Job 37:5
God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.
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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.God thundereth marvelously - He thunders in a wonderful manner. The idea is, that the voice of his thunder is an amazing exhibition of his majesty and power.

Great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend - That is, not only in regard to the thunder and the tempest, but in other things. The description of the storm properly ends here, and in the subsequent verses Elihu proceeds to specify various other phenomena, which were wholly incomprehensible by man. The reference here to the storm, and to the other grand and incomprehensible phenomena of nature, is a most appropriate introduction to the manifestation of God himself as described in the next chapter, and could not but have done much to prepare Job and his friends for that sublime close of the controversy.

The passage before us Job 36:29-33; Job 37:1-5, is probably the earliest description of a thunderstorm on record. A tempest is a phenomenon which must early have attracted attention, and which we may expect to find described or alluded to in all early poetry. It may be interesting, therefore, to compare this description of a storm, in probably the oldest poem in the world, with what has been furnished by the masters of song in ancient and modern times, and we shall find that in sublimity and beauty the Hebrew poet will suffer nothing in comparison. In one respect, which constitutes the chief sublimity of the description. he surpasses them all: I mean in the recognition of God. In the Hebrew description. God is every where in the storm He excites it; he holds the lightnings in both hands; he directs it where he pleases; he makes it the instrument of his pleasure and of executing his purposes. Sublime, therefore, as is the description of the storm itself, furious as is the tempest; bright as is the lightning: and heavy and awful as is the roar of the thunder, yet the description derives its chief sublimity from the fact that "God" presides over all, riding on the tempest and directing the storm as he pleases. Other poets have rarely attempted to give this direction to the thoughts in their description of a tempest, if we may except Klopstock, and they fall, therefore, far below the sacred poet. The following is the description of a storm by Elihu, according to the exposition which I have given:

Who can understand the outspreading of the clouds,

And the fearful thunderings in his pavilion?

Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it;

He also covereth the depths of the sea.

By these he executeth judgment upon the people,

By these he giveth food in abundance.

With his hands he covereth the lightning,

And commandeth it where to strike.

He pointeth out to his friends -

The collecting of his wrath is upon the wicked.

At this also my heart palpitates,


5. (Job 36:26; Ps 65:6; 139:14). The sublimity of the description lies in this, that God is everywhere in the storm, directing it whither He will [Barnes]. See Ps 29:1-11, where, as here, the "voice" of God is repeated with grand effect. The thunder in Arabia is sublimely terrible. Marvellously; with a wonderful and terrible noise, and so as to produce many wonderful effects, as the breaking down of great and strong trees or buildings, the killing of men in a stupendous manner, &c.

Great things doeth he, even in the course of nature, and in visible things; which all men see, but scarce any can give the true and satisfactory reasons of them; for the greatest philosophers speak only by guess, and are greatly divided among themselves about them. And therefore it is not strange if the secret and deep counsels of Divine Providence be out of our reach; and it is great arrogancy in thee, O Job, to censure them, because thou dost not fully understand them.

God thundereth marvellously with his voice,.... Or "marvels" (c), or marvellous things, which may respect the marvellous effects of thunder and lightning: such as rending rocks and mountains; throwing down high and strong towers; shattering to pieces high and mighty oaks and cedars, and other such like effects, mentioned in Psalm 29:5; and there are some things reported which seem almost incredible, were they not well attested facts; as that an egg should be consumed thereby, and the shell unhurt; a cask of liquor, the liquor in it spoiled, and the cask not touched; money melted in the purse, and the purse whole; the fetus in the womb killed, and the woman preserved; with other things of the like kind mentioned by various writers (d); and which are to be accounted for only by the swift motion and piercing and penetrating nature of lightning. So the voice of God in the Gospel thunders out and declares many wonderful things; as the doctrines of the trinity of Persons in one God; of the everlasting love of the three Persons; of the Person of Christ, and the union of the two natures in him; of his incarnation, of redemption and salvation by him; of regeneration by the spirit of God; of union to Christ, and communion with him; and of the resurrection of the dead: and it produces marvellous effects, attended with a divine power; as quickening sinners dead in trespasses and sins; enlightening those who are darkness itself; bearing down all opposition before it; casting down the strong holds of sin and Satan, and reducing the most stubborn and obstinate to the obedience of Christ;

