New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary

Job 38:1 Then Yahweh answered Job- The answer is to Job, not Elihu who has just spoken, nor the friends. The whole focus of the book is upon Job's restoration, and out of that comes the restoration of the friends.

Out of the whirlwind- The restoration prophets speak of the whirlwind coming to judge both Israel and her abusers (Is. 40:24; 41:16; Jer. 23:19; 30:32), and it is through the whirlwind that God's cherubic glory is revealed in exile in Ezekiel. But out of that whirlwind, Yahweh speaks. We read here of Yahweh for the first time; His Name was to be declared through those judgments. 

Job 38:2 Who is this who makes counsel dark by words without knowledge?-
The LXX suggests Job had another agenda which he was trying to hide from God, despite Job's protestations of absolute openness and saying precisely what he thought: "Who is this that hides counsel from me, and confines words in his heart, and thinks to conceal them from me?". This would seem to be the sense, because Job pleads guilty to this charge in Job 42:3. There, he has "hidden counsel without knowledge". And he has done that by 'darkening' that counsel by all his words, which would have been better left unsaid.

Or we can read it as in the Masoretic Text, as an accusation that Job was darkening God's word ["counsel"] by his own words. He was not simply accepting the truth of God's word because he was so full of his own words. And this is what we see in ourselves and humanity generally so often; the Bible's words are crowded out by the words of our own presuppositions.

The Lord and His word is the light of the world. But we can darken that light, if we do not properly reflect it. God complained that Job had darkened His word (Job 38:2 NIV); the truths which Job should have taught to his friends he relayed very imperfectly, through the prism and distortion of clinging on to his own traditions and preconceptions of God, and his deep desire for self justification.

Job 38:3 Brace yourself like a man, for I will question you, then you answer Me!-
"Like a man" is not said as it might be said today, as an appeal to masculinity. Rather is it asking Job to realize he is human, and to answer these questions as a human. The implication is that by exalting his own words above God's (see on :2), Job was forgetting his humanity and effectively attempting to rise above God. His questions of God had been inappropriate, just as the friends had been wrong to seek wisdom by asking the sages, mere men (Job 8:8; 21:29 s.w.); it is for God to question us. For we and not God are in the dock.

Job 38:4 Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if you have understanding-
In the drama, we imagine a significant silence after each question. The laying of foundations is the word used for what the exiles were to do for the temple in Zion (Ezra 3:6,10 etc.). Just as God had laid those foundations without any human observation or strength, so He would lay the foundations of the restored Zion (Is. 44:28; 48:13). But the exiles like Job had forgotten that (Is. 51:13). Zechariah teaches this same parallel between God's laying the foundations of the earth, and His empowering the laying of the temple foundations (Zech. 4:9; 8:9; 12:1). But how that was to be done was beyond human understanding. Job was silent when asked as to how it was done. The 'how' of God's purpose is a challenge to our faith, and this is reflected in our theological efforts to explain the 'how' of God's Kingdom. There is an element of mystery to it; for it is by grace alone, beyond our effort and understanding.

Job 38:5 Who determined its measures, if you know? Or who stretched the line on it?-
God had both stretched the line of destruction upon Zion (2 Kings 21:13; Lam. 2:8), and that of restoration (Zech. 1:16). He gave the "measures" for the reconstruction of Zion and the temple system (s.w. often in Ez. 40:5,6 etc.); and yet He had likewise measured out the earth (s.w. Is. 40:12). The restoration of Job and all God's people was to be predicated upon the fact that His work could not be measured and was known finally only to Him (s.w. Jer. 31:37; 33:22). Just as in Gen. 1:9 "Let the waters be marked out with a line", so in the new creations God works, He has the power to determine the dimensions of His work in a way we do not.

Job 38:6 Whereupon were its foundations fastened?-
The answer is 'Apparently upon nothing'. And this is the way of faith; to believe that out of apparently nothing, restoration can come. This was the challenge to Job, the exiles and to all of God's people.

Or who laid its cornerstone- This again was of special significance to the exiles who were bidden follow Job's path to restoration. The laying of the cornerstone of the new temple was no less an act of pure grace than that of creation in the first place. Hence Zech. 4:7 "Who are you, great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you are a plain; and he will bring out the capstone [cornerstone] with shouts of ‘Grace, grace, to it!’". The exiles didn't make use of that grace, and so these plans were reworked, to the even greater provision of the cornerstone in the person of the Lord Jesus (Ps. 118:22).

