Job 36:27
For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(27) The drops of water.—The origin and first beginnings of the tempest are described. “He maketh small,” or draweth up by exhalation. “They pour down rain,” or “they distil in rain from His vapour,” or “belonging to the vapour thereof.” The rain is first absorbed, and then distilled and poured down.

Job 36:27-28. For he maketh small, &c. — Having affirmed that God’s works are incomprehensibly great and glorious, he now proves it from the most common works of nature and providence. And hence he leaves it to Job to consider how much more deep and inconceivable the secret counsels of God must be. The drops of water — He orders matters so wisely, that the waters which are in the clouds do not fall down at once in spouts, which would be pernicious to the earth and to mankind, but by degrees and in drops. According to the vapour thereof — According to the proportion of vapours which the heat of the sun hath drawn up from the earth or sea. So it denotes that great work of God by which the rain is first made of vapours, and afterward resolved into vapours, or into the matter of succeeding vapours, by a constant rotation. Which the clouds distil abundantly — In such plenty as the necessities of the earth require; which also is a wonderful work of God.

36:24-33 Elihu endeavours to fill Job with high thought of God, and so to persuade him into cheerful submission to his providence. Man may see God's works, and is capable of discerning his hand in them, which the beasts are not, therefore they ought to give him the glory. But while the worker of iniquity ought to tremble, the true believer should rejoice. Children should hear with pleasure their Father's voice, even when he speaks in terror to his enemies. There is no light but there may be a cloud to intercept it. The light of the favour of God, the light of his countenance, the most blessed light of all, even that light has many a cloud. The clouds of our sins cause the Lord to his face, and hinder the light of his loving-kindness from shining on our souls.For he maketh small the drops of water - Elihu now appeals, as he proposed to do, to the works of God, and begins with what appeared so remarkable and inexplicable, the wisdom of God in the rain and the dew, the tempest and the vapor. That which excited his wonder was, the fact in regard to the suspension of water in the clouds, and the distilling of it on the earth in the form of rain and dew. This very illustration had been used by Eliphaz for a similar purpose (Notes, Job 5:9-10), and whether we regard it as it "appears" to people without the light which science has thrown upon it, or look at the manner in which God suspends water in the clouds and sends it down in the form of rain and dew, with all the light which has been furnished by science, the fact is one that evinces in an eminent degree the wisdom of God. The word which is rendered "maketh small" (גרע gâra‛), means properly "to scrape off, to detract, to diminish, to take away from." In the Piel, the form used here, it means, according to Gesenius, "to take to one's self, to attract;" and the sense here, according to this, is, that God attracts, or draws upward the drops of water. So it is rendered by Herder, Noyes, Umbreit, and Rosenmuller. The idea is, that he "draws up" the drops of the water to the clouds, and then pours them down in rain. If the meaning in our common version be retained, the idea would be, that it was proof of great wisdom in God that the water descended in "small drops," instead of coming down in a deluge; compare the notes at Job 26:8.

They pour down rain - That is, the clouds pour down the rain.

According to the vapour thereof - - לאדו le'êdô. The idea seems to be, that the water thus drawn up is poured down again in the form of a "vapory rain," and which does not descend in torrents. The subject of admiration in the mind of Elihu was, that water should evaporate and ascend to the clouds, and be held there, and then descend again in the form of a gentle rain or fine mist. The reason for admiration is not lessened by becoming more fully acquainted with the laws by which it is done than Elihu can be supposed to have been.

27, 28. The marvellous formation of rain (so Job 5:9, 10).

maketh small—Rather, "He draweth (up) to Him, He attracts (from the earth below) the drops of water; they (the drops of water) pour down rain, (which is) His vapor." "Vapor" is in apposition with "rain," marking the way in which rain is formed; namely, from the vapor drawn up by God into the air and then condensed into drops, which fall (Ps 147:8). The suspension of such a mass of water, and its descent not in a deluge, but in drops of vapory rain, are the marvel. The selection of this particular illustration of God's greatness forms a fit prelude to the storm in which God appears (Job 40:1).

Having affirmed that God’s works are incomprehensibly great and glorious, he now enters upon the proof of it; and he proveth it from the most common and visible works of nature and providence, which if thoroughly considered, are full of wonder, and past the reach of the greatest philosophers, who indeed speak of them only by guess, and by their innumerable disputations about them discover their ignorance in them. And hence he leaves it to Job to consider how incomparably more deep and unconceivable the secret counsels and judgments of God must needs be, and therefore how foolish and presumptuous a thing it was for him to judge and censure them.

