And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatever he commands them on the face of the world in the earth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
By his counsels - By the counsels or purposes of God. It is not by any agency or power of its own, but it is by laws such as he has appointed, and so as to accomplish his will. The object is to keep up the idea that God presides over, and directs all these things. The word which is rendered "counsels" (תחבולה tachebûlâh) means properly a "steering, guidance, management," Proverbs 11:14. It is usually applied to the act of steering, as a vessel, and then to prudent management, wise counsel, skillful measures. It is rendered "wise counsels," and "counsels," Proverbs 1:5; Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 12:5; Proverbs 24:6, and "good advice," Proverbs 20:18. It does not elsewhere occur in the Scriptures. The word is derived from חבל chebel, "a rope," or חבל chôbêl, "a sailor, pilot," and hence, the idea of "steering," or "directing." The meaning is, that the movements of the clouds are entirely under the "direction" of God, as the vessel is of the pilot or helmsman. The Septuagint appears not to have understood the meaning of the word, and have not attempted to translate it. They retain it in their version, writing it, θεεβουλαθὼq theeboulathōth, showing, among other instances, how the Hebrew was "pronounced" by them.
That they may do whatsoever he commandeth them - See Psalm 147:17-18. The idea is, that even the clouds, which appear so capricious in their movements, are really under the direction of God, and are accomplishing his purposes. They do not move at haphazard, but they are under the control of one who intends to accomplish important purposes by them. Elihu had made this observation respecting the lightning Job 36:30-33, and he now says that the same thing was true of the clouds. The investigations of science have only served to confirm this, and to show that even the movements of the clouds are regulated by laws which have been ordained by a Being of infinite intelligence.
counsels—guidance (Ps 148:8); literally, "steering"; the clouds obey God's guidance, as the ship does the helmsman. So the lightning (see on Job 36:31, 32); neither is haphazard in its movements.
they—the clouds, implied in the collective singular "it."
face of the world, &c.—in the face of the earth's circle.It is turned round about; the clouds (now mentioned) are carried about to this or that place.
By his counsels; not by chance, (though nothing seems to be more casual and uncertain than the motions of the clouds,) but by his order and governance.
That they may do whatsoever he commandeth them; either be dispersed and pass away without effect, to the disappointment of the husbandmen’s hopes, or be dissolved in sweet and fruitful showers.
that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth; as all his creatures do; the several meteors in the air, clouds, stormy wind, fire, hail, snow, and vapour, all fulfilling his word; and which they do everywhere in the several parts of the world whither they are sent, Psalm 107:25. So ministers of the word drop down or withhold the rain of Gospel doctrine, and carry it into the several places of the world, as the Lord directs them; see Isaiah 5:6.And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)12. In the second clause the words are lit. “that they may do,” the plur. referring to “cloud” (Job 37:11) collectively. Others make the pronoun they refer to men, which is very unnatural. The expression “the whole earth” is lit. the world of the earth, Proverbs 8:31.Verse 12. - And it is turned round about by his counsels, "It" (i.e. the cloud) is "turned round" (or directed in its course) "by his counsels," or under the guidance of his wisdom, and so conveys his rain whither he pleases. That they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth. There is no expressed antecedent to "they." Perhaps the showers are intended, or the atmospheric influences generally.
And to the rain-shower
And the showers of His mighty rain.
7 He putteth a seal on the hand of every man,
That all men may come to a knowledge of His creative work.
8 The wild beast creepeth into a hiding-place,
And in its resting-place it remaineth.
9 Out of the remote part cometh the whirlwind,
And cold from the cloud-sweepers.
10 From the breath of God cometh ice,
And the breadth of the waters is straitened.
Like אבי, Job 34:36, and פּשׁ, Job 35:15, הוא, Job 37:6 (is falsely translated "be earthwards" by lxx, Targ., and Syr.), also belongs to the most striking Arabisms of the Elihu section: it signifies delabere (Jer. ut descendat), a signification which the Arab. hawâ does not gain from the radical signification placed first in Gesenius-Dietrich's Handwrterbuch, to breathe, blow, but from the radical signification, to gape, yawn, by means of the development of the meaning which also decides in favour of the primary notion of the Hebr. הוּה, according to which, what was said on Job 6:2; Job 30:13 is to be corrected.
(Note: Arab. hawâ is originally χαίνειν, to gape, yawn, hiare, e.g., hawat et-ta‛natu, the stab gapes (imperf. tahwı̂, inf. huwı̂jun), "when it opens its mouth" - the Turkish Kamus adds, to complete the picture: like a tulip. Thence next hâwijatun, χαίνουσα χαῖνον, i.e., χᾶσμα equals hûwatun, uhwı̂jatun, huwâatun, mahwâtun, a cleft, yawning deep, chasm, abyss, βάραθρον, vorago; hawı̂jatun and hauhâtun (a reduplicated form), especially a very deep pit or well. But these same words, hâwijatun, hûwatun, uhwı̂jatun, mahwâtun, also signify, like the usual Arab. hawa'â'un, the χάσμα between heaven and earth, i.e., the wide, empty space, the same as 'gauwun. The wider significations, or rather applications and references of hawâ: air set in motion, a current of air, wind, weather, are all secondary, and related to that primary signification as samâ, rain-clouds, rain, grass produced by the rain, to the prim. signification height, heaven, vid., Mehren, Rhetorik d. Araber, S. 107, Z. 14ff. This hawâ, however, also signifies in general: a broad, empty space, and by transferring the notion of "empty" to mind and heart, as the reduplicated forms hûhatun and hauhâtun: devoid of understanding and devoid of courage, e.g., Koran xiv. 44: wa-af'i-datuhum hawâun, where Bedhw first explains hawâ directly by chalâ, emptiness, empty space, i.e., as he adds, châlijetun ‛an el-fahm, as one says of one without mind and courage qalbuhu hawâun. Thence also hauwun, emptiness, a hole, i.e., in a wall or roof, a dormar-window (kauwe, kûwe), but also with the genit. of a person or thing: their hole, i.e., the space left empty by them, the side not taken up by them, e.g., qa‛ada fi hauwihi, he set himself beside him. From the signification to be empty then comes (1) hawat el-mar'atu, i.e., vacua fuit mulier equals orba oiberis, as χήρα, vidua, properly empty, French vide; (2) hawâ er-ragulu, i.e., vacuus, inanis factus est vir equals exanimatus (comp. Arab. frg, he became empty, euphemistic for he died).
From this variously applied primary signification is developed the generally known and usual Arab. hawâ, loose and free, without being held or holding to anything one's self, to pass away, fly, swing, etc., libere ferri, labi, in general in every direction, as the wind, or what is driven hither and thither by the wind, especially however from above downwards, labi, delabi, cadere, deorsum ruere. From this point, like many similar, the word first passes into the signification of sound (as certainly also שׁאה, שא): as anything falling has a full noise, and so on, δουπεῖν, rumorem, fragorem edere (fragor from frangi), hence hawat udhnuhu jawı̂jan of a singing in the ears.
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