|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 21. - Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? The irony that has underlain the whole address comes here to the surface, and shows itself palpably. Job, of course, is as old as the Almighty, or, at any rate, coeval with creation; otherwise he could not presume to take the tone which he has taken, and arraign the moral government of the Creator. Or because the number of thy days is great! Compare the sarcasm of Eliphaz (Job 15:7).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born?.... When light and darkness were first separated, and had their several apartments assigned them; their laws and rules given them, and their bounds and limits set them? No; he was not: and, had he been the first man, could not have been early enough to have been present at the doing of this, and so come at the knowledge thereof; since man was not made until the sixth day of the creation;
or because the number of thy days is great; reach to the beginning of time, and so as old as the creation. This was not the case. Some understand these words ironically; "thou knowest" the places and bounds of light and darkness, since thou art a very old man, born as soon as the world was. Whereas he was of yesterday, and knew nothing; which to convince him of is the design of this biting, cutting, expression. The Targum is,
"didst thou know then that thou shouldest be born, and the number of thy days many?''
No, Job did not know when he was born, nor of whom, and in what circumstances, but by the relation of others; and much less could he know before he was born, that he should be, or how long he should live in the world: but God knows all this beforehand; when men shall come into the world, at what period and of what parents, and how long they shall continue in it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. Or without the interrogation, in an ironical sense [Umbreit].
then—when I created light and darkness (Job 15:7).
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