Job 39

1 Have you knowledge of the rock-goats? or do you see the roes giving birth to their young?
2 Is the number of their months fixed by you? or is the time when they give birth ordered by you?
3 They are bent down, they give birth to their young, they let loose the fruit of their body.
4 Their young ones are strong, living in the open country; they go out and do not come back again.
5 Who has let the ass of the fields go free? or made loose the bands of the loud-voiced beast?
6 To whom I have given the waste land for a heritage, and the salt land as a living-place.
7 He makes sport of the noise of the town; the voice of the driver does not come to his ears;
8 He goes looking for his grass-lands in the mountains, searching out every green thing.
9 Will the ox of the mountains be your servant? or is his night's resting-place by your food-store?
10 Will he be pulling your plough with cords, turning up the valleys after you?
11 Will you put your faith in him, because his strength is great? will you give the fruit of your work into his care?
12 Will you be looking for him to come back, and get in your seed to the crushing-floor?
13 Is the wing of the ostrich feeble, or is it because she has no feathers,
14 That she puts her eggs on the earth, warming them in the dust,
15 Without a thought that they may be crushed by the foot, and broken by the beasts of the field?
16 She is cruel to her young ones, as if they were not hers; her work is to no purpose; she has no fear.
17 For God has taken wisdom from her mind, and given her no measure of knowledge.
18 When she is shaking her wings on high, she makes sport of the horse and of him who is seated on him.
19 Do you give strength to the horse? is it by your hand that his neck is clothed with power?
20 Is it through you that he is shaking like a locust, in the pride of his loud-sounding breath?
21 He is stamping with joy in the valley; he makes sport of fear.
22 In his strength he goes out against the arms of war, turning not away from the sword.
23 The bow is sounding against him; he sees the shining point of spear and arrow.
24 Shaking with passion, he is biting the earth; he is not able to keep quiet at the sound of the horn;
25 When it comes to his ears he says, Aha! He is smelling the fight from far off, and hearing the thunder of the captains, and the war-cries.
26 Is it through your knowledge that the hawk takes his flight, stretching out his wings to the south?
27 Or is it by your orders that the eagle goes up, and makes his resting-place on high?
28 On the rock is his house, and on the mountain-top his strong place.
29 From there he is watching for food; his eye sees it far off.
30 His young have blood for their drink, and where the dead bodies are, there is he to be seen.

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