Job 38:5
Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
38:4-11 For the humbling of Job, God here shows him his ignorance, even concerning the earth and the sea. As we cannot find fault with God's work, so we need not fear concerning it. The works of his providence, as well as the work of creation, never can be broken; and the work of redemption is no less firm, of which Christ himself is both the Foundation and the Corner-stone. The church stands as firm as the earth.Who hath laid the measures thereof - That is, as an architect applies his measures when he rears a house.

If thou knowest - Or rather, "for thou knowest." The expression is wholly ironical, and is designed to rebuke Job's pretensions of being able to explain the divine administration.

Or who hath stretched the line upon it - As a carpenter uses a line to mark out his work; see the notes at Isaiah 28:17. The earth is represented as a building, the plan of which was laid out beforehand, and which was then made according to the sketch of the architect. It is not, therefore, the work of chance or fate. It is laid out and constructed according to a wise plan, and in a method evincing infinite skill.

5. measures—of its proportions. Image from an architect's plans of a building.

line—of measurement (Isa 28:17). The earth is formed on an all-wise plan.

Who hath prescribed how long and broad and deep it should be?

Or who hath stretched the line, to wit, the measuring line, to regulate all its dimensions, so as might be most convenient both for beauty and use?

Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest?.... Did God or a creature? The Lord, no doubt. He laid them out in his divine mind, and laid them forth by his divine power; who does all things by weight and measure. He fixed the dimensions of the earth, how long, how thick, and how broad it should be; he settled the borders and boundaries of it. This Job might know that the Lord did; but he laid them, and what they are that are laid, he knew not. Mathematicians pretend to give us the circumference and diameter of the earth; but in their accounts are not agreed, but widely differ; which shows they are at no certainty about them (e); and Job and the men of his age might be still less knowing: though the words may be rendered, "for thou knowest" (f); surely such a knowing man as thou art must needs know this and so are a severe sarcasm upon him;

or who hath stretched the line upon it? The measuring line being formed according to rule, with exact symmetry and proportion. This may be the same with the circle of the earth, and the compass set upon the face of the deep or terraqueous globe, Proverbs 8:27. And with the same exactness and just proportion are the ways and works of Providence, which Job ought to have acquiesced in as being well and wisely done.

(e) The mathematicians in Aristotle's time reckoned the breadth of the earth a little less than forty myriads of furlongs, and the length of it seventy myriads. Aristot. de Mundo, c. 3. Vid. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 108, 109. According to the moderns, the circumference of the earth is 25,031.5 of our statute miles, and its diameter 7967 such miles. See Chamber's Dictionary on the word "Earth". (f) "quadoquidem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "quia", Michaelis; "nam", Schultens; so Broughton.

Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. if thou knowest] Rather, that thou shouldest know. Job knew well who laid (rather, fixed) the measures of the earth, but the point of the question is, Was he present to see who fixed them and how they were fixed, so as to be able to speak with knowledge?

Verse 5. - Who determined the measures thereof? Everything in creation is orderly, measured, predetermined, governed by law and will The actual weight of the planets is fixed by Divine wisdom, with a view to the stability and enduringness of the solar system (comp. Isaiah 40:12). If thou knowest; literally, for thou knowest - an anticipation of the lofty irony which comes out so remarkably in ver. 21. Or who hath stretched the line upon it? Human builders determine the dimensions of their constructions by means of a measuring-line (Ezekiel 40:3-49, etc.). The writer carries out his metaphor of a building by supposing a measuring-rod to have been used at the creation of the earth also. Some find a trace of the idea in Genesis 1:9, where they translate קָווּ הַמַּיִם, "Let the waters be marked out with a line." Job 38:5 4 Where wast thou when I established the earth?

Say, if thou art capable of judging!

5 Who hath determined its measure, if thou knowest it,

Or who hath stretched the measuring line over it?

6 Upon what are the bases of its pillars sunk in,

Or who hath laid its corner-stone,

7 When the morning stars sang together

And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

The examination begins similarly to Job 15:7. In opposition to the censurer of God as such the friends were right, although only negatively, since their conduct was based on self-delusion, as though they were in possession of the key to the mystery of the divine government of the world. ידע בּינה signifies to understand how to judge, to possess a competent understanding, 1 Chronicles 12:32; 2 Chronicles 2:12, or (ידע taken not in the sense of novisse, but cognoscere) to appropriate to one's self, Proverbs 4:1; Isaiah 29:24. כּי, Job 38:5, interchanges with אם (comp. Job 38:18), for כּי תדע signifies: suppose that thou knowest it, and this si forte scias is almost equivalent to an forte scis, Proverbs 30:4. The founding of the earth is likened altogether to that of a building constructed by man. The question: upon what are the bases of its pillars or foundations sunk (טבע, Arab. ṭb‛, according to its radical signification, to press with something flat upon something, comp. Arab. ṭbq, to lay two flat things on one another, then both to form or stamp by pressure, and to press into soft pliant stuff, or let down into, immergere, or to sink into, immergi), points to the fact of the earth hanging free in space, Job 26:7. Then no human being was present, for man was not yet created; the angels, however, beheld with rejoicing the founding of the place of the future human family, and the mighty acts of God in accordance with the decree of His love (as at the building of the temple, the laying of the foundation, Ezra 3:10, and the setting of the head-stone, Zechariah 4:7, were celebrated), for the angels were created before the visible world (Psychol. S. 63; Genesis, S. 105), as is indeed not taught here, but still (vid., on the other hand, Hofmann, Schriftbew. i. 400) is assumed. For בּני אלהים are, as in Job 1-2, the angels, who proceeded from God by a mode of creation which is likened to begetting, and who with Him form one πατριά (Genesis, S. 121). The "morning stars," however, are mentioned in connection with them, because between the stars and the angels, which are both comprehended in צבא השׁמים (Genesis, S. 128), a mysterious connection exists, which is manifoldly attested in Holy Scripture (vid., on the other hand, Hofm. ib. S. 318). כּוכב בּקר is the morning star which in Isaiah 14:12 is called הילל (as extra-bibl. נגהּ) from its dazzling light, which exceeds all other stars in brightness, and בּן־שׁחר, son of the dawn, because it swims in the dawn as though it were born from it. It was just the dawn of the world coming into being, which is the subject spoken of, that gave rise to the mention of the morning star; the plur., however, does not mean the stars which came into being on that morning of the world collectively (Hofm., Schlottm.), but Lucifer with the stars his peers, as כּסילים, Isaiah 13:10, Orion and the stars his peers. Arab. suhayl (Canopus) is used similarly as a generic name for stars of remarkable brilliancy, and in general suhêl is to the nomads and the Hauranites the symbol of what is brilliant, glorious, and beautiful;

(Note: A man or woman of great beauty is called suhêli, suhelı̂je. Thus I heard a Hauranitish woman say to her companion: nahâr el-jôm nedâ, shuft ledsch (Arab. lk) wâhid Suhêli, To-day is dew, I saw a Suhêli, i.e., a very handsome man, for thee. - Wetzst.)

so that even the beings of light of the first rank among the celestial spirits might be understood by כוכבי בקר. But if this ought to be the meaning, Job 38:7 and Job 38:7 would be in an inverted order. They are actual stars, whether it is intended of the sphere belonging to the earth or to the higher sphere comprehended in השׁמים, Genesis 1:1. Joy and light are reciprocal notions, and the scale of the tones of joy is likened to the scale of light and colours; therefore the fulness of light, in which the morning stars shone forth all together at the founding of the earth, may symbolize one grandly harmonious song of joy.

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