Job 38

The LORD answers from a whirlwind

1 Then the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind:
2 Who is this darkening counsel with words lacking knowledge?
3 Prepare yourself like a man; I will interrogate you, and you will respond to me.

The establishing of order

4 Where were you when I laid the earth's foundations? Tell me if you know.
5 Who set its measurements? Surely you know. Who stretched a measuring tape on it?
6 On what were its footings sunk; who laid its cornerstone,
7 while the morning stars sang in unison and all the divine beings shouted?
8 Who enclosed the Sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment, the dense clouds its wrap,
10 when I imposed my limit for it, put on a bar and doors
11 and said, "You may come this far, no farther; here your proud waves stop"?
12 In your lifetime have you commanded the morning, informed the dawn of its place
13 so it would take hold of earth by its edges and shake the wicked out of it?
14 Do you turn it over like clay for a seal, so it stands out like a colorful garment?
15 Light is withheld from the wicked, the uplifted arm broken.

The vast beyond

16 Have you gone to the sea's sources, walked in the chamber of the deep?
17 Have death's gates been revealed to you; can you see the gates of deep darkness?
18 Have you surveyed earth's expanses? Tell me if you know everything about it.
19 Where's the road to the place where light dwells; darkness, where's it located?
20 Can you take it to its territory; do you know the paths to its house?
21 You know, for you were born then; you have lived such a long time!
22 Have you gone to snow's storehouses, seen the storehouses of hail
23 that I have reserved for a time of distress, for a day of battle and war?
24 What is the way to the place where light is divided up; the east wind scattered over earth?

Meteorological facts

25 Who cut a channel for the downpours and a way for blasts of thunder
26 to bring water to uninhabited land, a desert with no human
27 to saturate dry wasteland and make grass sprout?
28 Has the rain a father who brought forth drops of dew?
29 From whose belly does ice come; who gave birth to heaven's frost?
30 Water hardens like stone; the surface of the deep thickens.
31 Can you bind Pleiades' chains or loosen the reins of Orion?
32 Can you guide the stars at their proper times, lead the Bear with her cubs?
33 Do you know heaven's laws, or can you impose its rule on earth?
34 Can you issue an order to the clouds so their abundant waters cover you?
35 Can you send lightning so that it goes and then says to you, "I'm here"?
36 Who put wisdom in remote places, or who gave understanding to a rooster?
37 Who is wise enough to count the clouds, and who can tilt heaven's water containers
38 so that dust becomes mud and clods of dirt adhere?

Lion and raven

39 Can you hunt prey for the lion or fill the cravings of lion cubs?
40 They lie in their den, lie in ambush in their lair.
41 Who provides food for the raven when its young cry to God, move about without food?

Images for Job 38

Job 38 Commentary

Chapter 38

God calls upon Job to answer. (1-3) God questions Job. (4-11) Concerning the light and darkness. (12-24) Concerning other mighty works. (25-41)

Verses 1-3 Job had silenced, but had not convinced his friends. Elihu had silenced Job, but had not brought him to admit his guilt before God. It pleased the Lord to interpose. The Lord, in this discourse, humbles Job, and brings him to repent of his passionate expressions concerning God's providential dealings with him; and this he does, by calling upon Job to compare God's being from everlasting to everlasting, with his own time; God's knowledge of all things, with his own ignorance; and God's almighty power, with his own weakness. Our darkening the counsels of God's wisdom with our folly, is a great provocation to God. Humble faith and sincere obedience see farthest and best into the will of the Lord.

Verses 4-11 For the humbling of Job, God here shows him his ignorance, even concerning the earth and the sea. As we cannot find fault with God's work, so we need not fear concerning it. The works of his providence, as well as the work of creation, never can be broken; and the work of redemption is no less firm, of which Christ himself is both the Foundation and the Corner-stone. The church stands as firm as the earth.

Verses 12-24 The Lord questions Job, to convince him of his ignorance, and shame him for his folly in prescribing to God. If we thus try ourselves, we shall soon be brought to own that what we know is nothing in comparison with what we know not. By the tender mercy of our God, the Day-spring from on high has visited us, to give light to those that sit in darkness, whose hearts are ( 2 Corinthians. 4:6 ) government of the world is said to be in the sea; this means, that it is hid from us. Let us make sure that the gates of heaven shall be opened to us on the other side of death, and then we need not fear the opening of the gates of death. It is presumptuous for us, who perceive not the breadth of the earth, to dive into the depth of God's counsels. We should neither in the brightest noon count upon perpetual day, nor in the darkest midnight despair of the return of the morning; and this applies to our inward as well as to our outward condition. What folly it is to strive against God! How much is it our interest to seek peace with him, and to keep in his love!

Verses 25-41 Hitherto God had put questions to Job to show him his ignorance; now God shows his weakness. As it is but little that he knows, he ought not to arraign the Divine counsels; it is but little he can do, therefore he ought not to oppose the ways of Providence. See the all-sufficiency of the Divine Providence; it has wherewithal to satisfy the desire of every living thing. And he that takes care of the young ravens, certainly will not be wanting to his people. This being but one instance of the Divine compassion out of many, gives us occasion to think how much good our God does, every day, beyond what we are aware of. Every view we take of his infinite perfections, should remind us of his right to our love, the evil of sinning against him, and our need of his mercy and salvation.

Footnotes 4

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, Job 38:1-7; concerning the sea, compared to an infant in embryo, at its birth, in its swaddling bands and cradle, Job 38:8-11; concerning the morning light, its spread and influence, Job 38:12-15; concerning the springs of the sea, the dark parts of the earth, the place both of light and darkness, Job 38:16-21; concerning the various meteors, snow, hail, rain, thunder, lightning, and the influences of the stars, Job 38:22-38; and concerning provision for lions and ravens, Job 38:40,41.

Job 38 Commentaries

Copyright © 2011 Common English Bible