Job 39

1 “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?
2 Do you count the months till they bear? Do you know the time they give birth?
3 They crouch down and bring forth their young; their labor pains are ended.
4 Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds; they leave and do not return.
5 “Who let the wild donkey go free? Who untied its ropes?
6 I gave it the wasteland as its home, the salt flats as its habitat.
7 It laughs at the commotion in the town; it does not hear a driver’s shout.
8 It ranges the hills for its pasture and searches for any green thing.
9 “Will the wild ox consent to serve you? Will it stay by your manger at night?
10 Can you hold it to the furrow with a harness? Will it till the valleys behind you?
11 Will you rely on it for its great strength? Will you leave your heavy work to it?
12 Can you trust it to haul in your grain and bring it to your threshing floor?
13 “The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, though they cannot compare with the wings and feathers of the stork.
14 She lays her eggs on the ground and lets them warm in the sand,
15 unmindful that a foot may crush them, that some wild animal may trample them.
16 She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers; she cares not that her labor was in vain,
17 for God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense.
18 Yet when she spreads her feathers to run, she laughs at horse and rider.
19 “Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?
20 Do you make it leap like a locust, striking terror with its proud snorting?
21 It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength, and charges into the fray.
22 It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; it does not shy away from the sword.
23 The quiver rattles against its side, along with the flashing spear and lance.
24 In frenzied excitement it eats up the ground; it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.
25 At the blast of the trumpet it snorts, ‘Aha!’ It catches the scent of battle from afar, the shout of commanders and the battle cry.
26 “Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread its wings toward the south?
27 Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high?
28 It dwells on a cliff and stays there at night; a rocky crag is its stronghold.
29 From there it looks for food; its eyes detect it from afar.
30 Its young ones feast on blood, and where the slain are, there it is.”

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 37

  • 1. S Deuteronomy 14:5
  • 2. Genesis 49:21
  • 3. S Genesis 31:7-9
  • 4. S Genesis 16:12; Job 6:5; Job 11:12; Job 24:5
  • 5. Job 24:5; Psalms 107:34; Jeremiah 2:24
  • 6. Job 30:4
  • 7. Job 30:7; Jeremiah 14:6; Jeremiah 17:6; Hosea 8:9
  • 8. S Job 5:22
  • 9. Job 3:18
  • 10. Isaiah 32:20
  • 11. S Numbers 23:22; Deuteronomy 33:17
  • 12. S Exodus 21:6
  • 13. S Genesis 42:27
  • 14. Job 41:13; Psalms 32:9
  • 15. ver 19; Job 40:16; Job 41:12,22; Psalms 147:10
  • 16. Zechariah 5:9
  • 17. 2 Kings 14:9
  • 18. ver 17; Lamentations 4:3
  • 19. S ver 16; S Job 21:22; Job 35:11
  • 20. S Job 5:22
  • 21. S ver 11
  • 22. Joel 2:4-5; Revelation 9:7
  • 23. Job 41:25
  • 24. Jeremiah 8:16
  • 25. ver 11
  • 26. Jeremiah 8:6
  • 27. S Job 5:22
  • 28. Isaiah 5:28; Jeremiah 5:16
  • 29. Nahum 3:3
  • 30. Numbers 10:9; Jeremiah 4:5,19; Ezekiel 7:14; Amos 3:6
  • 31. Joshua 6:5
  • 32. Jeremiah 8:6; Amos 1:14; Amos 2:2
  • 33. Jeremiah 8:7
  • 34. Jeremiah 49:16; Obadiah 1:4; Habakkuk 2:9
  • 35. Jeremiah 49:16; Obadiah 1:3
  • 36. S Job 9:26
  • 37. Matthew 24:28; Luke 17:37

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