Job 26:1 ¶ But Job answered and said,
Job 26:2 How hast thou helped him that is without power? how savest thou the arm that hath no strength?
Job 26:3 How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?
Job 26:4 To whom hast thou uttered words? and whose spirit came from thee?
Job begins his response to Bildad with a list of questions meant to point out that though he has spouted off a lot of so called wisdom, he has been of no help. Then he wonders exactly whose spirit prompted such thoughtless rhetoric.
Job 26:5 ¶ Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof.
Job 26:6 Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering.
“Hell” = Sheol - the world of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat), including its accessories and inmates:—grave, hell, pit.
Job now begins to expound on the greatness of God, a subject upon which he knows as much as, if not more, than those presuming to give him counsel. He states that God sees even those that are dead and in the depths of Sheol; nothing is hid from Him.
Job 26:7 He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.
Job 26:8 He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them.
Job evidences scientific knowledge as he describes the greatness of God. I think we can get some help from Isaiah in understanding verse 7.
Isaiah 40:18 & 22 “To whom then will ye liken God?...It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in….”
Job recognizes God as our Creator, the One who stretches out the heavens over the earth. He knows that the earth is suspended in space; it hangs on nothing. He knows that the clouds are made up of water that doesn’t fall until He releases them.
Job 26:9 He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it.
Job knows that God’s throne is in heaven, yet He keeps it hidden from view (even from today’s technology).
It was interesting to note that some of the other translations made reference to God hiding the face of the moon. I tend to think the KJV makes more sense in referencing God’s dwelling place as described in Psalms.
Psalms 18:11 “He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.”
Job 26:10 He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end.
Translations all read a bit differently with this verse. After looking at the Hebrew, it sounds to me like Job is describing the continual procession of night and day. It reminds me of watching the sunrise or sunset as the sunlight makes its way across the globe and is followed by the light of the moon and stars. The Hebrew for “compassed” also indicates that Job recognized that light and dark pass over the “circle” of the earth.
Job 26:11 The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof.
I think Job’s point is that God is in control of the heavens.
Job 26:12 He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud.
Job notes how God’s power controls the seas, and just as surely subdues or destroys the proud man.
Job 26:13 By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.
Job declares how God makes the heavens glisten by his word (spirit, breath); in other words, He spoke the stars and planets into existence. It is His hand that formed the constellations. The Hebrew notes that the “crooked serpent” references a constellation; Ophiuchus or Serpens is probably the constellation being referenced.
Job 26:14 Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?
Job then notes that these are just a few of the works of God; there is so much more that we don’t know about what He has done and continues to do. His power is beyond our understanding. Again, this brings to mind the words of the prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah 43:11–13 “I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour….Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?”
Isaiah 46:9–10 “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure….”