on Job 38 :36
Who hath put wisdom in the in ward parts? - Who has given לשכוי lasechvi, to the contemplative person, understanding? Even the most sedulous attention to a subject, and the deepest contemplation, are not sufficient to investigate truth, without the inspiration of the Almighty, which alone can give understanding. But who has given man the power to conceive and understand? A power which he knows he has, but which he cannot comprehend. Man knows nothing of his own mind, nor of the mode of its operations. This mind we possess, these operations we perform; - and of either do we know any thing? If we know not our own spirit, how can we comprehend that Spirit which is infinite and eternal? Mr. Good thinks that this verse is a continuation of the subject above, relative to the lightnings, and therefore translates thus: -
Who putteth understanding into the vollies?
And who giveth to the shafts discernment?
All the versions, except the Septuagint, which trifles here, understand the place as we do. Either makes a good sense. The Septuagint has, "Who hath given the knowledge of weaving to women; or the science of embroidery?" Instead of understanding to the heart, the Vulgate has, understanding to the cock; that it might be able to distinguish and proclaim the watches of the night.
on Job 38 :36
Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? - There is great variety in the interpretation of this passage. Jerome renders it, Quis posuit in visceribus heminis sapienttam? Vel quis dedit gallo intelligentiam? "Who hath put wisdom in the inner parts of man? Or who has given to the cock intelligence?" Just as strangely, the Septuagint has: "Who hath given to women skill in weaving, and a knowledge of the art of embroidering?." One of the Targums renders it, "Who has given to the woodcock intelligence that he should praise his Master?" Herder renders it,
"Who gave understanding to the flying clouds,
Or intelligence to the meteors of the air?"
"Who placed wisdom in the dark clouds?
Who gave understanding to the forms of the air?"
Schultens and Rosenmuller explain it of the various phenomena that appear in the sky - as lightning, thunder, meteoric lights, etc. So Prof. Lee explains the words as referring to the "tempest" and the "thunder-storm." According to that interpretation, the idea is, that these phenomena appear to be endowed with intelligence, There is proof of plan and wisdom in their arrangement and connection, and they show that it is not by chance that they are directed. One reason assigned for this interpretation is, that it accords with the connection. The course of the argument, it is remarked, relates to the various phenomena that appear in the sky - to the lightnings, tempests, and clouds. It is unnatural to suppose that a remark would be interposed here respecting the intellectual endowments of man, when the appeal to the clouds is again Job 38:37 immediately resumed. There can be no doubt that there is much weight in this observation, and that the connection demands this interpretation, and that it should be adopted if the words which are used will admit of it.
The only difficulty relates to the words rendered "inward parts," and "heart." The former of these (טחות ṭûchôt) according to the Hebrew interpreters, is derived from טוח ṭûach, "to cover over, to spread, to besmear"; and is hence given to the veins, because covered with fat. It occurs only in this place, and in Psalm 51:6, "Behold thou desirest truth in the inward parts," where it undoubtedly refers to the seat of the affections or thoughts in man. The verb is often used as meaning to daub, overlay, or plaster, as in Leviticus 14:42; Ezekiel 22:28; Ezekiel 13:12, Ezekiel 13:14. Schultens, Lee, Umbreit, and others, have recourse in the explanation to the use of the Arabic word of the same letters with the Hebrew, meaning to wander, to make a random shot, etc., and thence, apply it to lightning, and to meteors. Umbreit supposes that there is allusion to the prevalent opinion in the East that the clouds and the phenomena of the air could be regarded as furnishing prophetic indications of what was to occur; or to the custom of predicting future events by the aspects of the sky.
It is a sufficient objection to this, however, that it cannot be supposed that the Almighty would lend his sanction to this opinion by appealing to it as if it were so. After all that bas been written on the passage, and all the force of the difficulty which is urged, I do not see evidence that we are to depart from the common interpretation, to wit, that God means to appeal to the fact that he has endowed man with intelligence as a proof of his greatness and supremacy. The connection is, indeed, not very apparent. It may be, however, as Noyes suggests, that the reference is to the mind of Job in particular, and to the intelligence with which he was able to perceive, and in some measure to comprehend, these various phenomena. The connection may be something like this: "Look to the heavens, and contemplate these wonders. Explain them, if possible; and then ask who it is that has so endowed the mind of man that it can trace in them such proofs of the wisdom and power of the Almighty. The phenomena themselves, and the capacity to contemplate them, and to be instructed by them, are alike demonstrations of the supremacy of the Most High."
Understanding to the heart - To the mind. The common word to denote "heart" - לב lêb is not used here, but a word (שׂכוי śekvı̂y from שכה) meaning "to look at, to view"; and hence, denoting the mind; the intelligent soul. "Gesenius."
on Job 38 :36