ONLY THE CREATOR AND CONTROLLER OF THE MOST POWERFUL AND IMPRESSIVE CREATURES CAN DETERMINE WHAT IS JUST IN OVERALL WORLD GOVERNANCE
David Atkinson: The common factor in all the animals we have met earlier in chapters 38 and 39 is that they are not under human control. God’s questioning of Job has shown how much of creation is God’s secret, and not open to human power and human competence. We have been given a vision of God’s wisdom. Now, Behemoth, the hippo (40:15) and Leviathan, the crocodile (41:1), raise the question of God’s power. God selects two of the creatures which are most feared.
[Note: Or these could be some type of land and sea ancient dinosaurs or could be representative mythological creatures.]
Tremper Longman: Job’s initial response was not sufficient to bring a stop to God’s torrent of challenging questions whose purpose is to show Job his proper place in the cosmos. Job’s complaints have been silenced, but he has not yet shown regret. God remains upset, as indicated by his continuing to speak out of the whirlwind (see 38:1). Since Job has chosen silence, God does not ask the initial question of the first speech (“Who is this who darkens advice with ignorant words?” 38:2) but warns Job to prepare for a second set of questions with a repeat of 38:3, “Brace yourself like a man. I will question you, and you must answer me.” As we will see, the questions continue to come fast and furious, but there will be no answers from Job.
Francis Andersen: The argument to the superior strength of God is made, not to discourage men from trying to have dealings with God, but to enhance God’s capability of managing the affairs of the universe so that men will trust Him.
John Hartley: Yahweh continues to challenge Job about his intention of disputing his case before the heavenly court. If Job is correct in supposing that God has acted unjustly in his regard, he should be able to adorn himself in regal apparel and humble all the proud. So Yahweh challenges Job to demonstrate his prowess by defeating in mortal combat the ominous creatures Behemoth and Leviathan. If he cannot master these symbols of cosmic powers, he will have to abandon his complaint. Furthermore, Yahweh is arguing that he masters every force in the world.
By continuing to question Job Yahweh is expressing his care for his servant. He is seeking to overcome Job’s resistance by gently and persuasively leading him to submission. . .
Yahweh confronts Job with the major flaw in his accusations. In defending his own innocence so emphatically and lashing out so vehemently at God because of his suffering, Job has essentially charged God with acting unjustly. For a mortal to presume himself guiltless and to impugn God’s just governance of the world approaches the sin of presumptuous pride.
It is important to observe that Yahweh does not accuse Job of any specific sin, thereby agreeing that Job has lived a righteous life. Nevertheless, if the relationship between himself and his servant is to be restored, Job’s self-righteous attitude must be altered and his complaint against God’s just governance of the world must be corrected.
Delitzsch: This second time also Jehovah speaks to Job out of the storm; not, however, in wrath, but in the profound condescension of His majesty, in order to deliver His servant from dark imaginings, and to bring him to free and joyous knowledge. He does not demand blind subjection, but free submission; He does not extort an acknowledgment of His greatness, but it is effected by persuasion. It becomes manifest that God is much more forbearing and compassionate than men. … He does not cast Job to the ground by His authoritative utterances, but deals with him as a child; He examines him from the catechism of nature, and allows him to say for himself that he fails in this examination.
Elmer Smick: This time God will accomplish more than he had in the first speech, where he humbled Job by showing him how he is Creator and Sustainer of the natural world. Here God will convince Job that he is also Lord of the moral order—one whose justice Job cannot discredit. And appropriately Job’s response this time is repentance (42:1–6).
(40:6) PROLOGUE: SECOND SET OF QUESTIONS ISSUED BY THE LORD
“Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm, and said,”
I. (40:7-14) CHALLENGING QUESTIONS TO PUT JOB IN HIS PLACE
A. (:7-9) Can You Really Step Up to the Plate?
1. (:7) Next Round of Interrogation
“Now gird up your loins like a man;
I will ask you, and you instruct Me.”
David Thompson: Again, we see the critical point directly from God–when we come to the place where we completely trust God’s sovereign greatness, no matter what is happening, we are manly in our spirituality. People who are manly are not whiners or complainers. They do not murmur about God, they trust God. They totally and completely trust God’s sovereignty.
