Where is the way where light dwells? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Job 38:19. Where is the way — Or, rather, the place, as the next clause explains it; and, as the Hebrew דרךְ, derech, will bear, where light dwelleth — That is, hath its constant and settled abode. Whither goes the sun when he departs from this hemisphere? Where are the tabernacle and the chamber in which he is supposed to rest? And seeing there was a time when there was nothing but gross darkness upon the face of the earth, what way came light into the world? Which was the place where light dwelt at that time, and whence was it fetched? And whence came that orderly constitution and constant succession of light and darkness? Was this thy work? Or wast thou privy to it, or a counsellor, or assistant in it?
Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
And who can empty the bottles of heaven? Job 38:37.
The clouds seem to have been regarded as a solid substance capable of holding rain like a leather bottle, and the rain was caused by their emptying themselves on the earth. Yet the whole phenomena were considered to beyond the comprehension of man. The laws by which the clouds suspended in the air, and the reason why the rain descended in small drops, instead of gushing floods, were alike incomprehensible:
Who also can understand the outspreading of the clouds,
And the fearful thunderings in his pavilion? Job 36:29.
For he draweth up the drops of water;
They distil rain in his vapor,
Which the clouds pour down;
They pour it upon man in abundance. Job 36:27-28.
He bindeth up the waters in the thick clouds,
And the cloud is not rent under them. Job 26:8.
(h) The sea had also attracted the attention of these ancient observers and there were phenomena there which they could not explain:
Who shut up the sea with doors,The way; or rather, the place, as the next clause explains it, and the Hebrew phrase will bear.
Where light dwelleth, i.e. hath its constant and settled abode; for in the place where Job lived, and in most other parts of the inhabited world, it is like a traveller, that cometh and goeth continually every day. This may be referred either,
1. To the place under the two poles, where first the light, and then the darkness, continues for six months together. Or rather,
2. To the sun, the fountain of light. And as this is a poetical book, so this may be a poetical expression and question, Whither goes the sun, when it departs from this hemisphere? Where is the tabernacle and the chamber in which both sacred, as Psalm 19:4,5, and profane poets suppose the sun to rest? Dost thou know the place where the sun when it sets may be found, and whence thou canst fetch it back again. For it is to be carefully observed, that he speaks not here of a bare and simple knowledge of this matter, which was plain and easy to Job, and many others, who were not ignorant that the sun was the fountain of light, from whose approach light comes, and by whose departure darkness is caused; but of an operative knowledge, even such as could and did enable him to take it to the bound thereof, as it follows, Job 38:20. And withal, he seems here to speak not only of the daily course and motion of the sun, and the vicissitude of day and night, but also and especially of the first production of the light, which was before Job was born, as is evident from Job 38:21. And this makes the question more difficult and more considerable, the sense whereof may be this: Seeing there was a time when there was nothing but gross and comfortless darkness upon the face of the earth, what way came light into the world? which was the place where light dwelt at that time, and whence it was fetched? and whence came that orderly constitution and constant succession of light and darkness? Was this thy work? or wast thou privy to it, or a counsellor or assistant in it? or was it not done by me alone long before thou hadst a being?
and as for darkness, where is the place thereof? where these were placed when they were first separated at the creation? where light goes and dwells, when it departs from us at sun setting? and where the darkness betakes itself, and makes its abode at sun rising? What is the chamber of the sun, and the tabernacle of it? from whence it sets out, and whither it returns? And though these questions may be answered by geographers and astronomers in their way; yet they seem to respect chiefly the disposal of light and darkness, in such a manner as to cause the revolution of them, and the inequality of days and nights in different seasons and climates; and which is not in the power of men to effect, but depends on the sovereign will of God.Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19. The first clause reads,
What is the way to where light dwelleth?
Light and darkness are here regarded as things independent of one another; they are both real agents, each of which has its place or abode, from which it streams forth over the earth, and to which it is again taken back (Job 38:20).
19–21. Light and darkness.
19–38. The wonders of the heavens.Verse 19. - Where is the way where light dwelleth? or, Which is the way to the dwelling-place of light '? Where, i.e.' does light dwell? What is its original and true home? Light is a thing quite distinct from the sun and moon and planets (Genesis 1:3, 16). Where and what is it? Dost thou know the way to its dwelling-place? If not, why, once more, dost thou pretend to search out the deep things of God? And as for darkness, where is the place thereof? Darkness, too, light's antithesis, must not that have a home - a "place" of abode, as Job himself had postulated, when he spoke of "a land of darkness and the shadow of death, a land of darkness as darkness itself... Where the light is as darkness" (Job 10:21, 22)? If so, can Job point out the locality?
Caused the dawn to know its place,
13 That it may take hold of the ends of the earth,
So that the evil-doers are shaken under it?
14 That it changeth like the clay of a signet-ring,
And everything fashioneth itself as a garment.
15 Their light is removed from the evil-doers,
And the out-stretched arm is broken.
The dawn of the morning, spreading out from one point, takes hold of the carpet of the earth as it were by the edges, and shakes off from it the evil-doers, who had laid themselves to rest upon it the night before. נער, combining in itself the significations to thrust and to shake, has the latter here, as in the Arab. nâ‛ûra, a water-wheel, which fills its compartments below in the river, to empty them out above. Instead of ידּעתּה שׁחר with He otians, the Keri substitutes ידּעתּ השׁחר. The earth is the subj. to Job 38:14: the dawn is like the signet-ring, which stamps a definite impress on the earth as the clay, the forms which floated in the darkness of the night become visible and distinguishable. The subj. to Job 38:14 are not morning and dawn (Schult.), still less the ends of the earth (Ew. with the conjecture: יתיבצו, "they become dazzlingly white"), but the single objects on the earth: the light of morning gives to everything its peculiar garb of light, so that, hitherto overlaid by a uniform darkness, they now come forth independently, they gradually appear in their variegated diversity of form and hue. In כּמו לבוּשׁ, לבוש is conceived as accusative (Arab. kemâ libâsan, or thauban), while in כלבושׁ (Psalm 104:6, instar vestis) it would be genitive. To the end of the strophe everything is under the logical government of the ל of purpose in Job 38:13. The light of the evil-doers is, according to Job 24:17, the darkness of the night, which is for them in connection with their works what the light of day is for other men. The sunrise deprives them, the enemies of light in the true sense (Job 24:13), of this light per antiphrasin, and the carrying out of their evil work, already prepared for, is frustrated. The ע of רשׁעים, Job 38:13 and Job 38:15, is תלויה עין [Ayin suspensum,] which is explained according to the Midrash thus: the רשׁעים, now עשׁירים (rich), become at a future time רשׁים (poor); or: God deprives them of the עין (light of the eye), by abandoning them to the darkness which they loved.
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