Job 38:8

8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb,

Job 38:8 in Other Translations

8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?
8 "Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb,
8 “Who kept the sea inside its boundaries as it burst from the womb,
8 And who took charge of the ocean when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb?
8 Who enclosed the sea behind doors when it burst from the womb,

Job 38:8 Meaning and Commentary

Job 38:8

Or [who] shut up the sea with doors
From the earth the transition is to the sea, according to the order of the creation; and this refers not to the state and case of the sea as at the flood, of which some interpret it, but as at its first creation; and it is throughout this account represented as an infant, and here first as in embryo, shut up in the bowels of the earth, where it was when first created with it, as an infant shut up in its mother's womb, and with the doors of it; see ( Job 3:10 ) ; the bowels of the earth being the storehouses where God first laid up the deep waters, ( Psalms 33:7 ) ; and when the chaos, the misshapen earth, was like a woman big with child;

when it brake forth out of the abyss,
as the Targum, with force and violence, as Pharez broke out of his mother's womb; for which reason he had his name given, which signifies a breach, ( Genesis 38:29 ) ; so it follows,

[as if] it had issued out of the womb;
as a child out of its mother's womb; so the sea burst forth and issued out of the bowels of the earth, and covered it all around, as in ( Psalms 104:6 ) ; and now it was that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, before they were drained off the earth; this was the first open visible production of the sea, and nay be called the birth of it; see ( Genesis 1:2 ) . Something like this the Heathen philosopher Archelaus had a notion of, who says F7, the sea was shut up in hollow places, and was as it were strained through the earth.


F7 Laert. Vit. Philosoph. l. 2. p. 99.

Job 38:8 In-Context

6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place,

Cross References 2

  • 1. ver 11; Psalms 33:7; Proverbs 8:29; Jeremiah 5:22
  • 2. S Genesis 1:9-10
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