Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, July 13th, 2024
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
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Bible Commentaries
Job 40

The Church Pulpit CommentaryChurch Pulpit Commentary

Verse 1


‘The Lord answered Job.’

Job 40:1

I. Again Jehovah proceeds, and as at the commencement of the last, so now He charges Job to ‘gird up’ his ‘loins like a man.’—In each case there is in this introductory word the suggestion of God’s consciousness of man’s dignity. The things which He has been describing cannot hear or answer this Divine wisdom. Job can, and he is called upon to exercise these distinctive powers of his humanity. The present address of God deals with the one respect in which Job has manifested his folly. In the midst of all his suffering he has by inference flung blame upon the method of God. This God now challenges, not to explain it, but first to suggest to Job that he attempts to occupy God’s place in the universe. There is a fine and tender satire in Jehovah’s call to Job to assume the reins of government. Let him deck himself, and array himself, and exercise his power. Let him do it in the moral realm, in which his criticism has been at work. Let him abase and humble the proud and lofty, and evil and wicked ones. When Job can do this, then Jehovah will acknowledge that his own right hand can save him.

II. Having challenged Job to assume the government of the world, and that in the moral realm, Jehovah now suggests two experiments.—It has been objected by some that the descriptions of behemoth and leviathan are interpolations, as they do not seem to fit in with the general argument at this point. This surely, however, misses the real thought. Having, as we have seen, called upon Job to exercise government, and that in the moral realm, Jehovah brings before him two animals, non-moral; and, moreover, suggests that Job should exercise his authority and power over them. This is a much easier thing than governing men. The material always yields itself to man’s government with greater ease than the moral. If this man can be made to feel his absolute weakness in the lower sphere, he will naturally deduce therefrom his impotence in the higher. If he cannot govern these, how can he assume the functions of the One who made them, and perfectly governs them? The description of behemoth leaves very little room for doubt that the animal we know as the hippopotamus is intended. Let all the description be carefully noted, and correspondence will be discovered.


‘The reasoning is from the less to the greater, and is, therefore, in this case conclusive. The lower animals exercise their instincts and find what is suited to their needs. And shall it not be so with man? Shall he, able to observe the signs of an all-embracing plan, not confess and trust the sublime justice it reveals? The slightness of human power is certainly contrasted with the omnipotence of God, and the ignorance of man with the omniscience of God; but always the Divine faithfulness, glowing behind, shines through the veil of nature, and it is this Job is called to recognise.’

Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Job 40". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cpc/job-40.html. 1876.
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