INTRODUCTION TO Job 26
In this chapter Job, in a very sarcastic manner, rallies Bildad on the weakness and impertinence of his reply, and sets it in a very ridiculous light; showing it to be quite foolish and stupid, and not at all to the purpose, and besides was none of his own, but what he had borrowed from another, Job 26:1; and if it was of any avail in the controversy to speak of the greatness and majesty of God, of his perfections and attributes, of his ways and works, he could say greater and more glorious things of God than he had done, and as he does, Job 26:5; beginning at the lower parts of the creation, and gradually ascending to the superior and celestial ones; and concludes with observing, that, after all, it was but little that was known of God and his ways, by himself, by Bildad, or by any mortal creature, Job 26:14.
But Job answered and said,But Job answered,.... In a very sharp and biting manner; one would wonder that a man in such circumstances should have so much keenness of spirit, and deal in so much irony, and be master of so much satire, and be able to laugh at his antagonist in the manner he does:
and said; as follows.
How hast thou helped him that is without power? how savest thou the arm that hath no strength?How hast thou helped him that is without power?.... This verse and Job 26:3 either are to be understood of God, as many do, by reading the words, "who hast thou helped? God" (r)? a fine advocate for him thou art, representing him as if he was without power, and could not help himself, but stood in need of another; as if he had no arm, and could not save and protect himself, but needed one to rise and stand up in his behalf, when he is God omnipotent, and has an arm strong and mighty, and there is none like his; and as if he wanted wisdom, and one to counsel him, when he is the all wise God, and never consults with any of his creatures, or admits them to be of his council; and as if his "essence" (s), or "what he is", as he is, had been very copiously and plentifully declared in a few words by him; in supposing which he must be guilty of the greatest arrogance, stupidity, and folly; and therefore he asks him, who it was he uttered such things unto? and by whose spirit he must be aided in so doing? see Job 13:7; or else Job refers to the cause undertaken by Bildad; and which he, in a sarcastic way, represents as a very weak and feeble one, that had neither strength nor wisdom in it, and was as weakly and as foolishly supported, or rather was entirely neglected and deserted, Bildad having wholly declined the thing in controversy, and said not one word of it; therefore Job ironically asks him, "in what", or "wherein hast thou helped?" (t) what good hast thou done to this poor tottering cause of yours? or what light hast thou thrown upon it? and to what purpose is anything that has been said by thee? Some are of opinion that Job refers to Bildad's friends, whom he represents as weak and stupid, as men of no argument, and had no strength of reasoning, and were as poorly assisted and defended by Bildad: but, why not to Bildad himself? for the sense of the question, agreeably enough to the original text, may be put after this manner; a fine patron and defender of a cause thou art; thou canst help and save a dying cause without power, and with a strengthless arm, or without any force of argument, or strength of reasoning; thou canst give counsel without any wisdom, without any show or share of it, and in half a dozen lines set the thing in a true light, just as it is and should be; a wonderful man indeed thou art! though I choose to join with such interpreters, who understand the whole of Job himself, who was without might and power, a weak and feeble creature in booty and mind, being pressed and broken with the weight of his affliction, but was poorly helped, succoured, strengthened, and comforted, with what Bildad had said: it is the duty of all good men, and it is what Job himself had done in former times, to strengthen weak hands and feeble knees, by sympathizing with persons under affliction, by bearing their burdens and infirmities, by speaking comfortably unto them, and telling them what comforts they themselves have received under afflictions, see Job 4:3; but miserable comforters of Job were Bildad and his friends:
how savest thou the arm that hath no strength? the sense is the same as before, that he had done nothing to relieve Job in his bodily or soul distresses, and save him out of them; nor had contributed in the least towards his support under them; and be it that he was as weak in his intellectuals as he and his friends thought him to be, and had undertaken a cause which he had not strength of argument to defend; yet, what had he done to convince him of his mistake, and save him from the error of his way?
(r) "cui auxiliatis es", Pagninus, Montanus; so Tigurine version. (s) "essentiam", Montanus. (t) "Qua nam re adjuvisti?" Vatablus; "quid auxiliatus es?" Drusius.