Job 38:7 when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?-
There is an obvious connection with the "sons of God" of the prologue in Job 1:6. I explained there that they refer to Job's fellow worshippers, although they had their Angelic representatives in the court of heaven. But the friends are the fellow worshippers, and the satan figure morphs into the friends. The contrast is therefore with how the sons of God should be rejoicing at God's work in testing and restoring Job, just as their Angelic counterparts did at creation. But instead they were caught up in their petty jealousies and conspiracy theories, and failed to see the wonder of God's new creation.

Job 38:8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it broke forth from the womb-
There are several allusions in Job to Babylonian legends concerning Marduk – indicating that the book must have been re-written in Babylon with allusion to these legends. Thus the Enuma Elish 4.139,140 speaks of how Marduk limited the waters of Tiamat, and set up a bar and watchmen so that the waters wouldn’t go further than he permitted. But this very language is applied to God in Job 7:12 and Job 38:8–11. One of the purposes of Job was to urge Judah that Yahweh was greater than Marduk, He and not Marduk was to be Israel’s God.

The sea was understood to be the abode of evil monsters. Yet Job stresses how God is in control of the raging sea. Just look out for all the references to the sea in Job (J. Day, God’s Conflict with the Dragon and the Sea: Echoes of a Canaanite Myth in the Old Testament (Cambridge: C.U.P., 1985)). The book of Daniel perhaps makes the same point – the beasts that arise out of the raging sea are all under God’s control and part of His purpose with Israel (Dan. 7:2). God artlessly claims to have created the sea (Job 38:8–11). In the Canaanite pantheon, Baal was seen as well matched in conflict by Yam, the sea god. But it’s emphasized by God that He created the sea, shuts it up within bounds, brought it out from the womb (Job 38:8). See on Job 39:2.

As God ‘shut up’ Job (Job 1:10), so He could ‘shut up’ the sea, with all the evil associated with it (Job 38:8). For at creation, He had commanded the waters where to go and they obeyed just one word from Him. The point is, God is using poetry to reframe these pagan myths in the context of His omnipotence, to show that His awesome power means that there’s no room left for these supposed beings to exist. It’s noteworthy that many times the Bible speaks of the power of God over raging seas – for the sea was so deeply associated with evil in the minds of Semitic peoples (e.g. Ps. 77:19; 93:4 and the fact that three of the Gospels emphasize how Jesus walked over raging sea – Mt. 8:23–27; Mk. 4:36–41; Lk. 8:22–25; “Who is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!”).

Job 38:9 when I made clouds its garment, and wrapped it in thick darkness- The "thick darkness" is created by God, it is He who can shroud Himself from human understanding; but this doesn't mean that He cannot "judge through the thick darkness" (Job 22:13 s.w.). The thick darkness was only from man's viewpoint; not from God's. The fact man feels God to be distant and shrouded doesn't mean He actually is. And this is a fundamental truth for all time, that our perceptions of God don't mean that this is what He actually is. For God was not created by man in his image and likeness, but the other way around.

The thick darkness was a 2swaddllng-band" for the sea (AV).  The newborn sea, fresh as it were from the womb (:8), is completely subject to God as its Creator, and is absolutely not a form of radical evil outside of His control, as was imagined by the surrounding peoples.

Job understands that it is God who sends the good and evil, the light and the darkness, into his life (Job 30:26). Significantly, he states his faith that God even marks out the boundary between light and darkness (Job 26:10) – a similar idea in essence to the reassurance of Is. 45:5 that God creates both light and darkness. The ‘darkness’, however we experience and understand it, is framed and limited by God; it is not a power or being with independent existence outside the realm of God’s power. God confirms Job’s understanding later, when He says that it is He who can swaddle the sea [another figure for uncontrollable evil] in bands of darkness (Job 38:9) – as if to say that it is God who gives things like darkness and the sea their sinister appearance and perception by men; but He is in control of them, using them in His hand. See on Job 38:10.

