Job 37:6
For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.
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(6) For he saith to the snow.—All the operations of nature obey the behest of God—the snow, the gentle showers, the drenching downpour. By means of these He sealeth up the hand of every man, obstructing and impeding their works and movements, so that all the men whom He has made may know it or know Him. This is the plain meaning, which the Authorised Version gives somewhat less clearly. Men may learn from these things that they and their works are under the control of God. They are not the entirely free agents they suppose.

Job 37:6-8. He saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth — By his powerful will the snow is formed in the air, and falls upon the earth where and when he sees fit. And the great rain of his strength — Those storms of rain which come with great force and irresistible violence. He sealeth up the hand of every man — By these great snows and rains he drives men out of the fields, and seals or binds up their hands from their work, confining them to, and, in a manner, shutting them up in their houses. Or, ביד, bejad, by his hand, or power, (that is, by those powerful works of his hands here mentioned,) he sealeth, or shutteth up, or keepeth close, every man, namely, in his house, as the wild beasts in their dens, Job 37:8. That all men may know his work — That men, being hindered from their own ordinary labour, and perfectly at leisure, may apply themselves to a serious consideration of these and other great and glorious works of God. Then — In great rains or deep snows; the beasts go into dens — For shelter and comfort, and are compelled to continue therein.

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.For he saith to the snow - That is, the snow is produced by the command of God, and is a proof of his wisdom and greatness. The idea is, that; the formation of snow was an illustration of the wisdom of God, and should teach people to regard him with reverence. It is not to be supposed that the laws by which snow is formed in the atmosphere were understood in the time of Elihu. The fact that it seemed to be the effect of the immediate creation of God, was the principal idea in the mind of Elihu in illustrating his wisdom. But it is not less fitted to excite our admiration of his wisdom now that the laws by which it is produced are better understood; and in fact the knowledge of those laws is adapted to elevate our conceptions of the wisdom and majesty of Him who formed them. The investigations and discoveries of science do not diminish the proofs of the Creator's wisdom and greatness. but every new discovery tends to change blind admiration to intelligent devotion; to transform wonder to praise. On the formation of snow, see the notes at Job 38:22.

Be thou on the earth - There is a strong resemblance between this passage and the sublime command in Genesis 1:3, "And God said, Let there be light, and there was light." Each of them is expressive of the creative power of God, and of the ease with which he accomplishes his purposes.

Likewise to the small rain - Margin, "and to the shower of rain, and to the showers of rain of his strength." The word which is used here in the Hebrew (גשׁם geshem), means "rain" in general, and the phrase "small rain" ( גשׁם ( מטר mâṭâr geshem), seems to be used to denote the "rain" simply, without reference to its violence, or to its being copious. The following phrase, "the great rain of his strength" (עזוּ מטרות גשׁם geshem mâṭârôt ‛ôzû) refers to the rain when it has increased to a copious shower. The idea before the mind of Elihu seems to have been that of a shower, as it commences and increases until it pours down torrents, and the meaning is, that alike in the one case and the other, the rain was under the command of God, and obeyed his will. The whole description here is that which pertains to winter, and Elihu refers doubtless to the copious rains which fell at that season of the year.

6. Be—more forcible than "fall," as Umbreit translates Ge 1:3.

to the small rain, &c.—He saith, Be on the earth. The shower increasing from "small" to "great," is expressed by the plural "showers" (Margin), following the singular "shower." Winter rain (So 2:11).

By his powerful word and will the snow is made in the air, and falls upon the earth where and when he seeth fit.

The great rain of his strength, i.e. those great storms or showers of rain which come with great force and irresistible violence.

