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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Job 38

Verses 1-41

JOB - CHAPTER 38

JEHOVAH AND JOB

Verses 1-41:

Verses 1, 2 assert that then, at this time, after the extended addresses of Elihu, Job’s three friends, and Job, the Lord responded to Job’s laments and cries, unexpectedly, out of the whirlwind, the commotion that was stirred, as a symbol of boiling judgment. God came to answer Job’s questions and lead Job to the conclusion that submission to, not reasoning on, God’s judgments, is man’s duty, Exodus 19:16; Exodus 19:18. Such requires discipline and develops character in those who accept suffering, even in innocence, for the glory of God, without complaint, 1 Peter 4:12-16. His first question was "just who is this that darkens counsel, or obscures light by words void of understanding?" or lacking comprehension? Job 34:35; Job 42:3. See also 1Kg 19:11; Ezekiel 1:4; Nahum 1:3.

Verse 3 calls upon Job to gird up (girt or bind up) his loins like an "hero-­man;’ a man ready for battle, Job 40:7; 1 Corinthians 16:13; Job 9:35; Job 13:22; Job 31:25. Man wore long, flowing robes in the heat of the middle east, held or girt up tightly by a girdle, on three occasions: 1) for running, 2) for hard labor, and 3) for fighting. See also 1 Peter 1:13.

Verse 4 begins an extended inquiry of Jehovah God of Job, designed to humble Job further, and cause him to pray for his three friends from afar, his critics who made him suffer more by their charges, even tho they were wrong, Job 42:10; Matthew 5:44; It was designed to reflect in him an evidence of maturity, more like that of the Lord, who prayed for His persecutors from the cross, and as Stephen did while dying, Acts 7:60.

Verse 4 further inquires of Job where he was when Jehovah laid out the foundations of the earth. Finite beings, tho bearing the image of Jehovah God, are limited in their knowledge of original things, to the ex­tent that their Creator has revealed them to them, See? They can not fathom the wisdom, purpose, or designs of infinite wisdom, Job 28:12; Job 15:7-8; Proverbs 8:23. Job is asked to explain it, if he has the knowledge or understanding that he thinks himself to have.

Verses 5, 6 ask Job to explain further who laid the foundations of the earth, and the cornerstone? and who anchored them fast? Or who did the work, after the architect of v.5, laid out the measurements and line ­plumbing work, as both architect and engineer? See Isaiah 28:17 for the symbolism illustration. The fastening of foundation stones, v.4 was literally by a sinking of the stones of the corner, deep into the earth, until they settled finally in the clay, Job 26:7.

Verse 7 continues to ask Job just where he was, existed, or resided when the morning stars sang together, at the early morn of creation. Stars are personified as singing in harmonious glee, glorious praise to the Creator, as in Psalms 19:1; Psalms 148:3. They are servants to the earth, as angels, called "the sons of men," who "shouted for joy," are to the redeemed, among men, Psalms 34:7. See also Job 1:6; Job 2:1; Job 25:5; Psalms 101:4; Revelation 5:11.

Verse 8 asks Job to explain who shut up or closed the doors to the sea-flood, the flood gates, to stop the great flood? Genesis 7:11. Who stopped the womb of the flood when the chaotic "foundation" of the earth erupted? See also Genesis 1:9; Psalms 24:2; Psalms 33:7; Psalms 95:5; Psalms 104:9; Psalms 136:6; Proverbs 8:28-29; Jeremiah 5:22; 2 Peter 3:5.

Verse 9 declared that Job should dispute with the Creator, only if he had the age to have been present as a witness, when the Lord made the cloud-ocean, or ocean like a cloud, that wrapped the earth about as swaddling bands; As He created all the earth together in one place, with one sea surrounding it, Genesis 1:9-10; It appears that Job was reminded of the Lord how the earth, as He created it, was all in one place, one continent, surrounded by one sea; It was a thing that evidently continued until in the days of Peleg, great grandson of Noah, after the flood, when "the earth was divided," evidently into its present different continental forms, Genesis 10:25.

Verses 10, 11 assert further that the Jehovah God who was addressing Job was the one who "brake up" for it, the created universe, divided for it, His decreed place, setting bars and doors between the seas and her continents. And He addressed the bars and doors, instructing them how far each should come or go, be broken up, and no further; You see He controls the earth and the seas still, at His will, as set forth further, restricting even how far the proud, boisterous waves of the sea may go, Isaiah 27:8; Job 26:10.