Albert Barnes: An expression taken from the ancient mode of dress. That was a loose, flowing robe, which was secured by a girdle when traveling, or when one entered upon anything requiring energy. The meaning here is, “Prepare thyself for the highest effort that can be made. Put forth all your strength, and explain to me what will now be said.”
2. (:8) Who Sets the Standard for Justice?
“Will you really annul My judgment?
Will you condemn Me that you may be justified?”
Tremper Longman: God begins with a question that contains a telling, implicit accusation that helps us understand how we should interpret Job’s speeches in the dialogue and his monologue. “Would you invalidate my justice?” (v. 8a). The question charges Job with illegitimately undermining God’s justice. As I have argued, Job agreed with the three friends that only sinners should suffer, but he differed from them in that he did not believe he was a sinner. His conclusion was that God had unjustly made him suffer like a sinner. He was more concerned with his own reputation for righteousness than he was with God’s reputation for justice (v. 8b).
David Guzik: We might say that Job fell into the trap of thinking that because he couldn’t figure God out, that perhaps God wasn’t fair. Yet in this larger section of God’s revelation of Himself to Job, God has demonstrated that there are many things that Job doesn’t know, and therefore was not a fit judge of God’s ways.
David Clines: In v 8, Yahweh’s question “Will you annul my cause?” means that he has correctly heard Job’s speeches as not merely a demand for personal vindication but, more far-reachingly, a critique of God’s government of the world and as demanding an alternative world-order. Now Job has had two separate criticisms to make of the world-order he experiences: the one is that a righteous man like himself may suffer unjustly; the other is that the wicked, who ought to be punished, often prosper. Yahweh takes up only the latter point here, but no doubt it stands also for the former. In Job’s theology there is no room for the prosperity of the wicked, though there is in Yahweh’s world. Since Yahweh is not going to change his world order, let Job re-order the world to his own taste by crushing the wicked (vv 11–13); then he will have “delivered” himself from the risky role he has adopted as God’s opponent (v 14).
Albert Barnes: Wilt thou “reverse” the judgment which I have formed, and show that it should have been different from what it is? This was implied in what Job had undertaken. He had complained of the dealings of God, and this was the same as saying that he could show that those dealings should have been different from what they were. When a man complains against God, it is always implied that he supposes he could show why his dealings should be different from what they are, and that they should be reversed. . .
“Wilt thou show that I am wrong because thou art superior in justice?” Job had allowed himself to use language which strongly implied that God was improperly severe. He had regarded himself as punished far beyond what he deserved, and as suffering in a manner which justice did not demand. All this implied that “he” was more righteous in the case than God, for when a man allows himself to vent such complaints, it indicates that he esteems himself to be more just than his Maker. God now calls upon Job to maintain this proposition, since he had advanced it, and to urge the arguments which would prove that “he” was more righteous in the case than God. It was proper to demand this. It was a charge of such a nature that it could not be passed over in silence, and God asks, therefore, with emphasis, whether Job now supposed that he could institute such an argument as to show that he was right and his Maker wrong.
3. (:9) Who Demonstrates Ultimate Power and Authority?
a. Power Demonstrated in Action
“Or do you have an arm like God,”
Tremper Longman: God’s “arm” is a metaphor for his power to act decisively in history (Exod. 6:6; 15:6). It is not only God’s actions but also his “voice” that resonates with power (v. 9b).
John Hartley: Yahweh specifically challenges Job to exercise authority over the mighty and the proud among men by punishing those who violate justice. When God appears, he displays his power and authority, represented here by the symbols arm and voice. In the OT “God’s outstretched arm” means that God intervenes mightily in earthly affairs to accomplish his purpose. And when he speaks, his voice thunders forth, inspiring fear in his subjects. Can Job prove his demands by manifesting such authority?
b. Power Demonstrated in Authority Commanded Audibly
“And can you thunder with a voice like His?”
