|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.
Verse 9. - Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades; literally, which maketh 'Ash Kesil and Kimah. The rendering of the LXX. (ὁ ποιῶν Πλειάδα καὶ Ἕσπερον καὶ Ἀρκτοῦρον), supported, as it is, by most of the other ancient versions and by the Targums, has caused the stellar character of these names to be generally recognized; but the exact meaning of each term is, to some extent, still a matter of dispute. On the whole, it seems most probable that 'Ash or 'Aish (Job 38:32), designates "the Great Bear," called by the Arabs Nahsh while Kesil is the name of the constellation of Orion, and Kimah of that of the Pleiades. The word 'Ash means "a litter," and may be compared with the Greek ἅμαξα and our own" Charles's Wain," both of them names given to the Great Bear, from a fancied resemblance of its form to that of a vehicle. Kesil means "an insolent, rich man" (Lee); and is often translated by "fool" in the Book of Proverbs 14:16; Proverbs 15:20; Proverbs 19:1; Proverbs 21:20, etc. It seems to have been an epitheton usitatum of Nimrod, who, according to Oriental tradition, made war upon the gods, and was bound in the sky for his impiety - the constellation being thenceforth called "the Giant" (Gibbor)' or "the insolent one' (Kesil), and later by the Greeks "Orion" (comp. Amos 5:8; and infra' Job 38:31). Kimah undoubtedly designates "the Pleiades." It occurs again, in connection with Kesil in Job 38:31, and in Amos 5:8 The meaning is probably "a heap," "a cluster" (Lee); which was also the Greek idea: Πλειάδες, ὅτι πλείους ὁμοοῦ κατὰ μίαν συναγωγήν (Eustath., 'Comment. in Hom. II.,' 18:488); and which has been also inimitably expressed by Tennyson in the line, "Like a swarm of dazzling fireflies tangled in a silver braid." And the chambers of the south. The Chaldeans called the zodiacal constellations "mansions of the sun" and "of the moon" ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. it. p. 575); but these do not seem to be here intended. Rather Job has in his mind those immense spaces of the sky which lie behind his southern horizon; how far extending, he knows not. Though the circumnavigation of Africa was not effected until about r c. 600, yet it is not improbable that he may have derived from travellers or merchants some knowledge of the Southern hemisphere.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Which maketh Arcturus,.... By which is meant not a single star, but a collection of stars, as Bar Tzemach and Ben Melech, a constellation; hence we read of Arcturus and his sons, Job 38:32. Aben Ezra understands it of the seven stars, but these are thought to be meant by the Pleiades, later mentioned; this constellation is about the Arctic or northern pole, in the tail of the Bear, appears in the beginning of September, and brings stormy weather, when winter is at hand (h):
Orion and Pleiades; the former of these also is not a single star, but a constellation; by the help of a telescope no less than two thousand are numbered, and in Hebrew it is called "Cesil"; hence the month "Cisleu" has its name, which answers to part of November and part of December, at which time this constellation is seen, and is attended with stormy weather; hence Virgil calls it Nimbosus Orion (i): and the latter are what we call the Seven Stars, sometimes by writers called Vergiliae, because they appear in the spring; and have their name of Pleiades from sailing, because at this time of year mariners go out with their ships; though some say this constellation is not favourable to them, causing rains and tempests (k); these three divide the whole year:
and the chambers of the south: the stars in the southern hemisphere, about the Antarctic, or southern pole; and called "chambers", as Aben Ezra observes, because hidden, and are not seen by those in the other hemisphere, as if they were in a chamber: now the making of these is rightly ascribed to God, who made all the stars, Genesis 1:16; though this may rather regard the continuance of them in their being, who calls them by name, brings out their host by number, directs their course, keeps them in their orbs, and preserves their influence.
(h) Sophoclis Oedipus, Tyran. ver. 1147. (i) Aeneid. l. 1. Vid. Horat. Carmin. l. 3. Ode 27. Epod. 15. (k) "----pleiadum choro Scindente nubes". Horat. Carmin. l. 4. Ode 14.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. maketh—rather, from the Arabic, "covereth up." This accords better with the context, which describes His boundless power as controller rather than as creator [Umbreit].
Arcturus—the great bear, which always revolves about the pole, and never sets. The Chaldeans and Arabs, early named the stars and grouped them in constellations; often travelling and tending flocks by night, they would naturally do so, especially as the rise and setting of some stars mark the distinction of seasons. Brinkley, presuming the stars here mentioned to be those of Taurus and Scorpio, and that these were the cardinal constellations of spring and autumn in Job's time, calculates, by the precession of equinoxes, the time of Job to be eight hundred eighteen years after the deluge, and one hundred eighty-four before Abraham.
Orion—Hebrew, "the fool"; in Job 38:31 he appears fettered with "bands." The old legend represented this star as a hero, who presumptuously rebelled against God, and was therefore a fool, and was chained in the sky as a punishment; for its rising is at the stormy period of the year. He is Nimrod (the exceedingly impious rebel) among the Assyrians; Orion among the Greeks. Sabaism (worship of the heavenly hosts) and hero-worship were blended in his person. He first subverted the patriarchal order of society by substituting a chieftainship based on conquest (Ge 10:9, 10).
Pleiades—literally, "the heap of stars"; Arabic, "knot of stars." The various names of this constellation in the East express the close union of the stars in it (Am 5:8).
chambers of the south—the unseen regions of the southern hemisphere, with its own set of stars, as distinguished from those just mentioned of the northern. The true structure of the earth is here implied.
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