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1. Even wild beasts, cut off from all care of man, are cared for
by God at their seasons of greatest need. Their instinct comes
direct from God and guides them to help themselves in parturition; the
very time when the herdsman is most anxious for his herds.
2. They bring forth with ease and do not need to reckon the months of pregnancy, as the shepherd does in the case of his flocks.
3. bow themselves--in parturition; bend on their knees
4. are in good liking--in good condition, grow up strong.
5. wild ass--Two different Hebrew words are here used for the
same animal, "the ass of the woods" and "the wild ass."
7. multitude--rather, "din"; he sets it at defiance, being far away
from it in the freedom of the wilderness.
8. The range--literally, "searching," "that which it finds by searching is his pasture."
9. unicorn--PLINY [Natural History,
8.21], mentions such an animal; its figure is found depicted in the
ruins of Persepolis. The Hebrew reem conveys the idea of
loftiness and power (compare Ramah; Indian,
Ram; Latin, Roma). The rhinoceros was perhaps the
original type of the unicorn. The Arab rim is a two-horned
animal. Sometimes "unicorn" or reem is a mere poetical symbol or
abstraction; but the buffalo is the animal referred to here, from the
contrast to the tame ox, used in ploughing
(Job 39:10, 12).
11. thy labour--rustic work.
13. Rather, "the wing of the ostrich hen"--literally, "the crying bird"; as the Arab name for it means "song"; referring to its night cries (Job 30:29; Mic 1:8) vibrating joyously. "Is it not like the quill and feathers of the pious bird" (the stork)? [UMBREIT]. The vibrating, quivering wing, serving for sail and oar at once, is characteristic of the ostrich in full course. Its white and black feathers in the wing and tail are like the stork's. But, unlike that bird, the symbol of parental love in the East, it with seeming want of natural (pious) affection deserts its young. Both birds are poetically called by descriptive, instead of their usual appellative, names.
14, 15. Yet (unlike the stork) she "leaveth," &c. Hence called by the Arabs "the impious bird." However, the fact is, she lays her eggs with great care and hatches them, as other birds do; but in hot countries the eggs do not need so constant incubation; she therefore often leaves them and sometimes forgets the place on her return. Moreover, the outer eggs, intended for food, she feeds to her young; these eggs, lying separate in the sand, exposed to the sun, gave rise to the idea of her altogether leaving them. God describes her as she seems to man; implying, though she may seem foolishly to neglect her young, yet really she is guided by a sure instinct from God, as much as animals of instincts widely different.
16. On a slight noise she often forsakes her eggs, and returns not,
as if she were "hardened towards her young."
17. wisdom--such as God gives to other animals, and to man (Job 35:11). The Arab proverb is, "foolish as an ostrich." Yet her very seeming want of wisdom is not without wise design of God, though man cannot see it; just as in the trials of the godly, which seem so unreasonable to Job, there lies hid a wise design.
18. Notwithstanding her deficiencies, she has distinguishing
19. The allusion to "the horse"
suggests the description of him. Arab poets delight in praising the
horse; yet it is not mentioned in the possessions of Job
(Job 1:3; 42:12).
It seems to have been at the time chiefly used for war, rather than
20. make . . . afraid--rather, "canst thou (as I do) make him
spring as the locust?" So in
the comparison is between locusts and war-horses. The
heads of the two are so similar that the Italians call the locusts
cavaletta, "little horse."
21. valley--where the battle is joined.
23. quiver--for the arrows, which they contain, and which are
directed "against him."
24. swalloweth--Fretting with impatience, he
draws the ground towards him with his hoof, as if he would
swallow it. The parallelism shows this to be the sense; not as
MAURER, "scours over it."
27. eagle--It flies highest of all birds: thence called "the bird of heaven."
29. seeketh--is on the lookout for.
30. Quoted partly by Jesus Christ
The food of young eagles is the blood of victims brought by the parent,
when they are still too feeble to devour flesh.