Job 9:8

8 He alone has spread out the heavens and marches on the waves of the sea.

Job 9:8 Meaning and Commentary

Job 9:8

Which alone spreadeth out the heavens
The expanse, or what we commonly translate "firmament"; but has its name in the Hebrew language from its being expanded, spread, and stretched out, over the earth and all around it; and seems chiefly to design the ether or atmosphere, which is a fine thin matter and substance spread around us, and which is sometimes spread with clouds; this is said to be stretched out like a curtain and a tent to dwell in, tents being made of curtains spread out, ( Isaiah 40:21 ) ; and the allusion may be to a military tent, the pavilion of a general of an army, as Pineda observes, from whence Jehovah plays his artillery upon his enemies, thunder, lightning, hailstones, and coals of fire; see ( Psalms 18:11-14 ) ; this respects not so much the first creation, or spreading of the air or the heavens, as the continuance thereof; God continues to spread them, or to keep them spread, that they may not be rolled up as a scroll; or folded up as a garment, as they will be, ( Hebrews 1:12 ) ; and this he does alone, without the help of any creature, angels or men; any piece of tapestry or carpet, that is large, is not easily spread alone; but what power must the vast expanse of the heavens require, to be spread alone and continued so? nothing less than infinite; see ( Isaiah 44:24 ) ; some render it, "which boweth the heavens" F3, as the same word is rendered in ( Psalms 18:9 ) ; which he does when he fills them with clouds, so that they seem to hang low, and to be inclined towards the earth:

and treadeth upon the waves of the sea
F4; which he did at the first creation, when the waters that covered the face of the earth were, by his order, collected into one place, and there shut up, and restrained from overflowing the earth; and which restraint, as it is an act of power over them, is designed by treading upon them, and a continued act may be the rather meant here; see ( Genesis 1:8 Genesis 1:9 ) ( Job 38:10 Job 38:11 ) ( Jeremiah 5:22 ) ; and when the waves of it are lifted up as high as they sometimes are, by strong and stormy winds, the Lord on high is mightier than they, he treads upon them and represses them; he rules their raging, stills their noise, and makes them smooth, calm, and quiet, ( Psalms 65:7 ) ( 89:9 ) ( Psalms 93:3 Psalms 93:4 ) ; this none but God can do: the Egyptian hieroglyphic of doing a thing impossible was a man's walking upon water F5; the Heathens chose not to describe even their god of the sea, Neptune, by walking on it, as being too great for him, but by swimming F6; of Christ's walking upon the sea, see ( Matthew 14:25 ) ; it may be rendered, "the high places of the sea": the waves of it, when mounted to a great height by the wind; so Mr. Broughton, "the high waves of the sea", see ( Psalms 107:25 Psalms 107:26 ) ; there is a copy, as the lesser Massorah observes, which reads, "upon the high places of the cloud" F7, see ( Isaiah 14:14 ) ; and Gersom interprets these high places, of the heavens, and of God's giving rain from thence.


F3 (Mymv hjn) "inclinat coelum", Piscator.
F4 (My ytmb le) "super excelsa maris", Pagninus, Montanus "summitates maris", Tigurine version; "celsos vertices maris", Schultens.
F5 Orus Apollo, apud Bolduc.
F6 Cicero de Natura Deorum, l. 2.
F7 "Legitur et" (be) "pro" (My) i.e. "super excelsas nubes", Vatablus.

Job 9:8 In-Context

6 He shakes the earth from its place, and its foundations tremble.
7 If he commands it, the sun won’t rise and the stars won’t shine.
8 He alone has spread out the heavens and marches on the waves of the sea.
9 He made all the stars—the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky.
10 He does great things too marvelous to understand. He performs countless miracles.
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