World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
And the Lord said to Job:
“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
Anyone who argues with God must respond.”
Job’s Response to God
3 Then Job answered the Lord:
“See, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?
I lay my hand on my mouth.
I have spoken once, and I will not answer;
twice, but will proceed no further.”
God’s Challenge to Job
6 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
“Gird up your loins like a man;
I will question you, and you declare to me.
Will you even put me in the wrong?
Will you condemn me that you may be justified?
Have you an arm like God,
and can you thunder with a voice like his?
“Deck yourself with majesty and dignity;
clothe yourself with glory and splendor.
Pour out the overflowings of your anger,
and look on all who are proud, and abase them.
Look on all who are proud, and bring them low;
tread down the wicked where they stand.
Hide them all in the dust together;
bind their faces in the world below.
Then I will also acknowledge to you
that your own right hand can give you victory.
“Look at Behemoth,
which I made just as I made you;
it eats grass like an ox.
Its strength is in its loins,
and its power in the muscles of its belly.
It makes its tail stiff like a cedar;
the sinews of its thighs are knit together.
Its bones are tubes of bronze,
its limbs like bars of iron.
“It is the first of the great acts of God—
only its Maker can approach it with the sword.
For the mountains yield food for it
where all the wild animals play.
Under the lotus plants it lies,
in the covert of the reeds and in the marsh.
The lotus trees cover it for shade;
the willows of the wadi surround it.
Even if the river is turbulent, it is not frightened;
it is confident though Jordan rushes against its mouth.
Can one take it with hooks
or pierce its nose with a snare?
Job 40:1-24. God's Second Address.
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 right?
answer it—namely, the questions I have asked.
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.
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 40:7-14).
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; undeservingly afflicted).
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).
13. (Isa 2:10). Abase and remove them out of the sight of men.
in secret—consign them to darkness.
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.
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), Job 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 meant.
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 40:15).
wrapped—firmly twisted together, like a thick rope.
18. strong—rather, "tubes" of copper [Umbreit].
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 Job 40:22 requires.
22. shady trees—Translate: "lotus bushes."
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 hearsay.