Job 28:26
When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder:
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Job 28:26. When — At the first creation, he settled that course and order which should afterward be continued; he made a decree for the rain — An appointment, and, as it were, a statute law, that it should fall upon the earth, and that in such times, and places, and proportions, and manner, as he should think fit, either for correction or mercy, as Elihu speaks, Job 37:13. And a way for the lightning of the thunder — A path, or egress, for it out of the thick cloud in which it was shut up, and, as it were, imprisoned; and the course which it should take, and in which it should proceed, to accomplish the purposes intended by him.

28:20-28 There is a two-fold wisdom; one hid in God, which is secret, and belongs not to us; the other made known by him, and revealed to man. One day's events, and one man's affairs, have such reference to, and so hang one upon another, that He only, to whom all is open, and who sees the whole at one view, can rightly judge of every part. But the knowledge of God's revealed will is within our reach, and will do us good. Let man look upon this as his wisdom, To fear the Lord, and to depart from evil. Let him learn that, and he is learned enough. Where is this wisdom to be found? The treasures of it are hid in Christ, revealed by the word, received by faith, through the Holy Ghost. It will not feed pride or vanity, or amuse our vain curiosity. It teaches and encourages sinners to fear the Lord, and to depart from evil, in the exercise of repentance and faith, without desiring to solve all difficulties about the events of this life.When he made a decree for the rain - A statute or law (חק chôq) by which the rain is regulated. It is not sent by chance or hap-hazard. It is under the operation of regular and settled laws. We cannot suppose that those laws were understood in the time of Job, but the fact might be understood that the rain was regulated by laws, and that fact would show that God was qualified to impart wisdom. His kingdom was a kingdom of settled law and not of chance or caprice, and if the rain was regulated by statute, it was fair to presume that he did not deal with his people by chance, and that afflictions were not sent without rule; compare the notes at Job 5:6.

And a way - A path through which the rapid lightning should pass - referring, perhaps, to the apparent "opening" in the clouds in which the lightning seems to move along.

The lightning of the thunder - The word "lightning" here (חזיז chăzı̂yz) properly means "an arrow," from הזז hāzaz, obsolete, to pierce through, to transfix, to performate; and hence, the lightning - from the rapidity with which it passes - like an arrow. The word "thunder" (קולות qôlôt) means voices, and hence, "thunder," as being by way of eminence the voice of God; compare Psalm 29:3-5. The whole expression here means "the thunder-flash." Coverdale renders this, "when he gave the mighty floods a law;" but it undoubtedly refers to the thunderstorm, and the idea is, that he who controls the rapid lightning, regulating its laws and directing its path through the heavens, is qualified to communicate truth to people, and can explain the great principles on which his government is administered.

26. The decree regulating at what time and place, and in what quantity, the rain should fall.

a way—through the parted clouds (Job 38:25; Zec 10:1).

When he made; which was either from eternity, or at the first creation, when he settled that course and order which should afterwards be continued. Or, when he maketh: but our translation seems best to suit with the then in the next verse, where the sense is completed.

Decree for the rain; an appointment, and as it were a statute law, that it should fall upon the earth, and that in such times, and places, and proportions, and manner as he should think fit, either for correction or for mercy, as Elihu speaks, Job 37:13. A way, or path, how it should get out of the thick cloud, in which it was shut up, and as it were imprisoned; or, a course, which should for the future be observed, as to the time, and measure, and ends, and other circumstances belonging to it.

When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder. Decreed within himself that he would give it; for rain is his gift alone, and which none of the vanities of the Gentiles can give, and a wonderful blessing to the earth it is; and which God bestows on all sorts of men, both good and bad, and causes it to fall sometimes on one place and sometimes on another, sometimes in greater, sometimes in lesser showers; and according to his sovereign pleasure he gives or withholds it; the effects of which are quickly seen. Mr. Broughton renders the clause, "he made a bound for the rain, and a way for the lightning of thunder", or "the lightning and the thunder", as Ben Gersom, who thinks the copulative "and", is wanting. Thunder is from God, it is his voice, and the word here used is in the plural number, "voices" (m), signifying various claps of thunder; and lightning generally accompanies it, which, though first perceived, they are both at once the eye doing its office quicker than the ear; and a cloud also is usual; and so some render the word for lightning, as in Zechariah 10:1; it may signify the way of the lightning out of the thunder cloud, and attending claps of thunder; the thunder breaks the cloud and makes a path for the lightning: the Targum is,

"a path for the lightnings, which run with the voices or thunders;''

but, though the course or path the lightning steers is very quick and very extensive from east to west, and cannot be traced by us. God that made it knows it, and he knows the path and place of wisdom. Sephorno interprets this of the thunder and lightnings at the giving of the law, which he understands by wisdom, as do other Jewish writers: Pliny (n) speaks of thunder and lightning as chance matters; but Seneca (o) more truly ascribes them to divine power and Providence, as here.

(m) "vocum", Piscator, Mercerus, Drusius. (n) Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 43. (o) Nat. Quaest. l. 2. c. 13. 31.

When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder:
26. a decree for the rain] This “decree” comprises all the laws that regulate the rain, appointing its measure and its seasons as early and latter rain.