Elmer Smick: Could Job by his power and glory create and sustain all that? Obviously not! So Job needs also to leave to his Creator supremacy in the moral realm. Job has no power to crush wickedness finally; so obviously he needs to leave that ultimate exercise of justice to God. He needs to let God be God. He needs to cease his agitation over what God is doing and trust him to do right.
B. (:10-14) Take Your Best Shot
David Clines: the series of seven imperatives in vv 10–14 compels us to keep those lines together) . . . With a series of seven imperatives (which are not to be understood as commands), Yahweh ironically invites Job to take over the governing of the world, and especially to rid it of all its wicked inhabitants. It is not that Yahweh thinks it would be a good idea, for it lies outside the divine plan for the cosmos; but since it seems so important to Job, let him try!
1. (:10) Look the Part of the Master of the Universe
“Adorn yourself with eminence and dignity;
And clothe yourself with honor and majesty.”
John Hartley: To demonstrate his rulership, Job must adorn himself with majesty and grandeur and robe himself in glory and splendor. The heaping up of words for incomparable majesty captures the grandeur that attends God’s manifestation of his kingship (cf. Ps. 93:1; 96:6). Even an earthly king displays his authority in regal dress and in the terribleness of his bearing (cf. Ps. 21:6 [Eng. 5]; 45:4 [Eng. 3]).
2. (:11-13) Act the Part
“Pour out the overflowings of your anger;
And look on everyone who is proud, and make him low.
12 Look on everyone who is proud, and humble him;
And tread down the wicked where they stand.
13 Hide them in the dust together;
Bind them in the hidden place.”
Tremper Longman: In vv. 11–13 God sarcastically challenges Job to bring judgment on the arrogant wicked. Job has questioned God’s justice in giving the wicked their proper due. He thus tells Job to bring his anger to bear on them so they submit and are crushed before him. Verse 13 is rather obscure when God tells Job to “hide them in the dust,” but this phrase is perhaps best understood as an allusion to burial. Can Job get rid of the wicked by killing them in his righteous anger and then burying them? Of course not. He cannot make their presence (“faces,” v. 13b) go away into “the hidden world,” probably an allusion to the underworld.
Albert Barnes: vs. 13 — The phrase” to bind them,” is expressive of having them under control or subjection; and the phrase “in secret” may refer to some secret or safe place – as a dungeon or prison. The meaning of the whole is, that God had power to restrain and control the haughty and the wicked, and he appeals to Job to do the same.
3. (:14) Earn Your Respect by Proving Your Sovereignty
“Then I will also confess to you,
That your own right hand can save you.”
John Hartley: Should Job clothe himself in kingly majesty and defeat the proud, God would laud him as the victor in the present contest. He would have proved his complaint that God rules without regard for justice. There is a strongly ironic tone in Yahweh’s argument: if Job could do all of this, he would not need God. Job would have no need to pleading for a vindicator, for his own right hand could deliver him.
Albert Barnes: If you can do all this, it will be full proof that you can save yourself, and that you do not need the divine interposition. If he could do all this, then it might be admitted that he was qualified to pronounce a judgment on the divine counsels and dealings. He would then show that he had qualifications for conducting the affairs of the universe.
II. (40:15 – 41:34) REFLECTING ON GOD’S CREATION AND CONTROL OF THE ULTIMATE LAND AND SEA CREATURES – BEHEMOTH AND LEVIATHAN
John Hartley: Yahweh is laying bare the pride that underlies Job’s defense of his innocence. If Job realizes his own creatureliness, he may humble himself and admit anew God’s authenticating presence into his life.
The identification of the Behemoth and Leviathan is disputed, ranging from earthly creatures to mythical monsters. As earthly beasts they are identified as the hippopotamus and the crocodile respectively. Realistic, detailed descriptions keep the portrait from becoming purely mythical. Nevertheless, into the factual description the author skillfully blends fanciful metaphors drawn from mythic accounts of monsters in order that these beasts may represent both mighty terrestrial creatures and cosmic forces. In this way Yahweh addresses the cosmic dimensions of Job’s affliction.
