King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Job 37

Elihu observes the power of God. (1-13) Job required to explain the works of nature. (14-20) God is great, and is to be feared. (21-24)

Job 37 Audio:

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Elihu observes the power of God

1 At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place.

2 Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth.

3 He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.

4 After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard.

5 God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.

6 For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.

7 He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.

8 Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places.

9 Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north.

10 By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.

11 Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud:

12 And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth.

13 He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.

Job required to explain the works of nature

14 Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.

15 Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine?

16 Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?

17 How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind?

18 Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?

19 Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness.

20 Shall it be told him that I speak? if a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up.

God is great, and is to be feared

21 And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them.

22 Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.

23 Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.

24 Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. This thunder, the effects of which are so terrible, that it is often styled the voice of God. C. Ps. xxviii. M. — The consideration of rewards (C. xxxvi. 33.) stimulates the good, while thunder strikes the heart with terror. W.

Ver. 3. Earth. Lightning appears from the east to the west. Mat. xxiv. 27.

Ver. 4. After. Light travels faster than sound, (H.) though thunder and lightning are produced at the same instant. C. — Found out. Philosophers can only propose their conjectures on the cause of thunder. This sense is confirmed by the Greek, Chal. &c. Heb. may be, “he delays not;” C. — Prot. “he will not stay them;” (H.) rain commonly falling soon after thunder. As the latter is occasioned by the collision of clouds, when they come to a certain distance from the earth, the heat causes them to dissolve into showers, which augments at each crack. C. — Sept. “For he has done great things, which we have not understood.” This is connected with C. xxxvi. 24. Then we read, (v. 7.) “that man may know his own weakness.” All the intermediate verses have been supplied by Origen from Theodotion, or others. H.

Ver. 7. He sealed up, &c. When he sends those showers of his strength; that is, those storms of rain, he seals up; that is, he shuts up the hands of men from their usual work abroad, and confines them within doors, to consider his works; or to forecast their works; that is, what they themselves are to do. Ch. — We are all the servants of God. He marks us in the hand, as such. Isai. xliv. 5. Ezec. ix. 6. Apoc. xiii. 6. The Romans marked soldiers with a hot iron in the hands. Veget. i. 8. — The abettors of chiromancy have hence vainly pretended that they can discover each person’s future in the lineaments of his hands. C.

Ver. 8. Den. Foreseeing the tempest and retreating for shelter.

Ver. 9. Parts. The south, (C. ix. 9.) whence storms commonly came in that country, (C.) from the sea or desert of Idumea. H. Ps. lxxvii. 26. Zac. ix. 14. Isai. xxi. 1. — North wind or pole. W. — Yet the south seems to be designated; (v. 17. and C. xxxviii. 32.) though cold comes from the north, in Idumea as well as here. C. — Mezarim, is rendered by Prot. “north.” Marg. “scattering winds.“ Sept. akroterion, “summits” of mountains.

Ver. 10. Abundantly. He cause it to freeze or rain at pleasure. H. Ps. cxlvii. 17. M.

Ver. 11. Corn requires rain. H. — Light. As they are transparent, they do not hinder the sun from appearing. Heb. “the brightness of the sky disperses the clouds, and the clouds shed their light” in the rainbow, (v. 15. Grot.) or lightning. Jun. C. M. — Prot. “Also by watering, he wearieth the thick cloud, he scattereth his bright cloud, (12) and it is turned round about by his counsels, that they may do whatsoever,” &c. God prohibits or gives rain. H. — Nothing is left to chance. C. — He directeth the clouds as a master does his ship. W.

Ver. 13. Tribe. Hebrew also, “for correction.” H. Amos iv. 7. — Land of promise. Ps. lxvii. 10.

Ver. 15. Light: the rain-bow, according to the best interpreters; or the lightning. C.

Ver. 16. Paths. Heb. “the balancing of the clouds, the wondrous works of Him whose knowledge is perfect?” C. xxxvi. 4. Dost thou know what suspends the heavy clouds in the air? C.

