Job 38:36
Who has put wisdom in the inward parts? or who has given understanding to the heart?
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(36) Wisdom in the inward parts.—The mention of the inward parts and the heart here, in the midst of natural phenomena, perplexes every one; but it is a natural solution to refer them to the lightnings personified: “Who hath put such understanding in their inward parts?”

Job 38:36. Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? — Namely, of a man; who gave thee that understanding which thou hast, and which thou now usest so arrogantly as to contend with me, and censure my dispensations? Or who hath given understanding to the heart? — Considered by the Hebrews as the seat of understanding, and commonly put for it in Scripture.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.Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? - There is great variety in the interpretation of this passage. Jerome renders it, Quis posuit in visceribus heminis sapienttam? Vel quis dedit gallo intelligentiam? "Who hath put wisdom in the inner parts of man? Or who has given to the cock intelligence?" Just as strangely, the Septuagint has: "Who hath given to women skill in weaving, and a knowledge of the art of embroidering?." One of the Targums renders it, "Who has given to the woodcock intelligence that he should praise his Master?" Herder renders it,

"Who gave understanding to the flying clouds,

Or intelligence to the meteors of the air?"


"Who placed wisdom in the dark clouds?

Who gave understanding to the forms of the air?"

Schultens and Rosenmuller explain it of the various phenomena that appear in the sky - as lightning, thunder, meteoric lights, etc. So Prof. Lee explains the words as referring to the "tempest" and the "thunder-storm." According to that interpretation, the idea is, that these phenomena appear to be endowed with intelligence, There is proof of plan and wisdom in their arrangement and connection, and they show that it is not by chance that they are directed. One reason assigned for this interpretation is, that it accords with the connection. The course of the argument, it is remarked, relates to the various phenomena that appear in the sky - to the lightnings, tempests, and clouds. It is unnatural to suppose that a remark would be interposed here respecting the intellectual endowments of man, when the appeal to the clouds is again Job 38:37 immediately resumed. There can be no doubt that there is much weight in this observation, and that the connection demands this interpretation, and that it should be adopted if the words which are used will admit of it.

The only difficulty relates to the words rendered "inward parts," and "heart." The former of these (טחות ṭûchôt) according to the Hebrew interpreters, is derived from טוח ṭûach, "to cover over, to spread, to besmear"; and is hence given to the veins, because covered with fat. It occurs only in this place, and in Psalm 51:6, "Behold thou desirest truth in the inward parts," where it undoubtedly refers to the seat of the affections or thoughts in man. The verb is often used as meaning to daub, overlay, or plaster, as in Leviticus 14:42; Ezekiel 22:28; Ezekiel 13:12, Ezekiel 13:14. Schultens, Lee, Umbreit, and others, have recourse in the explanation to the use of the Arabic word of the same letters with the Hebrew, meaning to wander, to make a random shot, etc., and thence, apply it to lightning, and to meteors. Umbreit supposes that there is allusion to the prevalent opinion in the East that the clouds and the phenomena of the air could be regarded as furnishing prophetic indications of what was to occur; or to the custom of predicting future events by the aspects of the sky.

It is a sufficient objection to this, however, that it cannot be supposed that the Almighty would lend his sanction to this opinion by appealing to it as if it were so. After all that bas been written on the passage, and all the force of the difficulty which is urged, I do not see evidence that we are to depart from the common interpretation, to wit, that God means to appeal to the fact that he has endowed man with intelligence as a proof of his greatness and supremacy. The connection is, indeed, not very apparent. It may be, however, as Noyes suggests, that the reference is to the mind of Job in particular, and to the intelligence with which he was able to perceive, and in some measure to comprehend, these various phenomena. The connection may be something like this: "Look to the heavens, and contemplate these wonders. Explain them, if possible; and then ask who it is that has so endowed the mind of man that it can trace in them such proofs of the wisdom and power of the Almighty. The phenomena themselves, and the capacity to contemplate them, and to be instructed by them, are alike demonstrations of the supremacy of the Most High."

Understanding to the heart - To the mind. The common word to denote "heart" - לב lêb is not used here, but a word (שׂכוי śekvı̂y from שכה) meaning "to look at, to view"; and hence, denoting the mind; the intelligent soul. "Gesenius."

36. inward parts … heart—But "dark clouds" ("shining phenomena") [Umbreit]; "meteor" [Maurer], referring to the consultation of these as signs of weather by the husbandman (Ec 11:4). But Hebrew supports English Version. The connection is, "Who hath given thee the intelligence to comprehend in any degree the phenomena just specified?"

heart—not the usual Hebrew word, but one from a root "to view"; perception.

In the inward parts, to wit, of a man. Compare @Job 19:27 Psalm 51:6. Who gave thee that wit and understanding which thou hast, and which thou now usest so arrogantly and wickedly, to contend with me, and to censure my actions?

