The Trial of Job

Chapter 38

God challenges Job to answer, 1-3. God, by his mighty works, convinces Job of ignorance, 4-30, and of imbecility, 31-41.

1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,

"Who is this who darkens counsel/
by words without knowledge?

Now gird up your loins like a man,/
for I will demand of you, and answer me.

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?/
Declare, if you have understanding.

Who has laid its measures, if you know?/
Or who has stretched the line upon it?

Upon what are its foundations fastened?/
Or who laid its corner stone,

When the morning stars sang together/
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Or who shut up the sea with doors/
when it broke forth as if it had issued out of the womb,

When I made a cloud its garment/
and thick darkness a swaddling cloth for it,

10 And broke up for it my decreed place/
and set bars and doors,

11 And said, 'You shall come here, but no further,/
and your proud waves shall be stayed here'?

12 Have you commanded the morning since your days/
and caused the day-spring to know its place

13 So that it might take hold of the ends of earth/
and that the wicked might be shaken out of it?

14 It is turned as clay to the seal,/
and they stand as a garment.

15 And from the wicked their light is withheld,/
and the high arm shall be broken.

16 Have you entered into the springs of the sea?/
Or have you walked in the search of the depth?

17 Have the gates of death been opened to you?/
Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death?

18 Have you perceived the breadth of the earth?/
Declare if you know it all.

19 Where is the way where light dwells?/
And as for darkness, where is its place,

20 That you should take it to its bound/
and that you should know the paths to its house?

21 Do you know it because you were born then,/
or because the number of your days is great?

22 Have you entered into the treasures of the snow?/
Or have you seen the treasures of the hail,

23 Which I have reserved against the time of trouble,/
against the day of battle and war?

24 By what way is the light parted,/
which scatters the east wind upon the earth?

25 Who has divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters,/
or a way for the lightning of thunder,

26 To cause it to rain on the earth where no man is,/
on the wilderness in which there is no man,

27 To satisfy the desolate and waste ground,/
and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?

28 Has the rain a father?/
Or who has begotten the drops of the dew?

29 Out of whose womb did the ice come?/
And the hoary frost of heaven, who has engendered it?

30 The waters are hid as with a stone/
and the face of the deep is frozen.

31 Can you bind the sweet influences of Pleiades,/
or loosen the cords of Orion?

32 Can you bring forth Mazzaroth in its season?/
Or can you guide Arcturus with its sons?

33 Do you know the ordinances of heaven?/
Can you set its dominion on the earth?

34 Can you lift your voice to the clouds/
so that abundance of waters may cover you?

35 Can you send lightnings so that they may go/
and say to you, 'Here we are'?

36 Who has put wisdom in the inward parts?/
Or who has given understanding to the heart?

37 Who can number the clouds in wisdom?/
Or who can stay the bottles of heaven,

38 When the dust grows into hardness/
and the clods cleave fast together?

39 Will you hunt the prey for the lion,/
or fill the appetite of the young lions,

40 When they couch in their dens/
and abide in the covert to lie in wait?

41 Who provides for the raven his food?/
When his young ones cry to God,/
they wander for lack of food."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Job, Chapter 38[➚]


John Gill's Chapter Summary:

In this chapter the Lord takes up the controversy with Job; calls upon him to prepare to engage with him in it, and demands an answer to posing questions he puts to him, concerning the earth and the fabric of it (verses 1-7); concerning the sea, compared to an infant in the womb, at its birth, in its swaddling cloths and cradle (verses 8-11); concerning the morning light, its spread and influence (verses 12-15); concerning the springs of the sea, the dark parts of the earth, the place both of light and darkness (verses 16-21); concerning the various meteors, snow, hail, rain, thunder, lightning, and the influences of the stars (verses 22-38); and concerning provision for lions and ravens (verses 40-41).

[v.2-3] - Previously (Job 23:3-7), Job wished that God would speak to him. This chapter and the following three chapters, make up God's answering Job.

[v.31] - "or loose the cords of Orion?" - This can also be read as, "or loosen the belt of Orion?"

[v.32a] - "Or can you guide Arcturus with its sons?" - This may also be read as, "Or can you guide the Bear with her cubs?"

[v.32b] - "Arcturus" - From John Gill's Exposition: "A constellation of many stars called its sons, of which see Job 9:9. Schmidt conjectures that Jupiter and his satellites are meant; but rather what we call the greater and lesser Bear, in the tail of which is the north pole star, the guide of mariners, said to be found out by Thales, by which the Phoenicians sailed, but is not to be guided by men; this constellation is fancied to be in the form of a wain or wagon, and is called Charles's wain; could this be admitted, there might be thought to be an allusion to it, and the sense be, canst thou guide and lead this constellation, as a wagon or team of horses can be guided and led? Stars have their courses, Judges 5:20; but are not steered, guided, and directed by men, but by the Lord himself."

[v.41a] - "He who is the feeder of sparrows, will also furnish you with what you need." —Charles Spurgeon

[v.41b] - Reference, Matthew 6:26; Luke 12:24.