Job 38:39 Commentary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
39, 40. The lion.
wilt thou hunt ] Rather, dost thou hunt the prey for the lioness? That the lioness is enabled to catch her prey is due to some power which brings it into her hand. Is it Job, perhaps, that finds it for her?
The instances chosen are the lion and the raven ( Job 38:39-41); the wild goats and the hinds (ch. Job 39:1-4); the wild ass ( Job 38:5-8; the wild ox ( Job 38:9-12); the ostrich ( Job 38:13-18); the war horse ( Job 38:19-25); the hawk and the eagle ( Job 38:26-30).
These brilliant pictures from the animal world have the same purpose as those given before ( Job 38:4-38) from inanimate nature; they make God to pass before the eye of Job. They exhibit the diversity of the animal creation, the strange dissimilarity of instinct and habit in creatures outwardly similar, the singular blending together of contradictory characteristics in the same creature, and the astonishing attributes and powers with which some of them are endowed; and all combines to illustrate the resources of mind and breadth of thought of Him who formed them and cares for them, the manifold play of an immeasurable intelligence and power in the world.
Yet though each of these pictures utters the name of God with an increasing emphasis, and though the Poet presents them in the first instance that we may hear this name from them, it is evident that his own eye follows each of the creatures which he describes with a delighted wonder and love. The Poet felt like a later poet,
He prayeth best who loveth best all things both great and small,
For the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all.
The words of Carlyle might be quoted, who says of the Book of Job and of these descriptions in particular, “so true every way; true eyesight and vision for all things; material things no less than spiritual” ( Heroes, Lect. ii), were it not that this writer’s raptures are so often founded on intellectual mistake and imperfect appreciation of facts, and are therefore, like all such ideal raptures, only nauseous.
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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".