Job 38:1-11

1 Then out of the storm the Lord spoke to Job.
2 Who are you to question my wisdom with your ignorant, empty words?
3 Now stand up straight and answer the questions I ask you.
4 Were you there when I made the world? If you know so much, tell me about it.
5 Who decided how large it would be? Who stretched the measuring line over it? Do you know all the answers?
6 What holds up the pillars that support the earth? Who laid the cornerstone of the world?
7 In the dawn of that day the stars sang together, 1 and the heavenly beings shouted for joy.
8 Who closed the gates to hold back the sea 2 when it burst from the womb of the earth?
9 It was I who covered the sea with clouds and wrapped it in darkness.
10 I marked a boundary for the sea and kept it behind bolted gates.
11 I told it, "So far and no farther! Here your powerful waves must stop."

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Job 38:1-11 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO JOB 38

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 38:1-11 In-Context

1 Then out of the storm the Lord spoke to Job.
2 Who are you to question my wisdom with your ignorant, empty words?
3 Now stand up straight and answer the questions I ask you.
4 Were you there when I made the world? If you know so much, tell me about it.
5 Who decided how large it would be? Who stretched the measuring line over it? Do you know all the answers?
6 What holds up the pillars that support the earth? Who laid the cornerstone of the world?
7 In the dawn of that day the stars sang together, and the heavenly beings shouted for joy.
8 Who closed the gates to hold back the sea when it burst from the womb of the earth?
9 It was I who covered the sea with clouds and wrapped it in darkness.
10 I marked a boundary for the sea and kept it behind bolted gates.
11 I told it, "So far and no farther! Here your powerful waves must stop."
12 Job, have you ever in all your life commanded a day to dawn?
13 Have you ordered the dawn to seize the earth and shake the wicked from their hiding places?
14 Daylight makes the hills and valleys stand out like the folds of a garment, clear as the imprint of a seal on clay.
15 The light of day is too bright for the wicked and restrains them from doing violence.

Cross References 2

  • 1. +238.7Baruch 3.34.
  • 2. 38.8-11Jeremiah 5.22.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. heavenly beings: [See 1.6.]
  • [b]. to hold back the sea: [See 26.12.]