David Clines: By the standards of the animal kingdom, the hippopotamus would seem rather to be a beast without qualities. It has no practical use for humans, but neither does it have the admirable spirit of freedom of the wild ass (39:5–8), or the brave spirit of the war horse (39:19–25), the hunting skills of the lion and the raven (38:39–41), the farsightedness of the eagle (39:27–30), the fecundity of the mountain goats (39:1–4), or even the strange paradoxical nature of the ostrich (39:13–18). The wonder is that God has taken the trouble to create such a useless creature. Yet he has, and Behemoth is as much a creation of his as is humanity (v 15a). Can it be that it is Behemoth, rather than humanity, that is his masterpiece because Behemoth so well represents God’s freedom—his freedom to refuse rules and rationality and principles of utility, even aesthetics?
A. (40:15-24) Impressive Behemoth – The Ultimate Land Creature
1. (:15) Impressive Creature Overall
a. Commonality of Creation with Mankind
“Behold now, Behemoth, which I made as well as you;”
David Clines: The nodal verse is plainly 40:15 “Consider now Behemoth, which I made as I made you.” The principal purpose of the speech is to invite Job to reflect on the significance of the animal creation, and this headline sentence nicely encapsulates that purpose.
b. Distinctiveness of His Eating Habits
“He eats grass like an ox.”
Tremper Longman: The best understanding is that Behemoth and Leviathan are not real creatures, but rather represent the ultimate in land animals and sea creatures, respectively. I will explain the background of Leviathan in the next section. “Behemoth” in Hebrew is the plural of the common word for “animal” (and used that way in Joel 1:20). The plural here in Job is one of majesty and indicates the ultimate land creature.
David Clines: The size and strength of the hippopotamus might well suggest that it is a fearsome carnivorous animal, but in fact this huge monster eats only grass and aquatic plants. In a single night’s grazing, however, a hippopotamus may consume over 100 pounds of grass.
2. (:16-18) Impressive Physical Strength
David Guzik: God seems to rejoice in His own creation as He describes the wonder of this remarkable animal noting its strength, size, appetite, and habits.
a. (:16) Strength in His Loins and Belly
“Behold now, his strength in his loins,
And his power in the muscles of his belly.”
b. (:17) Strength in His Tail and Thighs
“He bends his tail like a cedar;
The sinews of his thighs are knit together.”
Tremper Longman: Some commentators, though, believe that “tail” here is a euphemism for the penis and that its hardening is a way of indicating its virility. If so, then the “thighs” of the next colon may be a reference to the testicles.
George Barton: “His tail like a cedar” — Commentators have found in this a gross exaggeration. The tail of the hippopotamus is short and stumpy, and they have under- stood cedar as though it were a cedar tree. It can as well be a cedar log, however, and the poet is saying that the tail of the hippopotamus is like a cedar log, straight and strong.
c. (:18) Strength in His Bones and Limbs
“His bones are tubes of bronze;
His limbs are like bars of iron.”
3. (:19-22) Impressive Preeminence
a. (:19) Preeminent as the Crown of God’s Creation
“He is the first of the ways of God;
Let his maker bring near his sword.”
b. (:20) Preeminent Provision and Protection
“Surely the mountains bring him food,
And all the beasts of the field play there.”
Albert Barnes: That is, though he lies commonly among the reeds and fens, and is in the water a considerable portion of his time, yet he also wanders to the mountains, and finds his food there. But the point of the remark here does not seem to be, that the mountains brought forth food for him, but that he gathered it “while all the wild beasts played around him, or sported in his very presence.” It was remarkable that an animal so large and mighty, and armed with such a set of teeth, should not be carnivorous, and that the wild beasts on the mountains should continue their sports without danger or alarm in his very presence. This fact could be accounted for partly because the “motions” of the hippopotamus were so very slow and clumsy that the wild beasts had nothing to fear from him, and could easily escape from him if he were disposed to attack them, and partly from the fact that he seems to have “preferred” vegetable food. The hippopotamus is seldom carnivorous, except when driven by extreme hunger, and in no respect is he formed to be a beast of prey.
c. (:21-22) Preeminent Peace and Tranquility
“Under the lotus plants he lies down,
In the covert of the reeds and the marsh.