Ver. 17. Are. Heb. “How thy,” &c. It is also beyond thy comprehension, why thou shouldst be too hot when the south winds blows (H.) moderately, though tempests generally proceed from the same quarter, v. 9. If thou art in the dark, respecting these things, which thou feelest, how canst thou pretend to fathom and condemn the counsels of God? C. — Job was far from doing either. His friends rather undertook to explain God’s reasons for punishing thus his servants, which Job acknowledged was to him a mystery, (H.) till God had enlightened him. C. xxii. 3. Houbigant.

Ver. 18. Brass. Heb. “Hast thou with him stretched out (or beaten, as brass, tarkiang; which word Moses uses for the firmament) the heavens, which are as solid (Chal. and like) a molten looking-glass?” which was formerly made of metal. Ex. xxxviii. 8. The Hebrews looked upon the sky as a sheet of brass; and the poets speak of the brazen heaven. Pindar. Nem. vi. Iliad A.

Ver. 19. Darkness. Thou who art so learned, give us some information, what we may blame in the works of God. Cutting irony! C.

Ver. 20. He shall be swallowed up. All that man can say, when he speaks of God, is so little and inconsiderable in comparison with the subject, that man is lost, an das it were swallowed up in so immense an ocean. Ch. — The man who should are to mention what I could reprehend in God’s works, would soon be overwhelmed with majesty. C. — Alphonsus IX. king of Leon, (A.D. 1252) surnamed “the wise and the astronomer,” said “he could have given some good advice respecting the motions of the stars, if he had been consulted by God;” meaning to ridicule some vain systems of philosophers, then in vogue. Dict. 1774. H.

Ver. 21. Light; being hindered by the clouds, and dazzled when they are removed. Yet we presume to judge of the secrets of Providence! C. — Away. As there is a constant vicissitude of these things, so there is of happiness and misery. M. — Sept. “For the light is not seen by all. It is refulgent in beauties, as that which comes thence upon the clouds.” If, therefore, this light does not pervade all places, why should we wonder that all do not understand the ways of God? H.

Ver. 22. Gold. Sept. “from the north, gold-coloured clouds. Above these, great is the praise and honour of the Almighty.” H. — When the wind blows, the clouds are dispersed, and the sky appears serene. Each country has its peculiar advantages. In the north, Ophir, &c. may boast of gold: but what ought to be most conspicuous in the praises given to God, is an humble fear. Pindar begin his Olympic Odes somewhat in the same style. C. — “Water is excellent, and gold…But if, dear heart, thou wilt sing of games, regard no other star…as brighter than the sun…nor shall we celebrate any game more excellent than that of Olympia.” H. — God disposes of all things as he pleases. He makes the golden day succeed a tempest. But it is our duty to praise him with awe, whatever he may ordain. This is the epilogue. Pineda. — Man must praise God with fear, as he cannot do it sufficiently. W.

Ver. 23. Worthily. Heb. “the Almighty, we cannot find him out,” (H.) or comprehend his nature or mysteries. C.

Ver. 24. Fear him, and receive with respect whatever he shall appoint. H. — And all. Heb. “he fears not any that are wise of heart.” He knows that the most intelligent (C.) must confess their ignorance, when they attempt to examine his divine nature. Simonides being desired by Hiero to express his sentiments on this subject, always requested more time to consider of it. Quia, inquit, res videtur mihi tanto obscurior, quanto diutius eam considero. Cicero, Nat. i. 60. Selectæ e Prof. i. 3. — “With thee (says S. Aug. Conf. i. 6.) stand the causes of all instable things,” &c. H. — Those who are really wise, will therefore adore God’s judgments in silence, while the presumptuous will be forced to yield. This is the excellent conclusion of all that had been said. Pineda. — The sentence is beautiful, but ill-applied (H.) to Job. Philip. See Prov. iii. 7. H. — He convinced the other three with sound arguments, “and this last and most arrogant disputant with silence.” W.