|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
38:4-11 For the humbling of Job, God here shows him his ignorance, even concerning the earth and the sea. As we cannot find fault with God's work, so we need not fear concerning it. The works of his providence, as well as the work of creation, never can be broken; and the work of redemption is no less firm, of which Christ himself is both the Foundation and the Corner-stone. The church stands as firm as the earth.
Verse 5. - Who determined the measures thereof? Everything in creation is orderly, measured, predetermined, governed by law and will The actual weight of the planets is fixed by Divine wisdom, with a view to the stability and enduringness of the solar system (comp. Isaiah 40:12). If thou knowest; literally, for thou knowest - an anticipation of the lofty irony which comes out so remarkably in ver. 21. Or who hath stretched the line upon it? Human builders determine the dimensions of their constructions by means of a measuring-line (Ezekiel 40:3-49, etc.). The writer carries out his metaphor of a building by supposing a measuring-rod to have been used at the creation of the earth also. Some find a trace of the idea in Genesis 1:9, where they translate קָווּ הַמַּיִם, "Let the waters be marked out with a line."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest?.... Did God or a creature? The Lord, no doubt. He laid them out in his divine mind, and laid them forth by his divine power; who does all things by weight and measure. He fixed the dimensions of the earth, how long, how thick, and how broad it should be; he settled the borders and boundaries of it. This Job might know that the Lord did; but he laid them, and what they are that are laid, he knew not. Mathematicians pretend to give us the circumference and diameter of the earth; but in their accounts are not agreed, but widely differ; which shows they are at no certainty about them (e); and Job and the men of his age might be still less knowing: though the words may be rendered, "for thou knowest" (f); surely such a knowing man as thou art must needs know this and so are a severe sarcasm upon him;
or who hath stretched the line upon it? The measuring line being formed according to rule, with exact symmetry and proportion. This may be the same with the circle of the earth, and the compass set upon the face of the deep or terraqueous globe, Proverbs 8:27. And with the same exactness and just proportion are the ways and works of Providence, which Job ought to have acquiesced in as being well and wisely done.
(e) The mathematicians in Aristotle's time reckoned the breadth of the earth a little less than forty myriads of furlongs, and the length of it seventy myriads. Aristot. de Mundo, c. 3. Vid. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 108, 109. According to the moderns, the circumference of the earth is 25,031.5 of our statute miles, and its diameter 7967 such miles. See Chamber's Dictionary on the word "Earth". (f) "quadoquidem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "quia", Michaelis; "nam", Schultens; so Broughton.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. measures—of its proportions. Image from an architect's plans of a building.
line—of measurement (Isa 28:17). The earth is formed on an all-wise plan.
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