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Bible Commentaries

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Job 39

 

 

Verse 1

Next God speaks of the wild goats and deer. Job did not even know the time of their gestation period. They dwell on wild mountains (Psalms 104:18), they are wild and timid, they give birth out in the middle of nowhere and their young grow up to become strong, yet man has nothing to do with any of this. "Hidden from civilized man, these mountain creatures bear with ease their young, who soon become strong, grow up, and leave their parents, ready to fend for themselves" (Zuck p. 171).


Verse 5

Only God can care for an animal that lives in the salt land (around the Dead Sea?), and shuns any sort of civilization, including the attempt to be domesticated. Who gave this animal such a yearning for freedom? And notice how God is able to care for animals that want to have nothing to do with man! "The freedom of the open country is more exciting to the wild donkey than all the hubbub of the city. He is so far removed from man that he does not hear "the shouting of the driver". He roams over vast territory, including mountains, to find food-any green thing will do. Thus his survival is dependent on God"s provision" (Zuck p. 171). Hence, God has both the power and the goodness to provide for such an animal that refuses all attempts of human intervention.


Verse 9

This is the wild ox, not the tame or domesticated ox. "Extinct since 1627, this enormous animal was the most powerful of all hoofed beasts, exceeded in size only by the hippopotamus and elephant. It was hunted by the Assyrians and is probably to be identified with the aurochs" (Zuck p. 171). Such an animal, even though strong for plowing, would not even spend one night in Job"s barn (39:9), neither could he be trusted to work the fields (39:11-12). "Because Job could not effect so small a change as taming a wild ox and using it in his farming, the implication becomes explicit: Job certainly could not alter the Creator"s ways nor manage His universe!" (p. 172).

"The translators of the Septuagint rendered re"em by the Greek term monokeros (one horn) on the basis of the relief representations of the wild ox in strict profile, which they found in Babylonian and Egyptian art. It thus found its way into the KJV as "unicorn"" (Jackson pp. 82-83).


Verse 13

Next God mentions that strange bird, the ostrich. This bizarre bird, weighing up to 300 pounds and reaching a height of seven or eight feet. It flaps it wings, but it cannot fly, "the ostrich proudly waves her wings, but they are not pinions of love. The original term rendered "love" is related to a noun used in Hebrew literature for the stork. Thus, there is perhaps a contrast between the seemingly rather un-motherly ostrich and the fame of the affectionate stork" (Jackson p. 83). The ostrich will lay thirty or more eggs in a nest of sand and leave them from time to time. The outer eggs are at times exposed and so are trampled. "Hens may desert the nest if they are overfed, or if impatient they may leave the nest before all the chicks are hatched. If a human disturbs the nest, an ostrich may trample the eggs. Or a hen may sit on eggs in another nest, forgetting her own" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 769). The stupidity of such a bird is proverbial among the Arabs, yet the same bird can run at remarkable speeds of 40 mph, even outstripping a swift horse. "The phrase, "when she lifts herself on high" refers to an ostrich"s lifting its head, extending its rudimentary wings for balance, and taking giant strides of twelve to fifteen feet while running" (Zuck p. 173). Would Job even have thought of making such an animal?


Verse 19

Next is the picture of the warhorse and its excitement for battle. Job certainly was able to create a horse that could leap like the locust. "In its spirited eagerness, the horse snorts terribly and paws vigorously, seeming to rejoice "in his strength". Fearless in its charge into battle, it is undaunted by weapons such as the sword. The movements of the rider"s quiver of arrows and his spear and javelin against the horse"s side seem to abet the animal on. He excitedly prances into the ground as if he would swallow it up, and hearing the trumpet, which signals the battle charge, he can hardly stand still. He says "Aha!" (meaning that he impatiently neighs). The horse"s majesty, energy, strength, impatience for the battle, and spirit, were proofs of the greatness of Him who had made him" (Zuck p. 174).

In this section, notice the reasoning. Amazing animals demand an amazing Creator!


Verse 26

Here we have hawks and eagles. The annual migration of the hawk toward the south occurred without Job"s input or wisdom. On the other hand the eagle builds its nest high in the mountains from where it scans the horizon for prey. "Devouring carcasses and sucking blood may suggest that this bird is the griffon-vulture rather than the eagle" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 769). Jackson notes that even modern scientists admit that in the final analysis, birds follow a far more ancient guidance system, an instinct acquired in the egg. Yet from whom did they acquire this "instinct"? Jackson rightly notes that "instinct" is often a word that man uses to cover his own ignorance. The truth of the matter is that such instinct came from God! Such birds have been seen at heights of 10,000 feet and they can spot prey from three miles away. Did Job have anything to do with this?

 


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Bibliography Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 39:4". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-39.html. 1999-2014.

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