Job 26:1-14. Job's
2, 3. without power … no strength … no
wisdom—The negatives are used instead of the positives,
powerlessness, &c., designedly (so Isa 31:8; De
32:21). Granting I am, as you
say (Job 18:17; 15:2), powerlessness itself, &c.
"How hast thou helped such a one?"
3. plentifully … the thing as it
is—rather, "abundantly—wisdom." Bildad had made great
pretensions to abundant wisdom. How has he shown it?
4. For whose instruction were thy words meant?
If for me I know the subject (God's omnipotence) better than my
instructor; Job 26:5-14 is a sample of Job's knowledge of
whose spirit—not that of God (Job 32:8); nay, rather, the borrowed
sentiment of Eliphaz (Job 4:17-19; 15:14-16).
5-14. As before in the ninth and twelfth
chapters, Job had shown himself not inferior to the friends' inability
to describe God's greatness, so now he describes it as manifested in
hell (the world of the dead), Job 26:5, 6; on earth, Job 26:7; in the sky, Job 26:8-11; the sea, Job 26:12; the heavens, Job 26:13.
Dead things are formed—Rather, "The
souls of the dead (Rephaim) tremble." Not only does God's power exist,
as Bildad says (Job 25:2),
"in high places" (heaven), but reaches to the region of the dead.
Rephaim here, and in Pr 21:16 and Isa 14:9, is from a Hebrew root, meaning
"to be weak," hence "deceased"; in Ge 14:5 it is applied to the Canaanite giants;
perhaps in derision, to express their weakness, in spite of
their gigantic size, as compared with Jehovah [Umbreit]; or, as the imagination of the living
magnifies apparitions, the term originally was applied to
ghosts, and then to giants in general [Magee].
from under—Umbreit joins this with the previous word "tremble
from beneath" (so Isa 14:9).
But the Masoretic text joins it to "under the waters." Thus the place
of the dead will be represented as "under the waters" (Ps 18:4, 5); and the waters as under the earth
24:2). Magee well translates thus: "The souls of the dead
tremble; (the places) under the waters, and their inhabitants." Thus
the Masoretic connection is retained; and at the same time the parallel
clauses are evenly balanced. "The inhabitants of the places under the
waters" are those in Gehenna, the lower of the two parts into which
Sheol, according to the Jews, is divided; they answer to "destruction,"
that is, the place of the wicked in Job 26:6, as "Rephaim" (Job 26:5) to "Hell" (Sheol) (Job 26:6). "Sheol" comes from a Hebrew
root—"ask," because it is insatiable (Pr 27:20); or "ask as a loan to be returned,"
implying Sheol is but a temporary abode, previous to the
resurrection; so for English Version "formed," the
Septuagint and Chaldee translate; shall be born,
or born again, implying the dead are to be given back
from Sheol and born again into a new state [Magee].
6. (Job 38:17; Ps 139:8; Pr
destruction—the abode of destruction,
that is, of lost souls. Hebrew, Abaddon (Re 9:11).
no covering—from God's eyes.
7. Hint of the true theory of the earth. Its
suspension in empty space is stated in the second clause. The north in
particular is specified in the first, being believed to be the highest
part of the earth (Isa 14:13).
The northern hemisphere or vault of heaven is included; often
compared to a stretched-out canopy (Ps 104:2). The chambers of the south are
mentioned (Job 9:9), that
is, the southern hemisphere, consistently with the earth's globular
8. in … clouds—as if in airy
vessels, which, though light, do not burst with the weight of water in
9. Rather, He encompasseth or
closeth. God makes the clouds a veil to screen the glory not
only of His person, but even of the exterior of His throne from profane
eyes. His agency is everywhere, yet He Himself is invisible (Ps 18:11;
10. Rather, "He hath drawn a circular bound
round the waters" (Pr 8:27; Ps 104:9). The horizon seems a circle. Indication
is given of the globular form of the earth.
until the day, &c.—to the confines
of light and darkness. When the light falls on our horizon, the other
hemisphere is dark. Umbreit and Maurer translate "He has most perfectly
(literally, to perfection) drawn the bound (taken from the first
clause) between light and darkness" (compare Ge 1:4, 6, 9): where the bounding of the light
from darkness is similarly brought into proximity with the bounding of
11. pillars—poetically for the mountains
which seem to bear up the sky (Ps 104:32).
astonished—namely, from terror.
his reproof—(Ps 104:7). The thunder, reverberating from cliff
to cliff (Hab 3:10; Na 1:5).
12. divideth—(Ps 74:13). Perhaps at creation (Ge 1:9, 10). The parallel clause favors Umbreit, "He stilleth." But the Hebrew
means "He moves." Probably such a "moving" is meant as that at the
assuaging of the flood by the wind which "God made to pass over" it
8:1; Ps 104:7).
the proud—rather, "its pride," namely,
of the sea (Job 9:13).
less simply, "By His breath He maketh the heavens to revive": namely,
His wind dissipates the clouds, which obscured the shining stars. And
so the next clause in contrast, "His hand doth strangle," that is,
obscures the north constellation, the dragon. Pagan astronomy typified
the flood trying to destroy the ark by the dragon constellation, about
to devour the moon in its eclipsed crescent-shape like a boat (Job 3:8, Margin). But better as
English Version (Ps 33:6).
crooked—implying the oblique course,
of the stars, or the ecliptic. "Fleeing" or "swift" [Umbreit] (Isa 27:1). This particular constellation is made
to represent the splendor of all the stars.
14. parts—Rather, "only the extreme
boundaries of," &c., and how faint is the whisper that we hear of
thunder—the entire fulness. In
antithesis to "whisper" (1Co 13:9, 10, 12).