1Do you know when mountain goats give birth? Have you ever watched deer in labour? 2Have you ever counted the months that they carry their young? Do you know when they give birth? 3They crouch to drop their young, they get rid of their burdens 4and the calves, having grown big and strong, go off into the desert and never come back to them. 5Who has given the wild donkey his freedom, who has undone the harness of the brayer? 6I have given him the wastelands as his home, the salt plain as his habitat. 7He scorns the turmoil of the town, obeys no donkey-man's shouts. 8The mountains are the pastures that he ranges in quest of anything green. 9Is the wild ox willing to serve you or spend a night beside your manger? 10If you tie a rope round his neck wil he harrow the furrows for you? 11Can you rely on his massive strength and leave him to do your heavy work? 12Can you depend on him to come home and pile your grain on your threshing-floor? 13Can the wing of the ostrich be compared with the plumage of stork or falcon? 14She leaves her eggs on the ground with only earth to warm them; 15forgetting that a foot may tread on them or a wild animal crush them. 16Cruel to her chicks as if they were not hers, little she cares if her labour goes for nothing. 17God, you see, has deprived her of wisdom and given her no share of intel igence. 18Yet, if she bestirs herself to use her height, she can make fools of horse and rider too. 19Are you the one who makes the horse so brave and covers his neck with flowing mane? 20Do you make him leap like a grasshopper? His haughty neighing inspires terror. 21Exultantly he paws the soil of the val ey, and charges the battle-line in all his strength. 22He laughs at fear; he is afraid of nothing, he recoils before no sword. 23On his back the quiver rattles, the flashing spear and javelin. 24Trembling with impatience, he eats up the miles; when the trumpet sounds, there is no holding him. 25At each trumpet blast he neighs exultantly. He scents the battle from afar, the thundering of thecommanders and the war cry. 26Is it your wisdom that sets the hawk flying when he spreads his wings to travel south? 27Does the eagle soar at your command to make her eyrie in the heights? 28She spends her nights among the crags with a needle of rock as her fortress, 29from which she watches for prey, fixing it with her far-ranging eye. 30Even her young drink blood; where anyone has been killed, she is there.
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