Job 12:8
Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach you: and the fishes of the sea shall declare to you.
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12:6-11 Job appeals to facts. The most audacious robbers, oppressors, and impious wretches, often prosper. Yet this is not by fortune or chance; the Lord orders these things. Worldly prosperity is of small value in his sight: he has better things for his children. Job resolves all into the absolute proprietorship which God has in all the creatures. He demands from his friends liberty to judge of what they had said; he appeals to any fair judgment.Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee - Perhaps this appeal to the earth may mean, as Stuhlman supposes, that the same thing is shown in the productions of the earth, as in the case of fierce animals. Noxious weeds and useless plants are more thrifty than the plants which are useful and the growth of poisonous or annoying things on the earth illustrates the same thing as the dealings of God with people - that his dealings are not in accordance with the real nature of objects.

And the fishes of the sea - The same thing is manifested in the sea, where the mighty prey upon the feeble, and the fierce and the ferocious overcome the defenseless. The sentiment is that it is a great principle which pervades all things that the ferocious the strong, the wicked, are often prospered, while the weak, the defenseless, the innocent, the pious, are subject to calamities, and that God does not apportion his dealings to the exact character of his creatures. Undoubtedly Job was right in this. and this general principle might be seen then as now, to pervade the world.

8. speak to the earth—rather, "the shrubs of the earth" [Umbreit]. No text from Poole on this verse. Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee,.... Or ask "a sprig of the earth" (n), any shrub, or tree, or whatsoever grows out of it, and they will all unite in this doctrine, that they are raised and preserved by the power of God, and are so many instances of his wisdom, power, and goodness:

and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee; as mute as they are, they will proclaim this truth, that God is the mighty Maker and wise Disposer of them.

(n) "virgultum terrae", Pagninus, Schmidt; so Drusius and Michaelis.

Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
8. speak to the earth] The “earth” here includes all the forms of lower life with which it teems.Verse 8. - Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee. If the material earth be intended, the appeal must be to its orderly course, its summers and winters, its seedtime and harvest, its former and latter rains, its constant productivity, which, no less than animal instincts, speak of a single ruling power directing and ordering all things. If the creeping things of the earth, the reptile creation, be meant, then the argument is merely an expansion of that in the preceding verse. The instincts of reptiles are to be ascribed, no less than those of beasts and birds, to the constant superintending action and providence of the Almighty. And the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. The testimony will be unanimous - beasts, birds, reptiles, and fishes will unite in it. 1 The Job began, and said:

2 Truly then ye are the people,

And wisdom shall die with you!

3 I also have a heart as well as you;

I do not stand behind you;

And to whom should not such things be known?

The admission, which is strengthened by כּי אמנם, truly then (distinct from אמנם כּי, for truly, Job 36:4, similar to כּי הנּה, behold indeed, Psalm 128:4), is intended as irony: ye are not merely single individuals, but the people equals race of men (עם, as Isaiah 40:7; Isaiah 42:5), so that all human understanding is confined to you, and there is none other to be found; and when once you die, it will seem to have died out. The lxx correctly renders: μὴ ὑμεῖς ἐστὲ ἄνθρωποι μόνοι (according to the reading of the Cod. Alex.); he also has a heart like them, he is therefore not empty, נבוב, Job 11:12. Heart is, like Job 34:10, comp. נלבב, Job 11:12, equivalent to νοῦς διάνοια; Ewald's translation, "I also have a head even as you" ("brains" would better accord with the connection), is a western form of expression, and modern and unbiblical (vid., Division "Herz und Haupt," Psychol. iv. 12). He is not second to them; מן נפל, like Job 13:2, properly to slip from, to be below any one; מן is not the comparative (Ewald). Oetinger's translation is not bad: I cannot slink away at your presence. Who has not a knowledge of such things as those which they, by setting themselves up as defenders of God, have presented to him! אתּי היה is equivalent to ידעתּי, σύνοιδα, Isaiah 59:12.

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