground was built up?
Is it thou or I that finds the lioness her prey, to satisfy those hungry whelps of hers,
where they lie in rocky caves, their lurking-places? Which of us feeds the ravens?
Is it not to God their nestlings cry so shrilly, homeless for want of food?
The Holy Bible