2 “You people think you are the only ones who matter!
You are sure that wisdom will die with you!
3 But I have a brain, just like you.
I’m as clever as you are.
In fact, everyone knows as much as you do.
4 “My friends laugh at me all the time,
even though I called out to God and he answered.
My friends laugh at me,
even though I’m honest and right.
5 People who have an easy life look down on those who have problems.
They think trouble comes only to those whose feet are slipping.
6 Why doesn’t anyone bother the tents of robbers?
Why do those who make God angry remain secure?
They are in God’s hands!
7 “But ask the animals what God does.
They will teach you.
Or ask the birds in the sky.
They will tell you.
8 Or speak to the earth. It will teach you.
Or let the fish in the ocean educate you.
9 Are there any of these creatures that don’t know
what the powerful hand of the Lord has done?
10 He holds the life of every creature in his hand.
He controls the breath of every human being.
11 Our tongues tell us what tastes good and what doesn’t.
And our ears tell us what’s true and what isn’t.
12 Old people are wise.
Those who live a long time have understanding.
13 “Wisdom and power belong to God.
Advice and understanding also belong to him.
14 What he tears down can’t be rebuilt.
The people he puts in prison can’t be set free.
15 If he holds back the water, everything dries up.
If he lets the water loose, it floods the land.
16 Strength and understanding belong to him.
Those who tell lies and those who believe them also belong to him.
17 He removes the wisdom of rulers and leads them away.
He makes judges look foolish.
18 He sets people free from the chains that kings put on them.
Then he dresses the kings in the clothes of slaves.
19 He removes the authority of priests and leads them away.
He removes from their positions
officials who have been in control for a long time.
20 He shuts the mouths of trusted advisers.
He takes away the understanding of elders.
21 He looks down on proud leaders.
He takes away the strength of those who are mighty.
22 He tells people the secrets of darkness.
He brings total darkness out into the light.
23 He makes nations great, and then he destroys them.
He makes nations grow, and then he scatters them.
24 He takes away the understanding of the leaders of the earth.
He makes them wander in a desert where no one lives.
25 Without any light, they feel their way along in darkness.
God makes them unsteady like those who get drunk.