A (6, 7) Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When THE MORNING stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
B (8) Or who shut up the sea with DOORS, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?
C (9) When I MADE <07760> the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it,
D (10) and brake up for it my decreed place,
C′ (10) and SET <07760> bars
B′ (10, 11) and DOORS, And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?
A′ (12) Hast thou commanded THE MORNING since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place;
One thought on “JOB 38:6-12”
What is the significance of “and brake up for it my decreed place” as the central statement in this chiasm? When I found this chiasm I had no idea, not least because there is a big issue about the translation of this phrase. Whatever its meaning, its position at the centre of a chiasm shows it is particularly important. After giving it some thought overnight, here is my suggested explanation.
The word “place” is not in the original text. The AV translators have inserted it so that “brake up” does not relate to a decree. Bizarrely, another approach is to give an opposite translation for the Hebrew rendered “brake up” in the AV. So, for example, the AV margin suggests: “established my decree upon it”. Similarly, the RV translates it: “And prescribed for it my decree”, although the RV margin states (admits): “Heb. brake”. The word translated “brake” in Job 38:10 is a common word and usually translated this way. There is no escaping the conclusion that there was a decree which had to be broken so that the sea might be contained. What was this decree?
The most obvious answer seems to be the decree mentioned in Job 28:26: “ … He made a decree for the rain”. Assuming that rain had been “not seen as yet” (Heb. 11:7) the original decree for rain was made at the time of the Flood. If the rain had not stopped, the seas would have continued to overflow the land. But eventually the decree was `broken’, or as it says in Genesis 8:2, “the rain from heaven was restrained”. It was of central importance that this decree be eventually broken so that the seas might return. And this importance is reflected in the statement about the breaking of this decree being placed at the centre of a chiasm.