How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom?.... A man deprived of wisdom has need of counsel, and it should be given him; and he does well both to ask and take it; and be it so, as if Job should say, that I am the foolish and unwise creature you take me to be, what counsel and advice have you given me? what a wise counsellor have you shown yourself to be? or rather, what a miserable part have you acted under this character?
and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is? the thing in controversy, set it forth in a clear light, and in a copious manner, when he had not said one word about it, namely, concerning the afflictions of the godly, and the prosperity of the wicked; thus jeering at him, and laughing at the short reply he had made, and which was nothing to the purpose.
To whom hast thou uttered words? and whose spirit came from thee?To whom hast thou uttered words?.... That others know not; dost thou think thou art talking to an ignorant man? be it known to thee, that he knows as much, and can say as much of the Divine Being, of his glories, and of his wondrous ways and works, as thyself, or more: or dost thou consider the circumstances he is in thou art speaking to? one under great affliction and distress, to whom it must be unsuitable to talk of the greatness and majesty of God, of his power and strength, of his purity, holiness, and strict justice; it would have been more proper and pertinent to have discoursed concerning his loving kindness, grace, and mercy, his pity and compassion towards his afflicted people, his readiness to forgive their sins, and overlook their failings; and concerning the promised Redeemer, his righteousness and sacrifice, and of the many instances of divine goodness to the sons of men, and in such like circumstances, by raising them up again, and restoring them to their former happiness. Some things of this nature would have been more pertinent and suitable, and would have been doing both a wise and friendly part:
and whose spirit came from thee? Not the spirit of God; dost thou think thyself inspired by God? or that what thou hast said is by the inspiration of his Spirit? or that thou speakest like such who are moved by the Holy Ghost? nor indeed was it his own spirit, or the words and things uttered were not of himself, or flowed not from his own knowledge and understanding: of things, but what he had borrowed from Eliphaz; for he had delivered very little more than what Eliphaz had said, Job 4:17; or else the sense is, whose spirit has been restored, revived, refreshed, and comforted by what thou hast said? The word of God has such efficacy as to restore the soul, to revive it when drooping, and as it were swooning away and dying, see Psalm 19:7; and the words of some good men are spirit and life, the savour of life unto life, and are as life from the dead, very refreshing and comforting; but no such effect followed on what Bildad had said. Mr. Broughton renders the words, "whose soul admired thee?" thou mayest admire thyself, and thy friends may admire thee, at least thou mayest think they do, having said in thine own opinion admirable things; but who else does? for my own part I do not; and, if saying great and glorious things of God are to any purpose in the controversy between us, I am capable of speaking greater and better things than what have been delivered; and, for instance, let the following be attended to.
Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof.Dead things are formed from under the waters,.... It is difficult to say what things are here meant; it may be understood of "lifeless" things, as Mr. Broughton renders it; things that never had any life, things inanimate, that never had at least an animal life, though they may have a vegetable one; and so may be interpreted of grains of corn, and which indeed die before they are quickened; to which both Christ and the apostle allude, John 12:24; and which, as they cannot grow without water, and their fructification and increase are owing to the earth being plentifully watered with rain, may be said to be formed under the waters; and of these Aben Ezra and Ben Gersom interpret the words; and the latter also makes mention of herbs, plants, and trees in the sea, particularly almug trees, as being probably intended; to which may be added, corals, and other sea plants, formed from under the waters; yea, some make mention of woods and forests there: but the last mentioned writer, seems inclined to think that metals and minerals may be intended; and it is well known that much of gold is taken out of rivers, as also pearls and precious stones; and that iron is taken out of the earth, and brass molten out of stone; and that the several metals and minerals are dug out of mountains and hills, from whence fountains and rivers flow; but as the word used has the signification of something gigantic, it has inclined others to think of sea monsters, as of the great whales which God made in the seas, and the leviathan he has made to play therein:
and or "with"
the inhabitants thereof; the innumerable company of fishes, both of the larger and lesser sort, which are all formed in and under the waters: but why may not giants themselves be designed, since the word is sometimes used of them, Deuteronomy 2:11; and so the Vulgate Latin and the Septuagint version here render the word, and may refer to the giants that were before the flood, and who were the causes of filling the world with rapine and violence, and so of bringing the flood of waters upon it; in which they perished "with the inhabitants thereof"; or their neighbours; of whom see Genesis 6:4; and the spirits of these being in prison, in hell, as the Apostle Peter says, 1 Peter 3:19; which is commonly supposed to be under the earth, and so under the waters, in which they perished; they may be represented as in pain and torment, and groaning and trembling under the same, as the word here used is by some thought to signify, and is so rendered (t); though as the word "Rephaim" is often used of dead men, Psalm 88:10; it may be understood of them here, and have respect to the formation of them anew, or their resurrection from the dead, when the earth shall cast them forth; and especially of those whose graves are in the sea, and who have been buried in the waters of it, when that shall deliver up the dead that are therein, Revelation 20:13; which will be a wonderful instance of the mighty power of God. The Targumist seems to have a notion of this, or at least refers unto it, paraphrasing the words thus,
"is it possible that the mighty men (or giants) should be created (that is, recreated or regenerated; that is, raised from the dead); seeing they are under the waters, and their armies?''
