|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 19. - Hast thou given the horse strength? (comp. Psalm 147:10). Geburah means, however, more than "strength." It includes courage and all martial excellence. Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? Many objections have been taken to this expression; and endeavours have been made to show that the word used (דַעְמָה) does not mean "thunder," but" a tremulous motion," "quivering muscles and a tossing mane," or else "scorn," "indignation." But as רַעַם always means "thunder" (Job 26:14; Job 39:25; Psalm 77:19: 81:8; 145:7; Isaiah 29:6), it seems unlikely that רעמה means anything else. To the objection that the metaphor is "incongruous" (Professor Lee), it would appear to be enough to reply that one of our greatest prose-poets has seen in it peculiar fitness. So true every way" says Carlyle, on the passage: "true eyesight and vision for all things; material things, not less than spiritual; "the horse - Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?" ('Lectures on Heroes,' p. 78).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Hast thou given the horse strength?.... Not only to bear burdens and draw carriages, but for war; for it is the war horse that is here spoken of, as what follows shows, and his strength denotes; not strength of body only, but fortitude and courage; for which, as well as the other, the horse is eminent, and both are the gift of God, and not of men;
hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? or with strength, as the Targum; the horse having particularly great strength in its neck, as well as in other parts; or with strength of voice, as Ben Gersom explains it; and it has been generally understood of the neighing of horses, which comes through and out of their neck, and makes a vehement sound: some render it, "with a mane" (p); and could it be made to appear that the word is so used in any other place, or in any other writings, or in any of the dialects, it would afford a very good sense, since a fine large mane to a horse is a great ornament and recommendation: the Septuagint render it by "fear", and Jarchi interprets it of "terror"; and refers to the sense of, he word in Ezekiel 27:35; and it may signify such a tremor as thunder makes, from whence that has its name; and it may be observed that between the neck and shoulder bone of an horse there is a tremulous and quavering motion; and which is more vehement in battle, not from any fearfulness of it, but rather through eagerness to engage in it; and therefore Schultens translates the words, "hast thou clothed his neck with a cheerful tremor?"
(p) Bochart, Bootius, &c.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. The allusion to "the horse" (Job 39:18), suggests the description of him. Arab poets delight in praising the horse; yet it is not mentioned in the possessions of Job (Job 1:3; 42:12). It seems to have been at the time chiefly used for war, rather than "domestic purposes."
thunder—poetically for, "he with arched neck inspires fear as thunder does." Translate, "majesty" [Umbreit]. Rather "the trembling, quivering mane," answering to the "vibrating wing" of the ostrich (see on Job 39:13) [Maurer]. "Mane" in Greek also is from a root meaning "fear." English Version is more sublime.
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