Job 38:29
Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who has gendered it?
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38:25-41 Hitherto God had put questions to Job to show him his ignorance; now God shows his weakness. As it is but little that he knows, he ought not to arraign the Divine counsels; it is but little he can do, therefore he ought not to oppose the ways of Providence. See the all-sufficiency of the Divine Providence; it has wherewithal to satisfy the desire of every living thing. And he that takes care of the young ravens, certainly will not be wanting to his people. This being but one instance of the Divine compassion out of many, gives us occasion to think how much good our God does, every day, beyond what we are aware of. Every view we take of his infinite perfections, should remind us of his right to our love, the evil of sinning against him, and our need of his mercy and salvation.Out of whose womb came the ice? - That is, who has caused or produced it? The idea is, that it was not by any human agency, or in any known way by which living beings were propagated.

And the hoary frost of heaven - Which seems to fall from heaven. The sense is, that it is caused wholly by God; see the notes at Job 37:10.

29. Job 37:10. What man either can produce them, or doth fully understand where or how they are engendered? For philosophers speak of these things only by guess, and the reasons which some assign for them are confuted by others; and so they will confute one another to the end of the world, and prove nothing solidly but their own ignorance and the reasonableness of these questions. Out of whose womb came the ice?.... The parent of the rain and dew is the parent of the ice also, and he only; it is therefore called "his ice", his child, his offspring, Psalm 147:17. Here the Lord is represented as a mother, and so he is by Orpheus (b) called "metropator", or "mother-father";

and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? this is of God, and by his breath; see Job 37:10.

(b) Apud Clement. Stromat. l. 5. p. 608.

Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?
29. who hath gendered it] Rather, brought it forth, or borne it (Isaiah 49:21), as the parallelism of the first clause requires.Verse 29. - Out of whose womb came the ice? Modern scientists admit that the process by which a liquid is metamorphosed into a solid transcends their utmost power of thought. They know nothing more than the fact that at the temperature of 32° Fahr. water, and at other temperatures other liquids, are solidified (see an article by Professor Tyndall on the generation of a snowflake in the Contemporary Review of 1880). It is thus not only creation itself, but the transformations of created things, that transcend the scientific intellect and are inexplicable. And the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? This is the same question as that of the previous clause, expressed in different words 22 Hast thou reached the treasures of the snow,

And didst thou see the treasures of the hail,

23 Which I have reserved for a time of trouble,

For the day of battle and war?

24 Which is the way where the light is divided,

Where the east wind is scattered over the earth?

25 Who divideth a course for the rain-flood

And the way of the lightning of thunder,

26 That it raineth on the land where no one dwelleth,

On the tenantless steppe,

27 To satisfy the desolate and the waste,

And to cause the tender shoot of the grass to spring forth?

The idea in Job 38:22 is not that - as for instance the peasants of Menn, four hours' journey from Damascus, garner up the winter snow in a cleft of the rock, in order to convey it to Damascus and the towns of the coast in the hot months - God treasures up the snow and hail above to cause it to descend according to opportunity. אצרות (comp. Psalm 135:7) are the final causes of these phenomena which God has created - the form of the question, the design of which (which must not be forgotten) is ethical, not scientific, is regulated according to the infancy of the perception of natural phenomena among the ancients; but at the same time in accordance with the poet's task, and even, as here, in the choice of the agents of destruction, not merely hail, but also snow, according to the scene of the incident. Wetzstein has in his possession a writing of Muhammed el-Chatb el-Bosrwi, in which he describes a fearful fall of snow in Hauran, by which, in February 1860, innumerable herds of sheep, goats, and camels, and also many human beings perished.

(Note: Since the Hauranites say of snow as of fire: jahrik, it burns (brlant in French is also used of extreme cold), Job 1:16 might also be understood of a fall of snow; but the tenor of the words there requires it to be understood of actual fire.)


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