Verses 12, 13 ask Job also if he had commanded the morning daily during his life, as God does, and caused the dayspring to know his place, causing the sun to rise on time, in varying parts of the earth? Tho it varies from place to place, and time to time, it obeys God in giving light at Divinely fixed and regulated times, Psalms 74:16; Psalms 148:5. See? This it does, taking hold of the earth’s spreading light over all the earth, that the wicked "who love darkness rather than light," may be shaken out of it, out of spiritual darkness, as set forth Job 24:13; Psalms 19:1-4; John 3:19-20.

Verses 14,15 explain that "it," the dayspring or the sun is turned (turns itself about) cylindrically as clay to the seal or image wheel. "They stand," as a garment, means the form of earth’s beauty, as disclosed by the sun, stands out like a beautiful garment that covers the earth. From the wicked their light (which is darkness) is withholden, removed or taken away; Their darkness (by which they work) is taken away or extinguished by the dayspring, the shining morning sun, Job 24:17. And the "high arm," arm lifted for theft, plunder, rape, or murder, "shall be broken," fall down through fear of the light, John 3:19-20.

Verse 16 inquires of Job whether or not he has ever entered into the "spring of the sea," the foundation that boils forth from beneath the sea, to keep her waters ever moving, Psalms 77; Psalms 19; Psalms 95:5. And he is to reply whether or not he has ever searched out, or walked in an exploration of the caverns of the depth of the sea? Psalms 139:9.

Verse 17 continues a probe of Job’s experimental knowledge, turning from matters of creation and nature, to the experience of death. Have the "gates of death ever been opened to him?" or has he ever seen the door of the "shadow of death?" During life man does not "see" the gates (entrance) to the realm of the dead. Nor are they opened to him, Job 10:21; Yet, they are naked before God, Job 26:6; Psalms 9:13.

Verses 18-20 challenge Job to disclose or explain if he knows or comprehends the breadth (or marvels) of the earth and heavens, as God does, Job 38:24, Where, if he could explain, does light dwell or reside? And while answering, Job was asked to explain also the place or locality in which darkness resided. Did he know where they resided well enough to guide one there and show him where they dwelt, what path led to where the two, light and darkness, might be found headquartered? Isaiah 36:17; Job 26:10.

Verse 21 asks if Job knows the answer to the residence of light and darkness because he was not born when they received their

dwelling places, Or did he know such because of his age of great days? The idea was, was Job present when Jehovah created light and darkness. If not then he should not contest the wisdom or works of the ancient Creator, the God of the universe, See? Job 15:7.

Verse 22 inquires of Job’s knowledge of the elements. Has he comprehended the treasures (or storehouses) of the snow? Or of the hail? The snow is formed into crystal like images of a variety of beautiful figures from congealed vapour in the air. Hail is formed by distilled raindrops as they fall through cold air. These are purifiers of the air and deliverers of oxygen to the soil of the earth, Psalms 147:16.

Verse 23 adds that Jehovah had reserved these (snow and hail) against the time of trouble, and the day of battle and war, when He should purpose to chastise men by special use of them, Exodus 9:18; Joshua 10:11; Revelation 16:21; Isaiah 21:17; Isaiah 30:30; Psalms 18:12-13; Haggai 2:17; Ezekiel 13:11; Ezekiel 13:13; Revelation 16:21.

Verse 24 asks Job to explain by what means, or in what way, the light is parted, continually scattering or defusing the east wind upon the earth, tho it appears to come from one particular point, from the sun, to the earth, 90 million miles, in about eight minutes, as suggested Jonah 4:8.

Verses 25-27 Interrogates Job further to please explain who had divided a watercourse as a path, to air canals in which rain clouds and rains are formed, and move across the earth to empty themselves upon the earth? And who made a way for lightning flashes to travel and thunder to roll? Just who causes these clouds, lightning, thunder, and rain to move in convoy over the earth; covering deserts and wilderness, where no man resides? Job 28:26. Who causes these to bear the cool air and rain to satisfy the burning desolate places of the earth, making them to bud and the tender herb to shoot forth in her season, proper time? Since "no man is out there" to cover or produce these, it is the necessary inference that such comes by the power and will of the owner of the universe, His property, for which He has Divine care, Exodus 19:5; Psalms 24:1; Psalms 50:10; Psalms 50:12; 1 Corinthians 10:26.

