|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 2. - Canst thou number the months that they fulfil? With an animal so wild as the ibex, these secrets of nature would be difficult to observe and note down. In Job's time probably no one had made such subjects an object of inquiry. Or knowest thou the time when they bring forth? This would be less difficult to observe. The breeding-time of most wild animals is known in the country which produces them.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Canst thou number the months that they fulfil?.... Which some understand both of wild goats and hinds. Common goats fulfil five months, they conceive in November, and bring forth in March, as Pliny (f) observes; but how many the wild goats of the rock fulfil is not said by him or any other I know of: the same writer says (g) of hinds, that they go eight months;
or knowest thou the time when they bring forth? naturalists (h) tell us, that the hinds conceive after the rise of the star Arcturus, which rises eleven days before the autumnal equinox; so that they conceive in September; and as they go eight months, they bring forth in April; but then the exact time to a day and hour is not known. Besides, who has fixed the time for their bringing forth, and carries them in it through so many dangers and difficulties? None but the Lord himself. Now if such common things in nature were not known perfectly by Job, how should he be able to search into and find out the causes and reasons of God's providential dealings with men, or what is in the womb of Providence?
(f) Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 50. (g) Ib. c. 32. (h) Ib. & l. 2. c. 47. Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 6. c. 29. Solinus, c. 31.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. They bring forth with ease and do not need to reckon the months of pregnancy, as the shepherd does in the case of his flocks.
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