Job 36:29
Also can any understand the spreading of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle?
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(29) The spreading of the cloudsi.e., how the clouds are spread over the heavens, and heaped up one upon the other like mountains in the skies when the storm gathers.

Or the noise of His tabernacle?—Or the thunderings of His pavilion (Psalm 18:12).

Job 36:29-30. Can any understand the spreadings of the clouds? — Hebrew, of a cloud: whence it comes to pass that a small cloud, no bigger than a man’s hand, suddenly spreads over the whole heavens: how the clouds come to be suddenly gathered and so condensed as to bring forth thunder and lightning. Or the noise of his tabernacle — The thunder produced in the clouds, which are often called God’s tent or tabernacle. Behold, he spreadeth his light — That is, the lightning, fitly called God’s light, because God only can light it; upon it — That is, upon the cloud, which is, in a manner, the candlestick in which God sets up this light; and covereth the bottom of the sea — The lightning spreads far and wide over all parts of the sea, and pierceth deep, reaching even to the bottom of it.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.Also, can any understand the spreadings of the clouds? - The out spreading - the manner in which they expand themselves over us. The idea is, that the manner in which the clouds seem to "spread out," or unfold themselves on the sky, could not be explained, and was a striking proof of the wisdom and power of God. In the early periods of the world, it could not be expected that the causes of these phenomena would be known. Now that the causes "are" better known, however, they do not less indicate the wisdom and power of God, nor are these facts less fitted to excite our wonder. The simple and beautiful laws by which the clouds are suspended; by which they roll in the sky; by which they spread themselves out - as in a rising tempest, and by which they seem to unfold themselves over the heavens, should increase, rather than diminish, our conceptions of the wisdom and power of the Most High.

Or, the noise of his tabernacle - Referring, doubtless, to thunder. The clouds are represented as a tent or pavilion spread out for the dwelling of God (compare the notes at Isaiah 40:22), and the idea here is, that the noise made in a thunder-storm is in the unique dwelling of God. Herder well expresses it, "The fearful thunderings in his tent," compare Psalm 18:11 -

He made darkness his secret place,

His pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.

The sense here is, who can understand and explain the cause of thunder? The object of Elihu in this is, to show how great and incomprehensible is God, and nature furnishes few more impressive illustrations of this than the crash of thunder.

29. (Job 37:5). God's marvels in thunder and lightnings.

spreadings, &c.—the canopy of thick clouds, which covers the heavens in a storm (Ps 105:39).

the noise—"crashing"; namely, thunder.

of his tabernacle—God being poetically said to have His pavilion amid dark clouds (Ps 18:11; Isa 40:22).

Of the clouds; or rather, of a cloud, as it is in the Hebrew; whence it comes to pass that a small cloud, no bigger than a man’s hand, doth suddenly spread over the whole heavens: how the clouds come to be suddenly gathered together, and so condensed as to bring forth thunder and lightning, which here follows.

The noise of his tabernacle, i.e. the thunder produced in the clouds, which are oft called God’s tent or tabernacle, as Psalm 18:1 104:3, because there he ofttimes seems to dwell, and gives forth tokens of his powerful and glorious presence in those mighty works of thundering and lightning, wherewith men are frequently astonished and affrighted. Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds,.... Or "of a cloud" (l), a thick cloud, a single one; which sometimes at the beginning is very small, about the size of a man's hand, 1 Kings 18:44; and which in a little time spreads all over the heavens, and covers them with black clouds and darkness; none can understand, describe, and tell by what means so small a cloud at first appearance is spread to such a prodigious extent; and which is done partly for the use of God himself, to be a pavilion or tent around him, Psalm 18:11; and partly for the use of men, either to let down ram on the several parts of the world, or to be a sort of an umbrella to men, to shelter them from scorching heat; nor can any understand how the clouds, stretched out to such a compass, are poised and balanced in the air, so as to retain their position as long as it is the pleasure of God; see Job 37:16. Ben Gersom, who is followed by others (m), interprets this of the differences of the clouds, which are unaccountable, as to the form and colour of them being curious, and the matter which they contain or what issues from them; out of some rain, others hail, others snow and sleet, others wind, others thunder and lightning; and yet all arise from the same, even from vapours exhaled from the earth and sea; some become moist and cold, others hot and dry. As clouds are emblems of Gospel ministers, Isaiah 5:6; this may lead us to observe the different gifts of grace bestowed on them, and the different uses they are of; some are Boanergeses, sons of thunder, Mark 3:17; others Barnabases, sons of consolation, Acts 4:36; and the extent of the Gospel ministry all over the world, which first began as a small cloud over the land of Judea, and then was spread throughout the Gentile world;

