|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
39:1-30 God inquires of Job concerning several animals. - In these questions the Lord continued to humble Job. In this chapter several animals are spoken of, whose nature or situation particularly show the power, wisdom, and manifold works of God. The wild ass. It is better to labour and be good for something, than to ramble and be good for nothing. From the untameableness of this and other creatures, we may see, how unfit we are to give law to Providence, who cannot give law even to a wild ass's colt. The unicorn, a strong, stately, proud creature. He is able to serve, but not willing; and God challenges Job to force him to it. It is a great mercy if, where God gives strength for service, he gives a heart; it is what we should pray for, and reason ourselves into, which the brutes cannot do. Those gifts are not always the most valuable that make the finest show. Who would not rather have the voice of the nightingale, than the tail of the peacock; the eye of the eagle and her soaring wing, and the natural affection of the stork, than the beautiful feathers of the ostrich, which can never rise above the earth, and is without natural affection? The description of the war-horse helps to explain the character of presumptuous sinners. Every one turneth to his course, as the horse rushes into the battle. When a man's heart is fully set in him to do evil, and he is carried on in a wicked way, by the violence of his appetites and passions, there is no making him fear the wrath of God, and the fatal consequences of sin. Secure sinners think themselves as safe in their sins as the eagle in her nest on high, in the clefts of the rocks; but I will bring thee down from thence, saith the Lord, #Jer 49:16". All these beautiful references to the works of nature, should teach us a right view of the riches of the wisdom of Him who made and sustains all things. The want of right views concerning the wisdom of God, which is ever present in all things, led Job to think and speak unworthily of Providence.
Verse 18. - What time she lifteth up herself on high, she scorneth the horse and his rider. The ostrich sometimes tries to elude pursuit by crouching and hiding behind hillocks or in hollows, making itself as little conspicuous as possible; but, when these attempts fail, and it starts off to run in the open, then it "lifts itself up" to its full elevation, beats the air with its wings, and scours along at a pace that no horse can equal. The Greeks with Xenophon, though well mounted, failed to catch a single ostrich ('Anab.,' 1:5. § 3).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
What time she lifted up herself on high,.... It is sometimes eight foot high (l); when alarmed with approaching danger she raises up herself, being sitting on the ground, and erects her wings for flight, or rather running;
she scorneth the horse and his rider; being then, as Pliny (m) says, higher than a man on horseback, and superior to a horse in swiftness; and though horsemen have been able to take wild asses and goats, very swift creatures, yet never ostriches, as Xenophon relates (n) of those in Arabia; and this creature has another method, when pursued, by which it defies and despises, as well as hurts and incommodes its pursuers, which is by casting stones backward at them with its feet as out of a sling (o).
(l) Philosoph. Transact. abridged, vol. 2. p. 360. (m) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 1.((n) De Expedit. Cyri, l. 1.((o) Plin. ut supra. (Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 1.) Aelian. de Animal. l. 4. c. 37.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. Notwithstanding her deficiencies, she has distinguishing excellences.
lifteth … herself—for running; she cannot mount in the air. Gesenius translates: "lashes herself" up to her course by flapping her wings. The old versions favor English Version, and the parallel "scorneth" answers to her proudly "lifting up herself."
Job 39:18 Parallel Commentaries
Job 39:18 NIV
Job 39:18 NLT
Job 39:18 ESV
Job 39:18 NASB
Job 39:18 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible