Job 39:3
They bow themselves, they bring forth their young ones, they cast out their sorrows.
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Job 39:3. They bow themselves — Being taught by a divine instinct to put themselves into such a posture as may be most fit for their safe and easy bringing forth. They bring forth their young ones — Hebrew, תפלחנה, tephallachnah, dissecant, discindunt, scilicet matricem, aut ventrem ad pullos edendos. — Buxdorf. They tear, or rend, themselves asunder to bring forth their young. The word is used, Proverbs 7:23, of a dart striking through and dividing the liver, and may here be considered as signifying, that the wild goats and hinds bring forth their young with as much pain as if a dart pierced them through. They cast out their sorrows — Partus suos, their births; LXX., ωδινας αυτων, the pains, or sorrows, of bringing forth; that is, their young ones and their sorrows together.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.They bow themselves - literally, they curve or bend themselves; that is, they draw their limbs together.

They cast out their sorrows - That is, they cast forth the offspring of their pains, or the young which cause their pains. The idea seems to be, that they do this without any of the care and attention which shepherds are obliged to show to their flocks at such seasons. They do it when God only guards them; when they are in the wilderness or on the rocks far away from the abodes of man. The leading thought in all this seems to be, that the tender care of God was over his creatures, in the most perilous and delicate state, and that all this was exercised where man could have no access to them, and could not even observe them.

3. bow themselves—in parturition; bend on their knees (1Sa 4:19).

bring forth—literally, "cause their young to cleave the womb and break forth."

sorrows—their young ones, the cause of their momentary pains.

They bow themselves; being taught by a Divine instinct to dispose themselves in such a posture as may be fittest for their safe and easy bringing forth.

They bring forth their young ones, to wit, with great pain, being almost torn or rent asunder with the birth, as the word signifies; or, without any of that help which tame beasts oft have.

Their sorrows, i.e. their young ones, and their sorrows together. Or, though (which particle is oft understood) they remit or put away their sorrows, i.e. though instead of cherishing and furthering their sorrows, which for their own ease and safety they should do, they foolishly hinder them, and so increase their own danger; yet by God’s good providence to them they are enabled to bring forth, as was now said. They bow themselves,.... That they may bring forth their young with greater ease and more safety: for it seems the hinds bring forth their young with great difficulty; and there are provisions in nature made to lessen it; as thunder, before observed, which causes them to bring forth the sooner; and there is an herb called "seselis", which it is said (i) they feed upon before birth, to make it the easier; as well as they use that, and another called "aros", after the birth, to ease them of their later pains;

they bring forth their young ones; renting and cleaving asunder the membrane, as the word signifies, in which their young is wrapped;

they cast out their sorrows; either their young, which they bring forth in pains and which then cease; or the secundines, or afterbirth, in which the young is wrapped, and which the philosopher says (k) they eat, and is supposed to be medical to them. None but a woman seems to bring forth with more pain than this creature; and a wife is compared to it, Proverbs 5:19.

(i) Cicero de Natura Deoram, l. 2. Plin. Nat. Hist. c. 8. 32. Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 5. (k) Aristot. ib.

They bow themselves, they {e} bring forth their young ones, they cast out their sorrows.

(e) They bring forth with great difficulty.

3. cast out their sorrows] That is, their pains; with the birth of their young they are rid of their pains also. Or “their pains” may mean “their young,” by a figure common in all poetry.Verse 3. - They bow themselves, they bring forth their young ones, they cast oat their sorrows. Parturition is a pain, even to the brute creation, though, comparatively speaking, a light one. (For the figure of speech by which that which causes pain is called pain, see AEschyl., 'Agam.,' 1. 1427; Eurip., 'Ion,' 1. 45; Herod., 5:18.) 34 Dost thou raise thy voice to the clouds

That an overflow of waters may cover thee?

35 Dost thou send forth lightnings, and they go,

And say to thee: Here we are?

36 Who hath put wisdom in the reins,

Or who hath given understanding to the cock?

37 Who numbereth the strata of the clouds with wisdom

And the bottles of heaven, who emptieth them,

38 When the dust flows together into a mass,

And the clods cleave together?

