Job 37:1
At this also my heart trembles, and is moved out of his place.
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(1) At this also my heart trembleth.—Elihu is discoursing of the same matter. He says, “Not only are the cattle terrified, but at this also my heart trembleth and is moved out of its place. Hark! listen to the sound of His voice.”

Job 37:1. At this also my heart trembleth — These are a few of the works of God; and though there be innumerable more, yet this one single effect of his power strikes terror into me, and makes my heart tremble, as if it would leap out of my body and leave me dead. Elihu continues here his speech, which he had begun before, concerning the incomprehensible works of God; and limits himself chiefly, as he had in the foregoing chapter, to the wonders God doeth in the clouds. To which, at last, he subjoins the amazing extent and brightness of the sky; in which the sun shines with a lustre which we are not able to behold. And thence concludes, that the splendour of the Divine Majesty is infinitely more dazzling, and that we must not pretend to give an account of his counsels.37:1-13 The changes of the weather are the subject of a great deal of our thoughts and common talk; but how seldom do we think and speak of these things, as Elihu, with a regard to God, the director of them! We must notice the glory of God, not only in the thunder and lightning, but in the more common and less awful changes of the weather; as the snow and rain. Nature directs all creatures to shelter themselves from a storm; and shall man only be unprovided with a refuge? Oh that men would listen to the voice of God, who in many ways warns them to flee from the wrath to come; and invites them to accept his salvation, and to be happy. The ill opinion which men entertain of the Divine direction, peculiarly appears in their murmurs about the weather, though the whole result of the year proves the folly of their complaints. Believers should avoid this; no days are bad as God makes them, though we make many bad by our sins.At this also - That is, in view of the thunderstorm, for it is that which Elihu is describing. This description was commenced in Job 36:29, and is continued to Job 37:5, and should not have been separated by the division into chapters. Elihu sees a tempest rising. The clouds gather, the lightnings flash, the thunder rolls, and he is awed as with the conscious presence of God. There is nowhere to be found a more graphic and impressive description of a thunder-storm than this; compare Herder on Hebrew Poetry, vol. i., 85ff, by Marsh, Burlington, 1833.

My heart trembleth - With fear. He refers to the palpitation or increased action of the heart produced by alarm.

And is moved out of his place - That is, by violent palpitation. The heart seems to leave its calm resting place, and to burst away because of fright. The increased action of the heart under the effects of fear, as described here by Elihu, has been experienced by all. The "cause" of this increased action is supposed to be this. The immediate effect of fear is on the extremities of the nerves of the system, which are diffused ever the whole body. The first effect is to prevent the circulation of the blood to the extremities, and to drive it back to the heart, and thus to produce paleness. The blood thus driven back on the heart produces an increased action there to propel it through the lungs and the arteries, thus causing at the same time the increased effort of the heart, and the rapid action of the lungs, and of course the quick breathing and the palpitation observed in fear. See Scheutzer, Physica. Sacra, in loc. An expression similar to that which occurs here, is used by Shakespeare, in Macbeth:

"Why do I yield to that suggestion,

Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair,

And make ray seated heart knock at my ribs

Against the use of nature."


Job 37:1-24.

1. At this—when I hear the thundering of the Divine Majesty. Perhaps the storm already had begun, out of which God was to address Job (Job 38:1).God’s great works, lightning, thunder, snow, rain, winds, frosts, clouds, and his providences towards nations, whether for correction or mercy, call for reverence and fear, Job 37:1-14; as also his unsearchable wisdom in them, Job 37:15-18. We are ignorant, and cannot speak to God; but must fear him, who respecteth none, Job 37:19-24.

At this also, of which I have already spoken, and am now to speak further, to wit, the thunder, which hath ofttimes made even atheists and other wicked men to tremble with a fear of horror, and good men to tremble with a fear of reverence, and a due dread of God’s judgments.

Is moved out of his place; leaps and beats excessively, as if it would leap out of my body.

At this also my heart trembleth,.... At the greatness and majesty of God, not only as displayed in those works of his before observed, but as displayed in those he was about to speak of: such terrible majesty is there with God, that all rational creatures tremble at it; the nations of the world, the kings and great men of the earth, and even the devils themselves, Isaiah 64:2. Good men tremble in the worship of God, and at the word of God; and even at the judgments of God on wicked men, and at the things that are coming on the churches of Christ. But Elihu has a particular respect to thunder and lightning, which are very terrible to many persons (s), both good and bad (t). At the giving of the law, there were such blazes of lightning and claps of thunder, that not only all the people of Israel in the camp trembled, but Moses himself also exceedingly feared and quaked, Exodus 19:16. It is very probable, that at this time Elihu saw a storm gathering, and a tempest rising; some flashes of lightning were seen, and some murmurs (u) of thunders heard, which began to affect him; since quickly after we read that God spoke out of the whirlwind or tempest, Job 38:1;

and is moved out of his place; was ready to leap out of his body. Such an effect had this phenomenon of nature on him; as is sometimes the case with men at a sudden fright or unusual sound, and particularly thunder (w).

(s) , &c. Homer. Il. 10. v. 94, 95. (t) As it was to Augustus Caesar, who always carried about with him the skin of a sea calf, as a preservative; and, on suspicion of a storm rising, would betake himself to some secret and covered place: and to Tiberius, who wore his laurel to secure him from it: and to Caligula, who, on hearing it, would get out of bed and hide himself under it. Sueton. Vit. August. c. 90. Tiber. c. 69. & Caligul. c. 51. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 15. c. 30. Vid. Virgil. Georgic. l. 1. v. 330, 331. (u) "Tonitruorum unum genus grave murmur----aliud genus est acre quod crepitum magis dixerint". Senecae Quaest. Nat. c. 2. c. 27. (w) "Attonitos, quorum mentes sonus ille coelestis loco pepulit". Ibid.

At this also my heart {a} trembleth, and is moved out of his place.

(a) At the marvelling of the thunder and lightnings: by which he declares that the faithful are lively touched with the majesty of God, when they behold his works.

Job 37:1. This verse reads,

Yea, at this my heart trembleth,

And leapeth up out of its place.Verses 1-24. - It has been already remarked that there is no natural division between ch. 36 and ch. 37. - the description of the thunderstorm and its effects runs on. From its effect on cattle, Elihu passes to its effect on man (vers. 1-5); and thence goes on to speak of other natural manifestations of God's power and marvellousness - snow, violent rain, whirlwind, frost, and the like (vers. 6-13). He then makes a final appeal to Job to acknowledge his own weakness and God's perfection and unsearchableness, and to bow down in wonder and adoration before him (vers. 14-24). Verse 1. - At this also; i.e. at the thunderstorm or at the particular crash mentioned in Job 36:33. My heart trembleth. A violent peal of thunder produces in almost all men a certain amount of nervous trepidation. Elihu seems to have been abnormally sensitive. His heart trembled so that it seemed to be moved out of his place. 26 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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