22 The lotus plants cover him with shade;
The willows of the brook surround him.”
Albert Barnes: Referring to his usually inactive and lazy life. He is disposed to lie down in the shade, and especially in the vegetable growth in marshy places on the banks of lakes and rivers, rather than to dwell in the open field or in the upland forest.
John Hartley: This solidly constructed beast in the first of God’s ways (cf. Prov. 8:22), i.e., the crown of the animal creation. Because Yahweh is its Maker, its power and greatness do not exist in opposition to him. In contrast to mythical thought Yahweh did not have to defeat Behemoth to gain control over the forces of chaos. Rather Behemoth obeyed him from the first moment of its origin. In addition, its imposing form bears witness to the majesty of its Creator. Unafraid, Yahweh can approach Behemoth with his sword. Such an act symbolizes his complete mastery of this beast.
4. (:23-24) Impressive Power to Neutralize Any Threat
a. (:23) Natural Threats
“If a river rages, he is not alarmed;
He is confident, though the Jordan rushes to his mouth.”
b. (:24) Human Threats
“Can anyone capture him when he is on watch,
With barbs can anyone pierce his nose?”
John MacArthur: God was not saying this creature lived in the Jordan River, but rather, recognizing that the Jordan was familiar to Job, used it to illustrate how much water this beast could ingest. He could swallow the Jordan! It was a word used to refer to something of enormous size and threatening power.
John Hartley: The hippopotamus was hunted, but with caution and trepidation. The hunter who captured one of these terrifying creatures was a champion. In popular lore, however, it was considered impossible to capture this great creature. In hunting a hippopotamus a favorite tactic was to pierce its nose so that it must breathe through the mouth; then a fatal blow could be inflicted through its opened mouth. The implication of Yahweh’s questions is that Job dare not hunt, at least alone, such a powerful beast.
B. (41:1-34) Impressive Leviathan – The Ultimate Sea Creature
David Guzik: Usually Leviathan is considered to be a mythical sea-monster or dragon that terrorized sailors and fishermen. Yet in the context of Job 41, God does not seem to consider Leviathan to be mythical at all. Some believe that Leviathan describes some ancient dragon-like dinosaur that either survived to Job’s day, or survived in the collective memory of mankind, so that God could refer to it as an example. Others consider that in this context, Leviathan is nothing more than a mighty crocodile.
Morgan: Even as Job was powerless against Leviathan (as all men are), so he was also powerless against an unleashed Satan set against him. Only God could defeat Leviathan and Satan. Satan may be typified here by behemoth and leviathan. Be that as it may, the question left with Job was this: ‘Canst thou?’ Thus he was called to the recognition of his own impotence in many directions, and at the same time to a remembrance of the power of God.
Tremper Longman: There is little doubt that in the book of Job, Yahweh is evoking in Job’s (and our) imagination the most fearsome sea creature that humans can conceive. No real animal can meet the needs of the rhetorical moment. In other words, how awe-inspiring would it be to say that God can control the crocodile? Not much. But to say that God controls the creature that represents the power of chaos itself is a dramatic way of speaking of his greatness and strength.
David Clines: In this depiction of Leviathan the emphasis seems to lie less on Job’s inability to master it (Day, Hartley) or on Job’s helplessness by comparison with it (Andersen) as on its sheer otherness that lies outside normal human experience.
David Thompson: As we mentioned back in chapter 3:8, the name “Leviathan” is used three ways in Scripture:
1) It is used metaphorically as a reference to Satan (Isaiah 27:1);
2) It is used symbolically to refer to multi-headed sea monsters (Ps. 74:13-14);
3) It is used literally as a reference to some massive creature of the sea.
(Ps. 104:24-26; Job 41:1).
It is quite contextually clear here that God is describing a literal sea creature. In fact, God gives us a graphic description of it.
1. (:1-11) Impossibility of Capturing and Controlling It
a. (:1-2) Uncatchable
“Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook?
Or press down his tongue with a cord?
2 Can you put a rope in his nose?
Or pierce his jaw with a hook?”