(t) "gemunt", V. L. "cruciabuntur", Bolducius; "cruciantur, dolore contremiscunt", Michaelis; "intremiscunt", Schultens. Vid. Windet. de Vita Funct. Stat. p. 90.
Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering.Hell is naked before him,.... Which may be taken either for the place of the damned, as it sometimes is; and then the sense is, that though it is hidden from men, and they know not where it is, or who are in it, and what is done and suffered there; yet it is all known to God: he knows the place thereof, for it is made, ordained, and prepared by him; he knows who are there, even all the wicked dead, and all the nations that forget God, being cast there by him; he knows the torments they endure, for the smoke of them continually ascends before him; and he knows all their malice and envy, their enmity to him, and blasphemy of him; for thither are they gone down with their weapons of war, and have laid their swords under their heads, Ezekiel 32:27; or for Hades, the invisible world of spirits, or state of the dead, as the Septuagint version renders the word; though that is unseen to men, it is naked and open to the eye of God; or for the grave, in which the bodies of men are laid; which is the frequent sense of the word used, Psalm 88:11; and though this is a land of darkness, and where the light is as darkness, yet God can look into it; and the dust of men therein is carefully observed and preserved by him, and will be raised again at the last day; who has the keys of death and hell, or the grave, and can open it at his pleasure, and cause it to give up the dead that are therein:
and destruction hath no covering; and may design the same as before, either hell, the place of the damned, where men are destroyed soul and body with an everlasting destruction; or the grave, which the Targum calls the house of destruction, as it sometimes is, the pit of destruction and corruption; because bodies cast into it corrupt and putrefy, and are destroyed in it; and there is nothing to cover either the one or the other from the all seeing eye of God; see Psalm 139:7; as hell is supposed to be under the earth, and the grave is in it, Job is as yet on things below, and from hence rises to those above, in the following words.
He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.He stretcheth out the north over the empty place,.... The northern hemisphere, which is the chief and best known, at least it was in the time of Job, when the southern hemisphere might not be known at all; though, if our version of Job 9:9 is right, Job seems to have had knowledge of it. Scheuchzer (u) thinks the thick air farthest north is meant, which expands itself everywhere, and is of great use to the whole earth. But if the northern hemisphere is meant, as a learned man (w) expresses it, it
"was not only principal as to Job's respect, and the position of Arabia, but because this hemisphere is absolutely so indeed, it is principal to the whole; for as the heavens and the earth are divided by the middle line, the northern half hath a strange share of excellency; we have more earth, more men, more stars, more day (the same also Sephorno, a Jewish commentator on the place, observes); and, which is more than all this, the north pole is more magnetic than the south:''
though the whole celestial sphere may be intended, the principal being put for the whole; even that whole expansion, or firmament of heaven, which has its name from being stretched out like a curtain, or canopy, over the earth; which was done when the earth was "tohu", empty of inhabitants, both men and beasts, and was without form and void, and had no beauty in it, or anything growing on it; see Genesis 1:2;
and hangeth the earth upon nothing; as a ball in the air (x), poised with its own weight (y), or kept in this form and manner by the centre of gravity, and so some Jewish writers (z) interpret "nothing" of the centre of the earth, and which is nothing but "ens rationis", a figment and imagination of the mind; or rather the earth is held together, and in the position it is, by its own magnetic virtue, it being a loadstone itself; and as the above learned writer observes,
"the globe consisteth by a magnetic dependency, from which the parts cannot possibly start aside; but which, howsoever thus strongly seated on its centre and poles, is yet said to hang upon nothing; because the Creator in the beginning thus placed it within the "tohu", as it now also hangeth in the air; which itself also is nothing as to any regard of base or sustentation.''
