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Job 39

God inquires of Job concerning several animals.

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God inquires of Job concerning several animals

1 Knowest thou the time when the wild goats of the rock bring forth? or canst thou mark when the hinds do calve?

2 Canst thou number the months that they fulfil? or knowest thou the time when they bring forth?

3 They bow themselves, they bring forth their young ones, they cast out their sorrows.

4 Their young ones are in good liking, they grow up with corn; they go forth, and return not unto them.

5 Who hath sent out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass?

6 Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his dwellings.

7 He scorneth the multitude of the city, neither regardeth he the crying of the driver.

8 The range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searcheth after every green thing.

9 Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib?

10 Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee?

11 Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? or wilt thou leave thy labour to him?

12 Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn?

13 Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?

14 Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust,

15 And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them.

16 She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not her’s: her labour is in vain without fear;

17 Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding.

18 What time she lifteth up herself on high, she scorneth the horse and his rider.

19 Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?

20 Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible.

21 He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men.

22 He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword.

23 The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield.

24 He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet.

25 He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

26 Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south?

27 Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high?

28 She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place.

29 From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off.

30 Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Goats (Ibex. Heb. Yahale. H.) frequent rocks, and places which are almost inaccessible to man. C.

Ver. 3. Roarings. They pretend that these animals bring forth with great difficulty. Ps. xxviii. 9. Vatab. &c. — Aristotle (v. 2. and vi. 29.) asserts, that they receive the male bending down, as Heb. may be here explained. “They bend, they divide their young,” as they have often two; “and they leave their strings” at the navel, &c. C.

Ver. 4. Feed. Being weaned very soon. Pliny viii. 32.

Ver. 5. Wild ass, described, C. vi. 5. The industry of man cannot make this beautiful and strong animal serviceable to him. The like would be the case (C.) with many others, if Providence had not ordered it otherwise. H.

Ver. 6. Barren. Lit. “salt.” H. — This is of a nitrous quality, which renders those countries barren. The salt in snow and dung gives warmth and fruitfulness.

Ver. 9. Rhinoceros. See Deut. xxxiii. 17. Num. xxiii. 22. Sanchez says they are untameable. M. — But this is not true, when they have been taken young. Malvenda. C.

Ver. 10. Valleys, or furrows. Can he be made to harrow?

Ver. 13. Hawk. We may also read, “Is the wing of the ostrich like?” Sept. or Theod. “The bird of Neelasa is rejoicing, if she take the Asida, &c. the Neessa.” H. — Heb. is variously translated, “The ostrich lifts itself up with its wings, which have feathers, as well as those of the stork.” Bochart. — It flutters, running like a partridge, swifter than any horse. Adamson. — “Canst thou give to the stork and the ostrich their feathers,” which form all their beauty? C. — Prot. “Gavest thou the goodly wings upon the peacock, or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?” H. — The import of these names is uncertain. M. — Renanim, (from Ron, “to cry, or move quickly,”) may signify peacocks, ostriches, &c. Chasida, “a stork, (H. Jer.) falcon, (W.) or heron; notsa “a hawk, or a feather.” H. — The first term occurs no where else, and may denote any singing birds or grasshoppers, as the last may be applied to the ostrich, which has “wings,” though it fly not. Grot. C. — Acknowledge the wisdom of Providence, which has thus enabled such a huge animal to travel so fast. M. — See Parkhurst, álcs. H.

Ver. 14. Dust. This might help to hatch them. C. — Heb. “earth, and warmeth them in the dust.” Prot.

Ver. 16. Ones, or eggs which she leaves. C. — Ælian (xiv. 6.) asserts that this bird will expose her own life to defend her young. Yet the neglect of her eggs, will suffice to make her deemed cruel. Lam. iv. 3. H. — Her. Other birds leave their nests through fear; (C.) but this, after sitting a while, will depart carelessly, (H.) and if she meet with other eggs on her road, will take to them, thus rendering her own useless. Bochart.

Ver. 17. Understanding. This bird has a head disproportionately small; insomuch, that Heliogabalus served up the brains of 600 at one supper. It greedily eats iron, &c. which may help its digestion, as sand does that of other birds. C. — When it is hunted, it hides its head only, as if this would be a sufficient defence, (Pliny x. 1.) and is taken alive by a man, clothed in the skin of an ostrich, who moves the head with his hand. Strabo xvi. — All which proves its stupidity. C.

Ver. 18. High. With her head erect, the ostrich is taller than a man on horseback. Pliny x. 1. — Its wings are used like sails, and enable it to run as fast as many birds can fly, (C.) while it hurls stones at the pursuer with its feet, so as frequently to kill them. Diod. ii. — Rider, as they can travel with equal speed. M. v. 13. — Adamson (Senegal) placed two negroes on one, and testified that it still went faster than any English horse. H.

Ver. 19. Neighing. Heb. “thunder,” to denote the fierceness of the horse; or “with a mane,” (Bochart) “armour,” (Syr.) or “terror.” Sept. C. — Wilt thou enable the horse to neigh, (M.) when he appears so terrible? H.

