|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 21. - He paweth in the valley. Canon Cook appositely compares Virgil's "carat tellurem" ('Georg.,' 3:87, 88), and Professor Lee Pope's expression, that "ere they start a thousand steps are lost." The verb is in the plural, because a line of cavalry, all pawing and eager to be off, is intended to be represented. And rejoiceth in his strength. Nothing is more remarkable than the eagerness and joy which war-horses show when the battle approaches. They are generally more excited than their riders. He goeth on to meet the armed men; literally, he rusheth upon the weapons. Equally true in ancient and in modern warfare. The main use of cavalry is in the charge (see Denison's 'Hist. of Cavalry,' pp. 507-512).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He paweth in the valley,.... Where armies are usually pitched and set in battle army, and especially the cavalry, for which the valley is most convenient; and here the horse is impatient of engaging, cannot stand still, but rises up with his fore feet and paws and prances, and, as the word signifies, digs the earth and makes it hollow, by a continual striking upon it; so generally horses are commonly described in this manner (s);
and rejoiceth in his strength; of which he is sensible, and glories in it; marches to the battle with pride and stateliness, defying, as it were, the enemy, and as if sure of victory, of which he has knowledge when obtained; for Lactantius says (t) of horses, when conquerors they exult, when conquered they grieve; it has its name in the Hebrew language from rejoicing (u);
he goeth on to meet the armed men; without any fear or dread of them, as follows.
(s) "Cavatque tellurem". Virgil. Georgic. l. 3. v. 87. (t) Institut. l. 3. c. 8. (u) "gavisus est". Vid. Buxtorf. in voce
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. valley—where the battle is joined.
goeth on—goeth forth (Nu 1:3; 21:23).
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