Job 38:10 marked out for it My bound, set bars and doors-
Job’s idea that God fixes limits for the darkness is repeated by God saying that He sets limits for the raging sea. God controls evil, or our perception of it (e.g. of the sea as being evil), and He sets limits for it – which was exactly what He did to the power of ‘Satan’ in the prologue to Job. All these statements by God about His use of and power over things like darkness and sea, with the perceptions of them as being independent forces of evil, are quite different to Canaanite and Babylonian views of creation. In them, gods like Baal had to fight Yam, the evil sea god, with clubs provided by other deities; in the Babylonian version, Marduk has to arm himself with various weapons in order to try to get supremacy over Tiamat (S. Dalley, Myths From Mesopotomia: Vol. 4, The Epic of Creation (Oxford: O.U.P., 1989) pp. 251–255). But Yahweh as revealed in the book of Job has utter and absolute power over the sea [monster] and the [supposed god of] darkness – for He created the sea and the darkness and uses them creatively for His purpose. That’s the whole purpose of the many ‘nature passages’ in the book of Job. And the language of Genesis 1:9 is evidence enough of His power. He speaks a word – and light, darkness and seas are created, the waters gathering obediently where He commands them. Likewise God isn’t in any battle with Leviathan – rather is the monster actually His “plaything” (Ps. 104:26 says likewise).

The way the doors and bars of even the sea are under God's control connects with how God was to open the great doors of Babylon, to cause the city to fall and release the exiles back to His land (Is. 45:1).

Job 38:11 and said, ‘Here you may come, but no further. Here your proud waves shall be stayed?’-
The waters were representative of the invading nations. There was a limit to Judah's sufferings, because the waters of the nations had their limits. Job likewise was to be tested so far but no further.

Job 38:12 Have you commanded the morning in your days-
God consciously makes the sun rise each day (Mt. 6:26)- it isn't part of a kind of perpetual motion machine. Hence the force of His promises in the prophets that in the same way as He consciously maintains the solar system, so He will maintain Israel. But this is by grace, totally without human involvement nor understanding of the processes, the whys and wherefores with which the dialogues have been so pointlessly taken up.

And caused the dawn to know its place- This is God's comment on Job's words of Job 28:23 about wisdom / relationship with God: "God understands its way, and He knows its place". Just as there is a sense in the natural creation that things such as the dawn have a specific "place" known by God alone (Job 38:12 s.w.), so the way of true relationship with Him, "wisdom", is known by Him alone. We do not find that "place" by intellectual effort, searching hither and thither, but by being open to God's leading of us as Job was.

Job 38:13 that it might take hold of the ends of the earth, and shake the wicked out of it?-
If the "earth" as in the sense of eretz Israel is in view, then the ends of the earth were where the exiles were located, in Persia / Babylon. The idea of a dawning which chases away evil is used in Mal. 4:2,3 of what could have happened at the restoration of the exiles- had they followed Job's path. 

Job 38:14 It is changed as clay under the seal-
Although Job is written in ancient Hebrew, there are many signs of how it was rewritten in Babylon. The Babylonians used seals which were impressed upon clay rather than wax. Perhaps the idea is that as the seal changes clay (what man is made from) from a formless lump into something highly significant, so God can work with man. But the original is very unclear. LXX: "Or didst thou take clay of the ground, and form a living creature, and set it with the power of speech upon the earth?"

And stands forth as a garment- The idea is of an embroidered dress, where valuable stones make the pattern stand out in relief. Again the sense is that God can transform the very ordinary into something of beauty and significance.

Job 38:15 From the wicked, their light is withheld. The high arm is broken-
LXX "And hast thou removed light from the ungodly, and crushed the arm of the proud?". Job has complained that light has been removed from him, and so he is being reminded that he has indeed sinned, and is "ungodly", although relatively very righteous, and counted as righteous by the God who so loved him. This is a lesson needed for all 'Godly' people, especially middle class Western Christians, and it was what the exiles had to learn in order that they might repent. Perhaps God is quoting with approval Job's lament that the light of the wicked is darkness (Job 24:13-17).

Job 38:16 Have you entered into the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in the recesses of the deep?-
GNB "Have you been to the springs in the depths of the sea? Have you walked on the floor of the ocean?". Job is reminded that he is ignorant of many things in creation, which remain inaccessible and remote. And so it is with insisting to know everything about Divine process with us. These things are purposefully hidden, and it is part of recognizing our humanity to realize that.

Job 38:17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the gates of the shadow of death?-
Job earlier complained that "On my eyelids is the shadow of death" (Job 16:16 AV). Job felt he was facing death right before his eyes, and the shadow of that death was cast over his eyes. Job thought he had been there, standing at the gates of death (Job 10:21,22; 17:16). But God disagrees, challenging Job that he has not in fact seen "the gates of the shadow of death" (s.w.). Job had only seen death from a personal, human perspective. God sees death for what it really is, and it is far more terrible than man perceives. For from God's perspective it carries with it the tragedy of the eternity which a man has missed, if he has rejected God. And God is saying that Job hasn't see death from that perspective.


