Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 36:33

"Its noise declares His presence; The cattle also, concerning what is coming up.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Meteorology and Celestial Phenomena;   The Topic Concordance - God;  
Dictionaries:
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Testimony;   Holman Bible Dictionary - God;   Job, the Book of;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Elihu;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Noise;   Vapor;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The noise thereof showeth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapor - I think this translation very unhappy. I shall give each hemistich in the original: -

רעו עליו יגיד

Yaggid alaiv reo

עולה על אף מקנה

Mikneh aph al oleh .

I think this may be translated without any violence to any word in the text: -

Its loud noise (or his thunder) shall proclaim concerning him;

A magazine of wrath against iniquity.

This is literal, and gives, in my opinion, a proper meaning of the passage, and one in strict connection with the context. And it is worthy of remark that every wicked man trembles at the noise of thunder and the flash of lightning, and considers this a treasury of Divine wrath, emphatically called among us the artillery of the skies; and whenever the noise is heard, it is considered the voice of God. Thus the thunder declares concerning him. The next chapter, which is a continuation of the subject here, confirms and illustrates this meaning. For יגיד yaggid, Houbigant reads יניד yanid ; and for מקנה mikneh, מקנאת mikkinath ; and translates thus: "He agitates with himself his thunder, from the indignation of his wrath against iniquity."

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 36:33". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-36.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The noise thereof showeth concerning it - The word “noise” here has been inserted by our translators as a version of the Hebrew word (רעו rê‛ô ), and if the translators attached any idea to the language which they have used, it seems to have been that the noise attending the lightning, that is, the thunder, furnished an illustration of the power and majesty of God. But it is not possible to educe this idea from the original, and perhaps it is not possible to determine the sense of the passage. Herder renders it, “He pointeth out to them the wicked.” Prof. Lee, “By it he announceth his will.” Umbreit, “He makes known to it his friend;” that is, he points out his friend to the light, so that it may serve for the happiness of that friend. Noyes, “He uttereth to him his voice; to the herds and the plants.” Rosenmuller,” He announces what he has decreed against people, and the flocks which the earth has produced.”

Many other expositions have been proposed, and there is no reasonable ground of hope that an interpretation will be arrived at which will be free from all difficulty. The principal difficulty in this part of the verse arises from the word רעו rê‛ô rendered in our version, “The noise thereof.” This may be from רוע rûa‛ and may mean a noise, or outcry, and so it is rendered here by Gesenius, “He makes known to him his thunder, that is, to man, or to his enemies.” Or the word may mean “his friend,” as the word רע rêa‛ is often used; Job 2:11; Job 19:21; Proverbs 27:17; Hosea 3:1. Or it may denote “will, thought, desire;” Psalm 139:2, Psalm 139:17. A choice must be made between these different meanings according to the view entertained of the scope of the passage. To me it seems that the word ““friend”” will better suit the connection than anyone of the other interpretations proposed. According to this, the idea is, that God points out “his friends” to the lightning which he holds in his hand, and bids it spare them. He has entire control of it, and can direct it where he pleases, and instead of sending it forth to work indiscriminate destruction, he carefully designates those on whom he wishes it to strike, but bids it spare his friends.

The cattle also concerning the vapour - Margin, “that which goeth up.” What idea the translators attached to this phrase it is impossible now to know, and the probability is, that being conscious of utter inability to give any meaning to the passage, they endeavored to translate the “words” of the original as literally as possible. Coverdale evidently felt the same perplexity, for he renders it, “The rising up thereof showeth he to his friends and to the cattle.” Indeed almost every translator and expositor has had the same difficulty, and each one has proposed a version of his own. Aa examination of the “words” employed is the only hope of arriving at any satisfactory view of the passage. The word rendered “cattle” (מקנה miqneh ), means properly:

(1) expectation, hope, confidence; Ezekiel 28:26; Ezra 10:2;

(2) a gathering together, a collection, as

(a) of waters, Genesis 1:10; Exodus 7:19,

(b) a gathering together, a collection, or company of people, horses, etc. - a caravan. So it may possibly mean in 1 Kings 10:28, where interpreters have greatly differed.

