Job 37:4

4 After it 1his voice roars; 2he thunders with his majestic voice, and he does not restrain the lightnings[a] when his voice is heard.

Job 37:4 Meaning and Commentary

Job 37:4

After it a voice roareth
After the lightning comes a violent crack or clap of thunder, which is like the roaring of a lion. Such is the order of thunder and lightning, according to our sense and apprehension of them; otherwise in nature they are together: but the reasons given why the lightning is seen before, and so the same in the flash and report of a gun, are, because the sense of seeing is quicker than the sense of hearing F25; and the motion of light is quicker than that of sound; which latter is the truest reason F26. The roaring voice of thunder may be an emblem of the thunder of the law; its dreadful volleys of curses, vengeance, and wrath on the breakers of it, as delivered out by Boanergeses, sons of thunder, ( Mark 3:17 ) : or the loud proclamation of the Gospel, made by the ministers of it; and the alarming awakening sound of the word, when attended with the Spirit and power of God, to sinners asleep and dead in trespasses and sins; upon which they awake, hear, and live;

he thundereth with the voice of his excellency:
that is, God thunders with such a voice, an excellent and majestic one; for his voice of thunder is full of majesty, ( Psalms 29:4 ) . So is the voice of Christ in the Gospel; he spake when on earth as one having authority, and he comes forth and appears in it now with majesty and glory; and speaks in it of the excellent things which he has done, of the excellent righteousness he has wrought out, of the excellent sacrifice he has offered up, and of the excellent salvation he is the author of;

and he will not stay them when his voice is heard;
either the thunder and the lightning, as some; which he does not long defer after he has given out the decree concerning them, the order and disposition for them: or rather the rain and hail; these are not stayed, but quickly follow the flash of lightning and clap of thunder: "for when he utters his voice [of thunder], there is a multitude of waters in the heavens"; and these quickly come down and are not stopped, ( Jeremiah 10:13 ) . The word for "stay" signifies "to supplant", or "act deceitfully"; the name of Jacob is derived from this root, because he supplanted his brother, ( Genesis 25:26 ) ; and so it may be rendered here, "he will not supplant", or "deceive them F1, when his voice is heard": that is, either he does not subvert them, the heavens and earth, but preserves them; though he makes them to tremble with his voice of thunder F2: or he does not act the part of a secret, subtle, and deceitful enemy, when he thunders; but shows himself openly as a King, executing his decrees with authority F3: or rather he deceives none with his voice; none can mistake it; all know it to be the voice of thunder when it is heard: so Christ's sheep know his voice in the Gospel, and cannot be deceived; the voice of a stranger they will not follow, ( John 10:4 John 10:5 John 10:27 ) .


F25 Senec. Nat. Quaest. l. 2. c. 12. so Aristot. Meteorolog. l. 2. c. 9.
F26 The noise is commonly about seven or eight seconds after the flash, that is, about half a quarter of a minute; but sometimes much sooner, in a second or two, or less than so, and almost immediately upon the flash: this is when the explosion is very near us. Philosoph. Transact. abridged, vol. 2. p. 183. see vol. 4. p. 398.
F1 (Mbqey alw) "non supplantabit ea", Munster; so Schmidt, Michaelis, Gussetius, p. 633.
F2 So Schmidt.
F3 So Gussetius.

Job 37:4 In-Context

2 Keep listening to the thunder of his voice and the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
3 Under the whole heaven he lets it go, and his lightning to the corners of the earth.
4 After it his voice roars; he thunders with his majestic voice, and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard.
5 God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend.
6 For to the snow he says, 'Fall on the earth,' likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.

Cross References 2

  • 1. Job 40:9; Psalms 68:33; See Psalms 29:3-9
  • 2. Psalms 18:13

Footnotes 1

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.