Job 39:29
From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off.
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Job 39:29-30. Her eyes behold afar off — Dr. Young observes, that “the eagle is said to be of so acute a sight that, when she is so high in the air that man cannot see her, she can discern the smallest fish in the water.” The author of this book accurately understood the nature of the creatures he describes, and seems to have been as great a naturalist as a poet. Her young ones also suck up blood — Either the blood of the prey which the eagle hath brought to her nest for them, or of that which themselves catch and kill, being betimes inured to this work by their dams. And where the slain are, there is she — Where any dead carcasses are, she in an instant flies thither with admirable celerity, spying them from those vast heights from which she looks down upon the earth. And though there are some eagles which do not feed upon carcasses, yet the generality of them, it appears do feed on them.

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.From, thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off - "When far aloft, and no longer discernible by the human eye, such is the wonderful acuteness of its sight, that from the same elevation it will mark a hare, or even a smaller animal, and dart down on it with unerring aim." "Edin. Ency." "Of all animals, the eagle has the quickest eye; but his sense of smelling is far inferior to that of the vulture. He never pursues, therefore, but in sight." "Goldsmith." This power of sight was early known, and is celebrated by the ancients. Thus, Homer, r' - . verse 674.

- ὥστ ̓ ἀιετός ὄν ῥά τε φασὶν

Ὀξύσατον δέρκεσθαι ὑπουρανίων πετεηνῶν.

- hōst' aietos on ra te fasin

Oxusaton derkesthai hupouraniōn peteēnōn.

"As the eagle of whom it is said that it enjoys the keenest vision of

All the fowls under heaven."

So Aelian, II. L. i. 32. Also Horace "Serm." L. i. Sat. 3:

- tam cernit acutum

Quam aut aquila, aut serpeus Epidaurus.

The Arabic writers say that the eagle can see "four hundred parasangs." "Damir," as quoted by Scheutzer. It is now ascertained that birds of prey search out or discern their food rather by the sight than the smell. No sooner does a camel fall and die on the plains of Arabia, than there may be seen in the far-distant sky apparently a black speck, which is soon discovered to be a vulture hastening to its prey. From that vast distance the bird, invisible to human eye, has seen the prey stretched upon the sand and immediately commences toward it its rapid flight.

29. seeketh—is on the lookout for.

behold—The eagle descries its prey at an astonishing distance, by sight, rather than smell.

Her sight is exceeding sharp and strong, so that she is able to look upon the sun with open eyes, and to behold the smallest prey upon the earth or sea, when she is mounted out of our sight; which when she spies, she flies to it with incredible swiftness, even like an arrow out of a bow.

From thence she seeketh the prey,.... From the high rock; from whence she can look down into valleys, and even into the sea; and spy what is for her purpose, and descend and seize upon them; as lambs, fawns, geese, shellfish, &c. though they may lie in the most hidden and secret places. Wherefore in the original text it is, "she diggeth the prey or food" (s); as treasure hid in secret is dug or diligently searched for; and for which she is qualified by the sharpness of her sight, as follows:

and her eyes behold afar off; from the high rocks and higher clouds, even from the high sky, as Aelianus (t) expresses it; and who observes that she is the most sharp sighted of all birds; and so, Homer (u) says, some affirm.

(s) "fodit escam"; Montanus, Mercerus. (t) De Animal. l. 2. c. 26. & l. 1. c. 42. Aristot. & Plin. ut supra. (Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 32. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 3.) (u) Iliad. 17. v. 674, 675. so Diodor. Sic. l. 3. p. 145.

From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off.
Verse 29. - From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off. Aristotle gives this as a reason for the lofty flight of the eagle, Υψοῦ πέταται ὁπως ἐπὶ πλεῖστον τόπον καθορᾷ. The keen sight of the eagle is recognized by modern savants: "Aquila, genre d'oiseaux de proie... caracterise par un bec sans denlelure et droit a sa base jusquaupres de l'extremite, ou il se corbe beaucoup; par des pieds robustes armes d'ongles aigus et tranchants, par leur rue percante et leur grands envergure" ('Dictionnaire Universelle des Sciences,' p. 25). Job 39:2926 Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom,

Doth it spread its wings towards the south?

27 Or is it at thy command that the eagle soareth aloft,

And buildeth its nest on high?

28 It inhabiteth the rock, and buildeth its nest

Upon the crag of the rock and fastness.

29 From thence it seeketh food,

Its eyes see afar off.

30 And its young ones suck up blood;

And where the slain are, there is it.

The ancient versions are unanimous in testifying that, according to the signification of the root, נץ signifies the hawk (which is significant in the Hieroglyphics): the soaring one, the high-flyer (comp. Arab. nṣṣ, to rise, struggle forwards, and Arab. nḍḍ, to raise the wings for flight). The Hiph. יאבר- (jussive form in the question, as Job 13:27) might signify: to get feathers, plumescere (Targ., Jer.), but that gives a tame question; wherefore Gregory understands the plumescit of the Vulgate of moulting, for which purpose the hawk seeks the sunny side. But האביר alone, by itself, cannot signify "to get new feathers;" moreover, an annual moulting is common to all birds, and prominence is alone given to the new feathering of the eagle in the Old Testament, Psalm 103:5; Micah 1:16, comp. Isaiah 40:31 (lxx πτεροφυήσουσιν ὡς ἀετοί).

(Note: Less unfavourable to this rendering is the following, that אברה signifies the long feathers, and אבר the wing that is composed of them (perhaps, since the Talm. אברים signifies wings and limbs, artus, from אבר equals הבר, Arab. hbr, to divide, furnish with joints), although נוצה (from נצה, to fly) is the more general designation of the feathers of birds.)

Thus, then, the point of the question will lie in לתימן: the hawk is a bird of passage, God has endowed it with instinct to migrate to the south as the winter season is approaching.

In Job 39:27 the circle of the native figures taken from animal life, which began with the lion, the king of quadrupeds, is now closed with the eagle, the king of birds. It is called נשׁר, from נשׁר, Arab. nsr, vellere; as also vultur (by virtue of a strong power of assimilation equals vultor) is derived from vellere, - a common name of the golden eagle, the lamb's vulture, the carrion-kite (Cathartes percnopterus), and indeed also of other kinds of kites and falcons. There is nothing to prevent our understanding the eagle κατ ̓ εξοχήν, viz., the golden eagle (Aquila chrysatos), in the present passage; for even to this, corpses, though not already putrified, are a welcome prey. In Job 39:27 we must translate either: and is it at thy command that ... ? or: is it so that (as in הכי) at thy command ... ? The former is more natural here. מצוּדה, Job 39:28, signifies prop. specula (from צוּד, to spy); then, however, as Arab. masâd (referred by the original lexicons to masada), the high hill, and the mountain-top. The rare form יעלעוּ, for which Ges., Olsh., and others wish to read לעלעוּ or ילעלעוּ (from לוּע, deglutire), is to be derived from עלע, a likewise secondary form out of עלעל (from עוּל, to suck, to give suck),


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