|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 16. - Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? The emphasis is on the word "springs," which means sources, origin, or deepest depths (see the Septuagint, which has πηγή, and the Vulgate, which has profunda). Canst thou go to the bottom of anything, explore its secrets, explain its cause and origin? Or hast thou walked in the search (rather, the deep places) of the depth? Art thou not as ignorant as other men of all these remote and secret things? Physical science is now attempting the material exploration of the ocean-depths, but "deep-sea dredgings" bring us no nearer to the origin, cause, or mode of creation of the great watery mass.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea?.... The subterraneous passages through which the waters flow into the sea and supply it; or the springs and fountains that rise up at the bottom of it (i); and some tell us of springs of sweet water that rise there, even though the water at the bottom of the sea is saltier than on the surface (k): some render it "the drops of the sea" (l); hast thou considered them and counted them? art thou able to do it? no: others the "perplexities" of it (m), so the Targum, the word being used in this sense, Exodus 14:3; the thickets of it; some speak of woods and forests in it; see Gill on Exodus 10:19; others "rocks" and shelves (n), and others the "borders" of it (o); and the sense then is, hast thou entered into and travelled through the main ocean, observed the forests in it, the shelving rocks and sandy mountains in it, and gone to the utmost borders of it?
or hast thou walked in the search of the depth? to find out the deepest place of it, where no sounding line can reach (p); or walked in quest of the curiosities of it, animals, plants and minerals, unknown to men; or of the riches that lie at the bottom of it, for which now the diving bell is used, but not invented and known in the times of Job; and if Job had not done and could not do all this, how should he be able to enter into the secret springs of Providence, or trace the ways of God, whose way is in the sea, and whose paths are in the great waters, and his footsteps not known? Psalm 77:19.
(i) According to Dr. Plot, the principal fountains have their origin, and are supplied with water through subterraneous passages from the sea. De Origine Fontium, &c. apud Act. Erudit. Lips. A. M. 1685. p. 538. See Genesis 7.11. (k) Vid. Scheucbzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 4. p. 803. (l) "guttas maris", Tigurine version, Grotius. (m) "Perplexitates maris", Munster. (n) "Scopulos maris", Michaelis; "salebrosa maris", Schultens. (o) So Jarchi. (p) For though the greatest depth of the sea is said by Fabianus (apud Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 2, c. 102.) to be fifteen furlongs, or near two miles, this must be understood of that part of it which is fathomable and nearer land. But such as those, called Bathea Ponti, the depths of the Pontus, and are almost three hundred furlongs from the continent, they are said (Plin. ib.) to be of an immense depth, and the bottom not to be found. And if the Sardinian sea, the deepest in the Mediterranean (Aristot. Meteorolog. l. 2, c. 1.) is a thousand orgies or fathoms deep, (Posidonius apud Strabo. Geograph. l. 1, p. 37.) that is, one mile and a fifth, what must the depth of the vast ocean be?
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. springs—fountains beneath the sea (Ps 95:4, 5).
search—Rather, "the inmost recesses"; literally, "that which is only found by searching," the deep caverns of ocean.
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