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Job’s Carbon Credits

1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,

2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?

3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.

4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?

9 When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it,

10 And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors,

11 And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?

12 Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place;

13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?

14 It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment.

15 And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken.

16 Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?

17 Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?

18 Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.

19 Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof,

20 That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof?

21 Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great?

22 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail,

23 Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?

24 By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth?

25 Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder;

26 To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man;

27 To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?

28 Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew?

29 Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?

30 The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.

31 Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?

32 Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?

33 Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?

34 Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee?

35 Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go and say unto thee, Here we are?

36 Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?

37 Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven,

38 When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together?

39 Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions,

40 When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait?

41 Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.

-Job 38 (KJV)

It is a tragic comment on our species that a Bronze Age tribe had more wisdom and more humility than all those arseholes playing King Cnut in Denmark.

8 Comments

  1. El Draque says:

    Thank you for posting in such fullness one of my favourite Biblical passages.
    It should engender humility in the believer and the non-believer alike – for who can be arrogant after reading this litany of the magnificence of creation (or of evolution, if you are a sceptic about faith matters)?

    Though I don’t cover myself in ashes afterwards . . . .

  2. John B says:

    1Then Job answered the LORD, and said,

    2I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.

    3Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.

    4Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.

    5I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.

    6Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

  3. John B says:

    Oops, didn’t register your comment, Draque.
    But the point being, when Job saw God, there was no other logical thing for him to do.

  4. Edward King says:

    Except, of course, this passage was a blustering response by God to Job to Job’s question as to why his life had turned to crap. The real reason being, that God wanted to win a bet with Satan that Job wouldn’t repudiate him no matter how badly his life turned out…

  5. John B says:

    Job isn’t the easiest place to start. Indeed.
    Personally, to establish a logical basis, I go back to the apparent fact that order does not spontaneously occur is chaos.
    Satan’s challenge and God’s answer to him is not something I fully understand.
    Sometimes I have to go back to:
    “Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.”

  6. Nick M says:

    Thank you ED.

    It is (in the KJV) beautiful and is well known to astrophysicists because…

    We look at the stars and see the majesty of the universe and we know all this is drivel.

    We know we are small people. How odd is it that the study of something so big as the universe can lead to so much humility? We are matter and dust in the face of all reality but what matter, what dust are we?

    The bravest thing any scientist can ever say is “I don’t know”.

    Until Al Gore looses the bands of Orion that is.

  7. El Draque says:

    John B – for a penetrating book on the Hebrew prophets’ encounter with God, (or G-d as Jews often write it), try to find Rabbi Heschel’s book “The Prophets”.
    He refutes the idea that the prophets didn’t know what they wrote – that they wrote in an spirit of ecstasy – automatic writing. (Personally I doubt they wrote it, I think they are oral history, but that’s a by the way).
    His daughter Susanna is also a scholar, which is unusual because he came from the Hasidic tradition.

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