Job 38:39
Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(39) Wilt thou hunt the prey?—The new chapter ought to begin here with this verse, inasmuch as the animal creation now passes under review.

Job 38:39-40. Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? — Is it by thy care and providence that the lions, who live in desert places, are furnished with necessary provisions? This is justly mentioned as another wonderful work of God. When they couch in their dens — When, through age and infirmity, they cannot range abroad for prey as the young lions do, but lie still in their dens, as it were, expecting their food from God, from whom also they receive it. And abide in the covert, to lie in wait — Watching till some beast comes that way, which they may make their prey.

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.Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? - The appeal here is to the instincts with which God has endowed animals, and to the fact that he had so made them that they would secure their own food. He asks Job whether he would undertake to do what the lion did by instinct in finding his food, and by his power and skill in seizing his prey. There was a wise adaptation of the lion for this purpose which man could neither originate nor explain.

Or fill the appetite of the young lions - Margin, as in Hebrew "life." The word life is used here for hunger, as the appetite is necessarily connected with the preservation of life. The meaning here is, "Wouldst thou undertake to supply his needs? It is done by laws, and in a manner which thou canst not explain. There are in the arrangement by which it is accomplished marks of wisdom which far surpass the skill of man to originate, and the instinct and power by which it is done are proof of the supremacy of the Most High." No one can study the subject of the instincts of animals, or become in the least acquainted with Natural History, without finding every where traces of the wisdom and goodness of God.

39. At Job 38:39-39:30, the instincts of animals. Is it thou that givest it the instinct to hunt its prey? (Ps 104:21).

appetite—literally, "life," which depends on the appetite" (Job 33:20).

Is it by thy care and providence that the lions, who live in desert places, are furnished with necessary provisions? This is justly mentioned as another wonderful work of God.

Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion?.... From meteors the Lord passes to animals, beasts, and birds, wherefore some here begin the thirty ninth chapter, which only treats of such; and he begins with the lion, the strongest among beasts, and most fierce; cruel, and voracious; and asks, who hunts his prey for him? Not man, who cannot; and if he could, durst not: but the Lord does; and, according to some writers (x), he has provided a small creature, between a fox and a wolf, called a jackal; which goes before the lion, and hunts the prey for him. And could this be understood particularly of the old lion, as Cocceius and others, naturalists (y) observe, that young lions hunt for the old ones, when they are not able to go in search of prey; and when they have got it, either bring it to them, or call them to partake of it with them;

or fill the appetite of the young lions, whose appetite is sharp and keen, and requires a great deal to fill it, and especially to satisfy a great many of them; herds of them, as Mr. Broughton renders the word, and which signifies a company; see Psalm 68:30. Men cannot feed them, but God can and does; there being some ends in Providence to be answered thereby, see Psalm 104:21; see also Psalm 34:8.

(x) Thevenot's Travels, part 2. c. 13. (y) Aelian. de Animal. l. 9. c. 1.

Wilt {a} thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions,

(a) After he had declared God's works in the heavens, he shows his marvellous providence in earth, even toward the brute beasts.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
39, 40. The lion.

wilt thou hunt] Rather, dost thou hunt the prey for the lioness? That the lioness is enabled to catch her prey is due to some power which brings it into her hand. Is it Job, perhaps, that finds it for her?

Ch. Job 38:39—Ch. Job 39:30. The manifoldness of the Divine Mind as displayed in the world of animal life

The instances chosen are the lion and the raven (Job 38:39-41); the wild goats and the hinds (ch. Job 39:1-4); the wild ass (Job 38:5-8; the wild ox (Job 38:9-12); the ostrich (Job 38:13-18); the war horse (Job 38:19-25); the hawk and the eagle (Job 38:26-30).

These brilliant pictures from the animal world have the same purpose as those given before (Job 38:4-38) from inanimate nature; they make God to pass before the eye of Job. They exhibit the diversity of the animal creation, the strange dissimilarity of instinct and habit in creatures outwardly similar, the singular blending together of contradictory characteristics in the same creature, and the astonishing attributes and powers with which some of them are endowed; and all combines to illustrate the resources of mind and breadth of thought of Him who formed them and cares for them, the manifold play of an immeasurable intelligence and power in the world.

Yet though each of these pictures utters the name of God with an increasing emphasis, and though the Poet presents them in the first instance that we may hear this name from them, it is evident that his own eye follows each of the creatures which he describes with a delighted wonder and love. The Poet felt like a later poet,

He prayeth best who loveth best all things both great and small,

For the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all.

The words of Carlyle might be quoted, who says of the Book of Job and of these descriptions in particular, “so true every way; true eyesight and vision for all things; material things no less than spiritual” (Heroes, Lect. ii), were it not that this writer’s raptures are so often founded on intellectual mistake and imperfect appreciation of facts, and are therefore, like all such ideal raptures, only nauseous.

Verse 39. - Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? A new departure. Ch. 39 should commence from this point. What does Job know of the habits and instincts of animals? Can he arrange so that the lion (rather, lioness) shall obtain its proper prey, and thus fill the appetite - or, satisfy the appetite (Revised Version) - of the young lions, which depend on their dam? Certainly not. "The lions, roaring after their prey, do seek their meat from God" (Psalm 104:21). Job 38:3939 Dost thou hunt for the prey of the lioness

And still the desire of the young lions,

40 When they couch in the dens,

Sit in the thicket lying in wait for prey?

41 Who provideth for the raven its food,

When its young ones cry to God,

They wander about without food?

On the wealth of the Old Testament language in names for the lion, vid., on Job 4:10. לביא can be used of the lioness; the more exact name of the lioness is לביּה, for לביא is equals לבי, whence לבאים, lions, and לבאות, lionesses. The lioness is mentioned first, because she has to provide for her young ones (גּוּרים); then the lions that are still young, but yet are left to themselves, כּפירים. The phrase מלּא חיּה (comp. חיּה of life that needs nourishment, Job 33:20) is equivalent to מלּא נפשׁ, Proverbs 6:30 (Psychol. S. 204 ad fin.). The book of Psalms here furnishes parallels to every word: comp. on Job 38:39, Psalm 104:21; on ישׁחוּ, Psalm 10:10;

(Note: The Semitic is rich in such words as describe the couching posture of beasts of prey lying in wait for their prey, which then in general signify to lie in wait, lurk, wait (רצד, רבץ, Arab. rbṣ, lbd, wkkd); Arab. q‛d lh, subsedit ei, i.e., insidiatus est ei, which corresponds to ישׁבו, Job 38:40, also belongs here, comp. Psalter, i. 500 note.)

on מעונות, lustra, Psalm 104:22 (compared on Job 37:8 already); on סכּה, סך, which is used just in the same way, Psalm 10:9; Jeremiah 25:38. The picture of the crying ravens has its parallel in Psalm 147:9. כּי, quum, is followed by the fut. in the signif. of the praes., as Psalm 11:3. As here, in the Sermon on the Mount in Luke 12:24 the ravens, which by their hoarse croaking make themselves most observed everywhere among birds that seek their food, are mentioned instead of the fowls of heaven.

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