He maketh small the drops of water, i.e. he orders matters so wisely and graciously, that the waters which are in the clouds do not fall down at once in spouts, or rivers, or seas; which would be both unprofitable and pernicious to the earth, and to mankind; but by degrees, and in drops; which is best for men’s safety and comfort, and for the refreshment of the earth. And this he observes as a wonderful work of God, without whose providence herein those waters might constantly or commonly fall in spouts, as sometimes part of them hath done.

They; either the waters, last mentioned; or the clouds, as it is expressed in the next verse; or the active verb is used impersonally, which is frequent in the Hebrew language, they pour down rain, for the rain is poured down.

Pour down; or, melt or dissolve; which word is borrowed from metallists, who dissolve metals with fire, and then pour them forth by degrees and in parcels; as the clouds are dissolved, and then poured forth in drops, as was now expressed.

According to the vapour thereof, i.e. according to the proportion of vapours which the heat of the sun hath drawn up from the earth or sea into the clouds. Or,

into the vapour thereof. So it notes that great work of God, by which the rain is first made of vapours, and afterwards resolved into vapours, or into the matter of succeeding vapours, by a constant rotation and reciprocation.

For he maketh small the drops of rain,.... Elihu proceeds to give instances and proofs of the greatness of God, and begins with rain, as Eliphaz does, Job 5:9; a common phenomenon, what is very frequent, and well known in all ages and countries, and by all men, more or less; and yet there are some things relative to it which are beyond the comprehension of men, and show the greatness and incomprehensibleness of God: and the design of this, and all other instances of this kind, is to convince Job of his folly in searching out the causes and reasons of God's works of providence, when the common works of nature lie out of the reach of men; and to reconcile him to them, and bring him patiently to submit to the will of God, whose ways are past finding out; and some render the words, "he restrains the drops of rain" (g); he withholds it from the earth, which causes a drought, and so brings on a famine; others, "he subtracts", or draws out, or draws up, the drops of water (h), which he exhales by the heat of the sun out of the earth and out of the sea; see Psalm 135:7, Amos 5:8; and which are drawn up in small particles, but form large bodies of waters in the clouds; and which are let down again upon the earth in small drops, in an easy and gentle manner, and so soak into the earth and make it fruitful; which is what is meant by our version here: this is a wonderful instance of God's power, wisdom, and goodness, and is beyond our comprehension; for no mortal man can tell how the Almighty parts and divides those large quantities of water in the clouds, that sometimes hang over our heads, into millions and ten thousand times ten thousand millions of drops, even innumerable; and causes these waters in such a manner to descend on the earth; lets them not fall at once, or in waterspouts, which would wash away the inhabitants of cities and towns, the cattle of the field, and the produce of the earth, as at the general deluge;

they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: the water, drawn up and formed into large bodies in the heavens, pours down rain in a gentle and plentiful manner, according to the quantity of vapours exhaled out of the earth and sea; if a small quantity is drawn up, a small quantity is let down; and if a large quantity is attracted, a large quantity, or a plentiful shower, is given: some think that a small rain is meant in the preceding clause, and a great rain in this; for there is the small rain and the great rain of his strength, Job 37:6. The word translated "pour" has the signification of liquefying, melting, and dissolving, and of purging and purifying; and which is applicable to clouds which melt and dissolve gradually as they descend in drops upon the earth; and the water which they let down is of all the most clear and pure, as Galen and Hippocrates (i), those eminent physicians, have observed; and a late celebrated one tells us (k), that rain water is so truly distilled by nature, that the chemist, with all his distilling art, cannot produce purer water; for, though it is exhaled out of the dirty earth, out of miry places, bogs, and ditches, yet, being bound up in the clouds as in a garment, and passing through the atmosphere, it comes down to us pure as if it had been percolated or strained through a linen cloth; and though the water as drawn up out of the sea is salt, yet carried up into the air, and there, as in an alembic, distilled, it descends to us sweet and fresh, and has not the least brackishness in it.

(g) "aufert stillas pluviae et prohibebit", Pagninus; so Vatablus, Tigurine version, Targum, & Ben Gersom. (h) "Attrahit", Codurcus; "subtrahit", i.e. "a mare", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Schultens. (i) Apud Pinedam in loc. (k) Boerhaav. Elem. Chem. p. 600. apud Schultens in loc.

