Job 38:1-7, 34-41

Job 38:1-7, 34-41
Ordinary B47


Then the LordI answeredII JobIII out of the whirlwind:IV

Notes on verse 1

I “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
II “answered” = anah. This is answer, respond, announce, sing, shout, or testify. It means to pay attention, which implies responding and, by extension, starting to talk. Used in a specific sense for singing, shouting, testifying, etc.
III “Job” = Iyyob. Perhaps from ayab (to hate or be hostile to). This is Job a name that may mean “hated,” “enemy,” “persecuted,” “returning,” “no father,” or “where is my father?” See
IV “whirlwind” = saar. From sa’ar (to storm, scattered by a storm, blow away, rage, storm tossed; this is to toss in a literal or figurative sense). This is a storm or whirlwind. It can also be stormy.

“Who is this that darkensV counselVI by wordsVII withoutVIII knowledge?IX

Notes on verse 2

V “darkens” = chashak. 18x in OT. This is to be or become dark. It can also mean to dim or hide.
VI “counsel” = etsah. From yaats (to counsel, advise, determine). This is advice, purpose, plan, prudence, or counselor.
VII “words” = millah. From malal (to say, speak; often used in a poetic sense). This is something said – a word, speech, talking, or discourse.
VIII “without” = beli. From balah (to grow old, wear out, waste away, consume, spend). This is properly a failure. So, it could mean without, not yet, unawares, lacking, something that wears out, or because not.
IX “knowledge” = daat. From yada (to know, be aware, see and so understand – includes observation, care, recognition; can also be used as a euphemism). This is knowledge, unawares, cunning, wittingly.

Gird upX, XI your loinsXII like a man,XIII
    I will questionXIV you, and you shall declareXV to me.

Notes on verse 3

X “gird up” = azar. 16x in OT. This is to encircle, bind, encompass, to belt or gird.
XI {untranslated} = na. This particle is used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”
XII “loins” = chalats. 10x in OT. From chalats (to arm, give strength). This is loins or waist. Figuratively, this refers to fertility or vigor.
XIII “man” = geber. From gabar (to be strong or mighty; to prevail or to be insolent) This is man, warrior, a person generally, or a valiant person.
XIV “question” = shaal. This is to ask, inquire, beg, borrow, desire, request. It can also mean to demand.
XV “declare” = yada. Related to “knowledge” in v2. See note IX above.

4 “Where wereXVI you when I laid the foundationXVII of the earth?XVIII
   TellXIX me, if you haveXX understanding.XXI

Notes on verse 4

XVI “were” = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v1. See note I above.
XVII “laid the foundation” = yasad. This is to establish, appoint, instruct. It is to set in a literal or figurative sense. Also means to sit down together and so to consult or take counsel.
XVIII “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
XIX “tell” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.
XX “have” = yada. Same as “declare” in v3. See note XV above.
XXI “understanding” = binah. From bin (to discern, consider, attend to; distinguishing things in one’s mind or, more generally, to understand). This is understanding, wisdom, or discernment.

Who determinedXXII its measurementsXXIII—surely you know!XXIV
    Or who stretchedXXV the lineXXVI upon it?

Notes on verse 5

XXII “determined” = sum. This is to put or place in a literal or figurative sense. It can be appoint, care, change, make, and may other things.
XXIII “measurements” = memad. 1x in OT. From madad (to measure, stretch, be extended, continue). This is measure or measurement.
XXIV “know” = yada. Same as “declare” in v3. See note XV above.
XXV “stretched” = natah. This is to stretch or spread out, to extend, or bend. In can also imply moral deflection.
XXVI “line” = qav. 18x in OT. From qavah (to wait, look, gather together, bind together, collect; figuratively, to expect). This is a line or cord for connecting or measuring. Figuratively, it can mean a rule, agreement, or the string of a musical instrument.

6 On what were its basesXXVII sunk,XXVIII
    or who laidXXIX its cornerstoneXXX

Notes on verse 6

XXVII “bases” = eden. From the same as adon (lord, master, owner); root means to rule or be sovereign. This is a base, pedestal, or foundation.
XXVIII “sunk” = taba. 10x in OT. This is sink, drown, settle, or fasten.
XXIX “laid” = yarah. This is to throw, shoot, be stunned. It is to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach. This is the same root that “Jerusalem” and “Torah” draw from.
XXX “cornerstone” = eben + pinnah. Eben is a stone, weight, or mason. It is part of the word “Ebenezer.” Pinnah is perhaps from pen (corner, angle, street, wall). This is an angle, corner, cornerstone, tower, bulwark, pinnacle. Figuratively, it can be a chieftain.

when the morningXXXI starsXXXII sangXXXIII togetherXXXIV
    and all the heavenly beingsXXXV shouted for joy?XXXVI