Who hath given understanding to the heart; so he limits the former general expression of the inward parts. The heart is made by the Hebrews the seat of the understanding, and is commonly put for it in Scripture. Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts?.... That is, of man, in his heart, as explained in the next clause; such wisdom as to guide the stars, know the ordinances of heaven, set their dominion on earth, manage and direct the clouds and lightning; no such wisdom is put in man:

or who hath, given understanding to the heart? to understand all the above things, and answer to the several questions put in this chapter; though, as these clauses may respect much one and the same thing, they may be understood of wisdom and understanding in man, whether natural or spiritual; and seeing they are found there, the question is, who put them there, or how came they there? who gave them to him? the answer must be, God himself, and no other; man has his rational soul, his intellectual powers, the light of nature and reason in him; all his understanding in arts and sciences, trades and manufactures, is of the Lord, and not of himself or another, see Job 32:8; all spiritual wisdom and understanding which lies in a man's concern for his eternal welfare in the knowledge of himself, and of his state and condition by nature, and of the way of life and salvation by Christ, and of the truths and doctrines of the Gospel, is all of God and Christ, and by the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; no man, therefore, has any reason to glory in his wisdom and knowledge, of whatsoever kind, as though he had not received it; nor should he dare to arraign the wisdom of God in his providential dealings with men; since he that teaches man knowledge must needs know better than man how to govern the world he has made, and dispose of all things in it. The last clause is in the Vulgate Latin rendered, "who hath given to the cock understanding?" and so the Targums and other Jewish writers (p) interpret it; and they observe (q), that in Arabia a cock is called by the word that is here used; and in their morning prayers, and at hearing a cock crow (r),

"Blessed be the Lord, who giveth to the cock understanding to distinguish between the day and the night:''

but however remarkable the understanding of this creature is, which God has given it, and which is even taken notice of by Heathen writers (s); that it should know the stars, distinguish the hours of the night by crowing, and express its joy at the rising of the sun and moon; yet such a sense of the text seems impertinent, as well as that of the Septuagint version, of giving to women the wisdom and knowledge of weaving and embroidery.

(p) Jarchi, Ramban, Simeon Bar. Tzemach. (q) Vajikra Rabba, s. 25. fol. 166. 1. Vid. T. Roshhashanah, fol. 26. 1.((r) Seder Tephillot. fol. 2. 2. Ed. Basil. & Bab. Beracot, fol. 60. 2.((s) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 21. Aelian. de Animal. l. 4. c. 29.

Who hath put wisdom in the {x} inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?

(x) In the secret parts of man.

36. The verse is obscure, owing to the terms “inward parts” and “heart” being of uncertain meaning. The translation of the A.V. may be certainly set aside, (1) because the introduction of a reference to the “inward parts” and “heart” of man in the middle of a description of celestial phenomena is not to be thought of; and (2) any laudatory reference to man is out of keeping with the whole drift of the speech, the purpose of which is to abase man before the wonders of God’s creation and His operations outside the sphere of man’s life. The word rendered “inward parts” may be the same as that so rendered, Psalm 51:6. There the parallel word is “hidden part,” and the reference may be to the dark and deep cloud-masses. The word “heart” does not occur again; it may mean, form, figure, and refer to the manifold cloud formations or phenomena. These fulfilling the purposes of God seem themselves endowed with wisdom. If this be the sense, the best commentary on the verse would be the words of Elihu, ch. Job 37:12, “And it (the cloud) turneth about every way by His guidance, that it may do whatsoever He commandeth it upon the face of the whole earth.”Verse 36. - Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? Some refer this to human wisdom, and understand the Almighty as asking - Who has put man's wisdom into his inward parts? literally, into his kidneys, or as our idiom would express it, "into his heart." But there is great difficulty in supposing a sudden transition from clouds and lightning in vers. 34, 35 to the human understanding in ver. 36, with a return to clouds and rain in ver. 37. Hence many of the best critics understand ver. 36 of the purpose and intelligence that may be regarded as existing in the clouds and rain and lightning themselves, which are God's ministers, and run to and fro at his command, and execute his pleasure. (So Schultens, Rosenmuller, Professor Lee, and Professer Stanley Leathes.) To obtain this result, we must translate the word טוּחות By "tempest" or "thunder-belts," and the word שׂכוי, in the next clause, by "storm n or something similar (see the Revised Version, where "dark clouds" is suggested as an alternative for "inward parts'" and "meteor" as an alternative for "heart"). The whole passage will then run thus: Who hath put wisdom in the thunderbolts? or who hath given understanding to the tempest? 28 Hath the rain a father,

Or who begetteth the drops of dew?

29 Out of whose womb cometh the ice forth,

And who bringeth forth the hoar-frost of heaven?

30 The waters become hard like stone,

And the face of the deep is rolled together.

Rain and dew have no created father, ice and hoar-frost no created mother. The parallelism in both instances shows that מי הוליד asks after the one who begets, and מי ילדו the one who bears (vid., Hupfeld on Psalm 2:7). בּטן is uterus, and meton. (at least in Arabic) progenies uteri; ex utero cujus is מבטן מי, in distinction from מאי־זה בטן, ex quo utero. אגלי־טל is excellently translated by the lxx, Codd. Vat. and Sin., βώλους (with Omega) δρόσου; Ges. and Schlottm. correct to βόλους, but βῶλος signifies not merely a clod, but also a lump and a ball. It is the particles of the dew holding together (lxx, Cod. Alex.: συνοχὰς καὶ βω. δρ.) in a globular form, from אגל, which does not belong to גּלל, but to Arab. 'jil, retinere, II colligere (whence agı̂l, standing water, ma'‛gal, a pool, pond); אגלי is constr., like עגלי from עגל. The waters "hide themselves," by vanishing as fluid, therefore: freeze. The surface of the deep (lxx ἀσεβοῦς, for which Zwingli has in marg. ἀβύσσου) "takes hold of itself," or presses together (comp. Arab. lekda, crowding, synon. hugûm, a striking against) by forming itself into a firm solid mass (continuum, Job 41:9, comp. Job 37:10). Moreover, the questions all refer not merely to the analysis of the visible origin of the phenomena, but to their final causes.

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