Friday, January 16, 2015

Job 39:13-30 comments: Ostriches, horses of war, and eagles and hawks

13 ¶  Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? 14  Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust, 15  And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them. 16  She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers: her labour is in vain without fear; 17  Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding. 18  What time she lifteth up herself on high, she scorneth the horse and his rider.

God goes on to challenge Job as to who designed these creatures, who gave them their features. Obviously, God did, not Job. Ostriches lay their eggs in a common pit, dug into the ground by the male. Eggs from many females go into the pit and the more dominant females remove the weaker females’ eggs. Less than 1 in 10 nests survive the “care” they receive and very few Ostriches survive to adulthood.

God here underscores that animals aren’t given the wisdom and understanding of human beings. Although Ostriches will run away and feign injury, they have been known to put up a fierce fight and even to kill larger predators such as lions. Here the Ostrich is said to not have fear of the horse and his rider. Obviously, there must have been instances where a hunted Ostrich turned and fought against the mounted hunter. It is known that one kick from an Ostrich can disembowel a human.

19 ¶  Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? 20  Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible. 21  He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. 22  He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. 23  The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. 24  He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. 25  He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

I remember reading an article about someone who had witnessed retired war horses on a farm in England who, of their own accord, would assemble and then simulate a cavalry charge, without riders. I can’t cite it now but it was something I found very curious at the time. It was what they were used to doing and apparently found it comforting. Who can say?

Here is clearly a statement that makes it sound that, as I have read that racehorses love to race, that war horses were excited by the battle, and in my own thoughts, probably not understanding the danger. A thunderous cavalry charge could be a terror to inexperienced infantry.

    26 ¶  Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south? 27  Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? 28  She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place. 29  From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off. 30  Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she.

Here God asks Job if birds of prey, specifically hawks and eagles, get their behavior and the understanding they have from Job or from God. This underscores man’s inherent lack of authority over the basic functions of nature and God’s sovereignty.

For verse 30, notice;

Matthew 24:28  For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

Eagles are known to eat carrion, dead and decaying flesh. At the end of human history it is said;

Revelation 19:17  And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18  That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

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