2, 3. without power . . . no strength . . . no
wisdom--The negatives are used instead of the positives,
powerlessness, &c., designedly (so
Granting I am, as you say
(Job 18:17; 15:2),
powerlessness itself, &c. "How hast thou helped such a
3. plentifully . . . the thing as it is--rather,
"abundantly--wisdom." Bildad had made great pretensions to abundant
wisdom. How has he shown it?
4. For whose instruction were thy words meant? If for me I know the
subject (God's omnipotence) better than my instructor;
is a sample of Job's knowledge of it.
whose spirit--not that of God
nay, rather, the borrowed sentiment of Eliphaz
(Job 4:17-19; 15:14-16).
5-14. As before in the ninth and twelfth chapters, Job had shown
himself not inferior to the friends' inability to describe God's
greatness, so now he describes it as manifested in hell (the world of
Job 26:5, 6;
in the sky,
Dead things are formed--Rather, "The souls of the dead (Rephaim)
tremble." Not only does God's power exist, as Bildad says
"in high places" (heaven), but reaches to the region of the dead.
Rephaim here, and in
and Isa 14:9,
is from a Hebrew root, meaning "to be weak," hence "deceased";
it is applied to the Canaanite giants; perhaps in derision, to express
their weakness, in spite of their gigantic size, as compared with
or, as the imagination of the living magnifies
apparitions, the term originally was applied to ghosts, and then to
giants in general [MAGEE].
from under--UMBREIT joins this with the
previous word "tremble from beneath" (so
But the Masoretic text joins it to "under the waters." Thus the place
of the dead will be represented as "under the waters"
(Ps 18:4, 5);
and the waters as under the earth
MAGEE well translates thus: "The souls of the dead
tremble; (the places) under the waters, and their inhabitants." Thus
the Masoretic connection is retained; and at the same time the parallel
clauses are evenly balanced. "The inhabitants of the places under the
waters" are those in Gehenna, the lower of the two parts into which
Sheol, according to the Jews, is divided; they answer to "destruction,"
that is, the place of the wicked in
to "Hell" (Sheol)
"Sheol" comes from a Hebrew root--"ask," because it is
or "ask as a loan to be returned," implying Sheol is but a
temporary abode, previous to the resurrection; so for English
Version "formed," the Septuagint and Chaldee
translate; shall be born, or born again, implying the
dead are to be given back from Sheol and born again into a
new state [MAGEE].
destruction--the abode of destruction, that is, of lost souls.
no covering--from God's eyes.
7. Hint of the true theory of the earth. Its suspension in empty
space is stated in the second clause. The north in particular is
specified in the first, being believed to be the highest part of the
The northern hemisphere or vault of heaven is included; often
compared to a stretched-out canopy
The chambers of the south are mentioned
that is, the southern hemisphere, consistently with the earth's
8. in . . . clouds--as if in airy vessels, which, though light, do
not burst with the weight of water in them
9. Rather, He encompasseth or closeth.God makes the clouds
a veil to screen the glory not only of His person, but even of the
exterior of His throne from profane eyes. His agency is everywhere, yet
He Himself is invisible
(Ps 18:11; 104:3).
10. Rather, "He hath drawn a circular bound round the waters"
The horizon seems a circle. Indication is given of the globular form of
until the day, &c.--to the confines of light and darkness. When
the light falls on our horizon, the other hemisphere is dark. UMBREIT and MAURER translate "He has
most perfectly (literally, to perfection) drawn the bound (taken
from the first clause) between light and darkness" (compare
Ge 1:4, 6, 9):
where the bounding of the light from darkness is similarly brought into
proximity with the bounding of the waters.
11. pillars--poetically for the mountains which seem to bear up the
astonished--namely, from terror. Personification.
The thunder, reverberating from cliff to cliff
Perhaps at creation
(Ge 1:9, 10).
The parallel clause favors UMBREIT, "He stilleth."
But the Hebrew means "He moves." Probably such a "moving" is
meant as that at the assuaging of the flood by the wind which "God made
to pass over" it
the proud--rather, "its pride," namely, of the sea
13. UMBREIT less simply, "By His breath He
maketh the heavens to revive": namely, His wind dissipates the clouds,
which obscured the shining stars. And so the next clause in contrast,
"His hand doth strangle," that is, obscures the north constellation,
the dragon. Pagan astronomy typified the flood trying to destroy the
ark by the dragon constellation, about to devour the moon in its
eclipsed crescent-shape like a boat
Margin). But better as English Version
crooked--implying the oblique course, of the stars, or the ecliptic.
"Fleeing" or "swift" [UMBREIT]
This particular constellation is made to represent the splendor of all
14. parts--Rather, "only the extreme boundaries of," &c., and how
faint is the whisper that we hear of Him!
thunder--the entire fulness. In antithesis to "whisper"
(1Co 13:9, 10, 12).