Job 26:8
He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) He bindeth up the waters.—The idea of the waters being bound up in the clouds, so that the clouds are not rent thereby, is similar to that in Genesis 1:7. The conception is that of a vast treasury of water above the visible sky, which is kept there in apparent defiance of what we know as the laws of gravitation, and which all experience would show was liable to fall of itself.

Job 26:8. He bindeth up the waters — Those fluid and heavy bodies, pressing downward with great force; in his thick clouds — As it were in bags, keeping them there suspended often for a long time; and the cloud is not rent under them — But sustains them, notwithstanding their great weight, so that they do not burst forth all at once, and fall suddenly and violently upon the earth, but distil in dews, drops, and showers, to moisten, refresh, and fertilize it in due season.

26:5-14 Many striking instances are here given of the wisdom and power of God, in the creation and preservation of the world. If we look about us, to the earth and waters here below, we see his almighty power. If we consider hell beneath, though out of our sight, yet we may conceive the discoveries of God's power there. If we look up to heaven above, we see displays of God's almighty power. By his Spirit, the eternal Spirit that moved upon the face of the waters, the breath of his mouth, Ps 33:6, he has not only made the heavens, but beautified them. By redemption, all the other wonderful works of the Lord are eclipsed; and we may draw near, and taste his grace, learn to love him, and walk with delight in his ways. The ground of the controversy between Job and the other disputants was, that they unjustly thought from his afflictions that he must have been guilty of heinous crimes. They appear not to have duly considered the evil and just desert of original sin; nor did they take into account the gracious designs of God in purifying his people. Job also darkened counsel by words without knowledge. But his views were more distinct. He does not appear to have alleged his personal righteousness as the ground of his hope towards God. Yet what he admitted in a general view of his case, he in effect denied, while he complained of his sufferings as unmerited and severe; that very complaint proving the necessity for their being sent, in order to his being further humbled in the sight of God.He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds - That is, he seems to do it, or to collect the waters in the clouds, as in bottles or vessels. The clouds appear to hold the waters, as if bound up, until he is pleased to send them drop by drop upon the earth.

And the cloud is not rent under them - The wonder which Job here expresses is, that so large a quantity of water as is poured down from the clouds, should be held suspended in the air without seeming to rend the cloud, and falling all at once. His image is that of a bottle, or vessel, filled with water, suspended in the air, and which is not rent. What were the views which he had of the clouds, of course it is impossible now to say. If he regarded them as they are, as vapors, or if he considered them to be a more solid substance, capable of holding water, there was equal ground for wonder. In the former case, his amazement would have arisen from the fact, that so light, fragile, and evanescent a substance as vapor should contain so large a quantity of water; in the latter case, his wonder would have been that such a substance should distil its contents drop by drop. There is equal reason for admiring the wisdom of God in the production of rain, now that the cause is understood. The clouds are collections of vapors. They contain moisture, or vapor, which ascends from the earth, and which is held in suspension when in small particles in the clouds; as, when a room is swept, the small particles of dust will be seen to float in the room. When these small particles are attracted, and form masses as large as drops, the air will no longer sustain them, and they fall to the earth. Man never could have devised a way for causing rain; and the mode in which it is provided that large quantities of water shall be borne from one place to another in the air, and made to fall when it is needed, by which the vapors that ascend from the ocean shall not be suffered to fall again into the ocean, but shall be carried on to the land, is adapted to excite our admiration of the wisdom of God now, no less than it was in the time of Job.

8. in … clouds—as if in airy vessels, which, though light, do not burst with the weight of water in them (Pr 30:4). This also is a miraculous work of God, considering the nature of these waters, which are fluid and heavy, and pressing downward, especially being ofttimes there in great abundance; and withal, the quality of the clouds, which are thin and loose bodies of the same nature with fogs and mists upon the face of the earth, and therefore of themselves utterly unable to bear that weight, and to keep up those waters from falling suddenly and violently upon the earth.

He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds,.... The clouds are of his making; when he utters his voice, or gives the word of command, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and the vapours he exhales from the ends of the earth and forms them into clouds, and they are his chariots, in which he rides up and down in the heavens, and waters his gardens and plantations on earth; see Jeremiah 10:13; which may be said to be thick in comparison of the air, in which they are; otherwise they are but thin, and the thinner they are, the greater wonder it is that the waters, and such a heavy body of them, should be bound up in them, as there often is; and which is bound up, held, and retained therein, as anything bound up in a sack or bag, or in a garment, or the skirt of a man's coat; see Proverbs 30:4; and what is still more marvellous:

and the cloud is not rent under them; under the waters, and through the weight of them; which, if it was, would fall in vast water spouts, and were such to fall upon the earth, as it may be supposed they did at the general deluge, they would destroy man and beast, and wash off and wash away the things of the earth: but God has so ordered it in his infinite wisdom, and by his almighty power, that clouds should not be thus rent, but fall in small drops and gentle showers, as if they passed through a sieve or colander, whereby the earth is refreshed, and made fruitful; see Job 36:26.

He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. The wonder of the clouds, floating reservoirs of water, which do not burst under the weight of waters which they contain. Men bind up water in skins or bottles, God binds up the rain floods in the thin, gauzy texture of the changing cloud, which yet by His power does not rend under its burden of waters. Comp. Proverbs 30:4; Job 38:37.

Verse 8. - He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; i.e. he makes the clouds, that we see floating in the atmosphere, contain and hold the waters on which the productiveness of the earth depends, and which he restrains, or allows to fall in fertilizing rain, at his pleasure (comp. 1 Kings 17:1). And the cloud is not rent under them. The metaphor is, no doubt, drawn from those water-skins, so well known in the East, and especially in Arabia, in which men stored the water for their journeys and other needs, which were liable to be "rent" by the weight of the liquid within them. Job 26:8 8 He bindeth up the waters in His clouds,

Without the clouds being rent under their burden.

