Job 38:9
When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it,
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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.When I made the cloud the garment thereof - Referring to the garment in which the new-born infant is wrapped up. This image is one of great beauty. It is that of the vast ocean just coming into being, with a cloud resting upon it and covering it. Thick darkness envelopes it, and it is swathed in mists; compare Genesis 1:2," And darkness was upon the face of the deep." The time here referred to is that before the light of the sun arose upon the earth, before the dry land appeared, and before annuals and people had been formed. Then the new-born ocean lay carefully enveloped in clouds and darkness under the guardian care of God. The dark night rested upon it, and the mists hovered over it. 8. doors—floodgates; these when opened caused the flood (Ge 8:2); or else, the shores.

womb—of chaos. The bowels of the earth. Image from childbirth (Job 38:8, 9; Eze 32:2; Mic 4:10). Ocean at its birth was wrapped in clouds as its swaddling bands.

When I covered it with vapours and clouds which arise out of the sea. and by God’s appointment hover above it, and cover it like a garment.

Thick darkness, i. e. black and dark clouds, called darkness by a usual metonymy of the adjunct. So the same thing is repeated in other words, after the manner. Having compared the sea to a new-born infant, he continues in the same metaphor, and makes the clouds as swaddling-bands to keep the sea within its bounds; though indeed neither clouds, nor air, nor sands and shores can bound the sea, but it is God alone who doth it in and with these things.

When I made the cloud the garment thereof,.... For this newborn babe, the sea;

and thick darkness a swaddling band for it; which was the case of the sea when it burst out of the bowels of the earth and covered it, for then darkness was upon the face of the deep, a dark, foggy, misty air, Genesis 1:2; and this was before its separation from the land, and in this order it stands in this account; though since, clouds, fogs, and mists, which rise out of the sea, are as garments to it, and cover it at times, and the surrounding atmosphere, as it presses the whole terraqueous globe, and keeps the parts of the earth together, so the waters of the sea from spilling out; and these are the garments and the swaddling bands with which the hands and arms of this big and boisterous creature are wreathed; it is said of the infant in Ezekiel 16:4 that it was neither "salted nor swaddled at all"; but both may be said of the sea; that it is salted is sufficiently known, and that it is swaddled is here affirmed; but who except the Lord Almighty could do this? and who has managed, and still does and can manage, this unruly creature, as easily as a nurse can turn about and swaddle a newborn babe upon her lap.

When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a {g} swaddlingband for it,

(g) As though the great sea was but as a little baby in the hands of God to turn to and fro.

9. thick darkness] Or, and the thick cloud.

Verse 9. - When I made the cloud the garment thereof. The account of creation here given is certainly not drawn wholly from Genesis It is to be viewed as a second, independent, account of the occurrences, in fuller detail, but vaguer, by reason of the poetical phraseology. And thick darkness a swaddllng-band for it. The infant sea, just come from the womb (ver. 8), is represented as clothed with a cloud, and swaddled in thick darkness, to mark its complete subjection to its Creator from the first. Job 38:9 8 And who shut up the sea with doors,

When it broke through, issued from the womb,

9 When I put clouds round it as a garment,

And thick mist as its swaddling clothes,

10 And I broke for it my bound,

And set bars and doors,

11 And said: Hitherto come, and no further,

And here be thy proud waves stayed!?

The state of תהו ובהו was the first half, and the state of תהום the second half of the primeval condition of the forming earth. The question does not, however, refer to the תהום, in which the waters of the sky and the waters of the earth were as yet not separated, but, passing over this intermediate condition of the forming earth, to the sea, the waters of which God shut up as by means of a door and bolt, when, first enshrouded in thick mist (which has remained from that time one of its natural peculiarities), and again and again manifesting its individuality, it broke forth (גּיח of the foetus, as Psalm 22:10) from the bowels of the, as yet, chaotic earth. That the sea, in spite of the flatness of its banks, does not flow over the land, is a work of omnipotence which broke over it, i.e., restraining it, a fixed bound (חק as Job 26:10; Proverbs 8:29; Jeremiah 5:22, equals גּבוּל, Psalm 104:9), viz., the steep and rugged walls of the basin of the sea, and which thereby established a firm barrier behind which it should be kept. Instead of וּפה, Joshua 18:8, Job 38:11 has the Chethib וּפא. חק is to be understood with ישׁית, and "one set" is equivalent to the passive (Ges. 137*): let a bound be set (comp. שׁת, Hosea 6:11, which is used directly so) against the proud rising of thy waves.

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