Job 38:10
And broke up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) And brake up for it my decreed place.—Rather, And prescribed for it my decree: that is to say, determined the boundaries of its abode. When we bear in mind the vast forces and unstable nature of the sea, it seems a marvel that it acknowledges any limits, and is held in restraint by them.

38:4-11 For the humbling of Job, God here shows him his ignorance, even concerning the earth and the sea. As we cannot find fault with God's work, so we need not fear concerning it. The works of his providence, as well as the work of creation, never can be broken; and the work of redemption is no less firm, of which Christ himself is both the Foundation and the Corner-stone. The church stands as firm as the earth.And brake up for it my decreed place - Margin, "established my decree upon it." So Herder, "I fixed my decrees upon it." Luther renders it, "Da ich ihm den Lauf brach mit meinem Damm" - "then I broke its course with my barrier." Umbreit renders it, "I measured out to it my limits;" that is, the limits or bounds which I judged to be proper. So the Vulgate, "Circumdedi illud terminis meis" - "I surrounded it with my limits," or with such limits as I chose to affix. The Septuagint renders it, "I placed boundaries to it." Coverdale, "I gave it my commandment." This is undoubtedly the sense which: the connection demands; and the idea in the common version, that God had broken up his fixed plans in order to accommodate the new-born ocean, is not in accordance with the parallelism. The Hebrew word (שׁבר shâbar) indeed commonly means "to break, to break in pieces." But, according to Gesenius, and as the place here demands, it may have the sense of measuring off, defining, appointing, "from the idea of breaking into portions;" and then the sense will be, "I measured for it (the sea) my appointed bound."

This meaning of the word is, however, more probably derived from the Arabic, where the word שׁבר shâbar means to measure with the span (Castell), and hence, the idea here of measuring out the limits of the ocean. The sense is, that God measured out or determined the limits of the sea. The idea of breaking up a limit or boundary which had been before fixed, it is believed, is not in the text. The word rendered "my decreed place" (חקי chuqiy) refers commonly to a law, statute, or ordinance, meaning originally anything that was "engraved" (חקק châqaq) and then, because laws were engraved on tablets of brass or stone, any statute or decree. Hence, it means anything prescribed or appointed, and hence, a "bound," or "limit;" see the notes at Job 26:10; compare Proverbs 8:29, "When he gave to the sea his decree (חקו chuqô) that the waters should not pass his commandment." The idea in the passage before us is, that God fixed the limits of the ocean by his own purpose or pleasure.

And set bars - Doors were formerly fastened, as they are often now, by cross-bars; and the idea here is, that God had inclosed the ocean, and so fastened the doors from where, it would issue out, that it could not pass.

10. brake up for—that is, appointed it. Shores are generally broken and abrupt cliffs. The Greek for "shore" means "a broken place." I broke off or measured off for it my limit, that is, the limit which I thought fit (Job 26:10). Brake up for it my decreed place, i.e. made those valleys, or channels, and hollow places in the earth, which might serve for a cradle to receive and hold this great and goodly infant when it came out of the womb. See Genesis 1:9,10 Psa 33:7. Or, ordained or established my decree upon or concerning it. Set bars and doors, i.e. fixed its bounds as strongly as if they were fortified with bars and doors. And brake up for it my decreed place,.... Or, as Mr. Broughton translates it, "and brake the earth for it by my decree": made a vast chasm in the earth to hold the waters of the sea, which was provided as a sort of cradle to put this swaddled infant in; God cleaved the earth, raised the hills and sank the valleys, which became as channels to convey the waters that ran off the earth to their appointed place, which beautifully expressed in Psalm 104:7; and refers there, as here, to the work of creation on the second day, Genesis 1:9 (h);

and set bars and doors; to keep it in its decreed appointed place, that the waters might not go over the earth; these are the shores, as the Targum, the cliffs and rocks upon them, the boundaries of the sea; to which may be added, and what is amazing, the sand upon the seashore is such a boundary to it that it cannot pass, Jeremiah 5:22; but these would be insufficient was it not for the power and will of God, next expressed.

(h) Or determined, that is, appointed for it its convenient, proper, and fixed place; so David de Pomis, Lexic. fol. 203. 1.

And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. brake up for it my decreed place] Rather, and brake for it my bound, i. e. set it my appointed boundary. The expression “brake” may refer to the deep and abrupt precipices which mark the coast line in many places.

