|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 20. - Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? rather, Canst thou make him leap forward as a grasshopper? The bound with which a war-horse rushes to battle seems intended. The glory of his nostrils is terrible. When the war-horse snorts, men tremble (see Jeremiah 8:16, "The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan: the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones").
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper?.... Which is frightened at every noise, and at any approach of men; but not so the horse; or canst thou move him, or cause him to skip and jump, or rather leap like a grasshopper? that is, hast thou given, or canst thou give him the faculty of leaping over hedges and ditches, for which the horse is famous? so Neptune's war horses are said (q) to be good leapers;
the glory of his nostrils is terrible: which may be understood of his sneezing, snorting, pawing, and neighing, when his nostrils are broad, spread, and enlarged; and especially when enraged and in battle, when he foams and fumes, and his breath comes out of his nostrils like smoke (r), and is very terrible.
(q) Homeri Iliad. 13. v. 31. (r) "Iguescunt patulae nares". Claudian. in 4. Consul. Honor.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. make … afraid—rather, "canst thou (as I do) make him spring as the locust?" So in Joe 2:4, the comparison is between locusts and war-horses. The heads of the two are so similar that the Italians call the locusts cavaletta, "little horse."
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