Bible Commentaries
Job 40

Dunagan's Commentary on the BibleDunagan's Commentary

Verse 1

God's first speech that began with a rebuke and a challenge (38:2-3) also concludes with the same.

Verse 2

40:2 "Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?" The term "faultfinder" is only found here in the Old Testament and means "to admonish and correct". At least twice (10:2; 23:6), Job had accused God of contending with him. In addition, Elihu had rebuked Job for complaining against God (33:13). "Let him who reproves God answer it": Job had equally expressed the desire to argue with God and present his case (13:3,15). Notice that God eventually does defend Himself. This section should remind us to remain humble and trust God's wisdom. If this is the type of rebuke that a righteous man like Job received for questioning God-what type of confrontation will the rebellious face?

Verse 3

40:3-4 Job had claimed that he would be confident before God (13:22), now he is extremely humble. It is good and healthy to be humbled before God and to realize one's insignificance compared to God. Man is tempted to think of God as an equal, or that man can approach God as a prince (31:37), but Job recognizes the honest truth. No man can argue with God and no man can answer His questions.

Verse 4

40:4 "I lay my hand on my mouth": Job now does what he suggested that his friends do (21:5).

Verse 5

40:5 "I will add no more": Jackson notes that silence is not trust, Job still has a way to go, and the Lord is not through with him yet. Some see this as silence, but not true repentance yet. "He was only admitting that he need not repeat himself, not that he had said too much. Because Job did not admit to any sin, God found it necessary to continue with a second speech, to speak not only once, but twice" (Zuck p. 176).

Verse 6

40:6-7 Once again Job is told to brace himself like a man and answer God's questions. Notice that God is not impressed by silence, God deserves some kind of answer.

Verse 8

40:8 "Will you really annul My judgment?" Because of what he felt was an unfair affliction, Job had accused God of injustice. "Will you condemn Me that you may be justified?" "Job had let his defense of his integrity lead him astray, to the extreme of blaming God" (Zuck p. 176). For all practical purposes, this is what many professed religious people are doing today. In order to justify such things as women preachers and homosexual members, they are forced to accuse the biblical writers and by extension, God Himself of being ignorant. The real question that every person must answer is, "Are you right?" or "Is God right?"

Verse 9

40:9 "Or do you have an arm like God?" The point here that any moral superiority to God must be accompanied by a similar superiority in power. "To contend with God suggests an assumed equality with God. And yet no mortal possesses that. Job did not have God's strength (His "arm"), or the ability to terrify by His voice" (Bible Knowledge Comm. pp. 770-771).

Verse 10

40:10 "The Lord then ironically challenges Job to clothe himself in excellency, dignity, honor, and majesty (the figurative apparel of Deity). What He is saying is this: "Job, since you think you know so much about how the universe ought to be managed, why don't you try being 'God' for a while" (Jackson p. 85).

Verse 11

40:11-13 Job's first task of being God for a day is to bring down the proud and the wicked in an unleashed display of his anger, humiliating them just by looking at them. Can Job perform this simple function, which he had accused God of ignoring? (21:29-31; 24:1-17). "God ironically suggested He turn over the responsibility to Job to see if he could fulfill it" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 771). There is a great lesson here for us when we are tempted to complain. If we complain that God isn't moving fast enough in the world and dealing with the wicked, we need to remind ourselves that we are not stopping such wickedness ourselves. In fact we are powerless to do really anything permanent about the evil in this world.

Verse 14

40:14 The very fact that Job could not perform such an administrative function as judging the wicked, proves that Job cannot save himself. "Only if Job could carry out such an awesome task, would God admit to the complainer's independence and self-sufficiency and the validity of his criticisms" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 771).

In the previous chapter God had mentioned various animals, but in this and the next chapter He will focus in on two, "generally considered the strangest on land and the wildest in the sea" (Zuck p. 177).

Verse 15

40:15 "Behold now, Behemoth": The word rendered "behemoth" is simply a plural Hebrew word for "beast". Apparently the plural form is meant to emphasize the superlative strength of this beast. "Which I made as well as you": Thus behemoth is not a mythical creature, but a real animal. Various views concerning what beast is under consideration include the elephant, rhinoceros, plant-eating brontosaurus, the water buffalo, and the hippopotamus. There may be a couple of points that God is making in this last statement. Behemoth is far more powerful than Job, and yet does not criticize God for the way He runs the universe. We are like the animals in the sense that we are created as well. Man needs to remember his "place" before God as a created being, and not as an advisor or critic. Certain things about behemoth do not make sense from a human perspective. Here is a beast that is basically useless to man, that is, behemoth cannot be milked, used to plow a field, and so on, so why would God create such a brute? The answer to that question is in the same category as to why God would allow the righteous to suffer. God has His reasons.

40:15 He eats grass like an ox, but he is not an ox.

Verse 16

40:16 This brute has massive strength in its loins, stomach muscles, thighs, and tail.

Verse 17

40:17 "He bends his tail like a cedar": Or his tail sways like a cedar. Some argue that his means a cedar branch and not a cedar tree, but that seems to dismiss the power of this animal. What is so impressive about a tail the size of a little branch? To me this appears to rule out such animals as the hippo and elephant that do not have impressive tails. Compare this with verses 40:17-18. Everything about this beast is impressive, strong and huge.

Verse 19

40:19 "He is the first in the ways of God": Not the first animal created, but the first in size the strength. Again, hippos and elephants are impressive (some hippos weigh up to 6000 pounds), yet but dinosaurs were far more massive, weighing up to 30 tons.

40:19 "Let his maker bring near his sword": This suggests that only the Creator Himself could go up against this brute in hand to hand combat. "Behemoth dare not be approached with the sword, yet the Egyptian monuments frequently picture single hunters attacking the hippo with a spear" (Jackson p. 86). Jackson also reminds us that we know that dinosaurs did survive the flood. In Rhodesia there are cave paintings of the ancient brontosaurus left by a race of tribesmen who lived about 1500 B.C..

Verse 20

40:20 It takes a tremendous amount of vegetation to feed this animal, possibly the allusion to the mountains is that this animal feeds on the large masses of vegetation that float downstream from the mountains, and because he eats only vegetation, the other animals can play safely near him.

Verse 21

40:21-22 Behemoth loves to stay in the water.

Verse 23

40:23 He is so large that a rushing river does not alarm him.

Verse 24

40:24 This is a brute that cannot be captured, and yet representations of the capture of the hippo are common in Egyptian art.

Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 40". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". 1999-2014.