The word “cattle,” therefore, by no means expresses its usual signification. That would be better expressed by “gathering, collecting,” or “assembling.” The word rendered also (אף 'aph ), denotes:

(1) also, even, more, besides, etc., and

(2) “the nose,” and then “anger” - from the effect of anger in producing hard breathing, Proverbs 22:24; Deuteronomy 32:22; Deuteronomy 29:20.

Here it may be rendered, without impropriety, “anger,” and then the phrase will mean, “the collecting, or gathering together of anger.” The word rendered “vapour” (עולה ‛ovelâh - if from עלה ‛âlâh ), means that which “ascends,” and would then mean anything that ascends - as smoke, vapor; or as Rosenmuller supposes, what “ascends” or “grows” from the ground - that is, plants and vegetables, And so Umbreit, “das Gewachs” - “plants of any kind.” Note. But with a slight variation in the pointing עולה ‛ovelâh - instead of עולה ‛oleh ), the word means “evil, wickedness, iniquity” - from our word “evil;” Job 24:20; Job 6:29; Job 11:14; Job 13:7; and it may, without impropriety, be regarded as having this signification here, as the points have no authority. The meaning of the whole phrase then will be, “the gathering, or collecting of his wrath is upon evil, that is, upon the wicked;” and the sense is, that while, on the one hand, God, who holds the lightning in his hands, points out to it his friends, so that they are spared; on the other hand the gathering together, or the condensation, of his wrath is upon the evil. That is, the lightnings - so vivid, so mighty, and apparently so wholly beyond law or control, are under his direction, and he makes them the means of executing his pleasure. His friends are spared; and the condensation of his wrath is on his foes. This exposition of the passage accords with the general scope of the remarks of Elihu, and this view of the manner in which God controls even the lightning, was one that was adapted to fill the mind with exalted conceptions of the majesty and power of the Most High.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 36:33". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-36.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The noise thereof showeth concerning it,.... The rain, that it is coming; it is a presage and prognostic of it, namely, the noise of the clouds in the air, the sound of abundance of rain there; or the noise of the winds, which is often a forerunner of it: or the noise of thunder when rain frequently follows, Jeremiah 10:13;

the cattle also concerning the vapour; that is, the cattle likewise show signs of rain, being sensible of the vapours which rise up out of the earth, and are drawn up into the air and form clouds there; these, through their sharp sight, discern the vapours rising out of the earth insensible by men; or by their quick smellF16Vid. Democrit. Fragment. & Rendtorf. Not. in ib. apud Fabritii Bibliothec. Gr. l. 4. c. 29. p. 338, 362. or taste discern them, these leaving some tincture upon the grass they are feeding on; and which occasion some motions and gestures in them by which husbandmen, and those that are accustomed to them, know that the rain is at hand: and there are various things observable in brutes, fowls, and cattle, and other creatures, which are signs of approaching rain; as the cawing of crows, the croaking of frogs, the flying about of cranes and swallows, the motion of ants, the retire of cattle to places of shelter, and the like; Aben Ezra observes that sheep lying on their right side portends rain; the above things with others are most beautifully expressed by VirgilF17"Aut illum surgentem vallibus imis", c. Georgic, l. 1. v. 374, &c. Bacon's Nat. Hist. cent. 9. p. 208. and which with many others are collected together by PlinyF18Nat. Hist. l. 18. c. 35. Vid. Democrit. Fragm. ut supra, p. 335, 358, 362, 366. ; and though there are various interpretations given of this passage, this seems to be the most agreeable, and which suits with our version; unless the following, which I only propose, should be more eligible, "he", that is, God, "by it", the rain, "declares his good will" to men, likewise to "the cattle, and also towards what rises up" out of the earth, the herbs and plants; all which receive much benefit by the clouds and rain.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 36:33". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-36.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

a The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.

