Job’s Reply to Zophar

Then Job answered:

No doubt you are the people,

and wisdom will die with you!

But I also have a mind;

I am not inferior to you.

Who doesn’t know the things you are talking about?[a]

I am a laughingstock to my[b] friends,

by calling on God, who answers me.[c]

The righteous and upright man is a laughingstock.

The one who is at ease holds calamity in contempt

and thinks it is prepared for those whose feet are slipping.

The tents of robbers are safe,

and those who provoke God are secure;

God’s power provides this.[d]

But ask the animals, and they will instruct you;

ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you.

Or speak to the earth, and it will instruct you;

let the fish of the sea inform you.

Which of all these does not know

that the hand of the Lord has done this?

10 The life of every living thing is in His hand,

as well as the breath of all mankind.

11 Doesn’t the ear test words

as the palate tastes food?

12 Wisdom is found with the elderly,

and understanding comes with long life.

13 Wisdom and strength belong to God;

counsel and understanding are His.

14 Whatever He tears down cannot be rebuilt;

whoever He imprisons cannot be released.

15 When He withholds the waters, everything dries up,

and when He releases them, they destroy the land.

16 True wisdom and power belong to Him.

The deceived and the deceiver are His.

17 He leads counselors away barefoot

and makes judges go mad.

18 He releases the bonds[e] put on by kings

and fastens a belt around their waists.

19 He leads priests away barefoot

and overthrows established leaders.

20 He deprives trusted advisers of speech

and takes away the elders’ good judgment.

21 He pours out contempt on nobles

and disarms[f] the strong.

22 He reveals mysteries from the darkness

and brings the deepest darkness into the light.

23 He makes nations great, then destroys them;

He enlarges nations, then leads them away.

24 He deprives the world’s leaders of reason,

and makes them wander in a trackless wasteland.

25 They grope around in darkness without light;

He makes them stagger like drunken men.


  1. Job 12:3 Lit With whom are not such things as these
  2. Job 12:4 Lit his
  3. Job 12:4 Lit him
  4. Job 12:6 Or secure; to those who bring their god in their hands
  5. Job 12:18 Text emended; MT reads discipline
  6. Job 12:21 Lit and loosens the belt of