In short, what the foundations are on which it is laid, or the pillars by which it is sustained, cannot be said, except the mighty power and providence of God. The word used seems to come from a root, which in the Syriac and Chaldee languages signifies to "bind and restrain"; and may design the expanse or atmosphere, so called from its binding and compressing nature, "in" or "within" which the earth is hung; see Psalm 32:9.
(u) Physic. Sacr. vol. 4. p. 724. (w) Gregory's Notes and Observations, &c. c. 12. p. 55. (x) "Terra pilae similis nullo fulcimine nixa", Ovid. Fast. 6. (y) "Circumfuso pendebat in aere tellus, ponderibus librata suis----", Ovid. Metamorph. l. 1. Fab. 1.((z) Ben Gersom & Bar Tzemach in loc.
He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them.He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds,.... The clouds are of his making; when he utters his voice, or gives the word of command, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and the vapours he exhales from the ends of the earth and forms them into clouds, and they are his chariots, in which he rides up and down in the heavens, and waters his gardens and plantations on earth; see Jeremiah 10:13; which may be said to be thick in comparison of the air, in which they are; otherwise they are but thin, and the thinner they are, the greater wonder it is that the waters, and such a heavy body of them, should be bound up in them, as there often is; and which is bound up, held, and retained therein, as anything bound up in a sack or bag, or in a garment, or the skirt of a man's coat; see Proverbs 30:4; and what is still more marvellous:
and the cloud is not rent under them; under the waters, and through the weight of them; which, if it was, would fall in vast water spouts, and were such to fall upon the earth, as it may be supposed they did at the general deluge, they would destroy man and beast, and wash off and wash away the things of the earth: but God has so ordered it in his infinite wisdom, and by his almighty power, that clouds should not be thus rent, but fall in small drops and gentle showers, as if they passed through a sieve or colander, whereby the earth is refreshed, and made fruitful; see Job 36:26.
He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it.He holdeth back the face of his throne,.... His throne is the heaven of heavens; the face of it, or what is before it, is the starry and airy heavens; this face of his throne is sometimes held back, or covered with clouds, that so his throne is so far from being visible, that even the face of it, or the outside or external appearance of it, is not to be seen, as follows:
and spreadeth his cloud upon it; and both he and his throne are invisible; clouds and darkness are round about him, and his pavilion round about are dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies, Psalm 18:11; and even the light in which he dwells, and with which he clothes himself, is impervious to us, and is so dazzling, that itself covers and keeps back himself and throne from being seen by mortals. The Targum suggests, that what is here said to be done is done that the angels may not see it; but these always stand before the throne of God, and always behold the face of God himself.
He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end.He hath compassed the waters with bounds,.... Not the waters above the firmament, compassed by that, as if Job was contemplating on and discoursing about what is done in the heavens above; though the Targum seems to incline to this sense, paraphrasing the words,
"he hath decreed that the firmament should be placed upon the face of the waters unto the end of light, with darkness;''
but the waters of the sea, Job descending now to consider the waters of the great deep, and the wonderful restraint that is laid upon them; which is as astonishing as the binding up of the waters in the clouds without being rent by them; for this vast and unwieldy body of waters in the ocean Jehovah manages with as much ease as a mother or nurse does a newborn infant, makes the cloud its garment, and thick darkness a swaddling band for it, Job 38:8; he has as it were with a compass drawn a line upon the face of it; he has broke up for it its decreed place, and set bars, and doors, and bounds to its waves, that they, nay come no further than is his pleasure, as is observed in the same place; the bounds he hath compassed it with are the shores, rocks, and cliffs, so that the waters cannot return and cover earth, as they once did; yea, which is very surprising, he has placed the sand, as weak and fluid as it is, the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree; so that though its waves toss and roar, they cannot prevail, nor pass over it; which must be owing to the almighty power and sovereign will of God, who has given the sea a decree that its waters should not pass his commandment; and it must be ascribed to his promise and oath that the waters no more go over the earth to destroy it; see Psalm 104:9, Proverbs 8:27; until the dark and night come to an end; that is, as long as there will be the vicissitudes of day and night, till time shall be no more, as long as the world stands; for the those shall constitute so long are the ordinances of God, which shall never depart, and the covenant he has made, which shall never become void; wherefore, as long as they remain, the sea and its waters will be bounded as not to overflow the earth, Genesis 8:22; or "until the end of light with darkness" (a); until both these have an end in the same form and manner they now have; otherwise, after the end of all things, there will be light in heaven, and darkness in hell. Aben Ezra interprets it thus,
"unto the place which is the end of light, for all that is above it is light, and below it the reverse;''
he seems to have respect to the place that divides the hemispheres, where when one is light the other is dark; and so others seem to understand it of such places or parts of the world as are half day and half night, and where one half of the year is light, and the other dark; but the first sense is best.
