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Bible Commentaries
Job 26

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Job Chapter 26

Job 26:1 "But Job answered and said,"

Job 26:2 "How hast thou helped [him that is] without power? [how] savest thou the arm [that hath] no strength?" Job asked Bildad, how he had helped him? If he were truly a friend, he would be trying to help Job, and not tear him down. He said to Bildad, "you say I am weak and helpless, how have you tried to help me?"

Job 26:3 "How hast thou counselled [him that hath] no wisdom? And [how] hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?" Bildad had spent his time trying to destroy Job. He had no intention of helping him by counselling him. He had done nothing but accuse Job of things he was not guilty of. Job reprimanded him for not telling things the way they were. We can see that Bildad’s jealousy of Job had driven him to many of these accusations. Bildad had accused Job of being unwise, as well as being a sinner.

Job 26:4 "To whom hast thou uttered words? and whose spirit came from thee?" Job wanted to know just who it was that had prompted Bildad to say such things. Not any of the things he had said dealt with things the way they really were. Bildad was being used of that old accuser, Satan, himself.

Job 26:5 "Dead [things] are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof." Bildad had thought of God as dwelling in heaven alone. He did not realize that God was omnipresent. God is not only in heaven but on the earth, as well. This could be speaking of hell, that is under the water.

Job 26:6 "Hell [is] naked before him, and destruction hath no covering." Even hell is within the view of God. It is, also, under the control of God. God is not controlled by anyone, or anything. He is the controller of all things. He controls Satan, as well.

Job 26:7 "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, [and] hangeth the earth upon nothing." It was by God’s hand that all of the beautiful stars were hung in the northern sky. Of course, all planets, and the moon, and sun, were created by God, and placed in the empty space of the sky, and told to stay in their places. The earth is not hanging, or sitting, on anything. It is in the open sky, where God put it and told it to stay.

Job 26:8 "He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them." The water that becomes rain upon the earth is held in the clouds, until God releases it to rain. Nothing, except God, can cause them to release their water.

Job 26:9 "He holdeth back the face of his throne, [and] spreadeth his cloud upon it." The "throne of God in heaven" is hidden to the human eye by the clouds that surround it. The mercy seat in the holy of holies was covered with a thick cloud of smoke when God’s presence was there. He is not to be seen with the natural eye of man. He may be seen in the spirit. When we all go to heaven, we will see Him face to face. The reason that we will be able to see Him at that time, is we will be in our spiritual bodies.

Job 26:10 "He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end." It was God who set the bounds for the oceans. The waters in the sky are, also, restrained, until God wants them released. As long as there is night and day upon the earth, these restraints will be in place. This earth and heaven will pass away someday, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth. In that place, there will be no night.

Job 26:11 "The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof." Everything in heaven is in that same restrained condition, until God releases them. Even the heavens tremble at the voice of God. Some people believe that thunder and lightning in the sky is God shaking things up a bit.

Job 26:12 "He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud." In the Bible, there are several demonstrations that God controls the seas, as well as the heavens and the land. A very good example of that was the dividing of the Red Sea. We know that God smote Satan, because of his pride. He will do the same thing to anyone who becomes too proud of himself. God has a way of humbling proud men.

Job 26:13 "By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent." We know that God made the heavens and all of their beauty by His spoken Word. The hand of God is a symbol of work. This was saying, that even the crooked serpent was a creation of God’s hand. When the serpent was in his unfallen state, he walked upright, possibly. After his deception, he was cursed to crawl on his belly, and eat the dust of the earth.

Job 26:14 "Lo, these [are] parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?" We know that many times the thunder is connected with the voice of God. When Moses had the children of Israel around the foot of the mountain to hear the ten commandments, the voice of God was spoken of as a thunder. It frightened the Israelites terribly. No one can understand the voice of God in the thunder, unless God reveals the Words to the listener.

Job 26 Questions

1. What did Job ask Bildad in verse 1 of chapter 26?

2. What had Bildad said about Job?

3. What had driven Bildad to some of these accusations?

4. Who had Bildad been used of in accusing Job?

5. Even hell is within the view of ________.

6. Where did Bildad think God was?

7. What is Job 26:7 saying about what God had done?

8. Who releases the rain to the earth?

9. How is the throne of God in heaven hidden from the human eye?

10. God set the bounds of the ___________.

11. What causes things in heaven to tremble?

12. Who formed the crooked serpent?

Verses 1-4

Job 26:1-4

Job 26

JOB’S NINTH SPEECH:

JOB’S EVALUATION OF HIS FRIENDS’ "CONSOLATIONS"

Job 26:1-4

"Then Job answered, and said,

How hast thou helped him who is without power!

How hast thou saved the arm that hath no strength!

How hast thou counseled him that hath no wisdom,

And plentifully declared sound knowledge!

To whom hast thou uttered words?

And whose spirit came forth from thee?"

Our interpretation of this passage is that it is an ironic and sarcastic rejection by Job of his friends’ inability to bring him any consolation whatever. We believe that all of the opening clauses here are interrogatives and should be followed by question marks.

"Whose spirit came forth from thee?" (Job 26:4). Driver gave the meaning here as, "You are comforting me with words you have plagiarized." Kelly agreed with this, writing that, "Job implies that Bildad’s speech is not his own view, that he parrots another, or is repeating what some evil spirit has told him."

E.M. Zerr:

Job 26:1-2. This is the beginning of Job’s speech of 6 chapters. The three friends have been given turns to argue against him. Here we have the wonderful spectacle of three healthy men, in possession of all their faculties and blessings, taking turns attacking one man. This one man was unaided and was compelled to talk against the 3 men while he was overwhelmed with disease and stinging from the loss of family and property. But he was strong in the righteousness of his cause. In this long speech Job will give us many truths, not only such as will directly concern the issue between him and the three friends, but will be instructive for all of us. Much of the speech will be on the goodness and greatness of God.

