Job 37:7
He seals up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.He sealeth up the hand of every man - That is, in the winter, when the snow is on the ground, when the streams are frozen, and when the labors of the husbandman cease. The idea of "sealing up the hand" is derived from the common purpose of a seal, to make fast, to close up, to secure (compare Job 9:7, note; Job 33:16, note), and the sense is, that the hands can no more be used in ordinary toil. Every man in the snow and rain of winter is prevented from going abroad to his accustomed toil, and is, as it were, sealed up in his dwelling. The idea is exquisitely beautiful. God confines human beings and beasts in their houses or caves, until the winter has passed by.

That all men may know his work - The Septuagint renders this," That every man may know his own weakness" - ἀσθένειαν astheneian. Various interpretations have been given of the passage, but our common version has probably expressed in the main the true sense, that God thus interrupts the labors of man, and confines him in his home, that he may feel his dependence on God, and may recognize the constant agency of his Creator. The Hebrew literally is "For the knowledge of all the men of his making;" that is, that all the people whom he has created may have knowledge. The changing seasons thus keep before us the constant evidence of the unceasing agency of God in his works, and prevent the feeling which we might have, if everything was uniform that the universe was under the control of "fate." As it is, the succession of the seasons, the snow, the rain, the dew, and the sunshine, all bear marks of being under the control of an intelligent Being, and are so regulated that we need not forget that his unceasing agency is constantly round about us. It may be added, that when the farmer in the winter is laid aside from his usual toil, and confined to his dwelling, it is a favorable time for him to meditate on the works of God, and to acquaint himself with his Creator. The labors of man are thus interrupted; the busy affairs of life come to a pause, and while nature is silent around us, and the earth wrapped in her fleecy mantle forbids the labor of the husbandman, everything invites to the contemplation of the Creator, and of the works of his hands. The winter, therefore, might be improved by every farmer to enlarge his knowledge of God, and should be regarded as a season wisely appointed for him to cultivate his understanding and improve his heart.

7. In winter God stops man's out-of-doors activity.

sealeth—closeth up (Job 9:7). Man's "hands" are then tied up.

his work—in antithesis to man's own work ("hand") which at other times engages men so as to make them liable to forget their dependence on God. Umbreit more literally translates, That all men whom He has made (literally, "of His making") may be brought to acknowledgment."

By these great snows and rains he drives men out of the fields, and seals or binds tap their hands from all that work, and drives them home to their houses, and in a manner shuts them up there. See Genesis 7:16 Exodus 9:19. Or, by his hand or power (i.e. by those powerful works of his hand here mentioned) he sealeth, or shutteth up, or keepeth close every man, to wit, in his house, as the beasts in their dens, Job 37:8. That all men may know his work; that men being hindered from action and their own work, and so being idle and at perfect leisure, may fall to a serious contemplation of these and other great and glorious works of God. Or, that he (i.e. every man, as was now expressed)

may know (or inquire into, or take an account of) all his workmen; for which the proper season is when they are all hindered from their work, and brought together into the house. He sealeth up the hand of every man,.... That is, by deep snows and heavy rains being on the earth; where, as travellers are stopped in their journeys, and cannot proceed, so various artificers are hindered from their work, and husbandmen especially from their employment in the fields; so that their hands are as it were shut up and sealed, that they cannot work with them. Sephorno interprets this of the fruits and increase of the earth being produced and brought to perfection by means of the snow and rain, and so gathered by and into the hands of men; whereby they are led to observe the work of God and his goodness herein, and so to love and fear him; which he takes to be the sense of the following clause,

that all men may know his work; either their own work; what they have to do at home when they cannot work abroad; or that they may have leisure to reflect upon their moral ways and works, and consider how deficient they are: or rather the work of God; that they may know and own the snow and rain are his work, and depend upon his will; or that they may have time and opportunity of considering and meditating on the works of God, in nature, providence, and grace. Some choose to read the words, "that all men of his work may know" (l); may know him the author of their beings, and the God of their mercies. For all men are the work of his hands; he has made them, and not they themselves; and the end of all God's dealings with them is, that they may know him, fear, serve, and glorify him.

(l) "omnes homines operis ipsius", Schmidt, Michaelis; so Schultens.

He {e} sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.

(e) By rains and thunders God causes men to keep themselves within their houses.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. He sealdh up the hand] Effect of the winter rains and snow on men: all labour in the field is suspended; the hand of man is as it were “sealed up.”

that all men may know his work] The Heb. must be rendered: that all men whom he hath made may know, lit. all men of his workmanship. The meaning is, that men by their enforced inactivity through His operations in nature may know His sovereign power and that they are subject to it. The sense given by the A. V. is that of some of the ancient Versions, but implies a different reading.Verse 7. - He sealeth up the hand of every man. In the winter season, when the snow falls, and the heavy rains pour down (ver. 6), God "seeleth up the hand of every man;" i.e. puts an end to ordinary out-of-doors labour, and establishes a time of pause or rest (comp. Homer, 'II.,' 17:549). He does this with the object that all men may know his work; i.e. that, during the time of their enforced idleness, men may have leisure for reflection, and may employ it in meditating upon him and his marvellous "work." 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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