Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 4. Life. Septuagint also seem to understand this of God. (Calmet) — Job does not blame his friends for undertaking to approve the ways of Providence, but for condemning himself (St. Chrysostom) rashly, (Haydock) and, with an air of haughtiness, endeavouring to restrain him from pleading his cause before the divine tribunal. (Menochius) — Hebrew, “Whose spirit came from thee?” (Protestants) (Haydock) Did I receive my life, or do I seek advice from thee? (Calmet) — God stood in no need of Baldad’s wisdom (Worthington) no more than Job. (Haydock)
Ver. 5. With them. The less and greater fishes, (Menochius) or rather the giants and others who were buried in the waters of the deluge, and are confined in the dungeons of hell. The poets speak in the same manner.
“Hic genus antiquum terræ, Titania pubes,
Fulmine dejecti fundo voluntur in imo.
—–Aliis sub gurgite vasto,
Infectum eluitur scelus aut exuritur igni.” (Virgil, Æneid vi.)
— Homer (Iliad viii.) and Hesiod (Theog.) place the giants at the extremity of the earth, in the utmost darkness. See also Proverbs ix. 18., and Isaias xiv. 9. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. Hell. The grave. — Destruction. Hebrew abaddon. (Haydock) — St. John (Apocalypse ix. 11.) styles the bottomless abyss; (Calmet) or its angel, (Haydock) Abaddon, or Apollyon. It may here be called destruction, (Calmet) as all its victims are lost for ever to every thing that is good. The obscurity of the grave, and even that of hell, can hide nothing from God.
Ver. 7. North pole, which alone was visible in Idumea, and continued unmoved, while all the stars performed their revolutions. (Calmet) — Nothing. Terra, pilæ similis, nullo fulcimine nixa. (Ovid, Fast, vi.) (Calmet) — All tends to the centre, (Menochius) by the laws of attraction. (Newton, &c.) (Haydock)
Ver. 8. Clouds, as in a vessel or garment, Proverbs xxx. 4.
Ver. 9. Over it. The firmament, with all its beauty, is but like a cloud, to conceal from our feeble eyes the splendor of God’s throne.
Ver. 10. End. Till the end of the world, the ocean will respect these limits. (Haydock) — The ancients looked upon it as a continual miracle that the world was not deluged, as the waters are higher than the earth, Jeremias v. 22., and Amos v. 8. (St. Basil and St. Ambrose, Hexem.) (Cicero, Nat. ii.) — Philosophers have explained this phenomenon. But it is still certain that the power and wisdom of God preserve the equilibrium, without which all would return to the ancient chaos. (Calmet)
Ver. 11. Heaven. The mountains are so styled by Pindar; and the poets represent them supporting the heavens. Totum ferre potest humeris minitantibus orbem. (Petronius) — Yet others understand that power which keeps all things together, (Calmet) or the angels, to whose rule the ancients attributed the celestial bodies. (St. Gregory; Ven. Bede, &c.)
Ver. 12. Together, at the beginning, Genesis i. 9. Hebrew, “By his strength he has divided the sea; and by his wisdom he has pierced the proud, or Egypt.” Rahab, (Haydock) or Rachab, is often put for Egypt; (Psalm lxxxviii. 11.) and all would naturally have concluded that the fall of Pharao was pointed at, if it had not been supposed that Job lived before that event. That is, however, dubious. Isaias (li. 9.) uses the same terms in describing the fall of this tyrant. (Calmet) — Yet the Septuagint translate, “the whale,” (Haydock) or some sea monster, which God holds in subjection, (Pineda) like the weakest creature. (Haydock) — The foaming billows (Menochius) are likewise subject to his control. (Haydock)
Ver. 13. Heavens, with stars, &c., Psalm xxxii. 6., and Wisdom i. 7. God also sends winds to disperse the clouds, that the heavens may appear. (Calmet) — Artful, (obstetricante) “being the midwife.” The least things are ruled by Providence. (Worthington) — Serpent; a constellation, lightning, the devil, or rather the leviathan, Isaias xxvii. 1. (Drusius) (Calmet) — Septuagint, “by his decree, he killed the apostate dragon.” (Haydock) — But there is no need of having recourse to allegory. (Calmet)
Ver. 14. Drop. This comparison is often applied to speech, Deuteronomy xxxii. 2., and Isaias lv. 10. If the little that we know of God’s works give us such an exalted idea of his greatness, what should we think if we could fully comprehend his mysteries? (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Job declares his sentiments of the wisdom and power of God.
1 Then Job answered, and said:
2 Whose helper art thou? is it of him that is weak? and dost thou hold up the arm of him that has no strength?
3 To whom hast thou given counsel? perhaps to him that hath no wisdom, and thou hast shewn thy very great prudence.
4 Whom hast thou desired to teach? was it not him that made life?
5 Behold the giants groan under the waters, and they that dwell with them.
6 Hell is naked before him, and there is no covering for destruction.
7 He stretched out the north over the empty space, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.
8 He bindeth up the waters in his clouds, so that they break not out and fall down together.
9 He withholdeth the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud over it.
10 He hath set bounds about the waters, till light and darkness come to an end.
11 The pillars of heaven tremble, and dread at his beck.
12 By his power the seas are suddenly gathered together, and his wisdom has struck the proud one.
13 His spirit hath adorned the heavens, and his artful hand hath brought forth the winding serpent.
14 Lo, these things are said in part of his ways: and seeing we have heard scarce a little drop of his word; who shall be able to behold the thunder of his greatness?