Job 38:18 Have you comprehended the earth in its breadth? Declare, if you know it all-
Elihu implies that if Job repents, then he will be brought out from a narrow place into a broad place (Job 36:16). God perhaps comments on this by saying that the "broad place" is in fact the whole earth (s.w. Job 38:18). Man (including Job) is already in freedom; it is a case of accepting it.

Job 38:19 What is the way to the dwelling of light? As for darkness, where is its place-
The dialogues have much to say about light and darkness; but the question of their ultimate origin is with God. This was what the exiles had to be reminded of (Is. 45:5-7). Job had rather simplistically concluded that the place of darkness was death (Job 10:21,22). But there was more to it than that. All the various theories of the origin of evil in a cosmic being have been deconstructed in Job. And now God reveals the ultimate truth- that the origin is with Him. Light is distinct from the sun, moon and planets, as Genesis itself teaches (Gen. 1:3,16). The question of ultimate origins is with God.

Job 38:20 that you should take it to its bound, that you should discern the paths to its house?-
Job's experiences were of affliction set in his "path" (s.w. Job 19:8). And the Bedouins he curses in Job 30:1-12 were those who had abused him in that "path" (Job 30:13). So it seems he has in view the Sabeans who had abused him in the prologue, and yet this section also has clear reference to the friends. Yet that "path" of affliction which God had given Job was the path of wisdom and relationship with Him which was indiscernible to the human eye (Job 28:7 cp. 28); the fact that the ultimate path is invisible to the secular, naked eye is a truth stamped upon the natural creation (Job 38:20), and yet after the affliction or trouble, this path shines clearly (Job 41:32). And this was to be Job's experience at his restoration, as it could have been likewise for the exiles.

Job 38:21 Surely you know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!-
This is also an answer to the way the friends considered that there was wisdom accrued through the number of days lived. Within the context of eternity and God's creative power, such knowledge is as nothing. It is therefore only the truth revealed from God which is a source of truth, and not length of human days. God is engaging with the idea of the friends, that number of days is related to wisdom. But compared to the specter of infinity, that is a very weak argument.

Job 38:22 Have you entered the treasuries of the snow, or have you seen the treasures of the hail-
This implies that God has gone exploring though His own creation-making Him even more marvellous than being just the creator. Hail is a common symbol of God's judgment (Ex. 9:18-29; Ps. 18:12, 13; 78:47,48; 105:32; Is. 30:30; 32:19 etc.). These things are stored up by God for use at the appropriate time. Both Job and the exiles needed to realize that they were not merely at the whim of God, but He had prepared their experiences in order to achieve specific ends. 

Job 38:23 which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?-
Earlier Job has argued that judgment is "reserved" until the last day (Job 21:30 s.w.), and therefore the wicked appear to prosper. God is here confirming that view. Eliphaz claimed that God is preparing to judge Job like a king ready to ride into the battle (Job 15:24). But God's later revelation includes Him demonstrating that man cannot participate successfully in any battle with what God has willed (Job 41:8), and the horse runs foolishly into battle with no regard for consequence (Job 39:25). The connection with the words of Eliphaz may be in that it was effectively Eliphaz who was rushing into battle to do judgment against Job; and he was acting like the foolish horse, forgetting that God alone will fight in the battle, and win (Job 38:23).


Job 38:24 By what way is the lightning distributed, or the east wind scattered on the earth?-
AV "By what way is the light parted?", referring to refraction. God has not simply made the good, but He has refracted it in various ways. Peter gets a glance at this when he writes of the refracted beauty of God's grace (AV "the manifold grace of God", 1 Pet. 4:10). Job is being taught that life is not as simple as light and darkness, good and evil; but these things are refracted by God in different ways, such is the beauty and complexity of His workings.   

Job 38:25 Who has cut a channel for the flood water, or the path for the thunderstorm-
The flood waters were a symbol for evil such as the invaders who had taken Judah into exile. But God cuts channels so that His flood waters dissipate, just as His wind / Spirit drives away the clouds that come between God and man. And He had directed the path of that particular thunderstorm to come directly upon Job.


