|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
38:12-24 The Lord questions Job, to convince him of his ignorance, and shame him for his folly in prescribing to God. If we thus try ourselves, we shall soon be brought to own that what we know is nothing in comparison with what we know not. By the tender mercy of our God, the Day-spring from on high has visited us, to give light to those that sit in darkness, whose hearts are turned to it as clay to the seal, 2Co 4:6. God's way in the government of the world is said to be in the sea; this means, that it is hid from us. Let us make sure that the gates of heaven shall be opened to us on the other side of death, and then we need not fear the opening of the gates of death. It is presumptuous for us, who perceive not the breadth of the earth, to dive into the depth of God's counsels. We should neither in the brightest noon count upon perpetual day, nor in the darkest midnight despair of the return of the morning; and this applies to our inward as well as to our outward condition. What folly it is to strive against God! How much is it our interest to seek peace with him, and to keep in his love!
Verse 14. - It is turned as clay to the seal; rather, it changes as the clay of a seal. The seals of the Babylonians, Assyrians, and others were commonly impressed upon clay, and not upon wax (Lsyard, 'Nineveh and Babylon,' pp. 153-156). As the seal changed the clay from a dull, shapeless lump to a figured surface, so the coming of the dawn changes the earth from an indistinct mass to one diversified with form and colour. As M. Renan explains, "L'aurore fair our la terre l'effet d'un sceau sur la torte sigillee, en dormant de laforme, et du relief, a la surface do l'univers, qui pendant la nuit est somme un chaos indistinct." And they stand as a garment; rather, and things stand out as a garment or as on a garment - a richly embroidered dress is intended, on which the pattern stands out in relief.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
It is turned as clay to the seal,.... As the clay receives a different form by the impress of the seal upon it, so the earth appears in a different manner by the spring of morning light upon it; in the darkness of the night nothing of its form and beauty is to be seen; it is a mere "tohu" and "bohu", like the chaos, Genesis 1:2; its rising hills, and spreading dales, and beautiful landscapes, cannot be observed with pleasure; but when the light breaks forth in the morning, it is seen in all its beauty and glory: of the change the light of the Gospel makes in men, see 2 Corinthians 3:18;
and they stand as a garment; or things stand upon it as a garment, as Mr. Broughton renders the words; herbs, plants, and trees, unseen in the night, stand up like a vesture to the earth in the morning light; and as they are clothed themselves, they are a garment to that, which now puts on another and beautiful habit; the pastures are clothed with flocks, and the valleys covered with corn, and the whole earth with light itself, as with a garment: and as beautifully do men made light in the Lord appear; see Isaiah 41:10.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. Explaining the first clause of Job 38:13, as Job 38:15 does the second clause. As the plastic clay presents the various figures impressed on it by a seal, so the earth, which in the dark was void of all form, when illuminated by the dayspring, presents a variety of forms, hills, valleys, &c.
turned—(Hebrew, "turns itself") alludes to the rolling cylinder seal, such as is found in Babylon, which leaves its impressions on the clay, as it is turned about; so the morning light rolling on over the earth.
they stand—The forms of beauty, unfolded by the dawn, stand forth as a garment, in which the earth is clad.
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