Job, who purported to have such insight at times, was asked, “Who determined its measurements —surely you know!” (v. 5). Like a massive building project, “On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone?” (v. 6). God alone — the powerful Creator — knows the intricacies behind such questions.
He introduced the subject matter for the Job’s course with this implicit charge: “You do not know the most basic facts about dirt (i.e., the earth). You are hardly qualified, therefore, to judge what happens on top of it.”
As the Creator, he controls the sea. He determined how far it can intrude upon the land, for the ocean is as a baby in the hands of its Maker (vv. 8-11).
God, the Philanthropic SustainerAs the sun rises and sets, God sustains the created order with a loving interest for its inhabitants (vv. 12-15). The Lord invited Job to consider the morning. It takes hold of the earth like a skirt, and the wicked are shaken out of it. As the features of the earth take form and color in the morning sun, so God supplies a providential restraint on the wicked by design.
Jehovah asked Job, with a view towards the value of the morning, “Have you commanded the morning since your days began?” (Job 38:12). God was saying: “Job, before you were born, I caused the dawn to know its place. And after you were born, you surely didn’t take my place.” Robert Alden summarized: “Those are God’s responsibilities and prerogatives. So far he has never failed” (373).
The Creator inquired concerning the “depth” of Job’s knowledge. “Have you entered … walked … seen … comprehended …?” (vv. 16-18). “No. You have not walked the recesses of the deep, nor have you seen the gates of death. You do not comprehend the expanse of the earth — do you? If you do, tell me all about it.” These were more unanswerable questions for Job.
God enlightened him by considering light and darkness (vv. 20-21). They were represented as having homes. In the morning, light appears to come from somewhere. “Where does it come from, Job?” The Lord chided the patriarch, “You know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!” (v. 21).
“The suggestion that Job surely knew the answers to all these questions was God’s way of strongly remonstrating Job—because he presumed to question God’s governing of the universe, when in reality he could not answer even one of the questions” (Zuck, 168).