39 "Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, 40 when they crouch in their dens, or lie in wait in their covert? 41 Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food? 39:1 "Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the deer? 2 Can you number the months that they fulfill, and do you know the time when they give birth, 3 when they crouch to give birth to their offspring, and are delivered of their young? 4 Their young ones become strong, they grow up in the open; they go forth, and do not return to them."
A. The focus here seems to be on the "young ones" of the selected animals. What is God's point? Is there any seeming appropriateness in God's going from a meteorological to animal survey at this point?
B. What kind of answer is God expecting? If Job simply says, "No, I can't," then what is the significance of that? If I have a broken leg and the physician asks me whether I know Sanskrit, I might wonder what the physician is doing. Is that the kind of question that God is posing, or does it have, as the lawyers say, "relevance" to the broader issues of the Book of Job?
C. God's focus on the beginnings of life is interesting. If we have no clue about the beginnings, might we get even more confused as the cylce of life proceeds?
5 "Who has let the wild ass go free? Who has loosed the bonds of the swift ass, 6 to which I have given the steppe for its home, the salt land for its dwelling place? 7 It scorns the tumult of the city; it does not hear the shouts of the driver. 8 It ranges the mountains as its pasture, and it searches after every green thing. 9 "Is the wild ox willing to serve you? Will it spend the night at your crib? 10 Can you tie it in the furrow with ropes, or will it harrow the valleys after you? 11 Will you depend on it because its strength is great, and will you hand over your labor to it? 12 Do you have faith in it that it will return, and bring your grain to your threshing floor? 13 "The ostrich's wings flap wildly, though its pinions lack plumage. 14 For it leaves its eggs to the earth, and lets them be warmed on the ground, 15 forgetting that a foot may crush them, and that a wild animal may trample them. 16 It deals cruelly with its young, as if they were not its own; though its labor should be in vain, yet it has no fear; 17 because God has made it forget wisdom, and given it no share in understanding. 18 When it spreads its plumes aloft, it laughs at the horse and its rider."
A. Now God asks Job questions from a different perspective about three animals in the natural world. One might look at the ostrich, the last member of the triad, as a bridge to the next set of three, but I think it can be understood under the rubric of the free and unwise animals. Well, what is the point of God's questions here?
B. What is the literary effect of combining a question about freedom of the animal with a description of the animal's life?
C. If the first section, questioning Job about the young of the three animals, was designed to expose his ignorance of the origins of life, what is the scope of Job's ignorance here?
D. Why mention that the ostrich may crush the eggs of its young on the earth (v.15)? Why mention its "cruelty?" In the context of Job's allegation against God that God has turned "cruel" to him (30:21), is there any additional significance to the ostrich's cruelty?
19 "Do you give the horse its might? Do you clothe its neck with mane? 20 Do you make it leap like the locust? Its majestic snorting is terrible. 21 It paws violently, exults mightily; it goes out to meet the weapons. 22 It laughs at fear, and is not dismayed; it does not turn back from the sword. 23 Upon it rattle the quiver, the flashing spear, and the javelin. 24 With fierceness and rage it swallows the ground; it cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet. 25 When the trumpet sounds, it says 'Aha!' From a distance it smells the battle, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting. 26 "Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars, and spreads its wings toward the south? 27 Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes its nest on high? 28 It lives on the rock and makes its home in the fastness of the rocky crag. 29 From there it spies the prey; its eyes see it from far away. 30 Its young ones suck up blood; and where the slain are, there it is."
A. We move from examples of freedom/inabilty to tame the creatures to images of violence and uncontrolled energy here. What is characteristic of the horse, which other translations call the "wild horse"?
B. When God introduces the hawk and the eagle, what does God highlight about them?
C. Is there any significance that the chapter begins with pictures of peace and the tender process of bearing young but ends with violent images and the words, "where the slain are, there it is"?