9 He enshroudeth the face of His throne,

Spreading His clouds upon it.

10 He compasseth the face of the waters with bounds,

To the boundary between light and darkness.

The clouds consist of masses of water rolled together, which, if they were suddenly set free, would deluge the ground; but the omnipotence of God holds the waters together in the hollow of the clouds (צרר, Milel, according to a recognised law, although it is also found in Codd. accented as Milra, but contrary to the Masora), so that they do not burst asunder under the burden of the waters (תּחתּם); by which nothing more nor less is meant, than that the physical and meteorological laws of rain are of God's appointment. Job 26:9 describes the dark and thickly-clouded sky that showers down the rain in the appointed rainy season. אחז signifies to take hold of, in architecture to hold together by means of beams, or to fasten together (vid., Thenius on 1 Kings 6:10, comp. 2 Chronicles 9:18, מאחזים, coagmentata), then also, as usually in Chald. and Syr., to shut (by means of cross-bars, Nehemiah 7:3), here to shut off by surrounding with clouds: He shuts off פּני־כסּה, the front of God's throne, which is turned towards the earth, so that it is hidden by storm-clouds as by a סכּה, Job 36:29; Psalm 18:12. God's throne, which is here, as in 1 Kings 10:19, written כּסּה instead of כּסּא (comp. Arab. cursi, of the throne of God the Judge, in distinction from Arab. 'l-‛arš, the throne of God who rules over the world),

(Note: According to the more recent interpretation, under Aristotelian influence, Arab. 'l-‛rš is the outermost sphere, which God as πρῶτον κινοῦν having set in motion, communicates light, heat, life, and motion to the other revolving spheres; for the causae mediae gradually descend from God the Author of being (muhejji) from the highest heaven into the sublunary world.)

is indeed in other respects invisible, but the cloudless blue of heaven is His reflected splendour (Exodus 24:10) which is cast over the earth. God veils this His radiance which shines forth towards the earth, פּרשׁז אליו עננו, by spreading over it the clouds which are led forth by Him. פּרשׁו is commonly regarded as a Chaldaism for פּרשׁז (Ges. 56, Olsh. 276), but without any similar instance in favour of this vocalizaton of the 3 pr. Piel (Pil.). Although רענן and שׁאנן, Job 15:32; Job 3:18, have given up the i of the Pil., it has been under the influence of the following guttural; and although, moreover, i before Resh sometimes passes into a, e.g., ויּרא, it is more reliable to regard פרשז as inf. absol. (Ew. 141, c): expandendo. Ges. and others regard this פרשז as a mixed form, composed from פרשׁ and פרז; but the verb פרשׁ (with Shin) has not the signification to expand, which is assumed in connection with this derivation; it signifies to separate (also Ezekiel 34:12, vid., Hitzig on that passage), whereas פרשׂ certainly signifies to expand (Job 36:29-30); wherefore the reading פּרשׂז (with Sin), which some Codd. give, is preferred by Br, and in agreement with him by Luzzatto (vid., Br's Leket zebi, p. 244), and it seems to underlie the interpretation where פרשז עליו is translated by עליו (פּרשׂ) פרש, He spreadeth over it (e.g., by Aben-Ezra, Kimchi, Ralbag). But the Talmud, b. Sabbath, 88 b (פירש שדי מזיו שכינתו ועננו עליו, the Almighty separated part of the splendour of His Shechina and His cloud, and laid it upon him, i.e., Moses, as the passage is applied in the Haggada), follows the reading פּרשׁז (with Shin), which is to be retained on account of the want of naturalness in the consonantal combination שׂז; but the word is not to be regarded as a mixed formation (although we do not deny the possibility of such forms in themselves, vid., supra, p. 468), but as an intensive form of פרשׂ formed by Prosthesis and an Arabic change of Sin into Shin, like Arab. fršḥ, fršd, fršṭ, which, being formed from Arab. frš equals פּרשׂ (פּרשׂ), to expand, signifies to spread out (the legs).

Job 26:10 passes from the waters above to the lower waters. תּכלית signifies, as in Job 11:7; Job 28:3; Nehemiah 3:21, the extremity, the extreme boundary; and the connection of תּכלית אור is genitival, as the Tarcha by the first word correctly indicates, whereas אור with Munach, the substitute for Rebia mugrasch In this instance (according to Psalter, ii. 503, 2), is a mistake. God has marked out (חן, lxx ἐγύρωσεν) a law, i.e., here according to the sense: a fixed bound (comp. Proverbs 8:29 with Psalm 104:9), over the surface of the waters (i.e., describing a circle over them which defines their circuit) unto the extreme point of light by darkness, i.e., where the light is touched by the darkness. Most expositors (Rosenm., Hirz., Hahn, Schlottm., and others) take עד־תכלית adverbially: most accurately, and refer חג to אור as a second object, which is contrary to the usage of the language, and doubtful and unnecessary. Pareau has correctly interpreted: ad lucis usque tenebrarumque confinia; עם in the local sense, not aeque ac, although it might also have this meaning, as e.g., Ecclesiastes 2:16. The idea is, that God has appointed a fixed limit to the waters, as far as to the point at which they wash the terra firma of the extreme horizon, and where the boundary line of the realms of light and darkness is; and the basis of the expression, as Bouillier, by reference to Virgil's Georg. i. 240f., has shown, is the conception of the ancients, that the earth is surrounded by the ocean, on the other side of which the region of darkness begins.

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