Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Job 38:6-7. Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? — This strong and durable building hath no foundations but God’s power, which hath marvellously established it upon itself. Who laid the corner-stone? — By which the several walls are joined and fastened together, and in which, next to the foundations, the stability of a building consists. The sense is, Who was it that built this goodly fabric, and established it so firmly that it cannot be moved. When the morning stars sang together — When, in the morning of time, the blessed angels, the firstborn of the Father of lights, fitly called morning stars, because of their excellent lustre and glory, joined in praising God together for his glorious works, strangely rising up to their view from non-existence, by the infinite wisdom and power of their omnipotent Maker. “It is observable from many passages in the prophets, that the angels are spoken of under the metaphor of stars. See particularly Isaiah 14:12; Isaiah 14:14. The beauty and propriety of these allusions of the prophets will appear with greater lustre, when it is considered that the hosts of heaven were the objects of heathen idolatry: both the visible and invisible host; as well the angels as the lights of heaven; for the superstition seems to have been originally the same, as the worship of the heavenly bodies terminated in the worship of those angels or intelligences who were believed to animate or conduct them; and hence we see a reason why the angels are called stars and morning stars in Scripture.” — Peters. And the sons of God — The angels, as before, called the sons of God, because they had their whole being from him, and because they bear his divine and glorious image; shouted for joy — On the appearance of the new-made world, in the creation of which they saw new displays of their heavenly Father’s wisdom, power, and goodness, and learned to know more of his infinite perfections than they had known before, and, of consequence, to love and praise him with greater fervency and delight.
Fastened - Margin, "made to sink." The margin rather expresses the sense of the Hebrew word הטבעוּ hāṭâba‛û. It is rendered "sink" and "sunk" in Psalm 69:2, Psalm 69:14; Psalm 9:15; Lamentations 2:9; Jeremiah 38:6, Jeremiah 38:22; "drowned" in Exodus 15:4; and were settled in Proverbs 8:25. The word does not elsewhere occur in the Scriptures, and the prevailing sense is that of "sinking," or "settling down," and hence, to "impress" - as a seal "settles down" into wax. The reference here is to a foundation-stone that sinks or settles down into clay or mire until it becomes solid.
Or who laid the corner stone thereof - Still an allusion to a building. The cornerstone sustains the principal weight of an edifice, as the weight of two walls is concentrated on it, and hence, it is of such importance that it should be solid and firmly fixed. The question proposed for the solution of Job is, On what the earth is founded? On this question a great variety of opinions waft entertained by the ancients, and of course no correct solution could be given of the difficulty. It was not known that it was suspended and held in its place by the laws of gravitation. The meaning here is, that if Job could not solve this inquiry, he ought not to presume to sit in judgment on the government of God, and to suppose that he was qualified to judge of his secret counsels.
fastened—literally, "made to sink," as a foundation-stone let down till it settles firmly in the clay (Job 26:7). Gravitation makes and keeps the earth a sphere.
Or who laid the cornerstone thereof; by which the several walls and parts of the building are joined and fastened together, and in which, next to the foundations, the stability of any building does consist? The sense is, Who was it that did build this goodly fabric, and established it so firmly that it cannot be moved without a miracle? Psalm 75:3; and which Aben Ezra understands of the mountains: but be they what they may, on what can they be fastened or sunk into, when the earth hangs on nothing, and there is nothing visible to support it, nothing but the mighty hand of God?
or who laid the corner stone thereof? which unites, cements, and keeps the fabric together, and is the ornament and beauty of it; but who can tell what that is? Aben Ezra interprets it of the point or centre of the earth.Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. are the foundations fastened] Or, were the foundations sunk? All the tenses here should be put in the simple past.
The creation of the earth is likened to the rearing of a great edifice, whose extent was determined by line, whose pillars were sunk in their bases, and its corner-stone laid with shoutings and songs of rejoicing among the heavenly hosts (comp. Ezra 3:10 seq., Zechariah 4:7).
