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the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Job 40

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-5

A short dialogue between the Almighty and Job, ending in the latter’s confession and submission.

2. Cox renders, ’Is he who contended with the Almighty corrected? Let him who disputed with God reply.’

4. Vile] RV ’of small account.’ Job confesses that in view of these marvellous works of God, it was presumption to think of criticising His actions.

Verses 6-34

The Second Speech of the Almighty

Job, we know, in his anxiety to prove his integrity had been led into casting doubts on the justice of God’s government of the world. He is here ironically invited to take God’s place as ruler of the universe, and to display a wisdom as great as that of God. If he proved himself competent to do this, then, and not till then, he may consider himself independent of God and criticise His actions.

8. Disannul my judgment] deny my righteousness.

13. In secret] RV ’in the hidden place’; Sheol, the abode of the dead.

40:15-41:34. In this passage the mightiest beast of the earth and the one most dreaded in the water are portrayed to Job, and he is asked if he can subdue them. Many scholars regard these descriptions as a later insertion.

15-24. The Elephant or Hippopotamus.

15. Behemoth] the word means ’a large beast.’ Most scholars consider that the hippopotamus is meant, but some regard the description as more applicable to the elephant. Buxtorf, the great Hebraist, renders ’elephas.’ He has a ’nose,’ i.e. a trunk, and swings a tail ’like a cedar.’ Elephants were known on the Euphrates about 1550 b.c. Thothmes III of Egypt is represented as receiving one from Syria. Which I made with thee] i.e. it and Job are alike God’s creatures. Or render, ’which is with thee,’ i.e. you can see him.

16. Navel] RV ’muscles.’

17. Like a cedar] it is so firm and strong.

17b. RV ’The sinews of his thighs are knit together.’

19b. RM ’He that made him hath furnished him with his sword’; i.e. his tusks or teeth.

20. Mountains] Unlike the hippopotamus, the elephant is found in hill forests.

23. RV ’Behold, if a river overflow, he trembleth not: He is confident though Jordan swell even to his mouth.’ Jordan] means a river as swift and strong as Jordan.

24. RV ’Shall any take him when he is on the watch, or pierce through his nose (or, his trunk) with a snare?’

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Job 40". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/job-40.html. 1909.
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