Job – Chapter 39

Zoology

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d continues His list of reasons why Job shouldn’t consider himself such hot stuff:

“Do you know when it’s time for mountain goats to give birth? How about deer? Do you ensure that every creature fulfills its proper gestation period? They give birth naturally, without doctors or midwives, and they grow up strong, eventually becoming independent.”

“Did you make the wild donkey so hard to tame? Their home is in the wilderness, in places uninhabitable to man, so they laugh at the thought of being hooked to a wagon. Instead, they get to survey their territory, pasturing wherever they wish.”

“How about the wild ox? Does it want to serve you, Job? Does it even want you to feed it? You certainly can’t plow with it! Will you try to get it to do your work for you? It’s not happening.”

“And what about birds like the ostrich, whose eggs are in nests on the ground? When she has to leave them unattended, they could easily be trampled by other animals. These birds do not have strong protective instincts because I, G-d, have not given them that capacity.”

“Let’s talk about horses. Did you make them such mighty creatures? Did you make them so impressive in battle and so agile? Riders use them to search out the land on reconnaissance missions and soldiers are confident in their strength as they rush towards the enemy. The quiver full of arrows rattles alongside the spears. The horse rushes forward, unafraid of the enemy’s trumpets. If anything, it spurs him on!”

“Do you make the hawk soar? Do you make it fly south? Do you make the eagle build its nest on a high mountain? Do you give it eyes to find food from a distance? Where people are found slain, there you will find predators.” (Rashi quotes various Midrashim applying the section about the eagles to Aaron, the High Priest.)

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