Job 37:17
How your garments are warm, when he quiets the earth by the south wind?
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(17) When he quieteth the earth.—Or, When the earth is still.

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.How thy garments are warm - What is the reason that the garments which we wear produce warmth? This, it would seem, was one of the philosophical questions which were asked at that time, and which it was difficult to explain. Perhaps it has never occurred to most persons to ask this apparently simple question, and if the inquiry were proposed to them, plain as it seems to be, they would find it as difficult to give an answer as Elihu supposed it would be for Job. Of the fact here referred to that the garments became oppressive when a sultry wind came from the south, there could be no dispute. But what was the precise difficulty in explaining the fact, is not so clear. Some suppose that Elihu asks this question sarcastically, as meaning that Job could not explain the simplest matters and the plainest facts; but there is every reason to think that the question was proposed with entire seriousness, and that it was supposed to involve real difficulty. It seems probable that the difficulty was not so much to explain why the garments should become oppressive in a burning or sultry atmosphere, as to show how the heated air itself was produced It was difficult to explain why cold came out of the north Job 37:9; how the clouds were suspended, and the lightnings caused Job 37:11, Job 37:15-16; and it was not less difficult to show what produced uncomfortable heat when the storms from the north were allayed; when the earth became quiet, and when the breezes blowed from the south. This would be a fair question for investigation, and we may readily suppose that the causes then were not fully known.

When he quieteth the earth - When the piercing blast from the north dies away, and the wind comes round to the south, producing a more gentle, but a sultry air. It was true not only that the whirlwind came from the south Job 37:9, but also that the heated burning air came also from that quarter, Luke 12:55. We know the reason to be that the equatorial regions are warmer than those at the north, and especially that in the regions where Job 54ed the air becomes heated by passing over extended plains of sand, but there is no reason to suppose that this was fully understood at the time referred to here.

17. thy garments, &c.—that is, dost thou know how thy body grows warm, so as to affect thy garments with heat?

south wind—literally, "region of the south." "When He maketh still (and sultry) the earth (that is, the atmosphere) by (during) the south wind" (So 4:16).

How and why thy garments keep thee warm; of which as there are some natural causes, so it is certain that they are not sufficient to do it without God’s blessing, as experience shows, Haggai 1:6.

The earth, i.e. the air about the earth.

By the south wind; which though sometimes it brings tempests, Job 37:9, yet commonly it ushereth in hot weather, Luke 12:55, as the north wind brings cold, Job 37:9. Or, from the south wind, i.e. from the tempest, which was noted to come out of the south, Job 37:9. Heb. from or

by the south, i.e. by the sun’s coming into the southern parts, which makes the air quiet and warm. How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind? One should think there is no great difficulty in accounting for this, that a man's clothes should be warm, and he so hot as not to be able to bear them, but obliged to put them off in the summer season, when only the south wind blows, which brings heat, a serene sky, and fine weather, Luke 12:55; and yet there is something in the concourse of divine Providence attending these natural causes, and his blessing with them, without which the garment of a man will not be warm, or at least not warming to him, Haggai 1:6; or

"how thy garments are warm when the land is still from the south,''

as Mr. Broughton renders the words; that is, how it is when the earth is still from the whirlwinds of the south; or when that wind does not blow which brings heat, but northerly winds in the winter time; that then a man's garments should be warm, and keep him warm.

How thy garments are {n} warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind?

(n) Why your clothes should keep you warm when the south wind blows rather than when any other wind blows?

