|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 25. - He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha! literally, at the trumpet; i.e. at the sound of the trumpet. The utterance, "Ha, ha!" (heakh)' is an imitation of the horse's snort or neigh. And he smelleth the battle afar off. Not merely presages it, as Pliny Bye ("Equi praesagiunt pugnam, 'Hist. Nat,' 8:42), or perceives it. but seems to scent it. The open and quivering nostrils raise this idea. The thunder of the captains, and the shouting. On the great noise made by advancing armies in ancient times, see 2 Kings 7:6; Isaiah 5:28-30: Jeremiah 8:16, etc.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He saith among the trumpets, ha, ha,.... As pleased with the sound of them, rejoicing thereat, and which he signifies by neighing;
and he smelleth the battle afar off; which respects not so much the distance of place as of time; he perceives beforehand that it is near, by the preparations making for it, and particularly by what follows; so Pliny (b) says of horses, they presage a fight. The thunder of the captains, and the shouting; they understand an engagement is just about to start by the loud and thundering voice of the captains, exhorting and spiralling up their men, and giving them the word of command; and by the clamorous shout of the soldiers echoing to the speech of their captains; and which are given forth upon an onset, both to animate one another, and intimidate the enemy. Bootius (c) observes, that Virgil (d) and Oppianus (e) say most of the same things in praise of the horse which are here said, and seem to have taken them from hence; and some (f) give the horse the preference to the lion, which, when it departs from a fight, never returns, whereas the horse will. This is an emblem both of good men, Zechariah 10:3; and of bad men, Jeremiah 8:6.
(b) Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 42. (c) Animadvers. Sacr. l. 3. c. 6. s. 1.((d) Georgic. l. 3.((e) Cyneget. l. 1.((f) Horus Aegypt. apud Steeb. Coelum Sephirot. Heb. c. 6. s. 1. p. 106.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
25. saith—poetically applied to his mettlesome neighing, whereby he shows his love of the battle.
smelleth—snuffeth; discerneth (Isa 11:3, Margin).
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