Job 38:3-7 “Where were you when I laid earth’s foundation? Declare if you know and understand. Who fixed its measurements? (For presumably you know!) Who set upon it the measuring line? On what were its foundations sunk? Who laid its cornerstone? when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
A first reading of this passage could easily produce the wrong intonation in the voice of God. The whole purpose of the Lord’s discourse with Job is notto squash him underfoot with divine irony, or treat him with utter contempt for his (apparently) high-handed attitude towards his three friends. We may safely infer this by reading chapter 42:7, “After the Lord had spoken these words to Job He said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘My anger is roused against you and your two friends, because you have not spoken what is right about my servant Job.'”
Furthermore, Job answered the Lord in this manner, (42:2-6) “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose is withheld from You. [You said] ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I declared what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me that I did not comprehend. [I said in my perplexity and pain] ‘Hear me, and I will speak; I will ask You and You will cause me to know.’ I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye has seen You. Therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Instead of answering Job’s questions, the Lord gave him a most interesting and absorbing natural history lesson, contained in 38:1 – 41:34. It achieved His purpose.
Could it be that the Lord was saying to Job, “Where were you when I created the earth? All the rest were singing and shouting for joy. Were you not paying attention?” My only justification for posing such a solution is contained in the statement about the “stars” and the “sons of God.” How can stars “sing together”? Are they alive, with minds to know and understand? A moment’s reflection will crack the code. In Daniel 8:10 we read that the Little Horn “Became great, even to the host of heaven, and cast down some of the host and the stars to the ground and trampled them underfoot.”In Rev.12:4 we read that the Dragon “cast one third of the stars to the ground.” These and other similar references show that “stars” are equivalent to heavenly beings. It does not take training in astronomy to realise that no star could possibly “fall on the earth.” Our planet is but a millionth part of the Sun, our nearest star. The earth could fall into the sun, but not the other way round!
In conclusion, two classes of people are mentioned here – “stars” and “sons of God.” If the stars are heavenly beings, then the sons of God are pre-existent human beings. The sense is that we were all there at the divine fiat of creation, and rendered high praise to God for what we saw. In the next number we shall have to investigate this further.