Job 39:10
Can you bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after you?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 39:10-11. Canst thou bind the unicorn in the furrow? — That is, in thy furrowed field, or to, or for the furrow? that is, to make furrows, or to plough, for which work cattle are usually bound together, that they may be directed by the husbandmen, and may make right furrows. Will he harrow the valleys — The low grounds; after thee? — Under thy conduct, following thee step by step? Wilt thou trust him — Namely, for the doing of these works; because his strength is great? — Because he is very able to do them. Wilt thou, by thy power, make him willing, or force him to put forth his strength in thy service? Wilt thou leave thy labour — Thy work of ploughing and harrowing; or the fruit of thy labour, namely, the fruits of the earth, procured by God’s blessing upon thy industry, to him? — Wilt thou leave them to him to be brought home into thy barns? as the next verse explains it.39:1-30 God inquires of Job concerning several animals. - In these questions the Lord continued to humble Job. In this chapter several animals are spoken of, whose nature or situation particularly show the power, wisdom, and manifold works of God. The wild ass. It is better to labour and be good for something, than to ramble and be good for nothing. From the untameableness of this and other creatures, we may see, how unfit we are to give law to Providence, who cannot give law even to a wild ass's colt. The unicorn, a strong, stately, proud creature. He is able to serve, but not willing; and God challenges Job to force him to it. It is a great mercy if, where God gives strength for service, he gives a heart; it is what we should pray for, and reason ourselves into, which the brutes cannot do. Those gifts are not always the most valuable that make the finest show. Who would not rather have the voice of the nightingale, than the tail of the peacock; the eye of the eagle and her soaring wing, and the natural affection of the stork, than the beautiful feathers of the ostrich, which can never rise above the earth, and is without natural affection? The description of the war-horse helps to explain the character of presumptuous sinners. Every one turneth to his course, as the horse rushes into the battle. When a man's heart is fully set in him to do evil, and he is carried on in a wicked way, by the violence of his appetites and passions, there is no making him fear the wrath of God, and the fatal consequences of sin. Secure sinners think themselves as safe in their sins as the eagle in her nest on high, in the clefts of the rocks; but I will bring thee down from thence, saith the Lord, #Jer 49:16". All these beautiful references to the works of nature, should teach us a right view of the riches of the wisdom of Him who made and sustains all things. The want of right views concerning the wisdom of God, which is ever present in all things, led Job to think and speak unworthily of Providence.Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? - That is, with the common traces or cords which are employed in binding oxen to the plow.

Or will he harrow the valleys after thee? - The word "valleys" here is used to denote such ground as was capable of being plowed or harrowed. Hills and mountains could not thus be cultivated, though the spade was in common use in planting the vine there, and even in preparing them for seed, Isaiah 7:25. The phrase "after thee" indicates that the custom of driving cattle in harrowing then was the same as that practiced now with oxen, when the person who employs them goes in advance of them. It shows that they were entirely under subjection, and it is here implied that the ראם re'êm could not be thus tamed.

10. his band—fastened to the horns, as its chief strength lies in the head and shoulders.

after thee—obedient to thee; willing to follow, instead of being goaded on before thee.

In the furrow, i.e. in thy furrowed field, by a metonymy. Or, to or for (as the prefix beth is oft used, as Genesis 11:4 Leviticus 16:22 Job 24:5)

the furrow, i.e. to make furrows, or to plough; for which work cattle use to be bound together, that they may be directed by the husbandman, and may make right furrows.

The valleys, to wit, the low grounds, which are most proper for and most employed in the work of ploughing.

After thee; under thy conduct, following thee step by step. Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow?.... Put the yoke and harness upon him, and fasten it to the plough to draw it, that he may make furrows with it in the field, or plough up the ground as the tame ox does? thou canst not;

or will he harrow the valleys after thee? draw the harrow which is used after ploughing to break the clods, and make the land smooth and even? he will not: valleys are particularly mentioned, because arable land is usually in them; see Psalm 65:13.

Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 10. - Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? That is, "as thou bindest the ox?" Canst thou make him plough for thee? Or will he harrow the valleys after thee? Another common employment of oxen. 1 Dost thou know the bearing time of the wild goats of the rock?

Observest thou the circles of the hinds?

2 Dost thou number the months which they fulfil,

And knowest thou the time of their bringing forth?

3 They bow down, they let their young break through,

They cast off their pains.

4 Their young ones gain strength, grow up in the desert,

They run away and do not return.

The strophe treats of the female chamois or steinbocks, ibices (perhaps including the certainly different kinds of chamois), and stags. The former are called יעלים, from יעל, Arab. w‛l (a secondary formation from עלה, Arab. ‛lâ), to mount, therefore: rock-climbers. חולל is inf. Pil.: τὸ ὠδίνειν, comp. the Pul. Job 15:7. שׁמר, to observe, exactly as Ecclesiastes 11:4; 1 Samuel 1:12; Zechariah 11:11. In Job 39:2 the question as to the expiration of the time of bearing is connected with that as to the time of bringing forth. תּספּור, plene, as Job 14:16; לדתּנה (littâna, like עת equals עדתּ) with an euphonic termination for לדתּן, as Genesis 42:36; Genesis 21:29, and also out of pause, Ruth 1:19, Ges. 91, 1, rem. 2. Instead of תּפלּחנה Olsh. wishes to read תּפלּטנה, but this (synon. תמלטנה) would be: they let slip away; the former (synon. תבקענה): they cause to divide, i.e., to break through (comp. Arab. felâh, the act of breaking through, freedom, prosperity). On כּרע, to kneel down as the posture of one in travail, vid., 1 Samuel 4:19. "They cast off their pains" is not meant of an easy working off of the after-pains (Hirz., Schlottm.), but חבל signifies in this phrase, as Schultens has first shown, meton. directly the foetus, as Arab. ḥabal, plur. ahbâl, and ὠδίν, even of a child already grown up, as being the fruit of earlier travail, e.g., in Aeschylus, Agam. 1417f.; even the like phrase, ῥίψαι ὠδῖνα equals edere foetum, is found in Euripides, Ion 45. Thus born with ease, the young animals grow rapidly to maturity (חלם, pinguescere, pubescere, whence חלום, a dream as the result of puberty, vid., Psychol. S. 282), grow in the desert (בּבּר, Targ. equals בּחוּץ, vid., i. 329, note), seek the plain, and return not again למו, sibi h. e. sui juris esse volentes (Schult.), although it might also signify ad eas, for the Hebr. is rather confused on the question of the distinction of gender, and even in חבליהם and בניהם the masc. is used ἐπικοίνως. We, however, prefer to interpret according to Job 6:19; Job 24:16. Moreover, Bochart is right: Non hic agitur de otiosa et mere speculativa cognitione, sed de ea cognitione, quae Deo propria est, qua res omnes non solum novit, sed et dirigit atque gubernat.

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