Job 39:18

18 When it spreads its plumes aloft, it laughs at the horse and its rider.

Job 39:18 Meaning and Commentary

Job 39:18

What time she lifted up herself on high
It is sometimes eight foot high F12; when alarmed with approaching danger she raises up herself, being sitting on the ground, and erects her wings for flight, or rather running;

she scorneth the horse and his rider;
being then, as Pliny F13 says, higher than a man on horseback, and superior to a horse in swiftness; and though horsemen have been able to take wild asses and goats, very swift creatures, yet never ostriches, as Xenophon relates F14 of those in Arabia; and this creature has another method, when pursued, by which it defies and despises, as well as hurts and incommodes its pursuers, which is by casting stones backward at them with its feet as out of a sling F15.


F12 Philosoph. Transact. abridged, vol. 2. p. 360.
F13 Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 1.
F14 De Expedit. Cyri, l. 1.
F15 Plin. ut supra. (Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 1.) Aelian. de Animal. l. 4. c. 37.

Job 39:18 In-Context

16 It deals cruelly with its young, as if they were not its own; though its labor should be in vain, yet it has no fear;
17 because God has made it forget wisdom, and given it no share in understanding.
18 When it spreads its plumes aloft, it laughs at the horse and its rider.
19 "Do you give the horse its might? Do you clothe its neck with mane?
20 Do you make it leap like the locust? Its majestic snorting is terrible.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Meaning of Heb uncertain
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.