(a) "usque ad finem lucis cum tenebris", Cocceius, Michaelis; so Targum & Sept.
The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof.The pillars of heaven tremble,.... Which may be understood either of the air, the lower part of the heavens, which may be thought to be the foundation, prop, and support of them, and is sometimes called the firmament, and "the firmament of his power", Psalm 150:1; and which seems to tremble when there are thunder and lightnings, and coruscations in it; or else the mountains, which, reaching up to the heavens, look as if they were the pillars and support of them; and are indeed said to be the foundations of heaven, which move and shake and tremble at the presence and power of God, and at any expressions of his wrath and anger, and particularly through earthquakes and storms, and tempests of thunder and lightning; see 2 Samuel 22:8, which are meant by what follows:
and are astonished at his reproof; his voice of thunder, which is sometimes awful and terrible, astonishing and surprising; and, to set forth the greatness of it, inanimate creatures are represented as trembling, and astonished at it; see Psalm 104:7; some interpret this figuratively of angels, who they suppose are employed in the direction of the heavens, and the motion of the heavenly bodies; and who they think are the same which in the New Testament are called "the powers of heaven said to be shaken", Matthew 24:29; and to be the seraphim that covered their faces upon a glorious display of the majesty of God, and when the posts of the door of the temple moved at the voice of him that cried, Isaiah 6:1; but if a figurative sense may be admitted of, the principal persons in the church, sometimes signified by heaven in Scripture, may be thought of; as ministers of the word, who are pillars in the house of God; yea, every true member of the church of God is made a pillar in it; and these tremble, and are astonished oftentimes when the Lord rebukes them by afflictions, though it is in love and kindness to them, Proverbs 9:1.
He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud.He divideth the sea with his power,.... As at the first creation, when the waters were caused to go off the face of the earth, and were separated from it; and the one was called earth, and the other seas, Genesis 1:9; or it may respect the division of those waters into divers seas and channels in the several parts of the world, for the better accommodation of the inhabitants of it, in respect of trade and commerce, and the more convenient supply of them with the various produce of different countries, and the transmitting of it to them: some have thought this has respect to the division of the Red sea for the children of Israel to walk in as on dry land, when pursued by the Egyptians, supposed to be meant by "Rahab" in the next clause; rather it may design the parting of the waves of the sea by a stormy wind, raised by the power of God, which lifts up the waves on high, and divides them in the sea, and dashes them one against another; wrinkles and furrows them, as Jarchi interprets the words, which is such an instance of the power and majesty or God, that he is sometimes described by it, Isaiah 51:15; though the word used is sometimes taken in a quite different sense, for the stilling of the waves of the sea, and so it is by some rendered here, "he stilleth the sea by his power" (b); the noise of its waves, and makes them quiet, and the sea a calm, which has been exceeding boisterous and tempestuous, and is taken notice of as an effect of his sovereign and uncontrollable power, Psalm 65:7; and may be observed as a proof of our Lord's divinity, whom the winds and sea obeyed, to the astonishment of the mariners, who were convinced thereby that he must be some wonderful and extraordinary person, Matthew 8:26;
and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud; the proud waves of the sea, and humbles them, and makes them still, as before; or the proud monstrous creatures in it, as whales and others, particularly the leviathan, the king over all the children of pride, Job 41:34; see Psalm 74:13. The word used is "Rahab", one of the names of Egypt, Psalm 87:4; and so Jarchi interprets it of the Egyptians, who were smitten of God with various plagues, and particularly in their firstborn; and at last at the Red sea, where multitudes perished, and Pharaoh their proud king, with his army; who was an emblem of the devil, whose sin, the cause of his fall and ruin, was pride; and the picture of proud and haughty sinners, whose destruction sooner or later is from the Lord; and which is an instance of his wisdom and understanding, who humbles the proud, and exalts the lowly.
