Job 39

1 Knowest thou the time when the wild goats of the rock bring forth? [Or] canst thou mark when the hinds do calve?
2 Canst thou number the months that they fulfil? Or knowest thou the time when they bring forth?
3 They bow themselves, they bring forth their young, They cast out their pains.
4 Their young ones become strong, they grow up in the open field; They go forth, and return not again.
5 Who hath sent out the wild ass free? Or who hath loosed the bonds of the swift ass,
6 Whose home I have made the wilderness, And the salt land his dwelling-place?
7 He scorneth the tumult of the city, Neither heareth he the shoutings of the driver.
8 The range of the mountains is his pasture, And he searcheth after every green thing.
9 Will the wild-ox be content to serve thee? Or will he abide by thy crib?
10 Canst thou bind the wild-ox with his band in the furrow? Or will he harrow the valleys after thee?
11 Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? Or wilt thou leave to him thy labor?
12 Wilt thou confide in him, that he will bring home thy seed, And gather [the grain] of thy threshing-floor?
13 The wings of the ostrich wave proudly; [But] are they the pinions and plumage of love?
14 For she leaveth her eggs on the earth, And warmeth them in the dust,
15 And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, Or that the wild beast may trample them.
16 She dealeth hardly with her young ones, as if they were not hers: Though her labor be in vain, [she is] without fear;
17 Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, Neither hath he imparted to her understanding.
18 What time she lifteth up herself on high, She scorneth the horse and his rider.
19 Hast thou given the horse [his] might? Hast thou clothed his neck with the quivering mane?
20 Hast thou made him to leap as a locust? The glory of his snorting is terrible.
21 He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: He goeth out to meet the armed men.
22 He mocketh at fear, and is not dismayed; Neither turneth he back from the sword.
23 The quiver rattleth against him, The flashing spear and the javelin.
24 He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage; Neither believeth he that it is the voice of the trumpet.
25 As oft as the trumpet [soundeth] he saith, Aha! And he smelleth the battle afar off, The thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
26 Is it by thy wisdom that the hawk soareth, (And) stretcheth her wings toward the south?
27 Is it at thy command that the eagle mounteth up, And maketh her nest on high?
28 On the cliff she dwelleth, and maketh her home, Upon the point of the cliff, and the stronghold.
29 From thence she spieth out the prey; Her eyes behold it afar off.
30 Her young ones also suck up blood: And where the slain are, there is she.

Job 39 Commentary

Chapter 39

God inquires of Job concerning several animals.

- In these questions the Lord continued to humble Job. In this chapter several animals are spoken of, whose nature or situation particularly show the power, wisdom, and manifold works of God. The wild ass. It is better to labour and be good for something, than to ramble and be good for nothing. From the untameableness of this and other creatures, we may see, how unfit we are to give law to Providence, who cannot give law even to a wild ass's colt. The unicorn, a strong, stately, proud creature. He is able to serve, but not willing; and God challenges Job to force him to it. It is a great mercy if, where God gives strength for service, he gives a heart; it is what we should pray for, and reason ourselves into, which the brutes cannot do. Those gifts are not always the most valuable that make the finest show. Who would not rather have the voice of the nightingale, than the tail of the peacock; the eye of the eagle and her soaring wing, and the natural affection of the stork, than the beautiful feathers of the ostrich, which can never rise above the earth, and is without natural affection? The description of the war-horse helps to explain the character of presumptuous sinners. Every one turneth to his course, as the horse rushes into the battle. When a man's heart is fully set in him to do evil, and he is carried on in a wicked way, by the violence of his appetites and passions, there is no making him fear the wrath of God, and the fatal consequences of sin. Secure sinners think themselves as safe in their sins as the eagle in her nest on high, in the clefts of the rocks; but I will bring thee down from thence, saith the Lord, ( Jeremiah 49:16 ) . All these beautiful references to the works of nature, should teach us a right view of the riches of the wisdom of Him who made and sustains all things. The want of right views concerning the wisdom of God, which is ever present in all things, led Job to think and speak unworthily of Providence.

Chapter Summary


This chapter treats of various creatures, beasts and birds, which Job had little knowledge of, had no concern in the making of them, and scarcely any power over them; as of the goats and hinds, Job 39:1-4; of the wild ass, Job 39:5-8; of the unicorn, Job 39:9-12; of the peacock and ostrich, Job 39:13-18; of the horse, Job 39:19-25; and of the hawk and eagle, Job 39:26-30.

Job 39 Commentaries

The American Standard Version is in the public domain.