Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Knowest thou the time when the wild goats of the rock bring forth? or canst thou mark when the hinds do calve?
Canst thou number the months that they fulfil? or knowest thou the time when they bring forth?
They bow themselves, they bring forth their young ones, they cast out their sorrows.
Their young ones are in good liking, they grow up with corn; they go forth, and return not unto them.
39:4 Young ones - Notwithstanding their great weakness caused by their hard entrance into the world. Grow up - As with corn, that is, as if they were fed with corn. Go forth - Finding sufficient provisions abroad by the care of God's providence.
Who hath sent out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass?
39:5 Sent - Who hath given him this disposition that he loves freedom, and hates that subjection which other creatures quietly endure? Loosed - Who keeps him from receiving the bands, and submitting to the service of man.
Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his dwellings.
He scorneth the multitude of the city, neither regardeth he the crying of the driver.
39:7 Scorneth - He feareth them not when they pursue him, because he is swift, and can easily escape them. Driver - He will not be brought to receive his yoke, nor to do his drudgery.
The range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searcheth after every green thing.
39:8 Mountains - He prefers that mean provision with his freedom, before the fattest pastures with servitude.
Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib?
39:9 Unicorn - It is disputed whether this be the Rhinoceros; or a kind of wild bull.
Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee?
Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? or wilt thou leave thy labour to him?
Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn?
Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?
Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust,
And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them.
She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers: her labour is in vain without fear;
39:16 Her labour - In laying her eggs is in vain, because she hath not the fear and tender concern for them, which she should have.
Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding.
39:17 Deprived - Because God hath not implanted in her that instinct, and affection, which he hath put into other birds and beasts toward their young.
What time she lifteth up herself on high, she scorneth the horse and his rider.
39:18 Lifteth - To flee from her pursuer: to which end she lifts up her head and body, and spreads her wings. Scorneth - She despises them thro' her swiftness; for though she cannot fly, yet by the aid of her wings she runs so fast, that horse - men cannot reach her.
Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?
39:19 Thunder - A strong metaphor, to denote force and terror.
Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible.
He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men.
39:21 Valley - Battles used to be pitched in valleys, or low grounds, especially horse battles.
He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword.
The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield.
39:23 Quiver - The quiver is here put for the arrows contained in it, which being shot against the horse and rider, make a rattling noise.
He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet.
39:24 Swalloweth - He is so full of rage and fury, that he not only champs his bridle, but is ready to tear and devour the very ground on which he goes. Believeth - He is so pleased with the approach of the battle, and the sound of the trumpet calling to it, that he can scarce believe his ears for gladness.
He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
39:25 Ha, ha - An expression of joy and alacrity declared by his proud neighings. Thunder - The loud and joyful clamour begun by the commanders, and followed by the soldiers when they are ready to join battle.
Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south?
39:26 Fly - So strongly, constantly, unweariedly, and swiftly. South - At the approach of winter, when wild hawks fly into warmer countries, as being impatient of cold. The birds of the air are proofs of the wonderful providence of God, as well as the beasts of the earth. God instances in two stately ones.
Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high?
39:27 Mount - Flies directly upward 'till she be out of thy sight; which no other bird can do.
She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place.
From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off.
39:29 Her eyes - Her sight is exceeding sharp and strong, so that she is able to look upon the sun with open eyes, and to behold the smallest prey upon the earth or sea, when she is mounted out of our sight.
Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she.