For he maketh small the drops of water: they {s} pour down rain according to the vapour thereof:

(s) That is, the rain comes from those drops of water which he keeps in the clouds.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
27, 28. The wonder of the rain-drops.

27.  For he maketh small the rain-drops;

They distil the rain of his vapour;

28.  Which the clouds pour down,

And drop upon the multitude of mankind.

27. he maketh small] lit. he draweth away, the reference being probably to the formation of the rain, which God draweth away in drops from the great mass of waters above. Others render, he draweth up, supposing the reference to be to the ascent of the rain in the form of vapour, as it then comes down in rain-drops. But this is rather scientific and complete; neither does the word mean to draw up.

Verse 27. - For he maketh small the drops of water; rather, he drawth up the drops of water; i.e. by the heat of his sun he causes exhalations to arise from the sea and the moist earth, and draws them up into the higher regions of the atmosphere, where they are condensed into clouds, that hang suspended in the air. They pour down rain according to the vapour thereof; literally, they flow down as rain for his mist. The water collected in the clouds flows down in the shape of rain for the purpose of watering the earth (see Genesis 2:6, where the same word (אד) occurs). Job 36:2726 Behold, God is exalted-we know Him not entirely;

The number of His years, it is unsearchable.

27 For He draweth down the drops of water,

They distil as rain in connection with its mist,

28 Which the clouds do drop,

Distil upon the multitude of men.

29 Who can altogether understand the spreadings of the clouds,

The crash of His tabernacle?

The Waw of the quasi-conclusion in Job 36:26 corresponds to the Waw of the train of thought in Job 36:26 (Ges. 145, 2). מספּר שׁניו is, as the subject-notion, conceived as a nominative (vid., on Job 4:6), not as in similar quasi-antecedent clauses, e.g., Job 23:12, as an acc. of relation. שׂגּיא here and Job 37:23 occurs otherwise only in Old Testament Chaldee. In what follows Elihu describes the wondrous origin of rain. "If Job had only come," says a Midrash (Jalkut, 518), "to explain to us the matter of the race of the deluge (vid., especially Job 22:15-18), it had been sufficient; and if Elihu had only come to explain to us the matter of the origin of rain (מעשׂה ירידת גשׁמים), it had been enough." In Gesenius' Handwrterbuch, Job 36:27 is translated: when He has drawn up the drops of water to Himself, then, etc. But it is יגרע, not גּרע; and גּרע neither in Hebr. nor in Arab. signifies attrahere in sublime (Rosenm.), but only attrahere (root גר) and detrahere; the latter signification is the prevailing one in Hebr. (Job 15:8; Job 36:7). With כּי the transcendent exaltation of the Being who survives all changes of creation is shown by an example: He draws away (draws off, as it were) the water-drops, viz., from the waters that are confined above on the circle of the sky, which pass over us as mist and cloud (vid., Genesis, S. 107); and these water-drops distil down (זקק, to ooze, distil, here not in a transitive but an intransitive signification, since the water-drops are the rain itself) as rain, לאדו, with its mist, i.e., since a mist produced by it (Genesis 2:6) fills the expanse (רקיע), the downfall of which is just this rain, which, as Job 36:28 says, the clouds (called שׁחקים on account of its thin strata of air, in distinction from the next mist-circle) cause to flow gently down upon the multitude of men, i.e., far and wide over the mass of men who inhabit the district visited by the rain; both verbs are used transitively here, both נזל as Isaiah 45:8, and רעף, as evidently Proverbs 3:20. אף אם, Job 36:29, commences an intensive question: moreover, could one understand equals could one completely understand; which certainly, according to the sense, is equivalent to: how much less (אף כּי). אם is, however, the interrogative an, and אף אם corresponds to האף in the first member of the double question, Job 34:17; Job 40:8. מפרשׂי are not the burstings, from פּרשׂ equals פּרס, frangere, findere, but spreadings, as Ezekiel 27:7 shows, from פּרשׂ, expandere, Psalm 105:39, comp. supra on Job 36:9. It is the growth of the storm-clouds, which collect often from a beginning "small as a man's hand" (1 Kings 18:44), that is intended; majestic omnipotence conceals itself behind these as in a סכּה (Psalm 18:12) woven out of thick branches; and the rolling thunder is here called the crash (תּשׁאות, as Job 39:7, is formed from שׁוא, to rumble, whence also שׁואה, if it is not after the form גּולה, migration, exile, from שׁאה morf ,, vid., on Job 30:3) of this pavilion of clouds in which the Thunderer works.

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