Job 38:36

36 Who gives the ibis wisdom[a]or gives the rooster understanding?[b]

Job 38:36 in Other Translations

36 Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?
36 Who has put wisdom in the inward parts or given understanding to the mind?
36 Who gives intuition to the heart and instinct to the mind?
36 "Who do you think gave weather-wisdom to the ibis, and storm-savvy to the rooster?
36 Who put wisdom in the heart or gave the mind understanding?

Job 38:36 Meaning and Commentary

Job 38:36

Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts?
&c.] That is, of man, in his heart, as explained in the next clause; such wisdom as to guide the stars, know the ordinances of heaven, set their dominion on earth, manage and direct the clouds and lightning; no such wisdom is put in man:

or who hath, given understanding to the heart?
to understand all the above things, and answer to the several questions put in this chapter; though, as these clauses may respect much one and the same thing, they may be understood of wisdom and understanding in man, whether natural or spiritual; and seeing they are found there, the question is, who put them there, or how came they there? who gave them to him? the answer must be, God himself, and no other; man has his rational soul, his intellectual powers, the light of nature and reason in him; all his understanding in arts and sciences, trades and manufactures, is of the Lord, and not of himself or another, see ( Job 32:8 ) ( Exodus 36:1 Exodus 36:2 ) ( Isaiah 28:23-29 ) ; all spiritual wisdom and understanding which lies in a man's concern for his eternal welfare in the knowledge of himself, and of his state and condition by nature, and of the way of life and salvation by Christ, and of the truths and doctrines of the Gospel, is all of God and Christ, and by the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; no man, therefore, has any reason to glory in his wisdom and knowledge, of whatsoever kind, as though he had not received it; nor should he dare to arraign the wisdom of God in his providential dealings with men; since he that teaches man knowledge must needs know better than man how to govern the world he has made, and dispose of all things in it. The last clause is in the Vulgate Latin rendered, "who hath given to the cock understanding?" and so the Targums and other Jewish writers F16 interpret it; and they observe F17, that in Arabia a cock is called by the word that is here used; and in their morning prayers, and at hearing a cock crow F18,

``Blessed be the Lord, who giveth to the cock understanding to distinguish between the day and the night:''

but however remarkable the understanding of this creature is, which God has given it, and which is even taken notice of by Heathen writers F19; that it should know the stars, distinguish the hours of the night by crowing, and express its joy at the rising of the sun and moon; yet such a sense of the text seems impertinent, as well as that of the Septuagint version, of giving to women the wisdom and knowledge of weaving and embroidery.


F16 Jarchi, Ramban, Simeon Bar. Tzemach.
F17 Vajikra Rabba, s. 25. fol. 166. 1. Vid. T. Roshhashanah, fol. 26. 1.
F18 Seder Tephillot. fol. 2. 2. Ed. Basil. & Bab. Beracot, fol. 60. 2.
F19 Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 21. Aelian. de Animal. l. 4. c. 29.

Job 38:36 In-Context

34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 Who gives the ibis wisdomor gives the rooster understanding?
37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
38 when the dust becomes hard and the clods of earth stick together?

Cross References 2

  • 1. S Job 9:4; S Job 34:32; James 1:5
  • 2. S Job 12:13; Job 32:8; Psalms 51:6; Ecclesiastes 2:26

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. That is, wisdom about the flooding of the Nile
  • [b]. That is, understanding of when to crow; the meaning of the Hebrew for this verse is uncertain.
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