Job 38: God’s Infinite Powers, Texts and Traditions, ed. Lawrence H. Schiffman, Ktav Publishing House, Hoboken NJ, 1998.
The Hebrew Bible
Another wisdom tract is the Book of Job. Set in the mythical land of Oz, it pictures a pious man tried at the hands of a divine adversary sent by God to test his righteous follower. After all of Job’s protestations, and the attempts of his friends to comfort him in his time of grief, God finally enters the debate on the reasons for the existence of evil in the world and responds that human beings cannot possibly understand the infinite wisdom of God, the nature of the world, and the divine plan. Trust in the wisdom of God, such as Job had, is the only option for humanity. This excerpt accents the ultimate wisdom of God when compared with that of humans.
38-1 Then the Lord replied to Job out of the tempest and said-
2 Who is this who darkens counsel,
Speaking without knowledge?
3 Gird your loins like a man;
I will ask and you will inform Me.
4 Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations?
Speak if you have understanding.
5 Do you know who fixed its dimensions
Or who measured it with a line?
6 Onto what were its bases sunk?
Who set its cornerstone
7 When the morning stars sang together
And all the divine beings shouted for joy?
8 Who closed the sea behind doors
When it gushed forth out of the womb,
9 When I clothed it in clouds,
Swaddled it in dense clouds.
10 When I made breakers My limit for it,
And set up its bar and doors,
11 And said. “You may come so far and no further;
Here your surging waves will stop”?
12 Have you ever commanded the day to break,
Assigned the dawn its place.
13 So that it seizes the corners of the earth
And shakes the wicked out of it?…
16 Have you penetrated to the sources of the sea,
Or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been disclosed to you?
Have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18 Have you surveyed the expanses of the earth?
If you know of these—tell Me.
19 Which path leads to where light dwells,
And where is the place of darkness,
20 That you may take it to its domain
And know the way to its home?
21 Surely you know, for you were born then,
And the number of your years is any!