The Word Made Fresh
1“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Have you seen the doe birthing her fawn? 2Do you know how many months pass for them to bear their young, and can you predict when they will give birth, 3crouching down to bring forth their issue? 4Then their young ones grow up and leave, never to return to them. 5“Who gave the wild donkeys their freedom by untying them from their fetters 6so that they can roam the land I gave them – the steppes and the salt flats? 7They scorn the noise of the city and are deaf to the shouts of the livestock drivers. 8They wander the mountain pastures and search for grass there.
9“Does the wild ox want to be your servant? Will it sit by your infant’s cradle at night? Can you harness it to plow your furrows, or will it plow behind you? 11Will you rely on its great strength and turn your work over to it? 12Do you have faith in it to bring your harvest to your threshing floor?
13“The ostrich flaps it wings, but it can’t fly. 14It lays its eggs on the ground and lets them be warmed by the earth. 15It forgets that a foot may crush the eggs, or that a wild beast might destroy them. 16It is cruel to its young ones and treats them as strangers, giving not a care to them at all, 17because God has made it ignorant and without understanding. 18But it can spread its wings and run, laughing at the horse and its rider.
19“Did you give strength to the horse and adorn its neck with a mane? 20Do you make it leap like a grasshopper and snort with terrible majesty? 21Its hooves pound the ground with might as it goes out to meet the enemy’s weaponry. 22It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing, and doesn’t shy away from the sword. 23The quiver rattles on its back along with the flashing spear and javelin. 24With rage it fearlessly charges over the ground, unable to stand still when the trumpet sounds. 25And when the trumpet sounds it whinnies proudly, smelling the battle, hearing the officers thunder their orders along with all the other shouting.
26“Does your wisdom enable the hawk to soar and spread its wings, heading southward? 27Are you the one who orders the eagle to soar and make its nest on the highest rocks? 28It lives upon the rocks and makes its nest among the rocky crags. 29From there its eyes are able to see its prey from afar. 30Its young ones feast on the blood. You will find the eagle wherever its game is hunted.”
1-4: God’s examination of Job continues with the mysteries of nature. Mountain goats and deer are wild animals whose habits are not readily observed; they didn’t have the Nature Channel or zoos, and it is unlikely that many of them have seen wild goats and deer birthing their young.
5-8: So also, in the case of the wild donkey.
9-12: The habits of the wild ox, likewise, are a mystery.
13-18: Nor are they likely to be familiar with the ostrich, although these verses reveal a surprising amount of knowledge about the personal habits of that grand, earth-bound bird. But then, this is God speaking!
19-25: The horse is a domesticated animal and as such is the odd creature in this chapter. Still, much about the horse remains in God’s mysterious domain. Explain, God challenges Job (and us), how the horse acquires its great courage in battle.
26-30: Hawks and eagles also possess a fascination that human beings cannot explain. All of these creatures are part of God’s great creation, and their existence and their habits are beyond human understanding.
I think the basic lesson in this chapter is simply that God knows everything, and we do not – nor did God ever intend for us to know everything. That is why we must learn to pray and do it often.