Job 36:30
Behold, he spreads his light on it, and covers the bottom of the sea.
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(30) His light appears to mean here the lightning which flashes forth from the cloud.

And covereth the bottom of the sea.—Literally, it hath covered the roots of the sea: i.e., it, the lightning, or He, God, hath covered those clouds which are composed of the roots of the sea, that is, the drops of water which are exhaled from the sea.

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.Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it - That is, upon his tabernacle or dwelling-place - the clouds. The allusion is to lightning, which flashes in a moment over the whole heavens. The image is exceedingly beautiful and graphic. The idea of "spreading out" the light in an instant over the whole of the darkened heavens, is that which Elihu had in his mind, and which impressed him so forcibly. On the difficulty in regard to the translation of the Septuagint here, see Schleusner on the word ἡδὼ hēdō.

And covereth the bottom of the sea - Margin, "roots." The word roots is used to denote the bottom, as being the lowest part of a thing - as the roots of a tree. The meaning is that he covers the lowest part of the sea with floods of waters; and the object of Elihu is to give an exalted conception of the greatness of God, from the fact that his agency is seen in the higlest and the lowest objects. He spreads out the clouds, thunders in his tabernacle, diffuses a brilliant light over the heavens, and at the same time is occupied in covering the bottom of the sea with the floods. He is Lord over all, and his agency is seen every where. The highest and the lowest objects are under his control, and his agency is seen above and below. On the one hand, he covers the thick and dense clouds with light; and on the other, he envelopes the depth of the ocean in impenetrable darkness.

30. light—lightning.

it—His tabernacle (Job 36:29). The light, in an instant spread over the vast mass of dark clouds, forms a striking picture.

spread—is repeated from Job 36:29 to form an antithesis. "He spreads not only clouds, but light."

covereth the bottom—roots.

of the sea—namely, with the light. In the storm the depths of ocean are laid bare; and the light "covers" them, at the same moment that it "spreads" across the dark sky. So in Ps 18:14, 15, the discovering of "the channels of waters" follows the "lightnings." Umbreit translates: "He spreadeth His light upon Himself, and covereth Himself with the roots of the sea" (Ps 104:2). God's garment is woven of celestial light and of the watery depths, raised to the sky to form His cloudy canopy. The phrase, "cover Himself with the roots of the sea," is harsh; but the image is grand.

His light, i.e. the lightning; of which the whole context speaks, which is fitly called God’s light, as it is called God’s lightning, Psalm 144:6, because God only can light it.

Upon it, i.e. upon the cloud, which is in a manner the candlestick in which God sets up this light.

Covereth the bottom of the sea; the lightning spreads far and wide over all the parts of the sea, and pierceth deep, reaching even to the bottom of it, and spreading itself upon it, and so covering it like a gay and glorious garment, suddenly cast over and covering the body of a man or woman; or as God is said to cover himself with light as with a garment, Psalm 104:2. Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it,.... Upon his tabernacle; that is, upon the clouds, which are his tabernacle; either the light of the sun, whereby the clouds are dispersed and blotted out; an emblem of the blotting out of sin, or the forgiveness of it, Isaiah 44:22, which is like a clear shining after rain, 2 Samuel 23:4, or on a thin cloud, whereby the rainbow is formed, an emblem of peace and reconciliation by Christ; or lightning, which bursting out of the dark cloud is spread over it, when it seems to be all in flames. Cocceius renders it, "he spreads the light about himself"; God spreads it about himself, clothing himself with light as with a garment, and dwelling in light inaccessible to men: or he "spreads it upon him", upon man; causing his sun to shine on the just and unjust; or on it, the earth; so it was spread when first commanded to shine out of darkness, with which the earth in its primeval state was covered; and so it is spread every morning upon the earth; as soon as day breaks, the morning is spread upon the mountains, and in a short time it overspreads the whole hemisphere; an emblem this of the spread of the light of grace over the dark hearts of men, in conversion, which are like the earth in its chaotic state, or as in the night season covered with darkness; out of which they are called and brought by the grace of God, having the true light sprung and placed in their souls; which at first is but glimmering, and at best imperfect in the present state, yet is spreading and increasing, Proverbs 4:18; and of the spread of the great and glorious light of the Gospel in the world, in the times of the apostles, and as it will be in the latter day glory;

and covereth the bottom of the sea, or "the roots of the sea" (n); though one would think they should be rather covered with water and with darkness, as they are; see Job 38:8. This is to be understood either of the light of the sun, and the rays of it, which are so piercing and penetrating as to reach to the bottom of the sea, and cover it and exhale waters out of it; or of lightning, which is equally as piercing and penetrating, or more, and strikes to the very roots of the sea, and covers them, or rather discovers them, so that the channels of waters are seen, and the foundations of the world are discovered, Psalm 18:14; the Targum of this verse is,

"he spreads upon it rain, and covers the rocks or foundations of the sea;''

and the rain is called light according to Ramban, because by the descent of it the day is enlightened, and the darkness of the clouds removed; and by this means the bottom of the sea is covered, so that it passes its bounds and covers the rocks, that is, the borders of it, as others explain it (o).

(n) "radices maris", Pagninus, Montanus, &c. (o) In Bar Tzemach in loc.

Behold, he spreadeth his light upon {u} it, and covereth the {x} bottom of the sea.

(u) Upon the cloud.

(x) That men cannot come to the knowledge of the springs of it.

30. Though God is enveloped in the dark cloud, He is there encircled with His light, which, though the masses of waters cover Him, manifests itself to men’s eyes in the lightning that shoots from the cloud and illumines it.

the bottom of the sea] lit. the roots of the sea, a singular figure, which must mean the deeps or recesses of the sea. The reference is no doubt to the masses of water in the thunder clouds which enshroud the Almighty, but the precise idea of the poet is uncertain. Either he must call the heavenly waters the “sea” (cf. Psalm 29:3), and mean by its “roots” its densest recesses; or if he refer to the sea on earth, his idea must be that it has been, as it were, drawn up from its bottom in cloud and vapour to form the pavilion of the Lord. This second idea has a certain extravagance which makes it less probable.Verse 30. - Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it. God flashes the weird brilliance of his lightning over the heaven - not over himself, as some translate (Rosenmuller, Cook). He lights up the whole sky at once with the electric splendour, and even covereth with it the bottom (literally, the roots) of the see. This is, of course, hyperbole; but it seems to be Elihu's meaning. 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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