As Job 38:25 was worded like Job 28:26, so Job 38:34 is worded like Job 22:11; the ך of תכסך is dageshed in both passages, as Job 36:2, Job 36:18, Habakkuk 2:17. What Jehovah here denies to the natural power of man is possible to the power which man has by faith, as the history of Elijah shows: this, however, does not come under consideration here. In proof of divine omnipotence and human feebleness, Elihu constantly recurs to the rain and the thunder-storm with the lightning, which is at the bidding of God. Most moderns since Schultens therefore endeavour, with great violence, to make טחות and שׂכרי mean meteors and celestial phenomena. Eichh. (Hirz., Hahn) compares the Arabic name for the clouds, tachâ (tachwa), Ew. Arab. ḍiḥḥ, sunshine, with the former; the latter, whose root is שׂכה (סכה), spectare, is meant to be something that is remarkable in the heavens: an atmospheric phenomenon, a meteor (Hirz.), or a phenomenon caused by light (Ew., Hahn), so that e.g., Umbr. translates: "Who hath put wisdom in the dark clouds, and given understanding to the meteor?" But the meaning which is thus extorted from the words in favour of the connection borders closely upon absurdity. Why, then, shall טחות, from טוּח, Arab. ṭı̂ych, oblinere, adipe obducere, not signify here, as in Psalm 51:8, the reins (embedded in a cushion of fat), and in fact as the seat of the predictive faculty, like כּליות, Job 19:27, as the seat of the innermost longing for the future; and particularly since here, after the constellations and the influences of the stars have just been spoken of, the mention of the gift of divination is not devoid of connection; and, moreover, as a glance at the next strophe shows, the connection which has been hitherto firmly kept to is already in process of being resolved?

If טחות signifies the reins, it is natural to interpret שׂכוי also psychologically, and to translate the intellect (Targ. I, Syr., Arab.), or similarly (Saad., Gecat.), as Ges., Carey, Renan, Schlottm. But there is another rendering handed down which is worthy of attention, although not once mentioned by Rosenm., Hirz., Schlottm., or Hahn, according to which שׂכוי signifies a cock, gallum. We read in b. Rosch ha-Schana, 26a: "When I came to Techm-Kn-Nishraja, R. Simeon b. Lakish relates, the bride was there called נינפי and the cock שׂכוי, according to which Job 38:36 is to be interpreted: שׂכוי equals תרנגול." The Midrash interprets in the same way, Jalkut, 905, beginning: "R. Levi says: In Arabic the cock is called סכוא." We compare with this, Wajikra rabba, c. 1: "סוכו is Arabic; in Arabia a prophet is called סכוא;" whence it is to be inferred that שׂכוי, as is assumed, describes the cock as a seer, as a prophet.

As to the formation of the word, it would certainly be without parallel (Ew., Olsh.) if the word had the tone on the penult., but Codd. and the best old editions have the Munach by the final syllable; Norzi, who has overlooked this, at least notes שׂכוי with the accent on the ult. as a various reading. It is a secondary noun, Ges. 86, 5, a so-called relative noun (De Sacy, Gramm. Arabe, 768): שׂכרי, speculator, from שׂכו (שׂכוּ, שׂכה), speculatio, as פּלאי, Judges 13:18 (comp. Psalm 139:6), miraculosus, from פּלא, a cognate form to the Chald. סכוי (סכואה), of similar meaning. In connection with this primary signification, speculator, it is intelligible how סכוי in Samaritan (vid., Lagarde on Proverbs, S. 62) can signify the eye; here, however, in a Hebrew poet, the cock, of which e.g., Gregory says: Speculator semper in altitudine stat, ut quidquid venturum sit longe prospiciat. That this signification speculator equals gallus

(Note: No Arab. word offers itself here for comparison: tuchaj, a cock, has different consonants, and if Arab. škâ in the sense of Arab. šâk, fortem esse, were to be supposed, שׂכוי would be a synon. of גּבר, which is likewise a name of the cock.)


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