Job 38:34
Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee?
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
Job 38:34-35. Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds? — Either thundering in them, or calling to them with a loud voice, and commanding them to rain. That abundance of waters may cover thee? — That is, may cover thy land, when it needs and requires rain. Canst thou send lightnings that they may go? — At thy pleasure, and upon thy errand? and say, Here we are? — Ready to do thy will, as servants to obey their master. “Nothing can be more elevated and sublime than this verse. How strong the image! How simple the expression! We read of winged lightnings in the heathen poets; but where do they live, and act, and speak, and wait for orders with impatience as here?” See Peters and Dodd.

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.Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? - That is, canst thou command the clouds so that they shall send down abundant rain? Bouillier supposes that there is an allusion here to the incantations which were pretended to be practiced by the Magi, by which they claimed the power of producing rain at pleasure; compare Jeremiah 14:22, "Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles (the idols that they worship) that can cause rain? Art not thou he, O Lord our God?" The idea is, that it is God only who can cause rain, and that the control of the clouds from which rain descends is wholly beyond the reach of man. 34. Jer 14:22; above Job 22:11, metaphorically. Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds; either thundering in them, or calling to them with a loud voice, commanding them to rain?

May cover thee, i.e. thy land, when it needs and requires rain.

Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? Thy gardens, fields, and farms; canst thou, in a magisterial way, call to and demand of the clouds to let down rain in large quantities, sufficient to water them and make them fruitful? no, thou canst not: thou mayest cry and call as long as thou wilt, not a cloud will stir, nor a drop of water be let down; rain is to be had in a suppliant way, through the prayer of faith, as by Elijah, but not in a dictatorial authoritative way: the clouds and rain are only at the disposal of the Lord; ask of him, and he will give them; but they are not to be commanded, Zechariah 10:1; see Amos 5:8. Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee?
34, 35. For canst thou it is better, as before, to read, dost thou?

Verse 34. - Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of water may sever thee? Will the clouds take their orders from thee, listen to thee, obey thy voice? None but the "medicine-men" of savage tribes profess to have any such power. Elijah, indeed, "prayed, and the heaven gave rain" (James 5:18); but this was a very different thing from "commanding the clouds of heaven." His prayer was addressed to God, and God gave the rain for which he made his petition. Job 38:3434 Dost thou raise thy voice to the clouds

That an overflow of waters may cover thee?

35 Dost thou send forth lightnings, and they go,

And say to thee: Here we are?

36 Who hath put wisdom in the reins,

Or who hath given understanding to the cock?

37 Who numbereth the strata of the clouds with wisdom

And the bottles of heaven, who emptieth them,

38 When the dust flows together into a mass,

And the clods cleave together?

As Job 38:25 was worded like Job 28:26, so Job 38:34 is worded like Job 22:11; the ך of תכסך is dageshed in both passages, as Job 36:2, Job 36:18, Habakkuk 2:17. What Jehovah here denies to the natural power of man is possible to the power which man has by faith, as the history of Elijah shows: this, however, does not come under consideration here. In proof of divine omnipotence and human feebleness, Elihu constantly recurs to the rain and the thunder-storm with the lightning, which is at the bidding of God. Most moderns since Schultens therefore endeavour, with great violence, to make טחות and שׂכרי mean meteors and celestial phenomena. Eichh. (Hirz., Hahn) compares the Arabic name for the clouds, tachâ (tachwa), Ew. Arab. ḍiḥḥ, sunshine, with the former; the latter, whose root is שׂכה (סכה), spectare, is meant to be something that is remarkable in the heavens: an atmospheric phenomenon, a meteor (Hirz.), or a phenomenon caused by light (Ew., Hahn), so that e.g., Umbr. translates: "Who hath put wisdom in the dark clouds, and given understanding to the meteor?" But the meaning which is thus extorted from the words in favour of the connection borders closely upon absurdity. Why, then, shall טחות, from טוּח, Arab. ṭı̂ych, oblinere, adipe obducere, not signify here, as in Psalm 51:8, the reins (embedded in a cushion of fat), and in fact as the seat of the predictive faculty, like כּליות, Job 19:27, as the seat of the innermost longing for the future; and particularly since here, after the constellations and the influences of the stars have just been spoken of, the mention of the gift of divination is not devoid of connection; and, moreover, as a glance at the next strophe shows, the connection which has been hitherto firmly kept to is already in process of being resolved?

If טחות signifies the reins, it is natural to interpret שׂכוי also psychologically, and to translate the intellect (Targ. I, Syr., Arab.), or similarly (Saad., Gecat.), as Ges., Carey, Renan, Schlottm. But there is another rendering handed down which is worthy of attention, although not once mentioned by Rosenm., Hirz., Schlottm., or Hahn, according to which שׂכוי signifies a cock, gallum. We read in b. Rosch ha-Schana, 26a: "When I came to Techm-Kn-Nishraja, R. Simeon b. Lakish relates, the bride was there called נינפי and the cock שׂכוי, according to which Job 38:36 is to be interpreted: שׂכוי equals תרנגול." The Midrash interprets in the same way, Jalkut, 905, beginning: "R. Levi says: In Arabic the cock is called סכוא." We compare with this, Wajikra rabba, c. 1: "סוכו is Arabic; in Arabia a prophet is called סכוא;" whence it is to be inferred that שׂכוי, as is assumed, describes the cock as a seer, as a prophet.

As to the formation of the word, it would certainly be without parallel (Ew., Olsh.) if the word had the tone on the penult., but Codd. and the best old editions have the Munach by the final syllable; Norzi, who has overlooked this, at least notes שׂכוי with the accent on the ult. as a various reading. It is a secondary noun, Ges. 86, 5, a so-called relative noun (De Sacy, Gramm. Arabe, 768): שׂכרי, speculator, from שׂכו (שׂכוּ, שׂכה), speculatio, as פּלאי, Judges 13:18 (comp. Psalm 139:6), miraculosus, from פּלא, a cognate form to the Chald. סכוי (סכואה), of similar meaning. In connection with this primary signification, speculator, it is intelligible how סכוי in Samaritan (vid., Lagarde on Proverbs, S. 62) can signify the eye; here, however, in a Hebrew poet, the cock, of which e.g., Gregory says: Speculator semper in altitudine stat, ut quidquid venturum sit longe prospiciat. That this signification speculator equals gallus

(Note: No Arab. word offers itself here for comparison: tuchaj, a cock, has different consonants, and if Arab. škâ in the sense of Arab. šâk, fortem esse, were to be supposed, שׂכוי would be a synon. of גּבר, which is likewise a name of the cock.)


Job 38:34 Interlinear
Job 38:34 Parallel Texts

Job 38:34 NIV
Job 38:34 NLT
Job 38:34 ESV
Job 38:34 NASB
Job 38:34 KJV

Job 38:34 Bible Apps
Job 38:34 Parallel
Job 38:34 Biblia Paralela
Job 38:34 Chinese Bible
Job 38:34 French Bible
Job 38:34 German Bible

Bible Hub

Job 38:33
Top of Page
Top of Page