|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:1-13 In this answer Job declared that he did not doubt the justice of God, when he denied himself to be a hypocrite; for how should man be just with God? Before him he pleaded guilty of sins more than could be counted; and if God should contend with him in judgment, he could not justify one out of a thousand, of all the thoughts, words, and actions of his life; therefore he deserved worse than all his present sufferings. When Job mentions the wisdom and power of God, he forgets his complaints. We are unfit to judge of God's proceedings, because we know not what he does, or what he designs. God acts with power which no creature can resist. Those who think they have strength enough to help others, will not be able to help themselves against it.
Verses 5-13. - A magnificent description of the might and majesty of God, transcending anything in the Psalms, and comparable to the grandest passages of Isaiah (see especially Isaiah 40:21-24; Isaiah 43:15-20). Verse 5. - Which removeth the mountains, and they know not; which overturneth them in his anger. Earthquakes are common in all the countries adjoining Syria and Palestine, and must always have been among the most striking manifestations of God's power. There are several allusions to them in the Psalms (Psalm 8:8, 104:32). and historical mention of them in Numbers 16:32; 1 Kings 19:1; Amos 1:1; Zechariah 14:4, 5; Matthew 24:7. Josephus speaks of one which desolated Judaea in the reign of Herod the Great, and destroyed ten thousand people ('Ant. Jud.,' 15:5. § 2). There was another in 1181, which was felt over the whole of the Hauran, and did great damage. A still more violent convulsion occurred in 1837, when the area affected extended five hundred miles from north to south, and from eighty to a hundred miles east and west. Tiberias and Safed were overthrown. The earth gaped in various places, and closed again. Fearful oscillations were felt. The hot springs of Tiberias mounted up to a temperature that ordinary thermometers could not mark, and the loss of life was considerable (see the account given by Dr. Cunningham Geikie, in 'The Holy Land and the Bible,' vol. 2. pp. 317, 318). The phrases used by Job are, of course, poetical. Earthquakes do not literally "remove" mountains, nor "overturn" them. They produce fissures, elevations, depressions, and the like; but they rarely much alter local features or the general configuration of a district.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Which removeth the mountains,.... This and what follow are instances of the power of God, and are full proofs of his being mighty in strength; and may be understood, either literally, not only of what God is able to do if he will, but of what he has done; and history (y) furnishes us with instances of mountains being removed from one place to another; and Scheuchzer (z) makes mention of a village in Helvetia, called Plurium, which, in 1618, was covered with the sudden fall of a mountain, and swallowed up in the earth, with 1800 inhabitants, and not the least trace of it to be seen any more; and in the sacred Scriptures is a prediction of the mount of Olives being removed from its place, one half to the north and the other to the south, Zechariah 14:4; and Josephus (a) gives a relation much like it, as in fact; besides, Job may have respect to what had been done in his times, or before them, and particularly at the universal deluge, which covered the tops of the highest mountains and hills, and very probably washed away some from their places: or else it may be understood proverbially, of the Lord's doing things marvellous and surprising, and which are impossible and impracticable with men; see Matthew 17:20; or rather figuratively, of kingdoms and mighty kings, as the Targum, comparable to mountains for their height and strength, who yet are removed by God at his pleasure; see Zechariah 4:7,
and they know not; when they are removed, and how it is done; it is imperceptible; either the mountains are not sensible of it, or the inhabitants of the mountains, as Bar Tzemach; or men, the common sort of men, the multitude, as Gersom: R. Saadiah Gaon interprets it of removing the men of the mountains, and they know it not:
which overturneth them in his anger; for the sins or men, which was the case of the old world: Mr. Broughton renders it, "that men cannot mark how he hath removed them out of their place in his anger".
(y) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 83. Wernerus, Palmerius, Theophanes "a aurus", in Bolduc. in loc. (z) Physic. Sacr. vol. 4. p. 673. (a) Antiqu. l. 9. c. 10. sect. 4.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. and they know not—Hebrew for "suddenly, unexpectedly, before they are aware of it" (Ps 35:8); "at unawares"; Hebrew, which "he knoweth not of" (Joe 2:14; Pr 5:6).
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