Job 26:5. Dead things, הרפאים ha-raphaim, the raphaim are formed from under the waters. SCHULTENS reads, Manes orcinorum intremiscunt, de subter aquis, et la habitatores eorum. The manes of the dead tremble or howl beneath the waters, with their inhabitants; that is, the fallen angels, who inhabit those abodes of horror. Job’s allusion is to the antediluvian giants, the impious scoffers at the ark in the days of Noah. So is the running gloss of the rabbins, and of the christian fathers. The word “raphaim” determines the sense. We find it put for hell, Proverbs 2:18; Proverbs 9:18. Isaiah 14:9.
The critics admit the poets here, as collateral evidence. Homer, in his Odyssey, book 12., represents the Syrens as alluring the mariners to the rocks of shipwreck and death. They are described to us as women in their superior formation, and as fishes in their posterior, with wings. They are daughters of the river Acheloiis; and had their residence on the Pelorian promontory in the Isle of Sicily.
Rapidis Acheloïdes alis Sublatae, Siculi latus obsedere Pelori. CLAUDIAN 50. 3. 5:254.
Bochart derives their name from sir, which designates song. Ulysses escaped the charms of the Syrens, by lying down on a mat, and closing his ears, and the ears of his companions with cakes of wax; and at the same time he tied up the helm so as to make the vessel steer the opposite way. To this idea we add, that the noise of the breakers on the rocks Sylla are compared to the yawning caverns of Erebus, and the howlings of a lion’s whelp, bereft of his dam, exciting terror even to the gods.
Virgil also, in the sixth book of the Æneid, represents the giants, the children or young brood of Titania, as hurled down from the earth by the thunderbolts of Jove, and involved in the depths of hell.
Hic genus antiquum terræ, Titania pubes, Fulmine dejecti, fundo voluntur in imo.
Job 26:8. He bindeth up the waters, by the laws of gravity, which with the exactest precision sport their tides on the shores. He elevates the vapours in vesicles, which water the plains, and descend on the mountain ranges in copious showers. This beautiful figure is frequently referred to in the sacred writings. Psalms 33:7. Proverbs 30:4.
Job 26:11. The pillars of heaven tremble, by subterranean convulsions, by hurricanes and thunder in the air.
Job 26:12. He divideth the sea. Genesis 1:7-9. The passage of the Hebrews through the red sea, was posterior to the time of Job.
Job 26:13. He hath garnished the heavens, with suns and stars, and formed the crooked serpent. The zodiac is described in chap. 9.; but the serpent in our modern celestial globes is not thought to be referred to here. Most critics think that the milky way is here intended, being an irregular extension of light in the starry heavens, pointing towards the south west. In this luminous tract, our planetary discoveries have mostly been made.
Job, like the palmtree, rises the more after depression. He opens his reply to Bildad with all the superiority of majestic satire. Thou art deficient in describing the grandeur of God. He reigns not in heaven alone, but also in hell. There he binds the rebel giants in chains of darkness. He has formed all the shining spheres, which revolve, and illuminate the vast expanse, and holds them in the hollow of his hand. He balances the earth on her pole to give day and night, and to change the seasons of the year. He walks through the viâ lacte, treading the trackless paths of light. Lo, these are but a small part of his ways.—Lord, what then is man, that thou art mindful of him; or the son of man that thou shouldest visit him!
While Thee, all infinite, I set
By faith before my ravished eye,
My weakness bends beneath the weight,
O’erpowered I sink, I faint, I die. C. WESLEY.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 26". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany