Job 40:1-24. God's Second
He had paused for a reply, but Job was silent.
1. the Lord—Hebrew, "Jehovah."
2. he that contendeth—as Job had so
often expressed a wish to do. Or, rebuketh. Does Job now still
(after seeing and hearing of God's majesty and wisdom) wish to set God
answer it—namely, the questions I have
4. I am (too) vile (to reply). It is a very
different thing to vindicate ourselves before God, from what it is
before men. Job could do the latter, not the former.
lay … hand … upon …
mouth—I have no plea to offer (Job 21:5; Jud 18:19).
5. Once … twice—oftentimes, more
than once (Job 33:14,
compare with Job 33:29; Ps 62:11):
I have spoken—namely, against God.
not answer—not plead against Thee.
6. the Lord—Jehovah.
7. (See on Job 38:3).
Since Job has not only spoken against God, but accused Him of
injustice, God challenges him to try, could he govern the world,
as God by His power doth, and punish the proud and wicked (Job
8. Wilt thou not only contend with, but set
aside My judgment or justice in the government of the world?
condemn—declare Me unrighteous, in
order that thou mayest be accounted righteous (innocent;
9. arm—God's omnipotence (Isa 53:1).
thunder—God's voice (Job 37:4).
10. See, hast thou power and majesty like
God's, to enable thee to judge and govern the world?
11. rage—rather, pour out the
redundant floods of, &c.
behold—Try, canst thou, as God, by a
mere glance abase the proud (Isa 2:12, &c.)?
12. proud—high (Da 4:37).
in their place—on the spot; suddenly,
before they can move from their place. (See on Job
34:26; Job 36:20).
13. (Isa 2:10). Abase and remove them out of
the sight of men.
bind … faces—that is, shut up
their persons [Maurer]. But it refers
rather to the custom of binding a cloth over the faces of persons about
to be executed (Job 9:24; Es 7:8).
in secret—consign them to
14. confess—rather, "extol"; "I also,"
who now censure thee. But since thou canst not do these works,
thou must, instead of censuring, extol My government.
thine own … hand …
save—(Ps 44:3). So
as to eternal salvation by Jesus Christ (Isa 59:16; 63:5).
15-24. God shows that if Job cannot bring
under control the lower animals (of which he selects the two most
striking, behemoth on land, leviathan in the water), much less is he
capable of governing the world.
behemoth—The description in part
agrees with the hippopotamus, in part with the elephant, but exactly in
all details with neither. It is rather a poetical personification of
the great Pachydermata, or Herbivora (so "he eateth
grass"), the idea of the hippopotamus being predominant. In Job 40:17, "the tail like a cedar," hardly
applies to the latter (so also Job 40:20, 23, "Jordan," a river which elephants alone
could reach, but see on Job 40:23). On the
other hand, Job 40:21, 22 are characteristic of the
amphibious river horse. So leviathan (the twisting animal),
41:1, is a generalized term
for cetacea, pythons, saurians of the neighboring seas and rivers,
including the crocodile, which is the most prominent, and is often
associated with the river horse by old writers. "Behemoth" seems to be
the Egyptian Pehemout, "water-ox," Hebraized, so-called as being
like an ox, whence the Italian bombarino.
with thee—as I made thyself. Yet how
great the difference! The manifold wisdom and power of God!
he eateth grass—marvellous in an
animal living so much in the water; also strange, that such a monster
should not be carnivorous.
16. navel—rather, "muscles" of his
belly; the weakest point of the elephant, therefore it is not
17. like a cedar—As the tempest
bends the cedar, so it can move its smooth thick tail [Umbreit]. But the cedar implies straightness
and length, such as do not apply to the river horse's short tail, but
perhaps to an extinct species of animal (see on Job
together, like a thick rope.
18. strong—rather, "tubes" of copper
19. Chief of the works of God; so
"ways" (Job 26:14; Pr 8:22).
can make his sword to approach—rather,
"has furnished him with his sword" (harpe), namely, the
sickle-like teeth with which he cuts down grain. English
Version, however, is literally right.
20. The mountain is not his usual
haunt. Bochart says it is
sometimes found there (?).
beasts … play—a graphic trait:
though armed with such teeth, he lets the beasts play near him unhurt,
for his food is grass.
21. lieth—He leads an inactive life.
shady trees—rather, "lotus bushes"; as
22. shady trees—Translate: "lotus
23. Rather, "(Though) a river be violent
(overflow), he trembleth not"; (for though living on land, he can live
in the water, too); he is secure, though a Jordan swell up to his
mouth. "Jordan" is used for any great river (consonant with the
"behemoth"), being a poetical generalization (see on Job 40:15). The author cannot have been a Hebrew
as Umbreit asserts, or he would not
adduce the Jordan, where there were no river horses. He alludes to it
as a name for any river, but not as one known to him, except by
24. Rather, "Will any take him by open force"
(literally, "before his eyes"), "or pierce his nose with cords?" No; he
can only be taken by guile, and in a pitfall (Job 41:1, 2).