(b) "pacavit mare", Bolducius; "quiescit mare ipsum", Vatablus; so Sept. and Ben Gersom.
By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens,.... The visible heavens, with the sun, moon, and stars, with which they are studded and bespangled, and look exceeding beautiful; and the invisible heavens, with angels, the morning stars, and glorified saints, who especially in the resurrection morn will shine not only like stars, but as the sun in the firmament of heaven; and the church, which is the heaven below, is garnished with Gospel ministers, adorned with the gifts and graces of the spirit of God:
his hand hath formed the crooked serpent; because Job in the preceding clause has respect to the heavens and the ornament of them, this has led many to think that some constellation in the heavens is meant by the crooked serpent, either the galaxy, or milky way, as Ben Gersom and others; or the dragon star, as some in Aben Ezra (c): but rather Job descends again to the sea, and concludes with taking notice of the wonderful work of God, the leviathan, with which God himself concludes his discourse with him in the close of this book, which is called as here the crooked or "bar serpent", Isaiah 27:1; and so the Targum understands it,
"his hand hath created leviathan, which is like unto a biting serpent.''
Some understand it of the crocodile, and the epithet agrees with it, whether it be rendered a "bar serpent", as some (d); that is, straight, stretched out, long, as a bar, the reverse of our version; or "fleeing" (e), as others; the crocodile being, as Pliny (f) says, terrible to those that flee from it, but flees from those that pursue it. Jarchi interprets it of Pharaoh, or leviathan, both an emblem of Satan, the old serpent, the devil, who is God's creature, made by him as a creature, though not made a serpent, or a devil, by him, which was of himself. Some have observed the trinity of persons in these words, and who doubtless were concerned in the creation of all things; here is "Jehovah", of whom the whole context is; and "his Spirit", who, as he moved upon the face of the waters at the first creation, is here said to beautify and adorn the heavens; "and his hand"; his Son, the power and wisdom of God, by whom he made all things.
(c) So Dickinson. Physic. Vet. & Vera, c. 9. sect. 23. p. 137. (d) "serpentem vectem", Pagninus, Cocceius; "oblongum instar vectis", Schmidt; "oblongum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "longa trabe rectior". Vide Metamorph. l. 3. Fab. 1. ver. 78. (e) "Fugacem", Montanus, Vatablus; "fugiens", Codurcus. (f) Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 25.
Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?Lo, these are parts of his ways,.... This is the conclusion of the discourse concerning the wonderful works of God; and Job was so far from thinking that he had taken notice of all, or even of the chief and principal, that what he observed were only the extremities, the edges, the borders, and outlines of the ways and works of God in creation and providence; wherefore, if these were so great and marvellous, what must the rest be which were out of the reach of men to point out and describe?
but how little a portion is heard of him? from the creatures, from the works of creation, whether in heaven, earth, or sea; for though they do declare in some measure his glory, and though their voice is heard everywhere, and shows forth the knowledge of him; even exhibits to view his invisible things, his eternal power and Godhead; yet it is comparatively so faint a light, that men grope as it were in the dark, if haply they might find him, having nothing but the light of nature to guide them. We hear the most of him in his word, and by his Son Jesus Christ, in whose face the knowledge of him, and his glorious perfections, is given; and yet we know but in part, and prophesy in part; it is but little in comparison of what is in him, and indeed of what will be heard and known of him hereafter in eternity:
but the thunder of his power who can understand? meaning not literally thunder, which though it is a voice peculiar to God, and is very strong and powerful, as appears by the effects of it; see Job 40:9; yet is not so very unintelligible as to be taken notice of so peculiarly, and to be instanced in as above all things out, of the reach of the understanding of men; but rather the attribute of his power, of which Job had been discoursing, and giving so many instances of; and yet there is such an exceeding greatness in it, as not to be comprehended and thoroughly understood by all that appear to our view; for his mighty power is such as is able to subdue all things to himself, and reaches to things we cannot conceive of. Ben Gersom, not amiss, applies this to the greatness and multitude of the decrees of God; and indeed if those works of his which are in sight cannot be fully understood by us, how should we be able to understand things that are secret and hidden in his own breast, until by his mighty power they are carried into execution? see 1 Corinthians 2:9.