Job 38:26 to cause it to rain on a land where no man is; on the wilderness, in which there is no man-
God's actions cannot be simply understood by men. To the ancients, it would have appeared pointless to send rain on the remote deserts. But His goodness, represented by the rain, operates on a level far beyond our comprehension. It is not utilitarian, intended to just produce some easily discernible good. His grace is far greater than that.

Job 38:27 to satisfy the waste and desolate ground-
Although the gift of His grace in rain falls sometimes where it apparently has no purpose (:26), it also falls on other areas where the tender grass is nourished by it. And His purpose is to revive even the apparently useless and waste land; both in the life of Job, and of His deserted land and people.

To cause the tender grass to spring forth?- "Waste and desolation" is the language of condemnation (s.w. Zeph. 1:15). But God makes the point that He sends rain "to satisfy the desolate and waste ground"- the very place where the condemned lived whom Job despised in his prosperity (Job 30:3 s.w.). But God doesn't despise even the most desperate of society. He sends rain to cheer them whom the righteous despise. And this was to help Job be convicted of his own desperation, of how wrong he had been to despise others and trust that he was righteous; and to further convict him that God still sought to revive him, as He did those deserted lands.

Job 38:28 Does the rain have a father? Or who fathers the drops of dew?-
The question of origins remains to this day. No matter how persuasive are theories of evolutionary development, the question of ultimate origins has to always come back to God. And this question of origins, God is arguing, is really a signpost to the simple idea of grace. For creation is in a sense grace itself.

Job 38:29 Out of whose womb came the ice? The gray frost of the sky, who has given birth to it?-
"Came" is the word for 'bring forth' in Job 28:11: "The thing that is hidden He brings forth to light". God can reveal everything physical, if He wishes. But man will still not find "wisdom" if he is searching for it as a 'physical' thing, obtained by a process of mining and subsequent refining. That reveals merely "stones of obscurity" (Job 28:3), nuggets of isolated truth. This message needs to be heeded by those who consider the Christian duty is to search out academic truth, mining it from the pages of the Bible and further processing it. This of itself is not to be despised, but this can be done as the Pharisees did it, and as the friends did- without coming to the awesome personal encounter with God and His grace with which the book of Job concludes. God can dry up the streams so that those panning in them thigh deep for precious stones- find them. He can bring them to light, but this is not the same thing as the "wisdom" of personal relationship with Him and departing from evil in our hearts (Job 28:9,10,28). This is what was happening on Job's life; God was 'bringing forth' light from death, deep things from darkness (s.w. Job 12:22). And this was realized by God bringing it forth, and not man's search for 'truth'. Job as a person was to be 'brought forth' by God as gold from that fire of affliction (Job 23:10 s.w.). Just as plants are 'brought forth' from the earth without the need for mining under the earth (Job 28:5 s.w.). This is why God's reply to Job keeps on using this word for 'bring forth', labouring the point that God 'brings forth' by His processes and initiatives, and not man. And that is as a code stamped upon all of creation (Job 38:8,29,32; 39:4,21; 41:20,21).

Job 38:30 The waters become hard like stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen-
Not only the creation of water and things is wonderful, but equally the transformations of created things. This is what God was to do to Job, and He was offering to do the same to the exiles.

Job 38:31 Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loosen the cords of Orion?-
Job sees God as capable of binding and loosing him, untying the cords that restrain affliction and then binding them up again (Job 30:11 s.w.). God's response is that indeed this is the case, and such binding and loosing is seen throughout the natural creation (s.w. Job 38:31; 39:5; 41:14). The constellations are bound together in pattern by God. And therefore, Job and the exiles are to live in hope of being bound up in safety from affliction, just as God "untied His cord and afflicted me" in Job 30:11.

Job 38:32 Can you lead forth the constellations in their season? Or can you guide the Bear with her cubs?-
AV "Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season?". The context would suggest that "Mazzaroth" [a plural word] is a constellation like Orion just mentioned in :31. This would mean that the signs of the Zodiac are not in view here, as has been falsely claimed. It could be that "Mazzaroth" was a group of stars the people of the times thought they had observed which we now know as something else. It could be a variant of Mazzaloth, the gods made to these stars (2 Kings 23:5). In this case God is saying that even if they believed the stars influenced life on earth and made idols to them, God was the ultimate controller and mover. It's rather like the usage of the language of demons in the New Testament. The scale of miracles implies God was far greater than any supposed demons, but the wrong understanding is not specifically targetted; rather by appealing to the greater principle of God's majestic power, it is shown to be bankrupt and void of real power.


