I’ve highlighted before (part 1, part 2, and part 3) how the writer* of Job clearly had a keen eye for the workings of the natural world.  Here is another marvelous example  this time from the realm of meteorology.

Why, exalted is God, and we know not,                                                                                        the number of His years is unfathomed.

For He draws down drops of water,                                                                                               they are distilled in the rain of His wetness,                  as the skies drip moisture,                                                                                                                 shower on abounding humankind.

Can one grasp the spread of cloud,                                                                                               the roars from His pavilion?

Why, He spreads over it His lightning,                                                                                       and the roots of the sea it covers.

For with them He exacts justice from peoples,                                                                          gives food in great abundance.

Lightning covers His palms,                                                                                                           and He commands it to hit the mark.

His roaring tells about Him,                                                                                                           His zealous wrath over evil acts.

(Job 36:26-33, translation by Robert Alter)

This theme of God’s command of weather phenomena does not end here but continues into the next chapter – you can read on here (incidentally the NET Bible linked here is a fairly recent discovery for me – great translation and very upfront and open with its translating notes for each verse, a great resource).  I like the way this passage shows both how God uses His power over the natural world for judgement, but also for sustaining life.

* I say writer, but it is considered likely by scholars that the speech of Elihu  (chapters 32-37) is a work of another poet.  Reading through the book this indeed seems plausible, Elihu’s entrance is a surprise, there being no previous mention of this character, and there is a disjoint in the arguments and language used by Elihu compared with the rest of the book.

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