So, I was reading through the book of Job, and I when came across this verse, something jumped out at me…
Job 39:13 (HCSB)
The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, but are her feathers and plumage like the stork’s?
This is taken from where God ends His silence and addresses Job directly (after 35 chapters of dialogue between Job and his friends regarding Job’s misfortune and suffering). The question is part of a rhetorical examination of Job, where God bombards His hearer with question after question about reality. Questions such as…
Job 38:4a (HCSB)
Where were you when I established the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.
Job 38:41 (HCSB)
Who provides the raven’s food when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?
The range of subjects which God broaches is daunting. This interrogation goes on for two straight chapters, after which Job meekly responds…
Job 40:3-5 (HCSB)
Then Job answered the Lord: I am so insignificant. How can I answer You? I place my hand over my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not reply; twice, but now I can add nothing.
You would think that this would be it, because Job has obviously gotten the message based upon his response, right? However, God continues in the same fashion for two more chapters, leaving Job in an even more speechless state and repentive to boot. Quite frankly, just reading these final 6 chapters of what is believed to be the oldest book of the Bible should leave any reader speechless and repentive. I recommend going through them (straight through), because it is always a good thing to be left in a speechless state of reverence when contemplating who God is, no?
All of this has nothing to do with what jumped out at me in 39:13. As I read it, something occurred to me…
Job lived in “the country of Uz” (Job 1:1). I know from previous study that the land of Uz is believed to be located in what is the area of modern-day, southwestern Jordan and southern Israel, or possibly southern Arabia. Either way, these parts of the Middle East are thousands of miles away from where ostriches live in the wild, so I started asking myself some questions…
Why would God mention them here? I mean, how could Job possibly understand the significance of a rhetorical question about a bird which he most likely had never seen or even heard of due to where he lived?
Well, I found the answer…
“Up until the mid 20th century, ostriches occurred naturally in southwestern Asia, the Arabian peninsula, and Africa. They have since been hunted to extinction except in sub-Saharan Africa… Ostriches are currently restricted to drier and sandy regions of central and southern Africa.” – From animaldiversity.org
So, I guess I was wrong. Ostriches used to reside where Job lived!
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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