great things doth he, which we cannot comprehend; or "know" (e): great things in creation, the nature and causes of which lie greatly out of the reach of man; and which he rather guesses at than knows, and still less comprehends. Great things in providence; in sustaining all creatures and providing for them; and in the government of the world, and in his dispensations in it; his judgments being unsearchable, and his ways past finding out: and great things in grace; as the salvation of sinners by Christ, and the conversion of their souls by his Spirit; and even what is known of them is known but in part and very imperfectly. This is a transition to other great things done by the Lord, besides those before mentioned, and particular instances follow.

(c) "mirabilia", Pagninus, Montanus. (d) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 51. Senec. Nat. Quaest. l. 2. c. 31. (e) "et nesciemus", Pagninus, Montanus; so Schultens.

God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.
Verse 5. - God thundereth marvellously with his voice. In finishing off his description of the thunderstorm, Elihu dwells upon its marvellousness. Each step in the entire process is strange and wonderful, beyond man's comprehension; and the lesson to be drawn from the consideration of the whole series of phenomena is that great things doeth he (i.e. God), which we cannot comprehend. Even after all that has been done of late years to advance the science of meteorolegy, it cannot be said that the rationale of storms is fully grasped by the scientific intellect Job 37:5 1 Yea, at this my heart trembleth

And tottereth from its place.

2 Hear, O hear the roar of His voice,

And the murmur that goeth out of His mouth.

3 He sendeth it forth under the whole heaven,

And His lightning unto the ends of the earth.

4 After it roareth the voice of the thunder,

He thundereth with the voice of His majesty,

And spareth not the lightnings, when His voice is heard.

5 God thundereth with His voice marvellously,

Doing great things, incomprehensible to us.

Louis Bridel is perhaps right when he inserts after Job 36 the observation: L'clair brille, la tonnerre gronde. לזאת does not refer to the phenomenon of the storm which is represented in the mind, but to that which is now to be perceived by the senses. The combination שׁמעוּ שׁמוע can signify both hear constantly, Isaiah 6:9, and hear attentively, Job 13:17; here it is the latter. רגז of thunder corresponds to the verbs Arab. rḥz and rjs, which can be similarly used. The repetition of קול fo noititeper eh five times calls to mind the seven קולות (ἑπτὰ βρονταί) in Psalm 29:1-11. The parallel is הגה, Job 37:2, a murmuring, as elsewhere of the roar of the lion and the cooing of the dove. The suff. of ישׁרהוּ refers to the thunder which rolls through the immeasurable breadth under heaven; it is not perf. Piel of ישׁר (Schlottm.), for "to give definite direction" (2 Chronicles 32:30) is not appropriate to thunder, but fut. Kal of שׁרה, to free, to unbind (Ew., Hirz. and most others). What Job 37:3 says of thunder, Job 37:3 says of light, i.e., the lightning: God sends it forth to the edges, πτέρυγες, i.e., ends, of the earth. אחריו, Job 37:4, naturally refers to the lightning, which is followed by the roar of the thunder; and יעקּבם to the flashes, which, when once its rumble is heard, God does not restrain (עקּב equals עכּב of the Targ., and Arab. ‛aqqaba, to leave behind, postpone), but causes to flash forth in quick succession. Ewald's translation: should He not find (prop. non investigaverit) them (the men that are to be punished), gives a thought that has no support in this connection. In Job 37:5 נפלאות, mirabilia, is equivalent to mirabiliter, as Daniel 8:24, comp. Psalm 65:6; Psalm 139:14. ולא נדע is intended to say that God's mighty acts, with respect to the connection between cause and effect and the employment of means, transcend our comprehension.

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