26–27. The idea of the preceding verse taken up anew and expanded—in creation God saw Wisdom and searched it out.

Verse 26. - When he made a decree for the rain. God "made a decree for the rain" when be placed the fall of rain under fixed and unalterable laws. In some countries rainy seasons begin almost regularly on a fixed day in the calendar, while for several months in the year it is almost certain that rain will not fall. Even where there is no such exact regularity as this, the rainfall has its laws, since there are maxima and minima which are never exceeded. And a way for the lightning of the thunder. God gave laws to the electric current, and prescribed the "way" that it should take in its passage from heaven to earth, or from cloud to cloud, or from earth to heaven. Everything was ruled beforehand by Infinite Wisdom. Job 28:2625 When He appointed to the wind its weight,

And weighed the water according to a measure,

26 When He appointed to the rain its law,

And the course to the lightning of the thunder:

27 Then He saw it and declared it,

Took it as a pattern and tested it also,

28 And said to man: Behold, the fear of the Lord is wisdom,

And to depart from evil is understanding.

It is impracticable to attach the inf. לעשׂות to Job 28:24 as the purpose, because it is contrary to the meaning; but it is impossible, according to the syntax, to refer it to Job 28:27 as the purpose placed in advance, or to take it in the sense of perfecturus, because in both instances it ought to have been יתכּן instead of תּכּן, or at least ותכּן with the verb placed first (vid., Job 37:15). But even the temporal use of ל in לפנות at the turn (of morning, of evening, e.g., Genesis 24:63) cannot be compared, but לעשׂות signifies perficiendo equals quum perficeret (as e.g., 2 Samuel 18:29, mittendo equals quum mitteret), it is a gerundival inf. Ngelsb. S. 197f., 2nd edition); and because it is the past that is spoken of, the modal inf. can be continued in the perf., Ges. 132, rem. 2. The thought that God, when He created the world, appointed fixed laws of equable and salutary duration, he particularizes by examples: He appointed to the wind its weight, i.e., the measure of its force or feebleness; distributed the masses of water by measure; appointed to the rain its law, i.e., the conditions of its development and of its beginning; appointed the way, i.e., origin and course, to the lightning (חזיז from חזז, Arab. ḥzz, secare). When He thus created the world, and regulated what was created by laws, then He perceived (ראהּ with He Mappic. according to the testimony of the Masora) it, wisdom, viz., as the ideal of all things; then He declared it, enarravit, viz., by creating the world, which is the development and realization of its substance; then He gave it a place הכינהּ (for which Dderl. and Ewald unnecessarily read הבינהּ), viz., to create the world after its pattern, and to commit the arrangement of the world as a whole to its supreme protection and guidance; then He also searched it out or tested it, viz., its demiurgic powers, by setting them in motion to realize itself.

If we compare Proverbs 8:22-31 with this passage, we may say: the חכמה is the divine ideal-world, the divine imagination of all things before their creation, the complex unity of all the ideas, which are the essence of created things and the end of their development. "Wisdom," says one of the old theologians,

(Note: Vid., Jul. Hamberger, Lehre Jak. Bhme's, S. 55.)

"is a divine imagination, in which the ideas of the angels and souls and all things were seen from eternity, not as already actual creatures, but as a man beholds himself in a mirror." It is not directly one with the Logos, but the Logos is the demiurg by which God has called the world into existence according to that ideal which was in the divine mind. Wisdom is the impersonal model, the Logos the personal master-builder according to that model. Nevertheless the notions, here or in the alter cognate portion of Scripture, Proverbs 8:22-31, are not as yet so distinct as the New Testament revelation of God has first of all rendered possible. In those days, when God realized the substance of the חכמה, this eternal mirror of the world, in the creation of the world, He also gave man the law, corresponding to which he corresponds to His idea and participates in wisdom. Fearing the supreme Lord (אדני) only here in the book of Job, one of the 134 ודאין, i.e., passages, where אדני is not merely to be read instead of יהוה, but is actually written),

(Note: Vid., Buxtorf's Tiberias, p. 245; comp. Br's Psalterium, p. 133.)

and renouncing evil (סוּר מרע, according to another less authorized mode of writing מרע), - this is man's share of wisdom, this is his relative wisdom, by which he remains in connection with the absolute. This is true human φιλοσοφία, in contrast to all high-flown and profound speculations; comp. Proverbs 3:7, where, in like manner, "fear Jehovah" is placed side by side with "depart from evil," and Proverbs 16:6, according to which it is rendered possible סור מרע, to escape the evil of sin and its punishment by fearing God. "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 1:7; comp. Psalm 111:10) is the symbolum, the motto and uppermost principle, of that Israelitish Chokma, whose greatest achievement is the book of Job. The whole of Job 28:1 is a minute panegyric of this principle, the materials of which are taken from the far-distant past; and it is very characteristic, that, in the structure of the book, this twenty-eighth chapter is the clasp which unites the half of the δέσις with the half of the λύσις, and that the poet has inscribed upon this clasp that sentence, "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom." But, moreover, Job's closing speech, which ends in this celebration of the praise of the חכמה, also occupies an important position, which must not be determined, in the structure of the whole.


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