The figures in these verses are very splendid. First, the ocean is represented as an infant giant, breaking forth from the womb. (It is not necessary perhaps to ask whether the interior of the earth be thought of as the “womb” of the ocean, or whether “womb” merely belongs to the figure of the ocean’s birth.) Then the infant ocean was swathed in clouds and thick clouds were its swaddling bands. Finally the new-born monster must be tamed by almighty power, and an impassable bound set to its proud fury.Verse 10. - And brake up for it my decreed place; rather, as in the margin, and established my decree upon it; or, as in the Revised Version, and prescribed for it my decree. The decree itself is given in ver. 11. And set bars and doors (see above, ver. 8, where the imagery of "doors" has been already introduced). As Professor Lee observes, "The term דְּלָתַיִם contains a metaphor taken from the large folding-doors of a city, which are usually set up for the purpose of stepping the progress of an invading enemy, and are hence supplied with bolts and bars" ('Book of Job,' p. 490). Representations of such folding-doors are common in the Assyrian sculptures; and in one instance the doors themselves, or, to speak more exactly, their outer bronze easing, has been recovered (see a paper in the 'Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology,' on the Bronze Gates discovered by Mr. Rassam at Balawat, vol. 7. pp. 85-115). These gates were twenty-two feet high and six feet broad each. 4 Where wast thou when I established the earth?

Say, if thou art capable of judging!

5 Who hath determined its measure, if thou knowest it,

Or who hath stretched the measuring line over it?

6 Upon what are the bases of its pillars sunk in,

Or who hath laid its corner-stone,

7 When the morning stars sang together

And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

The examination begins similarly to Job 15:7. In opposition to the censurer of God as such the friends were right, although only negatively, since their conduct was based on self-delusion, as though they were in possession of the key to the mystery of the divine government of the world. ידע בּינה signifies to understand how to judge, to possess a competent understanding, 1 Chronicles 12:32; 2 Chronicles 2:12, or (ידע taken not in the sense of novisse, but cognoscere) to appropriate to one's self, Proverbs 4:1; Isaiah 29:24. כּי, Job 38:5, interchanges with אם (comp. Job 38:18), for כּי תדע signifies: suppose that thou knowest it, and this si forte scias is almost equivalent to an forte scis, Proverbs 30:4. The founding of the earth is likened altogether to that of a building constructed by man. The question: upon what are the bases of its pillars or foundations sunk (טבע, Arab. ṭb‛, according to its radical signification, to press with something flat upon something, comp. Arab. ṭbq, to lay two flat things on one another, then both to form or stamp by pressure, and to press into soft pliant stuff, or let down into, immergere, or to sink into, immergi), points to the fact of the earth hanging free in space, Job 26:7. Then no human being was present, for man was not yet created; the angels, however, beheld with rejoicing the founding of the place of the future human family, and the mighty acts of God in accordance with the decree of His love (as at the building of the temple, the laying of the foundation, Ezra 3:10, and the setting of the head-stone, Zechariah 4:7, were celebrated), for the angels were created before the visible world (Psychol. S. 63; Genesis, S. 105), as is indeed not taught here, but still (vid., on the other hand, Hofmann, Schriftbew. i. 400) is assumed. For בּני אלהים are, as in Job 1-2, the angels, who proceeded from God by a mode of creation which is likened to begetting, and who with Him form one πατριά (Genesis, S. 121). The "morning stars," however, are mentioned in connection with them, because between the stars and the angels, which are both comprehended in צבא השׁמים (Genesis, S. 128), a mysterious connection exists, which is manifoldly attested in Holy Scripture (vid., on the other hand, Hofm. ib. S. 318). כּוכב בּקר is the morning star which in Isaiah 14:12 is called הילל (as extra-bibl. נגהּ) from its dazzling light, which exceeds all other stars in brightness, and בּן־שׁחר, son of the dawn, because it swims in the dawn as though it were born from it. It was just the dawn of the world coming into being, which is the subject spoken of, that gave rise to the mention of the morning star; the plur., however, does not mean the stars which came into being on that morning of the world collectively (Hofm., Schlottm.), but Lucifer with the stars his peers, as כּסילים, Isaiah 13:10, Orion and the stars his peers. Arab. suhayl (Canopus) is used similarly as a generic name for stars of remarkable brilliancy, and in general suhêl is to the nomads and the Hauranites the symbol of what is brilliant, glorious, and beautiful;

(Note: A man or woman of great beauty is called suhêli, suhelı̂je. Thus I heard a Hauranitish woman say to her companion: nahâr el-jôm nedâ, shuft ledsch (Arab. lk) wâhid Suhêli, To-day is dew, I saw a Suhêli, i.e., a very handsome man, for thee. - Wetzst.)

so that even the beings of light of the first rank among the celestial spirits might be understood by כוכבי בקר. But if this ought to be the meaning, Job 38:7 and Job 38:7 would be in an inverted order. They are actual stars, whether it is intended of the sphere belonging to the earth or to the higher sphere comprehended in השׁמים, Genesis 1:1. Joy and light are reciprocal notions, and the scale of the tones of joy is likened to the scale of light and colours; therefore the fulness of light, in which the morning stars shone forth all together at the founding of the earth, may symbolize one grandly harmonious song of joy.

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