Job 39


‘Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn? Do you count the months till they bear? Do you know the time they give birth? They crouch down and bring forth their young; their labour pains are ended. Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds; they leave and do not return. “Who let the wild donkey go free? Who untied its ropes? I gave it the wasteland as its home, the salt flats as its habitat. It laughs at the commotion in the town; it does not hear a driver’s shout. It ranges the hills for its pasture and searches for any green thing. “Will the wild ox consent to serve you? Will it stay by your manger at night? Can you hold it to the furrow with a harness? Will it till the valleys behind you? Will you rely on it for its great strength? Will you leave your heavy work to it? Can you trust it to haul in your grain and bring it to your threshing floor? “The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, though they cannot compare with the wings and feathers of the stork. She lays her eggs on the ground and lets them warm in the sand, unmindful that a foot may crush them, that some wild animal may trample them. She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers; she cares not that her labour was in vain, for God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense. Yet when she spreads her feathers to run, she laughs at horse and rider. “Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane? Do you make it leap like a locust, striking terror with its proud snorting? It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength, and charges into the fray. It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; it does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against its side, along with the flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement it eats up the ground; it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds. At the blast of the trumpet it snorts, ‘Aha!’ It catches the scent of battle from afar, the shout of commanders and the battle cry. “Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread its wings toward the south? Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high? It dwells on a cliff and stays there at night; a rocky crag is its stronghold. From there it looks for food; its eyes detect it from afar. Its young ones feast on blood, and where the slain are, there it is.” Job 39:1-30

The LORD Continues Speaking

In the previous chapter, we read that God declared several aspects of His creation, all designed to contrast the knowledge and power of God with the ignorance and weakness of man.

We mentioned that God has power over the following in the previous chapter.

1. The earth, Job 38:4-7.

2. The sea, Job 38:8-11.

3. The morning, Job 38:12-15.

4. The underworld, Job 38:16-18.

5. The light, Job 38:19-21.

6. The storms, Job 38:22-30.

7. The heavens, Job 38:31-33.

8. The clouds, Job 38:34-38.

We also noted that God has power over the animal kingdom, which we read about at the end of the previous chapter and in this chapter.

1. Lions, Job 38:39-41.

2. Mountain goats, Job 39:1-4.

3. The wild donkey, Job 39:5-8.

4. The wild ox, Job 39:9-12.

5. The ostrich, Job 39:13-18.

6. The horse, Job 39:19-25.

7. Birds, Job 39:26-30.

The examples of animal life that are given in this chapter illustrate the work of God in creation. In all these questions Job must see his ignorance, only God knows all these things.

All animals were created to be able to exist in the wild, and so, without the caring hand of man. From the very beginning that started with their creation, God instilled within all animal life behaviour that would be necessary for life to exist on the face of the earth.

God begins by speaking about the wild mountain goats and reminds Job of the arrangement of growth and maturity He had engineered for the natural order.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following, concerning the wild goats, Psalm 104:18 / 1 Samuel 24:2.

‘This animal is indigenous to Arabia, is of amazing strength and agility, and considerably larger than the common goat. Its horns are very long and often bend back over the whole body of the animal and it is said to throw itself from the tops of rocks or towers, and light upon its horns, without receiving any damage. It goes five months with young.’

The wild donkey is a passionate animal with a love for freedom, Genesis 16:12, and it hated civilisation. The Jews wrote poems envying the donkey and its freedom. The animal hasn’t escaped from man but has been released, God has set it free.

The wild ox, Psalm 29:6 / Isaiah 34:7, or unicorn, KJV, is a one-horned animal. They translated it this way because of the one-horned ox found in paintings in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. It must have been a strong powerful beast. There is a contrast made between the wild and the tame, this one doesn’t thresh the grain.

Verses 13-18 are missing in the Septuagint due to the difficulty in translating them. The KJV uses the word peacock but it should read ostrich. An ostrich lays its eggs in the sand and they take 42 days to incubate.

God illustrates the marvels of His creation by the seemingly foolish actions of the ostrich who would leave her eggs unprotected on the ground. But even though seemingly foolish by man, the ostrich has survived throughout history.

A horse is a powerful creature and in battle is ready with nervous energy. This type of horse a Bedlam Arab which people would pay anything for. It is a warhorse and it has no fear. Sight, sound or smell doesn’t make it run, it revels in action.

Man isn’t as strong as the horse, for the horse’s strength is manifested in his courage in the midst of the battle. Job is asked can he control such an animal. Not even this animal is under man’s control.

The eagle is the majestic bird of the air, it flies and lives higher than any other bird. They can spot prey nearly three miles away. It is the only bird that can look directly into the sun and not have its sight-impaired.

God challenges Job to determine why birds migrate to the south and why the eagle makes her nest in the high rocks. Job couldn’t give this animal its abilities, they were all given by God.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Long before mankind discovered such a thing as the telescope, both eagles and vultures were provided with telescopic vision, an ability most certainly mentioned here. In a similar manner, long before mankind had learned anything whatever about radar, the cave-dwelling bats were created by God with built-in radar systems enabling them to hunt and find and eat millions of insects at night!’

Go To Job 40