on Job 39 :26
Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom - The hawk is called נץ nets, from its swiftness in darting down upon its prey; hence its Latin name, nisus, which is almost the same as the Hebrew. It may very probably mean the falcon, observes Dr. Shaw. The flight of a strong falcon is wonderfully swift. A falcon belonging to the Duke of Cleves flew out of Westphalia into Prussia in one day; and in the county of Norfolk, a hawk has made a flight at a woodcock of near thirty miles in an hour. Thuanus says, "A hawk flew from London to Paris in one night." It was owing to its swiftness that the Egyptians in their hieroglyphics made it the emblem of the wind.
Stretch her wings toward the south? - Most of the falcon tribe pass their spring and summer in cold climates; and wing their way toward warmer regions on the approach of winter. This is what is here meant by stretching her wings toward the south. Is it through thy teaching that this or any other bird of passage knows the precise time for taking flight, and the direction in which she is to go in order to come to a warmer climate? There is much of the wisdom and providence of God to be seen in the migration of birds of passage. This has been remarked before. There is a beautiful passage in Jeremiah, Jeremiah 8:7, on the same subject: "The stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle, and the crane, and the swallow, observe the time of their coming: but my people know not the judgment of the Lord."
on Job 39 :26
4. The beasts that are mentioned are, also, quite numerous, and the description of some of them constitutes the most magnificent part of the poem. The descriptions of the various animals are also more minute than any thing else referred to, and but a few of them can be copied without transcribing whole chapters. The beasts referred to are the following.
The camel, sheep, ox, and she-ass: Job 1:3; Job 42:12.
The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion (are silenced),
And the teeth of young lions are broken out.
The old lion perishes for want of prey,
And the whelps of the lioness are scattered abroad.
Job 39:26Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom - The appeal here is to the hawk, because it is among the most rapid of the birds in its flight. The particuIar thing specified is its flying, and it is supposed that there was something special in that which distinguished it from other birds. Whether it was in regard to its speed, to its manner of flying, or to its habits of flying at periodical seasons, may indeed be made a matter of inquiry, but it is clear that the particular thing in this bird which was adapted to draw the attention, and which evinced especially the wisdom of God, was connected with its flight. The word here rendered "hawk," (נץ nêts) is probably generic, and includes the various species of the falcon or hawk tribe, as the jet-falcon, the goshawk, the sparrow, hawk, the lanner, the saker, the hobby, the kestril, and the merlin. Not less than one hundred and fifty species of the hawk, it is said, have been described, but of these many are little known, and many of them differ from others only by very slight distinctions.
They are birds of prey, and, as many of them are endowed with remarkable docility, they are trained for the diversions of falconry - which has been quite a science among sportsmen. The falcon, or hawk, is often distinguished for fleetness. One, belonging to a Duke of Cleves, flew out of Westphalia into Prussia in one day; and in the county of Norfolk (England) one was known to make a flight of nearly thirty miles in an hour. A falcon which belonged to Henry IV. of France, having escaped from Fontainebleau, was found twenty-four hours after in Malta, the space traversed being not less than one thousand three hundred and fifty miles; being a velocity of about fifty-seven miles an hour, on the supposition that the bird was on the wing the whole time. It is this remarkable velocity which is here appealed to as a proof of the divine wisdom. God asks Job whether he could have formed these birds for their rapid flight. The wisdom and skill which has done this is evidently far above any that is possessed by man.
And stretch her wings toward the south - Referring to the fact that the bird is migratory at certain seasons of the year. It is not here merely the rapidity of its flight which is referred to, but that remarkable instinct which leads the feathered tribes to seek more congenial climates at the approach of winter. In no way is this to be accounted for, except by the fact that God has so appointed it. This great law of the winged tribes is one of the clearest proofs of divine wisdom and agency.
on Job 39 :26
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.