Job 37:16
Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?
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(16) The balancings of the clouds.—How they are poised and suspended in the sky. “Ye clouds, that far above me float and pause.”—Coleridge.

Job 37:16-17. Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds? — How God doth, as it were, weigh the clouds in balances; so that, although they are full of water, and heavy, yet they are by his power suspended in the thin air, and kept from falling down upon us in spouts and floods, as sometimes they have done, and generally would do, if not governed by a higher Providence. The works of him who is perfect in knowledge — These are effects and evidences of his infinite power and knowledge. How thy garments are warm — How and why thy garments keep thee warm; or whence it comes, that the air grows mild when the south wind blows.

37:14-20 Due thoughts of the works of God will help to reconcile us to all his providences. As God has a powerful, freezing north wind, so he has a thawing, composing south wind: the Spirit is compared to both, because he both convinces and comforts, So 4:16. The best of men are much in the dark concerning the glorious perfections of the Divine nature and the Divine government. Those who, through grace, know much of God, know nothing, in comparison with what is to be known, and of what will be known, when that which is perfect is come.Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds? - That is, Dost thou know how the clouds are poised and suspended in the air? The difficulty to be explained was, that the clouds, so full of water, did not fail to the earth, but remained suspended in the atmosphere. They were poised and moved about by some unseen hand. Elihu asks what kept them there; what prevented their falling to the earth; what preserved the equilibrium so that they did not all roll together. The phenomena of the clouds would be among the first that would attract the attention of man, and in the early times of Job it is not to be supposed that the subject could be explained. Elihu assumes that they were held in the sky by the power of God, but what was the nature of his agency, he says, man could not understand, and hence, he infers that God should be regarded with profound veneration. We know more of the facts and laws respecting the clouds than was understood then, but our knowledge in this, as in all other things, is fitted only to exalt our conceptions of the Deity, and to change blind wonder into intelligent adoration.

The causes of the suspension of the clouds are thus stated in the Edinburgh Encyclopedia, Art. Meteorology: "When different portions of the atmosphere are intermixed so as to produce a deposition of moisture;" (compare the notes at Job 38:28), "the consequence will be the formation of a cloud. This cloud, from its increased specific gravity, will have a tendency to sink downward; and were the lower strata of the air of the same temperature with the cloud, and saturated with moisture, it would continue to descend until it reached the surface of the earth - in the form of rain, or what is commonly called mist. In general, however, the cloud in its descent passes through a warmer region, when the condensed moisture again passes into a vapor, and consequently ascends until it reaches a temperature sufficiently low to recondense it, when it will begin again to sink. This oscillation will continue until the cloud settles at the point where the temperature and humidity are such as that the condensed moisture begins to be dissipated, and which is found on an average to be between two and three miles above the surface of the earth." By such laws the "balancing" of the clouds is secured, and thus is shown the wisdom of Him that is "perfect in knowledge."

The wondrous works of him that is perfect in knowledge - Particularly in the matter under consideration. He who can command the lightning, and hold the clouds suspended in the air, Elihu infers must be perfect in knowledge. To a Being who can do this, everything must be known. The reasoning of Elihu here is well-founded, and is not less forcible now than it was in the time of Job.

16. Hebrew, "Hast thou understanding of the balancings," &c., how the clouds are poised in the air, so that their watery gravity does not bring them to the earth? The condensed moisture, descending by gravity, meets a warmer temperature, which dissipates it into vapor (the tendency of which is to ascend) and so counteracts the descending force.

perfect in knowledge—God; not here in the sense that Elihu uses it of himself (Job 36:4).

dost thou know—how, &c.

The balancings; how God doth as it were weigh and suspend the clouds in balances; so that although they are ponderous and flail of water, yet they are by his power kept up in the thin air from falling down upon us in spouts and floods, as sometimes they have done, and generally would do, if not overruled by a higher Providence.

Which is perfect in knowledge; who exactly knows the weight. These are effects and evidences of his infinite power and knowledge.

Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds?.... How those ponderous bodies, as some of them are very weighty, full of water, are poised, and hang in the air, without turning this way or the other, or falling on the earth;

the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge; of God, who is a God of knowledge, of knowledges, 1 Samuel 2:3; who knows himself and all his works, all creatures and things whatever, see Job 36:4; and this is another of his wondrous works, which none but he, whose knowledge is perfect, and is the author and giver of knowledge, can know, even the poising and balancing of the clouds in the air; we see they are balanced, but we know not how it is done.

Dost thou know the {m} balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?

(m) Which is sometimes changed into rain, or snow, hail or such like.

16. the balancings] That is, how the clouds are poised in the heavens (comp. ch. Job 26:8), which Elihu regards as an unspeakable marvel.

Verse 16. - Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds? i.e. "how they are poised and suspended in the sky" (Stanley Loathes). The wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge (comp. Job 36:5). Job 37:1614 Hearken unto this, O Job;

Stand still and consider the wonderful works of God!

15 Dost thou know when God designeth

To cause the light of His clouds to shine?

16 Dost thou understand the balancings of the clouds,

The wondrous things of Him who is perfect in knowledge?

Job is to stand still, instead of dictating to God, in order to draw from His wondrous acts in nature a conclusion with reference to his mystery of suffering. In Job 37:15 ידע בּ does not, as Job 35:15 (Ew. 217, S. 557), belong together, but בּ is the temporal Beth. שׂוּם is equivalent to שׂים לבּו (vid., on Job 34:23); עליהם does not refer to נפלאות (Hirz.) or the phenomena of the storm (Ew.), but is intended as neuter (as בּם Job 36:31, בּהם Job 22:21), and finds in Job 37:15 its distinctive development: "the light of His clouds" is their effulgent splendour. Without further support, ידע על is to have knowledge concerning anything, Job 37:16; מפלשׂי is also ἁπ. γεγρ.. It is unnecessary to consider it as wrongly written from מפרשׂי, Job 36:29, or as from it by change of letter (as אלמנות equals ארמנות, Isaiah 13:22). The verb פּלּס signifies to make level, prepare (viz., a way, also weakened: to take a certain way, Proverbs 5:6), once: to weigh, Psalm 58:3, as denom. from פּלס, a balance (and indeed a steelyard, statera), which is thus mentioned as the means of adjustment. מפלשׂי accordingly signifies either, as synon. of משׁקלי (thus the Midrash, vid., Jalkut, 522), weights (the relations of weight), or even equipoised balancings (Aben-Ezra, Kimchi, and others), Lat. quomodo librentur nubes in are.

(Note: The word is therefore a metaphor taken from the balance, and it may be observed that the Syro-Arabic, on account of the most extensive application of the balance, is unusually rich in such metaphors. Moreover, the Arabic has no corresponding noun: the teflı̂s (a balance) brought forward by Ges. in his Thes. and Handwrterbuch from Schindler's Pentaglotton, is a word devoid of all evidence from original sources and from the modern usage of the language, in this signification.)

מפלאות is also a word that does not occur elsewhere; in like manner דּע belongs exclusively to Elihu. God is called תּמים דּעים (comp. Job 36:4) as the Omniscient One, whose knowledge is absolute as to its depth as well as its circumference.

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