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Bible Commentaries
Job 39

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-30



The Lord now turns Job's attention to animals not in the least aggressive, the wild goats and the deer. Indeed, rather than aggressive, they are elusive. Did Job understand all about them? - when they bear their young, how many months of gestation, etc. How much Job knew at the time we do not know, but even though there is more general knowledge of these things now, how many people know by practical experience with the animals themselves all about such matters? Why also do the young grow strong quickly, then leave their parents, not to return?

While man does not care for these animals, God does; and if God cares for these climbers of the rocks, how much more does He care for humans who have the adversity of difficulties that may seem insurmountable? Let Job consider this well.



The wild donkey is a totally different type of creature, found mainly in the plains or wilderness. Man just does not control the habits of this animal that is 'free as the breeze." Though living in "the barren land," he is somehow sustained by God in finding food. He avoids the tumult of the city and is not like the tame donkey that must obey the direction of a driver.

The lower ranges of the mountains (not the rocks) supply his pasture, where he may find green vegetation. Would men have even thought of creating an animal like this? But in some respects Job was like the wild donkey, - independent, rebellious, wanting his own way. Thus, he had another object lesson to consider.



The wild ox is understood to be a large antelope that is untameable. Can its will be subdued by men as domesticated cattle are, so that it willingly serves the authority of man? (v.9). Would it willingly lie down in a manger where cattle are quite content? Could Job make it to plod in a furrow, pulling a plough as oxen were taught to do? (v.10). The strength of the antelope was more than sufficient for this, but how could man make use of such strength? Could he trust such an animal to bring home grain from the field? (v.12). Of course the answer to all these questions is negative, but this serves to teach us that there is much diversity in God's creation that is beyond man to even understand, and to show up man's limitations in contrast to God's unlimited resources. Job was in need of lessons like this, as no doubt all mankind is.



The ostrich is another most interesting creature of God, - a bird, but not a flying bird, using its wings only to help it run at a fast rate. Also, unlike other birds, she makes no comfortable nest in which to lay her eggs, and to hide them from predators, but leaves them in the ground, warming them in the dust, in places where beasts or men may walk, not considering that these eggs are in danger of being easily broken (vv.14-15).

Also, she treats her young harshly, as though they were not hers (v.16). How unlike most mother birds or animals! Why is this so? "Because God deprived her of wisdom, and did not endow her with understanding" (v.17). Sad to say, some human mothers act like the ostrich in this matter, but it is abnormal. But Job was to learn from the ostrich that God does not do what man might naturally expect, nor does God need to give us His reasons. The speed of the ostrich also is amazing, far exceeding the speed of a horse (v.18). Why? Because God chose to make it this way.



The Lord now turns to consider the horse, a domesticated animal, having great strength and remarkably fearless, yet controlled by his rider. Had Job given such strength to this amazing creature? (v.19). Or could he frighten him? (v.20). It is a war horse particularly in this case, an animal that "gallops into the clash of arms" (v.21). He does not shy away from danger, but rushes right into it. Swordsmen opposing him do not slow him down (v.22). The spear and the javelin mean nothing to him, but the clash of arms seems only to increase his fierceness and rage (v.24). Though he is not a wild animal, when engaged in war, he seems to have the qualities of the wildest of animals. The sound of the trumpet does not stop him, but spurs him on (vv.24-25): as long as the noise and shouting of the battle continues, he continues his advance.

Again, this is another creature that man would not have thought of creating, specially any man who was a lover of peace, and Job is faced with this as another object lesson to tell him God is greater than Job.



The Lord here returns to consider two creatures that prey on others. Was it Job who decided the hawk should fly southward when winter approaches? (v.26). Of course scientists would say it is by instinct that birds migrate to a warmer climate. But polar bears, for instance, do not have this instinct, nor do penguins. Who gave this instinct to some birds? Only their Creator. It is certainly not lack of food that moves them, for they leave the northern areas even when food is plentiful. Jeremiah 8:7 speaks of some birds, "The stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming."

Job is told to consider the eagle too. Did Job command it to rise in flight to tremendous heights of the mountains? (vv.27-28). In fact, if man in being created, had never seen a bird, would it even enter his mind to create such a creature? From the highest heights the eagle observes its prey (v.29), having amazing eyes that see a small creature from the greatest distances and descends as rapidly as an arrow to catch its prey and bear it to its young ones in the nest.

Also, "where the slain are, there it is" (v.30). The horse has rushed into the battle, and the eagle follows to feast on the flesh of the fallen. How this reminds us of Revelation 19:17-18: "Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, 'Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great."' All this tells us that God has a means of carrying out His judgments, whether man understands it or not. Job was to learn from this that the One who made the eagle and its penetrating eyes, surely has eyes more keen than the eagle, and His judgments can be fully trusted.

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Job 39". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/job-39.html. 1897-1910.
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