on Job 23 :8
Behold, I go forward - These two verses paint in vivid colors the distress and anxiety of a soul in search of the favor of God. No means are left untried, no place unexplored, in order to find the object of his research. This is a true description of the conduct of a genuine penitent.
on Job 23 :8
See the notes on this verse for an explanation of the terms used; compare the following places, where similar geographical terms occur; Judges 18:12; Deuteronomy 11:24; Zechariah 14:8; Exodus 10:19; Joshua 17:7; 2 Kings 23:13; 1 Samuel 23:24; Genesis 14:15; Joshua 19:27.
Whatever was the form of the earth, and the manner in which it was sustained, it is evident from the following passage that the land was regarded as surrounded by a waste of waters, whose outer limit was deep and impenetrable darkness:
He hath drawn a circular bound upon the waters,
To the confines of the light and darkness. Job 26:10.
Yet the whole subject is represented as one with which man was then unacquainted, and which was beyond his grasp:
Hast thou observed the breadths of the earth?
Declare, if thou knowest it all. Job 38:18.
For a full illustration of this passage, and the views of geography which then prevailed, the reader is referred to the notes. It is evident that the knowledge of geography, so far as is indicated by this book, was then very limited, though it should also be said that in the argument of the poem there was little occasion to refer to knowledge of this kind, and that few intimations are to be expected on the subject.
There are much more frequent intimations of the state of knowledge on the various subjects embraced under this head, than of either astronomy or geography. These intimations show that these subjects had excited much attention, and had been the result of careful observation; and in regard to some of them there are indications of a plausible theory of their causes, though most of them are appealed to as among the inscrutable things of God. The facts excited the wonder of the Arabian observers, and they clothed their conceptions of them in the most beautiful language of poetry; but they do not often attempt to explain them. On the contrary, these obvious and undisputed facts, so inscrutable to them, are referred to as full proof that we cannot hope to comprehend the ways of God, and as reason why we should bow before him with profound adoration. Among the things referred to are the following:
(a) The Aurora Borealis, or Northern lights. Thus the magnificent description of the approach of the Almighty to close the controversy Job 37:21-23, seems to have been borrowed by Elihu from the beautiful lights of the North, in accordance with the common opinion that the North was the seat of the Divinity:
And now - man cannot look upon the bright splendor that is
On the clouds:
For the wind passeth along and maketh them clear.
on Job 23 :8
23:8 Is not - As a judge to hear and determine my causes, otherwise he knew God was essentially present in all places.