Job 38:23
Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) The time of trouble.—As was the case with the Canaanites, in Joshua 10:11. (Comp. Psalm 18:13.)

38:12-24 The Lord questions Job, to convince him of his ignorance, and shame him for his folly in prescribing to God. If we thus try ourselves, we shall soon be brought to own that what we know is nothing in comparison with what we know not. By the tender mercy of our God, the Day-spring from on high has visited us, to give light to those that sit in darkness, whose hearts are turned to it as clay to the seal, 2Co 4:6. God's way in the government of the world is said to be in the sea; this means, that it is hid from us. Let us make sure that the gates of heaven shall be opened to us on the other side of death, and then we need not fear the opening of the gates of death. It is presumptuous for us, who perceive not the breadth of the earth, to dive into the depth of God's counsels. We should neither in the brightest noon count upon perpetual day, nor in the darkest midnight despair of the return of the morning; and this applies to our inward as well as to our outward condition. What folly it is to strive against God! How much is it our interest to seek peace with him, and to keep in his love!Which I have reserved - As if they were carefully treasured up to be brought forth as they shall be needed. The idea is, that they were entirely under the direction of God.

The time of trouble - Herder "the time of need." The meaning probably is, that he had kept them in reserve for the time when he wished to bring calamity on his enemies, or that he made use of them to punish his foes; compare the notes at Job 36:31-33.

Against the day of battle and war - Hailstones were employed by God sometimes to overwhelm his foes, and were sent against them in time of battle; see Joshua 10:11; Exodus 9:22-26; Psalm 18:12-13; compare the notes at Isaiah 29:6.

23. against the time of trouble—the time when I design to chastise men (Ex 9:18; Jos 10:11; Re 16:21; Isa 28:17; Ps 18:12, 13; Hag 2:17). Which, i.e. which snow, and especially hail.

Against the time of trouble, i.e. when I intend to bring trouble or calamity upon any country or people for their sins, or for their trial. Or, against the time of the enemy, i.e. when I intend to punish mine or my people’s enemies, and to fight against them with these weapons; of which see instances Exodus 9:14 Joshua 10:11. Compare 1 Samuel 7:10 Job 36:31 Isaiah 30:30. Which I have reserved against the time of trouble,.... For the punishment or affliction of men; and is explained as follows,

against the day of battle and war? as his artillery and ammunition to light his enemies with. Of hail we have instances in Scripture, as employed against the Egyptians and Canaanites, Exodus 9:25; and of a reserve of it in the purposes of God, and in prophecy against the day of battle with antichrist, Revelation 16:21; and so Jarchi interprets it here of the war of Gog and Magog. And though there are no instances of snow being used in this way in Scripture, yet there is in history. Strabo (s) reports, that at Corzena and Cambysena, which join to Mount Caucasus, such snows have fallen, that whole companies of men have been swallowed up in them; and even armies have been overwhelmed with them, as the army of the Gauls (t); and such quantities have been thrown down from mountains, on which they have been lodged, that towns, towers, and villages, have been laid prostrate by them (u); and in the year 443, a vast snow destroyed many (w). Frequently do we hear in our parts of the disasters occasioned by them. The Targum particularly makes mention of snow; and renders it, "which snow I have reserved", &c. though absurdly applies it to punishment in hell.

(s) Geograph. l. 11. p. 363. (t) Cicero de Divinatione, l. 1.((u) Olaus Magu. de Ritu Gent. Septent. l. 2. c. 13. (w) Whiston's Chronolog. Tables, cent. 20.

Which I have reserved {o} against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?

(o) To punish my enemies with them, Ex 9:18, Jos 10:11.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
23. Compare such passages as Joshua 10:11; Psalm 68:14; Isaiah 30:30; Ezekiel 13:13.Verse 23. - Which I have reserved against the time of trouble. Hail is reckoned throughout Scripture as one of the ministers of the Divine vengeance (see Exodus 9:18-29; Exodus 10:5-15; Joshua 10:11; Psalm 18:12, 13; Psalm 78:47, 48; Psalm 105:32; Isaiah 30:30; Isaiah 32:19; Ezekiel 13:11, 13; Ezekiel 36:22; Haggai 2:17; Revelation 8:7; Revelation 11:19; Revelation 16:21). Its destructive effect upon crops, even in temperate latitudes, is indicated by the insurances against damage from hail, which, even in our own country, so many farmers think it worth their while to pay. In tropical and semi-tropical regions the injury caused by hailstorms is far greater. Against the day of battle and war. Compare especially Joshua 10:11, which, however, we need not suppose to have been in the mind of the writer. In ancient times, when the bow held the place in war which is now occupied by the rifle or the musket, a heavy hailstorm, striking full in the face of the combatants on one side, while it only fell on the backs of their adversaries, must of tea have decided a battle. 16 Hast thou reached the fountains of the sea,

And hast thou gone into the foundation of the deep?

17 Were the gates of death unveiled to thee,

And didst thou see the gates of the realm of shades?

18 Hast thou comprehended the breadth of the earth?

Speak, in so far as thou knowest all this!

19 Which is the way to where the light dwelleth,

And darkness, where is its place,

20 That thou mightest bring it to its bound,

And that thou mightest know the paths of its house?

21 Thou knowest it, for then wast thou born,

And the number of thy days is great! -

The root נב has the primary notion of obtruding itself upon the senses (vid., Genesis, S. 635), whence נבך in Arabic of a rising country that pleases the eye (nabaka, a hill, a hillside), and here (cognate in root and meaning נבע, Syr. Talmud. נבג, Arab. nbg, nbṭ, scatuirire) of gushing and bubbling water. Hitzig's conjecture, approved by Olsh., נבלי, sets aside a word that is perfectly clear so far as the language is concerned. On חקר vid., on Job 11:7. The question put to Job in Job 38:17, he must, according to his own confession, Job 26:6, answer in the negative. In order to avoid the collision of two aspirates, the interrogative ה is wanting before התבּננתּ, Ew. 324, b; התבנן עד signifies, according to Job 32:12, to observe anything carefully; the meaning of the question therefore is, whether Job has given special attention to the breadth of the earth, and whether he consequently has a comprehensive and thorough knowledge of it. כּלּהּ refers not to the earth (Hahn, Olsh., and others), but, as neuter, to the preceding points of interrogation. The questions, Job 38:19, refer to the principles of light and darkness, i.e., their final causes, whence they come forth as cosmical phenomena. ישׁכּן־אור is a relative clause, Ges. 123, 3, c; the noun that governs (the Regens) this virtual genitive, which ought in Arabic to be without the art. as being determined by the regens, is, according to the Hebrew syntax, which is freer in this respect, הדּרך (comp. Ges. 110, 2). That which is said of the bound of darkness, i.e., the furthest point at which darkness passes away, and the paths to its house, applies also to the light, which the poet perhaps has even prominently (comp. Job 24:13) before his mind: light and darkness have a first cause which is inaccessible to man, and beyond his power of searching out. The admission in Job 38:21 is ironical: Verily! thou art as old as the beginning of creation, when light and darkness, as powers of nature which are distinguished and bounded the one by the other (vid., Job 26:10), were introduced into the rising world; thou art as old as the world, so that thou hast an exact knowledge of its and thine own contemporaneous origin (vid., Job 15:7). On the fut. joined with אז htiw denioj . regularly in the signification of the aorist, vid., Ew. 134, b. The attraction in connection with מספּר is like Job 15:20; Job 21:21.

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