Job 38:27
To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
38:25-41 Hitherto God had put questions to Job to show him his ignorance; now God shows his weakness. As it is but little that he knows, he ought not to arraign the Divine counsels; it is but little he can do, therefore he ought not to oppose the ways of Providence. See the all-sufficiency of the Divine Providence; it has wherewithal to satisfy the desire of every living thing. And he that takes care of the young ravens, certainly will not be wanting to his people. This being but one instance of the Divine compassion out of many, gives us occasion to think how much good our God does, every day, beyond what we are aware of. Every view we take of his infinite perfections, should remind us of his right to our love, the evil of sinning against him, and our need of his mercy and salvation.To satisfy the desolate and waste ground - As if it lifted an imploring voice to God, and he sent down the rain to satisfy it. The desert is thus like a thirsty pilgrim. It is parched, and thirsty, and sad, and it appeals to God, and he meets its needs, and satisfies it.

Or to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth - In the desert. There God works alone. No man is there to cultivate the extended wilds, and yet an unseen agency is going forward. The grass springs up; the bud opens; the leaf expands; the flowers breathe forth their fragrance as if they were under the most careful cultivation. All this must be the work of God, since it cannot even be pretended that man is there to produce these effects. Perhaps one would be more deeply impressed with a sense of the presence of God in the pathless desert, or on the boundless prairie, where no man is, than in the most splendid park, or the most tastefully cultivated garden which man could make. In the one case, the hand of God alone is seen; in the other, we are constantly admiring the skill of man.

27. As though the desolate ground thirsted for God's showers. Personification. The beauty imparted to the uninhabited desert pleases God, for whom primarily all things exist, and He has ulterior designs in it. To satisfy, by raining, not sparingly, but liberally and abundantly upon it.

To cause the bud of the tender herb to springforth; there being many excellent and useful herbs found in desert places, which otherwise would be utterly neglected and despised.

To satisfy the desolate and waste ground,.... Which is exceeding desolate, and therefore two such words are used to express it; which is so dry and thirsty that it is one of the four things that say not it is enough, Proverbs 30:16; and yet God can and does give it rain to its full satisfaction, Psalm 104:13; so the Lord satisfies souls, comparable to dry and thirsty ground, by his word and ordinances, with the goodness and fatness of his house; see Psalm 63:1;

and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth? grass for the cattle, and herb for the service of men, Psalm 104:14; of like use is the word in a spiritual sense for the budding and increase of the graces of the Spirit in the Lord's people; see Deuteronomy 32:2.

To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 27. - To satisfy the desolate and waste ground. Parched ground seems to cry aloud for water, and so to make a piteous appeal to Heaven. Perhaps rain is not wholly wasted, even on the bare sands of the Sahara, or the rugged rocks of Tierra del Fuego. It may have uses which are beyond our cognizance. And to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth. Where the rain produces herbage, it is certainly of use, for wherever there is herbage there are always insects, whose enjoyment of life has every appearance of being intense. Job 38:2722 Hast thou reached the treasures of the snow,

And didst thou see the treasures of the hail,

23 Which I have reserved for a time of trouble,

For the day of battle and war?

24 Which is the way where the light is divided,

Where the east wind is scattered over the earth?

25 Who divideth a course for the rain-flood

And the way of the lightning of thunder,

26 That it raineth on the land where no one dwelleth,

On the tenantless steppe,

27 To satisfy the desolate and the waste,

And to cause the tender shoot of the grass to spring forth?

The idea in Job 38:22 is not that - as for instance the peasants of Menn, four hours' journey from Damascus, garner up the winter snow in a cleft of the rock, in order to convey it to Damascus and the towns of the coast in the hot months - God treasures up the snow and hail above to cause it to descend according to opportunity. אצרות (comp. Psalm 135:7) are the final causes of these phenomena which God has created - the form of the question, the design of which (which must not be forgotten) is ethical, not scientific, is regulated according to the infancy of the perception of natural phenomena among the ancients; but at the same time in accordance with the poet's task, and even, as here, in the choice of the agents of destruction, not merely hail, but also snow, according to the scene of the incident. Wetzstein has in his possession a writing of Muhammed el-Chatb el-Bosrwi, in which he describes a fearful fall of snow in Hauran, by which, in February 1860, innumerable herds of sheep, goats, and camels, and also many human beings perished.

(Note: Since the Hauranites say of snow as of fire: jahrik, it burns (brlant in French is also used of extreme cold), Job 1:16 might also be understood of a fall of snow; but the tenor of the words there requires it to be understood of actual fire.)

continued...

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