Such music, as ’tis said,
Before was never made,
But when of old the sons of morning sung,
While the Creator great
His constellations set,
And the well balanced world on hinges hung;
And cast the dark foundations deep,
And bid the weltering waves their oozy channel keep.
Hymn on the Nativity.
The stars and the angels are here as usual conjoined, and the morning stars are named as the brightest and most glorious, as also because the earth rose into existence at the morning dawn.Verse 6. - Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? These details follow naturally upon the adoption of the particular metaphor of a house or building. They are not to be pressed. The object is to impress on Job his utter ignorance of God's ways in creation. Or who laid the corner-stone thereof? Who gave the last finishing touch to the work (see Psalm 118:22; Zechariah 4:7)? Canst thou tell? If not, why enter into controversy with the Creator?
That is bright in the ethereal heights:
A wind passeth by and cleareth them up.
22 Gold is brought from the north, -
Above Eloah is terrible majesty.
23 The Almighty, whom we cannot find out,
The excellent in strength,
And right and justice He perverteth not.
24 Therefore men regard Him with reverence,
He hath no regard for all the wise of heart.
He who censures God's actions, and murmurs against God, injures himself - how, on the contrary, would a patiently submissive waiting on Him be rewarded! This is the connection of thought, by which this final strophe is attached to what precedes. If we have drawn the correct conclusion from Job 37:1, that Elihu's description of a storm is accompanied by a storm which was coming over the sky, ועתּה, with which the speech, as Job 35:15, draws towards the close, is not to be understood as purely conclusive, but temporal: And at present one does not see the light (אור of the sun, as Job 31:26) which is bright in the ethereal heights (בּהיר again a Hebr.-Arab. word, comp. bâhir, outshining, surpassing, especially of the moon, when it dazzles with its brightness); yet it only requires a breath of wind to pass over it, and to clear it, i.e., brings the ethereal sky with the sunlight to view. Elihu hereby means to say that the God who his hidden only for a time, respecting whom one runs the risk of being in perplexity, can suddenly unveil Himself, to our surprise and confusion, and that therefore it becomes us to bow humbly and quietly to His present mysterious visitation. With respect to the removal of the clouds from the beclouded sun, to which Job 37:21 refers, זהב, Job 37:22, seems to signify the gold of the sun; esh-shemsu bi-tibrin, the sun is gold, says Abulola. Oriental and Classic literature furnishes a large number of instances in support of this calling the sunshine gold; and it should not perplex us here, where we have an Arabizing Hebrew poet before us, that not a single passage can be brought forward from the Old Testament literature. But מצּפון is against this figurative rendering of the זהב (lxx νέφη χρυσαυγοῦντα). In Ezekiel 1:4 there is good reason for the storm-clouds, which unfold from their midst the glory of the heavenly Judge, who rideth upon the cherubim, coming from the north; but wherefore should Elihu represent the sun's golden light as breaking through from the north? On the other hand, in the conception of the ancients, the north is the proper region for gold: there griffins (grupe's) guard the gold-pits of the Arimaspian mountains (Herod. iii. 116); there, from the narrow pass of the Caucasus along the Gordyaean mountains, gold is dug by barbarous races (Pliny, h. n. vi. 11), and among the Scythians it is brought to light by the ants (ib. xxxiii. 4). Egypt could indeed provide itself with gold from Ethiopia, and the Phoenicians brought the gold of Ophir, already mentioned in the book of Job, from India; but the north was regarded as the fabulously most productive chief mine of gold; to speak more definitely: Northern Asia, with the Altai mountains.
(Note: Vid., the art. Gold, S. 91, 101, in Ersch and Gruber. The Indian traditions concerning Uttaraguru (the "High Mountain"), and concerning the northern seat of the god on wealth Kuvra, have no connection here; on their origin comp. Lassen, Indische Alterthumskunde, i.848.)
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