|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
26:5-14 Many striking instances are here given of the wisdom and power of God, in the creation and preservation of the world. If we look about us, to the earth and waters here below, we see his almighty power. If we consider hell beneath, though out of our sight, yet we may conceive the discoveries of God's power there. If we look up to heaven above, we see displays of God's almighty power. By his Spirit, the eternal Spirit that moved upon the face of the waters, the breath of his mouth, Ps 33:6, he has not only made the heavens, but beautified them. By redemption, all the other wonderful works of the Lord are eclipsed; and we may draw near, and taste his grace, learn to love him, and walk with delight in his ways. The ground of the controversy between Job and the other disputants was, that they unjustly thought from his afflictions that he must have been guilty of heinous crimes. They appear not to have duly considered the evil and just desert of original sin; nor did they take into account the gracious designs of God in purifying his people. Job also darkened counsel by words without knowledge. But his views were more distinct. He does not appear to have alleged his personal righteousness as the ground of his hope towards God. Yet what he admitted in a general view of his case, he in effect denied, while he complained of his sufferings as unmerited and severe; that very complaint proving the necessity for their being sent, in order to his being further humbled in the sight of God.
Verse 7. - He streteheth out the north over the empty place. Over what was "empty space" or "chaos" (תּהוּ) God stretches out "the north" - a portion of his orderly creation - perhaps the northern portion of the heavens, where are the grandest constellations visible to the inhabitants of the world's northern half. And hangeth the earth upon nothing. "Takes," i.e., "the huge ball of the earth, and suspends it in vacancy, with nothing to support it but his own fixed will, his own firm laws." This is an idea scarcely reached by astronomers in general, at any rate till the time of Hippar-chus; and it has, not without reason, been regarded as "a very remarkable instance of anticipation of the discoveries of science' (Stanley Loathes).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
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.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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 form.
Job 26:7 Parallel Commentaries
Job 26:7 NIV
Job 26:7 NLT
Job 26:7 ESV
Job 26:7 NASB
Job 26:7 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible