Job 26 Study Notes

26:1-4 Job replied sarcastically that Bildad had delivered insight (or “sound wisdom”) to the unwise (Job). In truth Bildad had only parroted common knowledge (12:2-3), and his words originated with others (4:17-19; 25:4-6).

26:5-6 Job had previously delivered a discourse about God’s dominion. Bildad had extolled God’s heavenly rule (25:5). Job had added that Sheol was open to God’s view (Pr 15:11). Sheol here refers to the place of the wicked departed spirits, quartered in Abaddon (the place of destruction; see note at 28:20-22). Elsewhere “Sheol” simply has the grave in view, with no specific reference to the fate of the wicked (see note at 7:9-10).

26:7-8 Northern refers to God’s dwelling in the heavenly heights (Ps 48:1-2). God filled the clouds with water as if filling celestial water skins that do not burst (see note at 38:36-38).

26:9-10 The clouds serve to keep people from beholding the glory of God in heaven (Ps 104:1-3; Am 9:6). The rising and setting of the sun appear most vividly at the far horizon of the sea’s surface, where it separates light and darkness.

26:11 God’s power is felt in his presence on the mountains, which stretch from deep below the sea (Jnh 2:6) into the sky like pillars (or standing columns; see 1Kg 7:15-21).

26:12-13 God’s power and wisdom were evident in his control over the primal sea with its mighty creatures. The word for stirred may also be translated “bring rest to” (Jr 50:34). The reference to God destroying Rahab and the fleeing serpent counters ancient cosmologies in which mythical deities conquered chaos at creation. Job underscored the fact that the Lord alone is God and is the controller of everything (9:13-14; Ps 74:13; 89:10).

26:14 Mankind catches just a glimpse and a whisper of God’s workings. Full knowledge is beyond human understanding (5:9; 11:8; 42:3).

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