Job 38:9
When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddling cloth 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. 1 Then Jehovah answered Job out of the storm, and said:

2 Who then darkeneth counsel

With words without knowledge?

3 Gird up now thy loins as a man:

I will question thee, and inform thou me!

"May the Almighty answer me!" Job has said, Job 31:35; He now really answers, and indeed out of the storm (Chethib, according to a mode of writing occurring only here and Job 40:6, מנהסערה, arranged in two words by the Keri), which is generally the forerunner of His self-manifestation in the world, of that at least by which He reveals Himself in His absolute awe-inspiring greatness and judicial grandeur. The art. is to be understood generically, but, with respect to Elihu's speeches, refers to the storm which has risen up in the meanwhile. It is not to be translated: Who is he who ... , which ought to be המחשׁיך, but: Who then is darkening; זה makes the interrogative מי more vivid and demonstrative, Ges. 122, 2; the part. מחשׁיך (instead of which it might also be יחשׁיך) favours the assumption that Job has uttered such words immediately before, and is interrupted by Jehovah, without an intervening speaker having come forward. It is intentionally עצה for עצתי (comp. עם for עמי, Isaiah 26:11), to describe that which is spoken of according to its quality: it is nothing less than a decree or plan full of purpose and connection which Job darkness, i.e., distorts by judging it falsely, or, as we say: places in a false light, and in fact by meaningless words.

(Note: The correct accentuation is מחשׁיך with Mercha, עצה with Athnach, במלין with Rebia mugrasch, bly (without Makkeph) with Munach.)

When now Jehovah condescends to negotiate with Job by question and answer, He does not do exactly what Job wished (Job 13:22), but something different, of which Job never thought. He surprises him with questions which are intended to bring him indirectly to the consciousness of the wrong and absurdity of his challenge - questions among which "there are many which the natural philosophy of the present day can frame more scientifically, but cannot satisfactorily solve."

(Note: Alex. v. Humboldt, Kosmos, ii. 48 (1st edition), comp. Tholuck, Vermischte Schriften, i.354.)

Instead of כגבר (the received reading of Ben-Ascher), Ben-Naphtali's text offered כּג (as Ezekiel 17:10), in order not to allow two so similar, aspirated mutae to come together.

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