Tremper Longman: Leviathan is no ordinary sea creature, and thus he is not caught or controlled like a fish or any other inhabitant of the waters. Leviathan cannot be caught by a conventional fishhook, whether through the mouth (v. 1a) or through the cheek (v. 2b). Its tongue cannot be controlled by a cord or a rope through the nose.
Elmer Smick: The first eight verses are addressed to Job, and they assert that any relationship Job may attempt to have with Leviathan will be doomed to failure—whether by treaty or by force.
b. (:3-4) Untrustworthy – Cannot cut a deal with Leviathan
“Will he make many supplications to you?
Or will he speak to you soft words?
4 Will he make a covenant with you?
Will you take him for a servant forever?”
c. (:5-6) Unmanageable
“Will you play with him as with a bird?
Or will you bind him for your maidens?
Will the traders bargain over him?
Will they divide him among the merchants?”
Tremper Longman: the sense of v. 5a is that this awesome creature is no more than a rubber ducky in a bathtub to God. Indeed, if he so chose, he could make Leviathan docile enough for young girls (v. 5b).
George Barton: That is, make a pet of him, as one would of a bird.
d. (:7-8) Undefeatable
“Can you fill his skin with harpoons,
Or his head with fishing spears?
Lay your hand on him;
Remember the battle;
you will not do it again!”
George Barton: One encounter with such a beast is enough; one will not wish to repeat the experience
e. (:9-11) Uncontrollable
“Behold, your expectation is false;
Will you be laid low even at the sight of him?
No one is so fierce that he dares to arouse him;
Who then is he that can stand before Me?
11 Who has given to Me that I should repay him?
Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine.”
Tremper Longman: Verses 9–11 reiterate that no human—certainly not Job—can control this powerful sea monster. Even the hope of doing so is delusional (v. 9a).
David Guzik: The logical point is made. If Job cannot contend with Leviathan (or even with Satan, whom Leviathan represents), how could he ever hope to stand against the God who made and masters Leviathan? This was another effective way of setting Job in his proper place before God.
2. (:12-24) Impressive Physical Characteristics
a. (:12-17) Impregnable Body Armor
“I will not keep silence concerning his limbs,
Or his mighty strength, or his orderly frame.
13 Who can strip off his outer armor?
Who can come within his double mail?
14 Who can open the doors of his face?
Around his teeth there is terror.
15 His strong scales are his pride,
Shut up as with a tight seal.
16 One is so near to another,
That no air can come between them.
17 They are joined one to another;
They clasp each other and cannot be separated.”
John Hartley: Yahweh will not be silent, for he who stops speaking concedes his opponent’s point and the one reduced to silence is the loser (cf. 9:3). He will continue to laud his creation as he waits for Job to respond. Proud of his creature, Yahweh speaks about the union of strength and grace in this marvelous beast. . .
Nothing can pierce its double coat of mail . . . no one can pry open Leviathan’s large mouth. . . Beneath the glistening sun Leviathan’s back looks like rows of shields. Nothing can penetrate its tightly sealed hide.
b. (:18-21) Dragon-like Emanations
“His sneezes flash forth light,
And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.
19 Out of his mouth go burning torches;
Sparks of fire leap forth.
20 Out of his nostrils smoke goes forth,
As from a boiling pot and burning rushes.
21 His breath kindles coals,
And a flame goes forth from his mouth.”
Tremper Longman: Verses 18–21 associate Leviathan with bright light, fire, and smoke. God speaks of the sneezes of Leviathan as producing flashing light. This creature is a fire-breather, and when it sneezes, it involuntarily emits fire. Torches come from its mouth, and its nose is like a smokestack. Here we can reiterate that this is no crocodile or any other natural creature. This is the epitome of a fearsome sea creature. The ancient Near Eastern imagination could not produce a more fearsome picture, and God easily controls it, while Job and other human creatures can only stand trembling. Its innards are like a “boiling pot” and a fire of reeds. Thus when it breathes, it ignites fires.
David Clines: If it is truly the crocodile that is being described, these verses are certainly hyperbolical.
c. (:22-24) Extraordinary Strength
“In his neck lodges strength,
And dismay leaps before him.