Job 26:3-4. The language is in question form but is intended to be positive as declaring the greatness of God.

Verses 5-8

Job 26:5-8

Job 26:5-8

JOB EXTOLS THE WONDER OF GOD’S GREAT WORKS

"They that are deceased tremble

Beneath the waters and the inhabitants thereof.

Sheol is naked before God,

And Abaddon hath no covering.

He stretcheth out the North over empty space,

And hangeth the earth upon nothing.

He bindeth up the waters in the thick clouds;

And the cloud is not rent under them."

There is an amazing comprehensiveness in Job’s understanding of God’s power in these verses. "He recognizes God’s dominion as not only existing in heaven and upon earth, but under the earth as well, even over the inhabitants of Hades, spoken of here as being under the oceans." Here is a reference to persons under the earth, as also in the New Testament (Revelation 5:3).

"And hangeth the earth upon nothing" (Job 26:3). The amazing truth of what is said here was unknown in pre-Christian ages and thus anticipates scientific information of modern times by thousands of years. Incidentally, the truth of these things here spoken with regard to God positively identifies these words as Job’s, not Bildad’s, as some have vainly supposed. Job spoke truth; Bildad did not (Job 42:7).

Job 26 is one of the grandest recitals in the whole book. It is excelled only by the Lord’s speeches.

"It sounds well in Job’s mouth. It ends the dialogue, like the first movement of a symphony, with great crushing chords." Stealing parts of this chapter and putting the words in the mouth of Job’s friends is ridiculous, a vandalism on this chapter that has actually been committed by, "So many scholars."

"He bindeth up the waters in the thick clouds, and yet the cloud is not rent" (Job 26:8). Only in the wonderful power of God Himself is there any full understanding of the mysteries that lie about us in the natural creation.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 26:5. Dead is from a word that means "ghost," and is used here in the sense of something unseen to man. The myriad of creatures in the sea unknown and unseen by man have been the work of God.

Job 26:6. Hell in the O.T. is always from SHEOL and Strong defines it, "hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat), including its accessories and inmates)." It has been translated in the A. V. by grave, hell and pit. This verse means that God knows all about the unseen world, and things that would wish to cause destruction are subject to His power.

Job 26:7. The earth is not resting on any material known to man that could support such a ponderous weight. Therefore it is like hanging it on nothing.

Job 26:8. We can see the clouds floating through the air over us and holding the moisture in suspense. When it rains the clouds have changed to water according to the law of the Creator, and thus it is not the clouds that are coming down. The familiar term "cloudburst" is a misleading one for there is no such thing in reality. As long as the vapor Is uncondensed the cloud will remain intact.

Verses 9-14

Job 26:9-14

Job 26:9-14

JOB’S THOUGHT REGARDING THE CREATION BY GOD’S SPIRIT

"He that encloseth the face of his throne,

And spreadeth his cloud upon it.

He hath described a boundary upon the face of the waters,

Unto the confines of light and darkness.

The pillars of heaven tremble.

And are astonished at his rebuke.

He stirreth up the sea with his power,

And by his understanding smiteth through Rahab.

By his Spirit the heavens are garnished;

His hand hath pierced the swift serpent.

Lo, these are but the outskirts of his ways:

And how small a whisper do we hear of him!

But the thunder of his power who can understand?"

"By his Spirit" (Job 26:13). Corresponding with the great truth in Genesis 1:2, it is God’s Spirit that performs all the wonders of Creation.

The general thought of this paragraph, according to Heavenor, is that, "Earth and sea alike bear witness to the mighty power of God; how mighty must be the God of an ordered universe"!

Some scholars find all kinds of references in this section to Babylonian mythology; but Job’s statement in Job 26:7 absolutely contradicts the Babylonian Creation myth. "That myth supposed that the earth was a flat disc resting on the `great deep,’ an ocean of waters, standing for Chaos." Job taught that God suspended the earth on nothing (Job 26:7). We challenge anyone to find a more perpendicular contradiction of Babylonian mythology than that. Oh yes, some terms that are suggestive of ancient myths are found here, such as the "swift serpent," and "Rahab"; but the cosmology here is Biblical, it is absolutely not mythological.

Moffatt’s translation of the last few lines of this chapter is beautiful:

"And all this is the mere fringe of his force,

The faintest whisper we can hear of him!

Who knows then the full thunder of his power!"

E.M. Zerr:

Job 26:9. Holdeth, back. The second word is not in the original and adds no important thought to the text. The first is from ACHAZ and Strong defines it, "a primitive root; to seize (often with the accessory idea of holding in possession)." The verse means that God has complete possession of his throne and can hide it from the universe at his will.

Job 26:10. The compass (archway) of the sky corresponds with the circle of the earth. That circular globe, revolving, causes the alternations of light and darkness.

Job 26:11. The heavenly bodies obey the commands of God. (Joshua 10:12-13; 2 Kings 20:11.)

Job 26:12. Divideth is from a word that means to quell or manage with his power. Jesus gave a demonstration of that power in Mark 4:37-41.

Job 26:13. Many of the verses treat of subjects that are widely different except that all show the power of God. To garnish means to cause to shine; the sky glistens by the power of God. Even the crooked (fleeing) serpent was made by divine power.

Job 26:14. God’s great works are not fully appreciated by man. These are only a portion of the many wonders of creation.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Job 26". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/job-26.html.
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