17. how thy garments are warm] Rather perhaps, thou Whose garments are warm, when the earth is still because of the south wind. Job 37:15 referred to the storm cloud; Job 37:16-17 refer rather to the sultry summer cloud. The words express how feeble man has no part in causing these wonders, but only passively feels the effect of them. “This sensation of dry, hot clothes is only experienced during the siroccos” (Thomson, Land and the Book). In reference to the stillness of the earth under such a wind, this writer says, “There is no living thing abroad to make a noise. The birds hide in thickest shades, the fowls pant under the walls with open mouth and drooping wings, the flocks and herds take shelter in caves and under great rocks, and the labourers retire from the fields and close the windows and doors of their houses.… The very air is too weak and languid to stir the pendent leaves even of the tall poplars.”Verse 17. - How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind? Dost thou even know how it is that, while the breeze from the north chills thee (vers. 9, 10), the breath from the south makes thee feel thy garments too warm? If thou canst not explain a physical matter, wherein thine own comfort is concerned, how much less canst thou comprehend the workings of God in his moral universe! 11 Also He loadeth the clouds with water,

He spreadeth far and wide the cloud of His light,

12 And these turn themselves round about,

Directed by Him, that they execute

All that He hath commanded them

Over the wide earth.

13 Whether for a scourge, or for the good of His earth,

Or for mercy, He causeth it to discharge itself.

With אף extending the description, Elihu, in the presence of the storm that is in the sky, continually returns to this one marvel of nature. The old versions connect בּרי partly with בּר, electus (lxx, Syr., Theod.) or frumentum (Symm., Jer.), partly with בּרה equals בּרר in the signification puritas, serenitas (Targ.); but בּרי is, as Schultens has already perceived, the Hebr.-Arabic רי, Arab. rı̂yun, rı̂j-un (from רוה equals riwj), abundant irrigation, with בּ; and יטריח does not signify, according to the Arab. atraha, "to hurl down," so that what is spoken of would be the bursting of the clouds (Stick.),

(Note: This "atraha" is, moreover, a pure invention of our ordinary Arabic lexicons instead of ittaraha (VIII form): (1) to throw one's self, (2) to throw anything from one's self, with an acc. of the thing. - Fl.)

but, according to טרח, a burden (comp. Arab. taraha ala, to load), "to burden;" with fluidity (Ew., Hirz., Hahn, Schlottm.), better: fulness of water, He burdens the clouds (comp. rawij-un as a designation of cloud as the place of rain). ענן אורו, His cloud of light, is that that is charged with lightning, and הפיץ has here its Hebr.-Arab. radical signification effundere, diffundere, with a preponderance of the idea not of scattering, but of spreading out wide (Arab. faid, abundance). והוּא, Job 37:12, refers to the cloud pregnant with lightning; this turns round about (מסבּות, adv. as מסב, round about, 1 Kings 6:29) seeking a place, where it shall unburden itself by virtue of His (God's) direction or disposing (תחבּוּלת, a word belonging to the book of Proverbs; lxx, Cod. Vat. and Alex., untranslated: εν θεεβουλαθωθ, Cod. Sinait. still more monstrous), in order that they (the clouds full of lightning) may accomplish everything that He commands them over the surface of the earth; ארצה as Job 34:13, and the combination תּבל ארצה as Proverbs 8:31, comp. ארץ ותבל, Psalm 90:2. The reference of the pronominal suff. to men is as inadmissible here as in Job 37:4. In Job 37:13 two אם have certainly, as Job 34:29, two ו, the correlative signification sive ... sive (Arab. in ... wa-in), in a third, as appears, a conditional, but which? According to Ew., Hirz., Hahn, Schlottm., and others, the middle one: if it (the rod) belongs to His land, i.e., if it has deserved it. But even the possessive suff. of לארצו shows that the ל is to be taken as dat. commodi: be it for a rod, be it for the good of His land; which is then followed by a conditional verbal clause: in case He mercifully causes it (the storm) to come, i.e., causes this His land to be overtaken by it (המציא here with the acc., the thing coming, whereas in Job 34:11 of the thing to be overtaken). The accentuation, indeed, appears to assume a threefold sive: whether He causeth it to discharge itself upon man for punishment, man for mercy, or His earth for good with reference to man. Then Elihu would think of the uninhabited steppe in connection with אם לארצו. Since a conditional אם by the side of two correlatives is hazardous, we decide finally with the lxx, Targ., and all the old versions, in favour of the same rendering of the threefold אם, especially since it corresponds to the circumstances of the case.

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