Verse 28 Inquires whether or not the rain has a father or the dewdrops have one who begat them, a living creator? Job 6:16. Or did they just evolve by self-energy? Did some man create or give birth to rain or dew? Or do they have a creator? Psalms 147:8; Jeremiah 14:22.

Verse 29 continues to inquire out of whose womb ice had its blessed origin, a human being? The womb of fate? Or does Job believe that there is a living creator who has and does create and sustain recreation of ice? And who begets the hoary (white) frost of heaven? Would you explain, please? Jehovah inquires of Job. Job 6:16; Psalms 147:16; Job 37:10.

Verse 30 adds that "the waters are hid" (the unfrozen waters) under the frozen waters, as with a stone, so as to cohere or hold one to the other, as the face of the deep is frozen over. It is as lakes and streams in arctic areas are often frozen in stone-like firmness, to cover or protect the greater body of waters of the earth, to support the covenant seasons, as set forth Genesis 8:22.

Verse 31 begins Jehovah’s inquiry of Job regarding the constellations of stars. Is Job able to bind or control the sweet influences of Pleiades (the seven stars) or loose the bans of Orion’s constellation? The seven stars of the lesser and greater "dippers" have some dynamic, orderly, sustaining power to hold them together, direct their paths, and cause them to bless travelers on land and on sea. By what or whose power are they bound, energized and controlled? Would Job give his answer, Job 9:9; Amos 5:8.

Verse 32 asks If Job can bring forth Mazaroth (the 12 signs of the Zodiac) into the sky in their seasons orderly? Or could he guide or direct Arcturius with his sons (ursa major) with the three stars in Its tall? Could Job cause them to appear on schedule. 2Kg 23:5; Job 9:9.

Verse 33 inquires whether or not Job Is knowledgeable of the definitive ordinances of heaven, so that he could fix or set the dominion of those ordinances up some where on earth so that man could administer them. These extended questions, of rhetoric nature, suggest that surely Job and mankind are too finite, too limited In knowledge, wisdom and power to be entrusted with such powers that are preserved unto Jehovah God, Genesis 1:16; Genesis 8:22; Psalms 119:90-91; Jeremiah 31:35-36.

Verses 34, 35 continue Jehovah’s Interrogation of Job; Can he speak to the clouds, to cause them to obey him, in giving him rain at his request or command? Job 22:11; Jeremiah 14:22. If he had made them or brought them and commanded them they were obligated to obey, but he had done neither, See? Is Job able to give an order, command or mandate to lightnings, that they may strike, return as servants to say to their master or commander "here we are," at your service? The necessary answer implied is that he could not. For he had not created nor did he own the lightning, See? The clouds and lightning belong to their Creator as vocal witnesses of the living God to men who can hear, who will hear, who are not willfully, spiritually deaf, Psalms 19:1-4; Isaiah 6:8.

Verse 36 asks Job to acknowledge just who it was that puts wisdom in the inward parts, or has given and gives understanding to the hearts of men! Who gives man mental acumen or perception? the power to perceive, Job 32:8.

Verses 37, 38 ask just who can enumerate the clouds in wisdom? Just how many particles go to make up the clouds? Or who can stay, delay, or prevent the bottles of heaven, the rain-filled clouds from emptying themselves upon the earth? Is any able? If so, who is he? Ecclesiastes 11:3. All this exists in the wisdom and power of God, not man, See? When the dust grows, increases or expands its volume into hardness, solids or vapor, and the clouds of large distilled raindrops cleave close together who can count, enumerate, or calculate their number, or keep them from falling upon the earth, from their air flow channels and cloud-vessel­ containers in the heavens? The answer is, none.

Verse 39 inquires of Job whether or not he will hunt or stalk the prey (food) for the lion, to satisfy his hunger? Psalms 104:21; Psalms 145:15. Or is he able or willing to fill the recurring, voracious appetite of the young, growing lions? Job 33:20; For life depends on satisfying the appetite.

Verse 40 adds, would you secure or provide their food when they either crouch In their dens or abide in the covert place to lie in wait? Psalms 10:9.

Verse 41 continues to ask if Job would explain who provides food for the raven. The Lord switches, from the care of the noble lion, to the croaking raven, considered to be of ill-omen; Yet God cares for it. Will Job acknowledge it, with penitent humility? This is the question, Psalms 104:27-28; Psalms 147:9; Matthew 6:26. When the young wander, cry, croak for food, God provides it for, cares for them. How much more for men! Luke 12:24; Philippians 4:19.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Job 38". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/job-38.html. 1985.