Job 26:7

7 He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing.

Job 26:7 in Other Translations

7 He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.
7 He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing.
7 God stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing.
7 He spreads the skies over unformed space, hangs the earth out in empty space.
7 He stretches the northern [skies] over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing.

Job 26:7 Meaning and Commentary

Job 26:7

He stretcheth out the north over the empty place
The northern hemisphere, which is the chief and best known, at least it was in the time of Job, when the southern hemisphere might not be known at all; though, if our version of ( Job 9:9 ) is right, Job seems to have had knowledge of it. Scheuchzer F21 thinks the thick air farthest north is meant, which expands itself everywhere, and is of great use to the whole earth. But if the northern hemisphere is meant, as a learned man


F23 expresses it, it

``was not only principal as to Job's respect, and the position of Arabia, but because this hemisphere is absolutely so indeed, it is principal to the whole; for as the heavens and the earth are divided by the middle line, the northern half hath a strange share of excellency; we have more earth, more men, more stars, more day (the same also Sephorno, a Jewish commentator on the place, observes); and, which is more than all this, the north pole is more magnetic than the south:''

though the whole celestial sphere may be intended, the principal being put for the whole; even that whole expansion, or firmament of heaven, which has its name from being stretched out like a curtain, or canopy, over the earth; which was done when the earth was "tohu", empty of inhabitants, both men and beasts, and was without form and void, and had no beauty in it, or anything growing on it; see ( Genesis 1:2 Genesis 1:6-8 ) ;

[and] hangeth the earth upon nothing;
as a ball in the air F24, poised with its own weight F25, or kept in this form and manner by the centre of gravity, and so some Jewish writers F26 interpret "nothing" of the centre of the earth, and which is nothing but "ens rationis", a figment and imagination of the mind; or rather the earth is held together, and in the position it is, by its own magnetic virtue, it being a loadstone itself; and as the above learned writer observes,

``the globe consisteth by a magnetic dependency, from which the parts cannot possibly start aside; but which, howsoever thus strongly seated on its centre and poles, is yet said to hang upon nothing; because the Creator in the beginning thus placed it within the "tohu", as it now also hangeth in the air; which itself also is nothing as to any regard of base or sustentation.''

In short, what the foundations are on which it is laid, or the pillars by which it is sustained, cannot be said, except the mighty power and providence of God. The word used seems to come from a root, which in the Syriac and Chaldee languages signifies to "bind [and] restrain"; and may design the expanse or atmosphere, so called from its binding and compressing nature, (le) , "in" or "within" which the earth is hung; see ( Psalms 32:9 ) .

F21 Physic. Sacr. vol. 4. p. 724.
F23 Gregory's Notes and Observations c. 12. p. 55.
F24 "Terra pilae similis nullo fulcimine nixa", Ovid. Fast. 6.
F25 "Circumfuso pendebat in aere tellus, ponderibus librata suis----", Ovid. Metamorph. l. 1. Fab. 1.
F26 Ben Gersom & Bar Tzemach in loc.

Job 26:7 In-Context

5 “The dead are in deep anguish, those beneath the waters and all that live in them.
6 The realm of the dead is naked before God; Destruction lies uncovered.
7 He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing.
8 He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.
9 He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it.

Cross References 2

  • 1. Job 9:8
  • 2. Job 38:6; Psalms 104:5; Proverbs 3:19-20; Proverbs 8:27; Isaiah 40:22
Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.