or the noise of his tabernacle; the tabernacle of God, which are the clouds, which are laid as the flooring of his palace, and are drawn about him as a tent or pavilion, Psalm 104:3, where he sits invisible, and from whence, as a general of an army, he issues out his orders, and sends forth his artillery, rain, hail, snow, thunder, and lightning, and stormy wind fulfilling his word; the noise hereof is either the noise of the waters in the clouds, the sound of an abundance of rain, 1 Kings 18:41; or of the blustering winds, by which the clouds are moved and portend rain; or of the thunder that bursts out of them with a vehement noise, and which is usually followed with rain; and the thunder of his power who can understand? Job 26:14. This may be an emblem of the voice of God in his Gospel out of his tabernacle, the church, which the natural man understands not; or the voice of God in his providences, in which he speaks to men once and twice, and they perceive it not.

(l) "nubis", Montanus, Tigurine version, Mercerus, Piscator, Schultens. (m) "differentias", Pagninus; "varietates", Vatablus.

Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his {t} tabernacle?

(t) Meaning, of the clouds, which he calls the tabernacle of God.

29. The “spreadings” of the clouds refers probably to the accumulation and diffusion of the storm clouds over the heavens; and the second clause to the loud thundering within the dark cloud, where God is enshrouded, and which is therefore called His “pavilion.” So the word is rendered Psalm 18:11, where the representation is similar.

29, 30. Job 36:30 needs some modification—

29.  Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds,

And the crashings of his pavilion?

30.  Behold, he spreadeth his light around him,

And covereth him over with the deeps of the sea.Verse 29. - Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds? The rapid generation of clouds, their gathering together, seemingly, from all quarters, and the way they almost suddenly overspread the heavens (1 Kings 18:45). are among the most remarkable phenomena of nature, and are very difficult to "understand" and account for. Or the noise of his tabernacle. The awful crash of the thunder, which echoes along the sky - God's "tabernacle," or pavilion (Psalm 18:11) - is, if not as inexplicable, even more fearful and astounding. Man shrinks and quails before the terrible sound, and feels himself in the presence of a mighty and inscrutable power. 22 Behold, God acteth loftily in His strength;

Who is a teacher like unto Him?

23 Who hath appointed Him His way,

And who dare say: Thou doest iniquity!?

24 Remember that thou magnify His doing,

Which men have sung.

25 All men delight in it,

Mortal man looketh upon it from afar.

Most modern expositors, after the lxx δυνάστης, give אמת the signification lord, by comparing the Arab. mar-un (imru-un), Syr. mor (with the art. moro) or more (with the art. morjo), Chald. מרא, Talmud. מר (comp. Philo, ii. 522, ed. Mangey: οὃτως, viz., μάριν φασὶ τὸν κύριον ὀνομάζεστηαι παρὰ Σύροις), with it; but Rosenm., Arnh., Lwenthal, Wolfson, and Schlottm., after the Targ., Syr., and Jer., rightly abide by the signification: teacher. For (1) אמת (from הורה, Psalm 25:8, Psalm 25:12; Psalm 32:8) has no etymological connection with mr (of מרא, Arab. maru'a, opimum, robustum esse); (2) it is, moreover, peculiar to Elihu to represent God as a teacher both by dreams and dispensations of affliction, Job 33:14, Job 34:32, and by His creatures, Job 35:11; and (3) the designation of God as an incomparable teacher is also not inappropriate here, after His rule is described in Job 36:22 as transcendently exalted, which on that very account commands to human research a reverence which esteems itself lightly. Job 36:23 is not to be translated: who overlooketh Him in His way? (פּקד with על of the personal and acc. of the neutral obj.), which is without support in the language; but: who has prescribed to Him (פקד על as Job 34:13) His way? i.e., as Rosenm. correctly interprets: quis ei praescripsit quae agere deberet, He is no mandatory, is responsible to no one, and under obligation to no one, and who should dare to say (quis dixerit; on the perf. comp. on Job 35:15): Thou doest evil? - man shall be a docile learner, not a self-satisfied, conceited censurer of the absolute One, whose rule is not to be judged according to the laws of another, but according to His own laws. Thus, then, shall Job remember (memento equals cura ut) to extol (תשׂגּיא, Job 12:23) God's doings, which have been sung (comp. e.g., Psalm 104:22) by אנשׁים, men of the right order (Job 37:24); Jer. de quo cecinerunt viri. שׁרר nowhere has the signification intueri (Rosenm., Umbr.); on the other hand, Elihu is fond of direct (Job 33:27; Job 35:10) and indirect allusions to the Psalms. All men - he continues, with reference to God's פּעל, working - behold it, viz., as בו implies, with pleasure and astonishment; mortals gaze upon it (reverentially) from afar, - the same thought as that which has already (Job 26:14) found the grandest expression in Job's mouth.

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