|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 8. - Or who shut up the sea with doors? From the earth a transition is made to the sea, as the second great wonder in creation (comp. Genesis 1:9, 10; Exodus 20:11; Psalm 104:24, 25). God's might is especially shown in his power to control and confine the sea, which rages so terribly and seems so utterly uncontrollable. God has blocked it in "with doors" - i.e. with "bounds that it cannot pass, neither turn again to cover the earth" (Psalm 145:9). Sometimes the barrier is one of lofty and solid rock, which seems well suited to confine and restrain; but sometimes it is no more than a thin streak of sliver sand or a bank of loose, shifting pebbles. Yet, in both cases alike, the restraint suffices. "The sand is placed for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it" (Jeremiah 5:22); the beach of shifting pebbles remains as firm as the rock itself, and never recedes or advances more than a few feet. When it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb; i.e. at its birth, when it was first formed, by the gathering together of the waters into one place (see Genesis 1:9).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Or who shut up the sea with doors,.... From the earth the transition is to the sea, according to the order of the creation; and this refers not to the state and case of the sea as at the flood, of which some interpret it, but as at its first creation; and it is throughout this account represented as an infant, and here first as in embryo, shut up in the bowels of the earth, where it was when first created with it, as an infant shut up in its mother's womb, and with the doors of it; see Job 3:10; the bowels of the earth being the storehouses where God first laid up the deep waters, Psalm 33:7; and when the chaos, the misshapen earth, was like a woman big with child;
when it brake forth out of the abyss, as the Targum, with force and violence, as Pharez broke out of his mother's womb; for which reason he had his name given, which signifies a breach, Genesis 38:29; so it follows,
as if it had issued out of the womb; as a child out of its mother's womb; so the sea burst forth and issued out of the bowels of the earth, and covered it all around, as in Psalm 104:6; and now it was that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, before they were drained off the earth; this was the first open visible production of the sea, and nay be called the birth of it; see Genesis 1:2. Something like this the Heathen philosopher Archelaus had a notion of, who says (g), the sea was shut up in hollow places, and was as it were strained through the earth.
(g) Laert. Vit. Philosoph. l. 2. p. 99.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. doors—floodgates; these when opened caused the flood (Ge 8:2); or else, the shores.
womb—of chaos. The bowels of the earth. Image from childbirth (Job 38:8, 9; Eze 32:2; Mic 4:10). Ocean at its birth was wrapped in clouds as its swaddling bands.
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