(a) The cold vapour shows him: that is, the cloud of the hot exhalation, which being taken in the cold cloud mounts up toward the place where the fire is, and so anger is engendered; that is, noise and thunderclaps.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 36:33". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-36.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

noise — rather, He revealeth it (literally, “announceth concerning it”) to His friend (antithesis to adversary, Job 36:32, so the Hebrew is translated, Job 2:11); also to cattle and plants (literally, “that which shooteth up”; Genesis 40:10; Genesis 41:22). As the genial effect of “water” in the growth of food, is mentioned, Job 36:31, so here that of “light” in cherishing cattle and plants [Umbreit]. If English Version, “noise” be retained, translate, “His noise (thunder) announces concerning Him (His coming in the tempest), the cattle (to announce) concerning Him when He is in the act of rising up” (in the storm). Some animals give various intimations that they are sensible of the approach of a storm [Virgil, Georgics, I.373, etc.].

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 36:33". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-36.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.

The noise — The thunder gives notice of the approaching rain.

Also — And as the thunder, so also the cattle sheweth, concerning the vapour, concerning the coming of the rain, by a strange instinct, seeking for shelter, when a change of weather is near.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 36:33". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-36.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 36:33 The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.

Ver. 33. The noise thereof sheweth concerning it] The hurrying noise made in the air before a shower of rain foreshoweth it to be at hand.

The cattle also concerning the vapour] Heb. concerning that which goeth up. Hogs, sheep, oxen, &c., have a better scence of smell than men; and can perceive the vapours going up to cause rain before men can see or feel them. Hence shepherds and herdsmen gather prognostics of rain, and are so weather wise, as we call it. Aben-Ezra noteth, that sheep lying on the right side foresignify foul weather, Ad dextram cubantes oves pluviam portendunt (Merlin). See Virgil, Georg. l. i., and Pliny Nat. Hist. l. xviii. c. 35. Some render this verse (than which there is not a harder in all the book, saith Mercer), thus, Declaring toward him (who intercedeth) his good will toward the cattle, and also toward the increase of the earth.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 36:33". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-36.html. 1865-1868.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

REFLECTIONS

READER, let our improvement, from the perusal of this chapter, be to remark, that the glory of GOD is the great end of man; and by whatever method or way that glory can be exalted, the faith of GOD'S people is to pursue that way, and studiously to desire that purpose. This was and is the great end of all creation. Hence the hymn in heaven: Thou art worthy, O LORD, to receive glory and honour and power for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. And the same was and is the great purpose and end of redemption, that GOD in all things may be glorified in JESUS CHRIST. Hence the song among the redeemed in glory is to the same effect: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, and wisdom and strength, and honour and glory, and blessing. It matters not what becomes of such poor, trifling, empty, and sinful creatures as we are, if GOD'S glory can be but the more advanced. And hence, Reader, what a sweet thought is it, that, as by the glorious person and work of the LORD JESUS, more glory results to JEHOVAH than his justice could have received, had it taken vengeance upon our sins, by banishing our whole race from his presence to all eternity; so receiving us in him, and blessing us in him, and making us everlastingly happy in him; this gives all the glory where alone that glory is due. Both the blessings of creation and redemption are then seen to be the result of infinite wisdom, and love, and power; and to open a revenue of praise and glory to the one blessed and eternal JEHOVAH forevermore.

One thought more, Reader, on this beautiful discourse of Elihu's before we dose the chapter. Let us both seek grace from that Almighty SPIRIT who thus taught Elihu how to form so just a conclusion of the divine dispensations, that we may also mark for our own exercise, the gracious design of our Covenant GOD in CHRIST, in everyone that concerns ourselves. Are we exalted in circumstances? See then that JESUS is in everyone of them. Are we depressed in trials? Where is the LORD JESUS to sanctify them? Do we hear his voice, can we trace his steps, mark his hand? Oh! how blessed it is when we are enabled to discover him, as the Alpha and Omega, the sum and substance of all our joy, the soother and softener of all our sorrow. Oh! thou dear Redeemer! cause me to eye thee, in my highest enjoyments; giving the finishing relish to all. Oh! grant my dearest LORD, that I may never be so taken up with any of thy gifts, how precious soever they may be in themselves, so as to overlook, or shut out of my remembrance, the Giver. But, oh! let thy fulness, thy beauty, thy glory, be ever uppermost in my view. And if it pleaseth thy wisdom to exercise me with afflictions, yet dearest LORD, if thou art beheld by me, as near to help, when my depressed soul be most in need, then shall I be enabled to esteem that affliction, that brings thee nearer to my view, as more blessed than the highest prosperity without thee. Yes, thou adored Redeemer! be thou all in all, and then in all things thou wilt be my joy, my consolation, my hope, my portion, in grace here, and in glory hereafter. Amen.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 36:33". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/job-36.html. 1828.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The noise thereof, to wit. of or within the black or thick cloud, spoken of Job 36:32. Or, his, i.e. God’s, noise, to wit, the thunder, which is called God’s voice, Psalms 29:4,5.