23 The folds of his flesh are joined together,
Firm on him and immovable.
24 His heart is as hard as a stone;
Even as hard as a lower millstone.”
Tremper Longman: Returning to the theme of its impregnable outer covering (see vv. 15–17), God draws Job’s (and the reader’s) attention to the “folds of its flesh” (v. 23a). They too cling together. It is “solidly cast,” a verb associated with metals. In a word, its skin is like metal, impenetrable.
No creature is stronger than its heart. If it stops, life ceases. Leviathan’s heart is like a rock, even one as tough as a millstone. Like a millstone, it does not break but grinds others into pieces.
3. (:25-32) Impressive Physical Movement that Endangers Others
a. (:25) Watch Out When He Raises Up
“When he raises himself up, the mighty fear;
Because of the crashing they are bewildered.”
b. (:26-29) Watch Out When He Rebuffs Your Weapons
“The sword that reaches him cannot avail;
Nor the spear, the dart, or the javelin.
27 He regards iron as straw,
Bronze as rotten wood.
28 The arrow cannot make him flee;
Slingstones are turned into stubble for him.
29 Clubs are regarded as stubble;
He laughs at the rattling of the javelin.”
c. (:30) Watch Out When He Runs You Over
“His underparts are like sharp potsherds;
He spreads out like a threshing sledge on the mire.”
John Hartley: When Leviathan moves along the bank of the river, it leaves marks in the mud like a threshing sledge. This implement, constructed out of two boards with pieces of basalt or flint attached to its underside was used to crush grain (cf. Rowley). These marks left by Leviathan give the impression that its undersides are composed of sharp, rough potsherds.
Tremper Longman: Verse 30 again describes the hardness of Leviathan’s outer skin, or perhaps even more accurately described, “outer shell.” But now Job learns that this outer shell is not just protective but also capable of killing on its own. Sharp potsherds (broken pieces of a pot) can lacerate and kill. To be run over by Leviathan would be like being run over by a threshing sledge.
d. (:31-32) Watch Out When He Moves Through the Water
“He makes the depths boil like a pot;
He makes the sea like a jar of ointment.
32 “Behind him he makes a wake to shine;
One would think the deep to be gray-haired.”
Tremper Longman: Verses 31–32 now depict the effect of its movement on the water. The description seems to emphasize the speed and size of the creature. It may also suggest the heat generated by this fire-breather. After all, it is capable of making the waters boil. But when it cuts through the waves, it makes the waters smooth, like a big ship that cuts through the waves. It leaves a white trail behind it, again like a large ship.
4. (:33-34) Summary of Supremacy and Dominion
“Nothing on earth is like him,
One made without fear.
34 He looks on everything that is high;
He is king over all the sons of pride.”
David Guzik: This description of Leviathan – especially at this point – is so like that of Satan, that we may fairly suppose that God here was indicating to Job not only His great might and Job’s vulnerability before Satan, but also alluding to Satan’s role in Job’s great crisis.
God called Job to consider these unconquerable beasts, who each in their own way were examples of Satan and his power. In this, God allowed Job to consider the fact that he could not stand before the power of Satan without God empowering him. Job thought that he was all alone through his ordeal; indeed he felt he was alone. Yet this was God’s way of saying that he was not alone, because if he were, then he surely would have crumbled before the power of Leviathan and Behemoth.
Elmer Smick: It was important that God did not tell Job the reasons why; then Job can be a continuing comfort and inspiration and example to those who suffer without an explanation. “Once again we emphasize that if the specific and ultimate reason for his suffering had been revealed to Job – even at this point – the value of the account as a comfort to others who must suffer in ignorance would have been diminished if not cancelled.
John Hartley: This fearless creature cannot be intimidated. Since Yahweh made all earthly creatures to fear before mankind (Gen. 9:2), the fact that Leviathan is without fear indicates that it is a primordial creature. Even all who are high i.e., the great rulers, fear it. Leviathan is the king over all that are proud. Yahweh’s argument is that since no human being can subject Leviathan, surely then no person can ever be so mighty or exalted as to challenge successfully Yahweh’s rule.