Job 38:16

16 "Have you ever gotten to the true bottom of things, explored the labyrinthine caves of deep ocean?

Job 38:16 Meaning and Commentary

Job 38:16

Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea?
&c.] The subterraneous passages through which the waters flow into the sea and supply it; or the springs and fountains that rise up at the bottom of it F9; and some tell us of springs of sweet water that rise there, even though the water at the bottom of the sea is saltier than on the surface F11: some render it "the drops of the sea" F12; hast thou considered them and counted them? art thou able to do it? no: others the "perplexities" of it F13, so the Targum, the word being used in this sense, ( Exodus 14:3 ) ; the thickets of it; some speak of woods and forests in it, (See Gill on Exodus 10:19); others "rocks" and shelves F14, and others the "borders" of it F15; and the sense then is, hast thou entered into and travelled through the main ocean, observed the forests in it, the shelving rocks and sandy mountains in it, and gone to the utmost borders of it?

or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?
to find out the deepest place of it, where no sounding line can reach F16; or walked in quest of the curiosities of it, animals, plants and minerals, unknown to men; or of the riches that lie at the bottom of it, for which now the diving bell is used, but not invented and known in the times of Job; and if Job had not done and could not do all this, how should he be able to enter into the secret springs of Providence, or trace the ways of God, whose way is in the sea, and whose paths are in the great waters, and his footsteps not known? ( Psalms 77:19 ) ( Romans 11:33 ) .


F9 According to Dr. Plot, the principal fountains have their origin, and are supplied with water through subterraneous passages from the sea. De Origine Fontium apud Act. Erudit. Lips. A. M. 1685. p. 538. See Gen vii. 11.
F11 Vid. Scheucbzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 4. p. 803.
F12 (My ykbn) "guttas maris", Tigurine version, Grotius.
F13 "Perplexitates maris", Munster.
F14 "Scopulos maris", Michaelis; "salebrosa maris", Schultens.
F15 So Jarchi.
F16 For though the greatest depth of the sea is said by Fabianus (apud Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 2, c. 102.) to be fifteen furlongs, or near two miles, this must be understood of that part of it which is fathomable and nearer land. But such as those, called Bathea Ponti, the depths of the Pontus, and are almost three hundred furlongs from the continent, they are said (Plin. ib.) to be of an immense depth, and the bottom not to be found. And if the Sardinian sea, the deepest in the Mediterranean (Aristot. Meteorolog. l. 2, c. 1.) is a thousand orgies or fathoms deep, (Posidonius apud Strabo. Geograph. l. 1, p. 37.) that is, one mile and a fifth, what must the depth of the vast ocean be?

Job 38:16 In-Context

14 As the sun brings everything to light, brings out all the colors and shapes,
15 The cover of darkness is snatched from the wicked - they're caught in the very act!
16 "Have you ever gotten to the true bottom of things, explored the labyrinthine caves of deep ocean?
17 Do you know the first thing about death? Do you have one clue regarding death's dark mysteries?
18 And do you have any idea how large this earth is? Speak up if you have even the beginning of an answer.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.