Notes on verse 7

XXXI “morning” = boqer. From baqar (to seek, plow, break forth, admire, care for). This refers to the break of day. So it is dawn, early, morning, or morrow.
XXXII “stars” = kokab. Perhaps from the same as kavah (to prick, blister, burn, scorch). This is a star as shining, stargaze. Figuratively, can mean prince.
XXXIII “sang” = ranan. This is a cry of joy or a joyful song. Properly, it is emitting a shrill sound, especially one of joy.
XXXIV “together” = yachad. From yachad (to join, be united). This is a unit, both, altogether, unitedness, alike.
XXXV “heavenly beings” = ben + elohim. Literally “sons of God.” Ben is from banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense. Elohim is from eloah (God, a god); from el (God, a god). This is most commonly used as a name for God. Technically, it’s in the plural, i.e. gods. It can also mean great, mighty, judge, or ruler.
XXXVI “shouted for joy” = rua. To break or destroy something so figuratively, an ear splitting sound such as a call of alarm or a joyful sound.

34 “Can you lift upXXXVII your voiceXXXVIII to the clouds,XXXIX
    so that a floodXL of watersXLI may coverXLII you?

Notes on verse 34

XXXVII “lift up” = rum. This is to rise or raise, to be high literally or figuratively. So it can also mean to exalt or extol.
XXXVIII “voice” = qol. This is a sound, used often for human voices. Also used when God speaks or angels, animals or instruments. It can be a cry or a noise, thunder or earthquakes and so on.
XXXIX “clouds” = ab. Perhaps from uwb (to be a think or dark cloud, a cloud covering). This is a dark or thick cloud that can envelope in darkness. It can also refer to a copse or to clay.
XL “flood” = shiphah. 6x in OT.  From shepha (abundance). This is multitude or abundance.
XLI “waters” = mayim. This is water, waters, or waterway in a general sense. Figuratively, it can also mean juice, urine, or semen.
XLII “cover” = kasah. This is to cover, conceal, overwhelm. It is to cover as clothes do or to hide a secret.

35 Can you send forthXLIII lightnings,XLIV so that they may goXLV
    and say to you, ‘HereXLVI we are’?

Notes on verse 35

XLIII “send forth” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
XLIV “lightnings” = baraq. From baraq (to flash, a flash of lightning). This is lightning. Figuratively, it could be a gleaming or glittering. Concretely, it could be a flashing sword.
XLV “go” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
XLVI “here” = hen. This is a remark of surprise or excitement: lo! Behold! It can also mean if or though.

36 Who has putXLVII wisdomXLVIII in the inward parts,XLIX
    or givenL understanding to the mind?LI

Notes on verse 36

XLVII “put” = shith. This is to place, set, bring, appoint, consider, bring, array or look.
XLVIII “wisdom” = chokmah. From chakam (to be wise or teach wisdom; this is wisdom in thought, word, or action). This is wisdom, wit, or skillfulness.
XLIX “inward parts” = tuchah. 2x in OT. From tuach (to smear or spread over, particularly to plaster or daub) OR from tachah (to shoot, stretch a bow). This is deepest, innermost parts or thoughts.
L “given” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
LI “mind” = sekvi. 1x in OT. This is appearance or observant. It is used to refer to the mind or the heart.

37 Who has the wisdom to numberLII the clouds?LIII
    Or who can tiltLIV the waterskinsLV of the heavens,LVI

Notes on verse 37

LII “number” = saphar. From sepher (writing, document, book, evidence). This is properly to tally or record something. It can be enumerate, recount, number, celebrate, or declare.
LIII “clouds” = shachaq. From shachaq (to rub off, wear away, pulverize). This is powder, dust, vapor. It can also refer to the sky or a cloud.
LIV “tilt” = shakab. This is to lie down, lodge. It is lying for sleep, sex, or other reasons.
LV “waterskins” = nebel. From nabel (to fall away, faint, wither, languish, sink; figuratively, being senseless, foolish, or wicked; to despise, disgrace, or fall to nothing, to be seen with contempt). This is a vessel, perhaps made of skins for holding liquids. It could be a skin, vase, or lyre as having a similar shape.
LVI “heavens” = shamayim. Root may mean being lofty. This is sky, the air, or heaven. It is in a dual noun form so this might refer to the part of the sky where the clouds move on the one hand and the part beyond that where the sun, moon, and stars are on the other hand.