Ver. 20. Up. Heb. “frighten,” (H.) or “make him leap.” Bochart. C. — Nostrils. Sept. “of his chest, or shoulders, is boldness.” H. — This inspires the rider with courage, and the enemy with fear. But the Vulg. is more followed. C.

Frænoque teneri

Impatiens crebros expirat naribus ignes. Silius vi.

Ver. 21. Hoof. Ploughing, or rather prancing, through impatience. C. — Boldly. Heb. “he exults in his strength,” being sensible of glory and commendation. C. — Non dubiè intellectum adhortationis et gloriæ fatentur. Pliny vii. 43.

Ver. 23. Shield, or lance. Jos. viii. 18. C. — The din of armour does not disturb the horse, which has been inured to such things. H. — It is of singular courage. W.

Ver. 24. Ground. This expression is still used by the Arabs, to denote velocity. Grotius. — Sept. “in wrath he will make the earth disappear.” H. —

Mox sanguis venis melior calet, ire viarum

Longa volunt latumque fugâ consumere campum. Nemesianus.

Account. Heb. “believe that,” or “stops not when.” He is so eager to rush forward to battle.

Si qua sonum procul arma dedêre,

Stare loco nescit, micat auribus et tremit artus. Georg. iii.

Ver. 25. Ha. Lit. “Vah,” a sound of joy, (M.) or of contempt. Sept. The trumpet having given the sign, he will say, Well: Euge. Nothing could be more poetically descriptive of the war-horse. H.

Ver. 26. Feathered. Heb. “fly.” H. — South, at the approach of “winter retiring” to warmer regions. Pliny x. 8. — Sept. “spreading her wings, looking unmoved, towards the south.” The hawk alone can stare at the sun, and fly to a great height. Ælian x. 14. — Hence the Egyptians consecrated this bird to the sun. C. — The eagle is of the same species, and has the same properties. H. Aristotle mentions 10, and Pliny 16 species of hawks. W.

Ver. 28. Access. See Abdias iv. Arist. anim. ix. 32.

Ver. 29. Off. The eagle was remarkably (C.) quick-sighted, (W.) as well as the serpent. Hor. i. Sat. iii. Homer, Il. xvii. — They say it can discern a fly or a fish from the highest situation; (Bochart) and if its young seem dazzled with the sun-beams, it hurls them down as spurious. Pliny x. 3.

Ver. 30. Blood, gushing forth from the animals, which the eagle brings. M. — S. Chrysostom explains this of the vulture, (Mat. xxiv. 28. C.) which is of the same species. M. — Some eagles will not touch carcasses, but others are greedy of them. Pliny x. 3. Prov. xxx. 17. — There. Our Saviour quotes this passage. Lu. xvii. 37. C.

Ver. 31. Went on. Sept. “answered.” This was the conclusion drawn from the display of God’s wonderful works. If we cannot sufficiently admire them, why should we be so much surprised, as Job acknowledged he was, at the ways of Providence? It would, therefore, be better to keep silence, v. 35. H.

Ver. 32. Be so. Receive instruction, or (C.) instruct him? Wilt thou learn to admire my works? (H.) or dost thou attempt to give me any information? C. — Him. Heb. “it.” Sept. “shall he decline judgment with him who is competent?” ikanou. Theod. adds, “the man who accuses God, shall answer it,” or stand his trial. H.

Ver. 34. Spoken inconsiderately. If we discuss all Job’s words, (saith S. Gregory) we shall find nothing impious spoken; as may be gathered from the words of the Lord himself; (chap. xlii. v. 7. 8.) but what was reprehensible in him was the manner of expressing himself at times, speaking too much of his own affliction, and too little of God’s goodness towards him, which here he acknowledges as inconsiderate, (Ch.) or rather as the effect of inculpable ignorance; (H.) as the present order of things being then novel, confounded the sagacity both of Job and of his friends. The wicked had formerly been the victims of justice, but henceforth, says Job, (Heb.) “if it shall not be so, who can convince me of lying?” C. xxiv. 25. Yet he did not perfectly discern the intention of God, in abandoning his servants to the power of satan, till the Lord himself had explained it in the parables of behemoth and leviathan. Then Job testified his conviction and entire submission. C. xlii. 5. Houbigant observes that the Vulg. is perhaps less accurate here, and C. xlii. 3. as God exculpates Job, v. 8. Yet the latter might entertain fear at least, of having exceeded in words, after such pungent question. We may translate, (H.) Heb. “Behold I am vile, (C.) what shall I answer thee?” Prot. or Sept. “Why am I still judged, being admonished and rebuke by the Lord, hearing such things?” (Grabe, after Origen, marks with an obel what follows, as not found in Heb.) “I, who am nothing, what answer shall I then give to these things?” H. — If we discuss all Job’s speeches, we find nothing spoken wickedly, but only a species of pride, in talking too much of his sufferings, and too little of God’s goodness and justice, which he ought to have confessed. S. Greg. xxxii. 3. W.

Ver. 35. One. Sept. “Once I have spoken, but I will not add again.” H. — I have spoken too much, but I will be more cautious. Heb. “I have spoken one thing, and I will not answer; (C.) yea, two things, but I will go no farther.” Many of my observations may be too strong, as I am not perfectly aware what may be the designs of Providence in my regard. H.