New Defender's Study Bible Notes
38:1 answered Job. The Lord finally answers Job, after His long silence. Job could not respond to Elihu, since he knew Elihu’s charges were false, yet Elihu claimed to be speaking for God. Job would have to leave the answer with God.
38:2 Who is this. God is rebuking Elihu here, not Job. The latter has not been speaking, but Elihu has been mouthing “words without knowledge” for the equivalent of six chapters and 165 verses!
38:3 answer thou me. God finally answers Job, but He does so with about seventy-seven rhetorical questions, not one of which has anything to do with the sufferings of Job, or the sufferings of anyone else! Evidently the purpose of the book of Job, in spite of the opinions of most commentators, is not to answer the question as to why righteous people suffer. Although this is the burning theme throughout the entire dialogue between Job and his critics (and a very important question it is!), God never answers it at all in His four-chapter monologue.
Instead, His questions all have to do with His great creation and man’s responsibility thereto. That, evidently, is God’s great concern. He is rebuking Job (and all men, indirectly), not for sinning or for lack of faith (Job had passed those tests perfectly), but for his inability to answer His questions about the creation. Adam and his descendants had been given dominion over the creation (Genesis 1:26-28), which certainly entailed learning to understand it and to care for its creatures, but it had now been about two thousand years since this first great commission was given, and little had been accomplished, with even the most righteous of men more concerned about their own affairs than about God’s creation.
38:4 Where wast thou. This first question is a rebuke to those who try to explain origins by present processes—that is, by uniformitarianism (note also II Peter 3:3-6). The creation of the entire universe had been completed in all perfection by God Himself, by processes no longer in operation (Genesis 2:1-4). Ever since Nimrod, however, men have tried to explain origins by innate evolutionary processes, and this is impossible as well as blasphemous.
38:7 morning stars. The stars of heaven were not made until the fourth day of creation week, whereas the “foundations of the earth” had been laid on the third day. Thus the “morning stars” were the same as the “sons of God,” or the angels (Job 1:6; 2:1); this verse is an example of Hebrew poetic parallelism.
38:8 when it brake forth. The Lord next reminds Job of the great Flood, when mighty waters “brake forth” from both the skies and the subterranean deep. This also could not be explained by uniformitarianism, but only by divine power and revelation.
38:9 cloud the garment thereof. Prior to the Flood, there had been no rain (Genesis 2:5), but as the great vapor blanket condensed into thick clouds, the earth suddenly was darkened for at least forty days while the torrents poured down all over the world.
38:10 bars and doors. After the Flood, great topographic changes confined the waters in great ocean basins, from which they can never escape.
38:11 no further. In accord with God’s covenant with Noah, the Flood (Hebrew mabbul) can never again return to cover the earth (Genesis 9:11). These two great events of the past—Creation and the Flood—constitute a permanent barrier to any proposed explanation of origins by evolutionary uniformitarianism.
38:14 turned. This figurative expression refers to God’s initiation of the earth’s rotation and the day-night cycle. Each night, like a rotating clay cylinder exposing the impressions of the seal, the earth turns to the sun (or “dayspring”), exposing the wicked and their works of the night.
38:16 springs of the sea. It is only in recent years that springs have been discovered on the sea bottom. Many such scientific mysteries (e.g., “the breadth of the earth,” Job 38:18) have been explained in recent years by modern science, but many of God’s questions are still unanswered today.
38:19 way where light dwelleth. A remarkable discovery of modern physics is that light dwells along a way, continually traveling at an immense speed. Darkness, on the other hand, dwells in any place where no light is on its way.
38:22 treasures of the snow. Snow is considered white gold in desert regions, replenishing their annual water supply. Apparently, snow and hail are yet to provide some unknown, but great, contribution to the battles of future days (Job 38:23). Indeed, hail was significant in Joshua’s battle with the Amorites (Joshua 10:11) and will be in the future tribulation (Revelation 16:21). Snow contributed to Napoleon’s defeat in Russia.
38:24 the light parted. Here is a scientific intimation that it is the energy (“light”) from the sun that controls the wind systems of the earth. This Biblical insight has been verified by modern atmospheric physics research.
38:26 where no man is. God cares for the lands He created, even though the men who were given dominion over them do not.
38:29 Out of whose womb. This unusual picture of a sheet of ice slowly coming forward as if emerging from a womb may well refer to the ice sheet of the great Ice Age that covered the northern latitudes for many centuries following the Flood. The book of Job has more references to snow, ice and cold than any other book of the Bible.
38:29 gendered. That is, “generated.”
38:30 face of the deep. Job and his friends had never seen the “face of the deep frozen,” in their southern latitudes, but they could surely have heard from travelers about the great ice sheets far to the north.
38:31 sweet influences of Pleiades. The word translated “sweet influences” (Hebrew maadannah) is used only once in the Bible. Its basic meaning seems to be “cluster.” It is known now that the stars in the constellation Pleiades, anciently known as the “seven sisters” (although the telescope reveals many more stars in this group), are bound together gravitationally. The stars in the bright constellation Orion, on the other hand, are not so bound. Only God can either bind or release the stars, as He is the one who created them and placed them in the heavens.
38:32 Mazzaroth. “Mazzaroth” refers to the signs of the Zodiac. As already noted, God formed the constellations, as well as the stars, as “signs” (note Genesis 1:14; Job 9:8-9; Job 26:13; Job 38:31-33; Amos 5:8). Although the present corrupt astrological use of the signs of the Zodiac is forbidden by God (e.g., Isaiah 47:12-14), the original message of Mazzaroth, “brought forth by God” season after season, centered on the promised victorious coming of the Redeemer.
38:35 send lightnings. One of the most remarkable discoveries of modern engineering science is that electrical currents may be used (radio, television, etc.) to transmit information with “lightning” speed.
38:40 couch. “Couch” is better translated “crouch,” or “lie down.”
38:41 Who provideth. In Job 39, as well as the last verses of Job 38, God’s questions center on His providential care of His animal creation. Again the implication of these rhetorical questions is that man should have given more attention to the care of these creatures, since they had been placed under man’s dominion.