Showeth concerning it, to wit, the rain, which is the principal subject of these verses, of which he speaketh expressly Job 36:27,28; and of its companions, the clouds, and thunder and lightning, in all the following verses. The sense is, The thunder gives notice of the approaching rain. And as the thunder, so also the cattle, showeth (which verb is, understood out of the foregoing clause, after the manner) concerning the vapour, i.e. concerning the coming of the rain; but he puts vapour for the rain, because divers cattle are very sagacious in this matter, and do not only perceive the rain when it is ready to fall, but foresee it at some distance by the vapours, which are drawn up by the sun in great abundance, and by divers motions and actions, give men timely notice of it, as hath been observed not only by husbandmen, but also by learned authors.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 36:33". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-36.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

33.The noise thereof’ the vapour — This is one of the most difficult passages in the Bible, on account of the ambiguity of every important word. Of the discordant readings, that of Ewald is now generally accepted: — “His thunder announces Him; the cattle even, that he is approaching;” literally, on the march. Some see in the allusion to cattle the instinctive apprehension which the brute manifests at the approach of a storm, as both Virgil and Pliny had observed, (Georg., 1:374; Nat. Hist., 18:87, 88.) The reading of Dillmann, Hitzig, etc., who for the most part follow Symmachus, is not so well sustained, to wit: “His alarm-cry announces concerning him, making wrath to rage against iniquity;” essential to which is a change in the pointing of to , “against iniquity.” The former of these Hebraic words — the accepted pointing of our text — we would prefer, and read as above “concerning Him who is coming upward,” that is, that “He is approaching.” Conant renders the second clause of the verse, — “to the herds, even of Him who is on high; making (which others, as above, render “wrath”) the object rather than the subject of the verb. In explanation of these comments, the reader may here be reminded that the vowel points form no part of the original Hebrew text, but were first introduced about the seventh century of the Christian era, and since the completion of the Talmud. For lengthened comment on the verse, the reader is referred to either Schultens, Dillmann or Conant.

 

 

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 36:33". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-36.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

To it. The tabernacle of God is designed for his friends. Hebrew is very obscure. "Thunder announces the rain, and the very animals know it;" (Virgil describes their signs, Geor. i.) or "His thunder announces from above the clouds his wrath to men." (Calmet) --- "The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour."

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 36:33". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-36.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Thunder, the noise associated with lightning announces the fact that there is a God, and even cattle are aware of an approaching storm and are stirred by it.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 36:33". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-36.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

sheweth = announceth.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 36:33". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-36.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.

Noise - `He revealeth it (literally, announceth concerning it) to His friend (antithesis to adversary, Job 36:32 : so the Hebrew [ ree`ow (Hebrew #7452), from reea` (Hebrew #7453), a friend] is translated, Job 2:11): also to cattle and plants' (literally, that which shooteth up; Genesis 40:10; Genesis 41:22). As the genial effect of "water" in the growth of food is mentioned in Job 36:31, so here that of "light" in cherishing cattle and plants (Umbreit).The English version may be in the main retained, translating, 'His noise (thunder) announces concerning Him (His coming in the tempest); the cattle (too announce) concerning Him when He is in the act of rising up' (in the storm) [reea`], properly tumult, from raa`a` (Hebrew #7489), to le tumultuous: hence, the thunder-peal] (Maurer). Some animals give various intimations that they are sensible of the approach of a storm, (Virgil's 'Georgics,' 1: 373, etc.)

