Job 39 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Job 39 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 Knowest thou the time when the wild goats of the rock bring forth? or canst thou mark when the hinds do calve?

2 Canst thou number the months that they fulfil? or knowest thou the time when they bring forth?

3 They bow themselves, they bring forth their young ones, they cast out their sorrows.

4 Their young ones are in good liking, they grow up with corn; they go forth, and return not unto them.

5 Who hath sent out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass?

6 Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his dwellings.

7 He scorneth the multitude of the city, neither regardeth he the crying of the driver.

8 The range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searcheth after every green thing.

9 Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib?

(39:9-11) "Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee?"
The unicorn referred to here is probably not the single-horned mythical creature, but rather a wild ox that was mistranslated in the KJV.
The author of the SAB is probably correct that the translation is in error.

10 Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee?

11 Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? or wilt thou leave thy labour to him?

12 Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn?

13 Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?

14 Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust,

(39:13-16) Ostriches are not cruel and stupid birds who abandon their eggs to die after laying them, as these verses imply. They are, in fact, careful and attentive parents. The male scoops out a hollow for the eggs, which are incubated by the females during the day and by the darker colored male at night -- an arrangement that helps to conceal them from foes. After the eggs are hatched, they are cared for by the mother for over a month, at which time the chicks can keep up with running adults.
The quality of material found on the internet on the parenting behavior of Ostriches varies widely. It is unclear what sources are the author of the SAB relies upon. He cites Wikipedia at the bottom of the page, but that encyclopedia says:

The fact that the female ostrich may leave the nest unattended (because the eggs are too thick-shelled to be easily broken open by predators) is the reason why the bird was chastized as a bad parent in the Book of Job.

So this source confirms what Job says and contradicts the opinion of the author of the SAB.
But let's first start with an incorrect statement. According to the author of the SAB the phrase “leaveth her eggs in the earth” means that the ostriches abandon their eggs after laying them. But given the next phrase “warmeth them in the dust” it is immediately clear that this interpretation is incorrect. The next phrase says: “the ostriches warm their eggs in the dust,” no abandoning of their eggs in that phrase.
But I cite Job and the Ostrich: A Case Study in Biblical Accuracy as my source that the Bible is reliable, also with regards to the ostrich.

15 And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them.

16 She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers: her labour is in vain without fear;

17 Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding.

As noted above, the bible is wrong about ostriches being cruel and inattentive parents. But if they were, whose fault would it be? Why would God deprive them of the tools that are needed to do the job right?
See Job and the Ostrich: A Case Study in Biblical Accuracy:

On the basis of these observations, the Bible's statement that ostriches have been deprived of wisdom is fully vindicated.

18 What time she lifteth up herself on high, she scorneth the horse and his rider.

19 Hath thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?

20 Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible.

21 He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men.

22 He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword.

23 The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield.

24 He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet.

25 He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

26 Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south?

27 Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high?

28 She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place.

29 From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off.

30 Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she.

(39:27-30) "The eagle ... seeketh the prey.... Her young ones suck up blood."
God is pleased with the way that predators kill and devour their prey.
I found in this verse no statement of pleasure as the author of the SAB claims. It's a statement of fact, a continuation of God's speech to Job, using examples found in nature and known to Job in which God demonstrates how little Job knows of the things he can see with his eyes, so what does he know of the things he cannot see with his eyes?