For he saith to the snow, be thou on the earth,.... In the original it is, be thou earth: hence one of the Rabbins formed a notion, that the earth was created from snow under the throne of glory, which is justly censured by Maimonides (f); for there is a defect of the letter as in 2 Chronicles 34:30; as Aben Ezra observes; and therefore rightly supplied by us, on the earth. This is one of the great and incomprehensible things of God. What is the cause of it, how it is generated, what gives it its exceeding whiteness and its form, we rather guess at than certainly know; and there are some things relative to it not easy to be accounted for: as that it should be generated in the lower region of the air, so near us, and yet be so cold; and be so cold in its own nature, yet be like a blanket warming to the earth; and that being so cold, it should fall in hot countries, as in many parts of Africa, as Leo Africanus asserts (g); and though so easily melted, yet lies continually upon the top of a burning mountain, Mount Etna, as observed by Pineda and others. God has his treasures of it, and he brings it forth from thence; it is at his command, it goes at a word speaking; it is one of the things that fulfil his word, Psalm 148:8. And if what Pliny (h) says is true, that snow never falls upon the high seas or main ocean, the expression here is, with great exactness and propriety, be thou on the earth. However, this is certain, that to the earth only it is useful, warming, refreshing, and fructifying; it has a wonderful virtue in it to fatten the earth. Olaus Magnus (i) reports, that in the northern countries, where it falls in great plenty, the fields are more fruitful than any others, and sooner put forth their fruits and increase than other fields prepared and cultivated with the greatest labour and diligence: and that they are often obliged to drive off the cattle from them, lest they should eat too much and burst, the fields and meadows becoming so luxurious by it; and frequently they mow off the tops of herbs and grass with their scythes, to prevent their growing too thick. The word of God, as for its purity, so for its warming, refreshing, and fructifying nature, is compared unto it, Isaiah 55:10;

likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength: that is, God says to these as to the snow, be upon the earth; and they presently are, whether lesser or larger showers: the lesser or more gentle, according to Seneca (k), fall in, the winter, and the larger in spring; the former when the north wind blows, the latter when the south; but whenever they come, they fall by the direction of God, and at his command. He and he only gives rain, the vanities of the Gentiles cannot; and these are sent to water and refresh the earth, and make it fruitful; for which reason also the word of God is compared thereunto, Deuteronomy 32:12. The Targum is,

"to the rain after rain in summer, to ripen the fruits; and to the rain after the rain, to cause the grass to bud in winter in his strength.''

So a shower of rain in the singular number signifies rain that falls in summer; and a shower of rain in the plural what falls in winter.

(f) Moreh Nevochim, par. 2. c. 26. (g) Descriptio Africae, l. 1. c. 27, 28. l. 2. c. 27, 46, 69. (h) Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 103. (i) De Ritu Gent. Septentr. l. 19. c. 15. (k) Nat. Quaest. l. 4. c. 4.

For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; {d} likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.

(d) So that neither small rain nor great, snow nor anything else comes without God's appointment.

6. The verse reads as a whole,

For he saith to the snow, Fall thou on the earth;

Likewise to the showers of rain,

Even to the showers of his mighty rains.

The reference in the second and third clauses is probably to the heavy rainfall of the winter season.

6–10. Another wonder of God’s power, snow and frost.

Verse 6. - For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth. The phenomenon of snow is always full of marvel to an Oriental. It comes before him so seldom; it is in itself so strange; it involves things so inexplicable as the sudden solidification of a liquid, crystallization, a marked expansion of bulk, and the sudden assumption by what was colourless of a definite and dazzling colour. In Arabia and the countries bordering on Palestine snow very seldom falls; but in Palestine itself the mountain ranges of Lebanon and Hermon are never without it; and in the region occupied by Job and his friends then is reason to believe that ice and snow were not altogether infrequent (see Job 6:16, and the comment ad loc). Likewise to the small rain; or, to the light shower of rain - "the spring rain," as the Chaldee paraphrast explains it. And to the great rain of his strength; or, "the heavy winter rain," according to the same authority. "The former and the latter rain" - the rain of winter, and the rain of spring - are often mentioned by the sacred writers (see Deuteronomy 11:14; Jeremiah 5:24; Hosea 6:3; Joel 2:23; Zechariah 10:1; James 5:7). God gave both, ordinarily, in due course. Job 37:6 6 For He saith to the snow: Fall towards the earth,

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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