Job 39

Listen to Job 39
1 "Do you know when 1the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe 2the calving of the does?
2 Can you number the months that they fulfill, and do you know the time when they give birth,
3 when they 3crouch, bring forth their offspring, and are delivered of their young?
4 Their young ones become strong; they grow up in the open; they go out and 4do not return to them.
5 "Who has let the wild donkey go free? Who has 5loosed the bonds of the swift donkey,
6 to whom I have given 6the arid plain for his home and 7the salt land for his dwelling place?
7 He scorns the tumult of the city; he hears not the shouts of the driver.
8 He ranges the mountains as his pasture, and he searches after every green thing.
9 "Is 8the wild ox willing to serve you? Will he spend the night at your 9manger?
10 Can you bind 10him in the furrow with ropes, or will he harrow the valleys after you?
11 Will you depend on him because his strength is great, and will you leave to him your labor?
12 Do you have faith in him that he will return your grain and gather it to your threshing floor?
13 "The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, but are they the pinions and plumage of love?[a]
14 For she leaves her eggs to the earth and lets them be warmed on the ground,
15 forgetting that a foot may crush them and that the wild beast may trample them.
16 She 11deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers; though her 12labor be in vain, yet she has no fear,
17 because God has made her forget wisdom and 13given her no share in understanding.
18 When she rouses herself to flee,[b] she laughs at the horse and his rider.
19 "Do you give the horse his might? Do you clothe his neck with a mane?
20 Do you make him leap like the locust? His majestic 14snorting is terrifying.
21 He paws[c] in the valley and exults in his strength; he 15goes out to meet the weapons.
22 He laughs at fear and is not dismayed; he does not turn back from the sword.
23 Upon him rattle the quiver, the flashing spear, and the javelin.
24 With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground; he cannot stand still at 16the sound of the trumpet.
25 When the trumpet sounds, he says 'Aha!' He smells the battle from afar, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
26 "Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars and spreads his wings toward the south?
27 Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his 17nest on high?
28 On the rock he dwells and makes his home, on 18the rocky crag and stronghold.
29 From there he spies out the prey; his eyes behold it from far away.
30 His young ones suck up blood, and 19where the slain are, there is he."

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.

Cross References 19

  • 1. 1 Samuel 24:2; Psalms 104:18
  • 2. Psalms 29:9
  • 3. 1 Samuel 4:19
  • 4. [Genesis 8:12]
  • 5. [Job 12:18; Psalms 116:16]
  • 6. Job 24:5; Jeremiah 2:24
  • 7. Psalms 107:34; Jeremiah 17:6; [Deuteronomy 29:23]
  • 8. Numbers 23:22
  • 9. Proverbs 14:4; Isaiah 1:3
  • 10. [See ver. 9 above]
  • 11. [Lamentations 4:3]
  • 12. Isaiah 49:4; Isaiah 65:23
  • 13. [Job 35:11]
  • 14. Jeremiah 8:16
  • 15. [Jeremiah 8:6]
  • 16. Jeremiah 4:19; Amos 3:6
  • 17. [Numbers 24:21; Jeremiah 49:16; Obadiah 4; Habakkuk 2:9]
  • 18. 1 Samuel 14:5
  • 19. Matthew 24:28; Luke 17:37

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
  • [b]. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
  • [c]. Hebrew They paw

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