Job 38:33 Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you establish its dominion over the earth?-
GNB "Do you know the laws that govern the skies, and can you make them apply to the earth?". This is perhaps the clearest Biblical condemnation of any attempt to practice astrology. The movement of the stars was under God's control, but is not related to the outcomes of life upon earth. For God can work in parallel ways with the stars as well as with human life and situations upon earth.

Job 38:34 Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover you?-
This is said in the context of the thunderstorm which began as noted on Job 36:27. That thunderstorm was brought about by God's sovereign action, and was not called up by men commanding God to bring it. The movement of God through His grace is likewise sovereign, otherwise grace would not be grace.

Job 38:35 Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are?’-
The same challenge was made to Ezekiel and the exiles, in the visions of the lightnings of the cherubim. The simple point of all this is that this lightning quick and powerful activity is for our sakes, to the end of achieving saving restoration. Job and the exiles complained that God was apparently slow to act. But He is working with lightning speed.

Job 38:36 Who has put wisdom in the inward parts? Or who has given understanding to the mind?-
GNB "Who tells the ibis when the Nile will flood, or who tells the rooster that rain will fall?"; LXX "And who has given to women skill in weaving, or knowledge of embroidery?". But the preceding and following context is of God's control of the planets and atmosphere. So the idea may be that the lightnings also have their own wisdom, given to them by God, as it were. Hence one suggested translation is "Who has put wisdom in the thunderbolts? or who has given understanding to the tempest?".

Job 38:37 Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can pour out the bottles of the sky-
The answer of course was that they could not be numbered by man, but only by God. This is the same word used in the restoration prophecy of Jer. 38:22: "As the host of the sky cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured", so God's grace would be poured out in restoring His people. And that challenge was at the very heart of the covenant with Abraham, whose seed couldn't be numbered. Job was being taught the same lesson. He believed it, but the exiles generally didn't, and so their restoration didn't happen after the pattern of Job's.

Job 38:38 when the dust runs into a mass, and the clods of earth stick together?-
The idea is that God sends rain from the clouds at the time when it is most desperately needed. The dry bones of both Job and Israel were to be rained upon with the Spirit. And this kind of thing is seen in the natural creation.

Job 38:39 Can you hunt the prey for the lioness, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions-
The theme now changes to the animals, and perhaps Job 39 would better begin at this verse. The point is that although the lioness hunts, this is in league with God: "The lions, roaring after their prey, do seek their meat from God" (Ps. 104:21). The lions who hunted Job and Judah were likewise from God, and were not acting without Him.

Job 38:40 when they crouch in their dens, and lie in wait in the thicket?-
"Crouch" is the word for to humble, to crouch down. The theme of the book of Job is that man must be humbled before he can be used by God (s.w. Job 9:13; 22:29). And this is coded into the natural creation. The lioness must crouch down before she pounces.

Job 38:41 Who provides for the raven his prey-
The raven was considered a bad omen. But still God cares for them; and how much more for His people. This is the force of the Lord's argument in Lk. 12:24, "Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them". Hence Ps. 147:9 emphasizes that "He gives to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry". Clearly God doesn't simplistically punish the evil and bless the righteous immediately in this life. His grace reaches out to all.


When his young ones cry to God, and wander for lack of food?- Job feels he has 'cried out' to God for justice and not been heard (Job 19:7; 30:20); and that there is nothing wrong with crying out to God in distress, it is a perfectly natural reaction (Job 24:12). One comment upon this is that the young ravens cry out to God for food and yet are not always heard (Job 38:41 s.w.). But God in the wider picture sustains all of creation by grace. Job did well to cry out to God even if there was no answer, because the hypocrites do not 'cry out' to God when they are facing judgment (Job 36:13 s.w.). Job feels hurt that God has not responded to his 'crying out' because he says that when the needy cried out to him, he had heard (Job 29:12 s.w.). But here we see his works based approach; he thought that his response to those who cried out to him meant that therefore God must respond to his crying out. And God is not so primitive. His apparent silence is because His response is not predicated upon human works and charity. It is by grace alone, as is taught in His final appearance to Job. The exiles likewise were to finally see the response to their crying out to God in the restoration (Is. 58:9), just as their representative Jonah cried out to God from the belly of sheol amidst the sea of nations, and was heard (s.w. Jonah 2:2).