38 when the dustLVII runsLVIII into a massLIX
    and the clodsLX cling together?LXI

Notes on verse 38

LVII “dust” = aphar. From aphar (to throw dust, be dust). This is dust as powdered, perhaps gray colored. It could be ashes, powder, ground, dry earth, clay mud, or rubbish.
LVIII “runs” = yatsaq. This is to pour out, flow, wash away, or overflow. It can imply melting as one does to cast metal. By extension, it can refer to something being steadfast, stiffened, firmly in place.
LIX “mass” = mutsaq. Related to “runs” in v38. 3x in OT. From yatsaq (see note LVIII above). This is a casting, mass, fusion, or lump of clay.
LX “clods” = regeb. 2x in OT. May be from a root meaning heap together. It is a clod of dirt or lump of clay.
LXI “cling together” = dabaq. This is to follow closely or abide fast, to cling or be joined together. Figuratively, it can mean to catch something by chasing after it, to overtake, or to stick. A man clings to his wife in Genesis 2:24, Shechem was deeply attracted to Dinah in Genesis 34:3, Ruth clung to Naomi in Ruth 1:14, Solomon clung to his foreign wives and concubines in 1 Kings 11:2. It is also used of a tongue sticking to the mouth, pursuing or overtaking as in battle, and also clinging to God.

39 “Can you huntLXII the preyLXIII for the lion,LXIV

Notes on verse 39a

LXII “hunt” = tsud. 18x in OT. This is to hunt, to lie in wait in order to catch an animal. It can be used figuratively for capturing people.
LXIII “prey” = tereph. From taraph (to tear or pluck off into pieces, to rend or catch; to supply with food). This is something that is ton – spoil, prey, food, or some other fragment.
LXIV “lion” = labiy. 14x in OT. This is to roar – a lion or lioness as stout and fierce.

    or satisfyLXV the appetiteLXVI of the young lions,LXVII

Notes on verse 39b

LXV “satisfy” = male. This is fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate. It is fill in a literal or figurative sense.
LXVI “appetite” = chay. From chayah (to live or keep alive literally or figuratively). This is alive, living, lifetime. It can also be used to describe someone’s age. It can refer to animals, plants, water, or a company or congregation of people. It is life in a very broad sense.
LXVII “young lions” = kephir. Perhaps from kaphar (to appease, cover, pacify, cancel). This is a young lion – maybe in the sense that it has a mane covering.

40 when they crouchLXVIII in their dens,LXIX
    or lie in waitLXX in their covert?LXXI

Notes on verse 40

LXVIII “crouch” = shachach. This is to sink, bow down, bring low, be humbled, sing softly.
LXIX “dens” = meonah. Related to “answered” in v1. From maon (dwelling, den, haunt, retreat; can refer to the Tabernacle or Temple; can also be used for homes or animal lairs); from anah (see note II above) OR from the same as onah (marriage, living together, marital duty). This is a dwelling place or refuge. It can be used to describe God’s dwelling in Zion or a place where animals live.
LXX “lie in wait” = yashabereb. Yashab is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish. Ereb is 2x in OT. From arab (to ambush, lurk, lie in wait). This is a lair or a place from which one lies in wait.
LXXI “covert” = sukkah. From sok (lair, thicket, den, or hiding place; a den or pavilion as made of intertwined boughs); from sakak (to interweave, knit). This is a booth, canopy, shelter, tent, or tabernacle. This is also the “sukkah” from the Jewish holiday “sukkot,” which remembers the wilderness wanderings.

41 Who providesLXXII for the ravenLXXIII its prey,LXXIV

Notes on verse 41a

LXXII “provides” = kun. Properly, this means in a perpendicular position. So, it is set up in a literal sense – establish, fix, fasten, prepare. In a figurative sense, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous.
LXXIII “raven” = oreb. 10x in OT. Perhaps from arab (to grow dark, become gloomy); from ereb (evening, night, twilight) or from arab (to bargain, barter, give or take in pledge; to braid or intermingle). This is a raven.
LXXIV “prey” = tsayid. Related to “hunt” in v39. 17x in OT. From tsud (see note LXII above). This is hunting, catch, the chase. It can also refer to provisions or lunch for a journey.

    when its young onesLXXV cryLXXVI to God,LXXVII
    and wander aboutLXXVIII for lackLXXIX of food?LXXX

Notes on verse 41b

LXXV “young ones” = yeled. From yalad (to bear, bring forth; can mean to act as midwife or to show one’s lineage). This is something born – so, offspring, youth, fruit. It is the same word used in Isaiah 9:6 “for a child will be born to us.”
LXXVI “cry” = shava. This is crying or shouting aloud, generally seeking freedom from some kind of trouble.
LXXVII “God” = El. Related to “heavenly beings” in v7. See note XXXV above.
LXXVIII “wander about” = taah. This is to wander, deceive, seduce, vacillate. It is to stray in a literal or figurative sense.
LXXIX “lack” = beli. Same as “without” in v2. See note VIII above.
LXXX “food” = okel. From akal (to eat, devour, burn up, or otherwise consume; eating in a literal or figurative sense). This is food, supply of provisions, the act of eating, or the time when one eats.

Image credit: “African lion, Panthera leo at Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, South Africa” by Derek Keats, 2017.

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