Remarks:

(1) In order to comprehend God's dealings at all, we must set out with the principle that God's ways must be all righteous, simply because they emanate from God. We must not, like Job, for a moment, call in question His justice, but, with Elihu, "ascribe righteousness to our Maker" (Job 36:3). (2) His omnipotent "might" and "understanding" are shown not merely in His more stupendous works, but in His regarding with fatherly love and providential care the very humblest of His creatures. He searches out accurately the most minute objects, so as to withhold from none their right (Job 36:6).

Thou art as much His care as if, beside, Not man or angel lived in heaven or earth: Thus sunbeams pour alike a glorious tide To light up worlds or wake an insect's mirth.

(3) Whatever unbelief may whisper to the contrary, "God never withdraws His eyes from the righteous" (Job 36:7). It is true, they are at times, afflicted; but it is an utter mistake, either, with Job's friends, to infer from this that the religion of the sufferer was mere hypocrisy, or, with Job, to infer that, as the sufferer was consciously sincere, God neglects the pious man, and is indifferent whether men are godly or not (Job 36:8). Nay, the true reason is, God disciplines His people with chastisements, in order to make sin exceeding sinful to them, and to teach them more entire self-abasement at the remembrance of their own vileness, however respectable they be in outward act and sincere in their worship of God (Job 36:9-10). Whenever this blessed end is attained, and they meekly submit to Him, He withdraws the rod, and grants them outward prosperity (Job 36:11; Job 36:15-16).

(4) But if, instead of humble submission and acceptance of God's chastening, they cherish angry feelings against Him that striketh them, and will not cry to Him for His loving mercy to interpose in their behalf unworthy though they be, they are in danger of being given up to final destruction, from which no riches or largeness of resources can "ransom" them (Job 36:17-20). Even the redemption accomplished by Christ can be of no avail to hardened reprobates and scorners.

(5) Men in suffering often pant for death as a relief, when they are in a state unfit for dying (Job 36:20). Bad as may be the condition of the unhumbled and impenitent here, it is infinitely preferable to that which awaits them beyond the grave. It is, therefore, the worst kind of suicidal folly for any unbeliever to desire it. Rather let him cease from iniquity (Job 36:21) and rebellion against God's ways.

(6) To choose vain and sinful complaints against God, as a kind of alleviation of one's pain, rather than to learn the lesson of meek submission and penitent confession of having deserved it by sin is a wretched choice to make (Job 36:21): for it is adding to sorrow sin, which alone can lastingly hurt us. Our wisest course is, instead of presuming to be "teachers of God, and enjoining Him His way" (Job 36:22-23), we should "magnify His work" (Job 36:24). What we see of God's doings may assure us that what we do not see, as being beyond the reach of our finite faculties, is altogether in accordance with perfect beneficence and justice. It is true, we get but a glimpse, and from "afar off" (Job 36:25), of even the small portion of His works which we do see. But even this glimpse is enough to show how unsearchable is His infinite perfection of nature and operations (Job 36:26-30). The works of nature which come under our cognizance in a great measure display His power, exercised on the one hand in judgment against His foes, on the other in blessings on His servants (Job 36:31-33).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 36:33". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-36.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(33) The noise thereof sheweth concerning it.—This verse is extremely difficult, and the sense very uncertain. We may translate the first clause, “The noise thereof (i.e., the crash of the thunder) declareth concerning Him:” it is His voice, and speaks of Him; but the last clause is almost unintelligible. The words as they stand mean, or may mean, cattle even concerning a goer up; but what this means who shall say? Possibly, the thunder-crash telleth the cattle even concerning Him who goeth up: i.e., even the cattle show, by their terror, that the thunder speaketh to them of God, who goeth up on high. (See Psalms 29:9; Psalms 68:4; Psalms 68:18; Psalms 47:5.) Some render the last clause, “The cattle also concerning Him as He riseth up;” or, “The cattle also concerning the rising storm.” There can be no doubt but that the general meaning is that all nature participateth in the terror caused by the thunder, which is regarded as the audible voice of God; but what the exact expression of this general thought may be it is very hard to say.

There should he no break between this chapter and the next.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 36:33". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-36.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.
noise
29; 37:2; 2 Samuel 22:14; 1 Kings 18:41-45
the cattle
Jeremiah 14:4-6; Joel 1:18; 2:22
the vapour
Heb. that which goeth up.
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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 36:33". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-36.html.