Attention!
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Job 40

Verses 1-24

JOB - CHAPTER 40

JEHOVAH’S SECOND ADDRESS TO JOB

Verses 1-24:

Job’s Eventual Humility and Confession

Verses 1, 2 recount the beginning of Jehovah’s final rhetoric chiding or shaming address to Job. As He asked, "He that contendeth with the Almighty shall not instruct Him, shall he?" Then Jehovah added, "He that reproveth God (Job) let him proceed to reply or respond." The idea is, does Job still want to set God right on the issue of his suffering? Will he still rebuke, controvert, with, or reprove His majesty and wisdom, as he had formerly wished he could do? Job 9:3; Job 33:13; Job 34:37; Isaiah 45:9.

Verses 3, 4 begin Job’s reply to His majesty, Jehovah. First, Job confessed, "I am vile," the first step of every sinner and backslidder to the restoration of favor with the Holy God; His confession sets the order for sinners in returning to God, their creator, Ezra 9:6; Job 42:6; Psalms 51:4. In helpless despair Job asked, "What shall I answer thee?" He had become convicted of his wrong attitude and of idle words he had spoken against the judgment of God in permitting the lingering, suffering of Job for purposes of Divine glory, John 9:2-3; John 11:4; 1 Peter 4:12-16; Job 2:6-10. He added, v.4 "I will lay my hand upon my mouth," or keep my mouth shut, complain no more, for I have no just plea to make against the wisdom of God, Job 21:5; Job 29:9; Psalms 39:9; Zechariah 2:13; Judges 18:19.

Verse 5 adds "once have I (Job) spoken, even twice," but he added that he would not answer, reply, or speak any more. He conceded that he realized he had already sinned, in questioning the wisdom of God, regarding his suffering, Job 33:14; Psalms 62:11.

Verse 8 asserts that then Jehovah answered Job out of a whirlwind, as in Job 38:1; Psalms 50:2; Psalms 2 Kg 2:1. The whirlwind signifies the glory of His power, as described at Gilgal, Deuteronomy 11:30; As related to Elijah, 1Kg 17:1; Job 37:9.

Verse 7 directs Job to gird up his loins "like a man," like a man ready for a race, hard labor, or a battle, Job 38:3, for Job had accused God of injustice and spoken derogatory words against Him. He would have Job explain just how he could govern the world in a just and honorable way, v.1-12, if he punished the wicked and the proud, as they should be punished, Job 42:4.

Verse 8 inquires whether or not Job would annul, make void, or abrogate the judgment of Jehovah. Would he condemn Jehovah, that he might appear the more righteous, more exalted than God? Psalms 51:4; Romans 3:4.

Verse 9 further inquires whether or not Job has an arm (of strength) like (to compare with) the arm of God. Or could he thunder with a voice of authority like Him? Would Job claim omnipotence in God’s presence? Job 37:4; Psalms 29:3; See also Exodus 6:6; Psalms 89:13; Exodus 9:23; Genesis 3:8.

Verse 10 Invites Job to robe himself with majestic splendor, excellency, glory, and beauty, if he desired to stand face to face, on an equality with Jehovah, to contend with Him on any matter, relating to judgment or governing the earth, 1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalms 93:1; Psalms 104:1; Isaiah 59:17.

Verse 11 calls on Job to lay aside his anger or wrathful, wrong, attitude and behold, closely observe, each one that was proud, and abase him; Judge him at a glance, as God can and does, if he is wiser than Jehovah, Psalms 40:4; Isaiah 2:12; Daniel 4:37; Daniel 5:20-24; Luke 18:14; Exodus 9:16-17; Exodus 15:6; Isaiah 10:12; Isaiah 10:19; Ezekiel 28:2.

Verse 12 continues to call on Job to try looking upon everyone that is proud, and bring him low, humble him, and tread down the wicked in their place, their track, right where they are, at once, as Job wanted God to do, Job 34:36; Job 36:20; Psalms 1:1-5; Isaiah 63:3.

Verses 13, 14 recount Jehovah’s challenge to Job to hide all the unjust and the wicked in the dust, binding their faces in secret together, in a single act of judgment, of execution for their wrong. To veil their faces in darkness. Then the Lord declared to Job, when you have done all this "I will that your own right hand (power) can save you," but not till then, Psalms 20:5; Psalms 108:6. Since Job could not do what God challenged him to do he could only trust in the Lord to deliver or save him, as set forth Isaiah 59:16; Isaiah 63:5.

Verses 15-24 relate Jehovah’s call upon Job to observe the behemoth (elephant or hippopotamus) which the Jehovah had made, and learn some lessons from what he beholds, as follows: If Job can’t control behemoth creatures on land or leviathan creatures that He has made in the sea, how can he govern the universe? See?

Verse 15 asks Job to observe behemoth (hippopotamus or elephant) which the Lord had with Job, to be an inhabitant of earth with him. This huge creature is also associated with the crocodile and water ox; Yet he is herbivorous, continually eating grass to survive, like an ox. God who made behemoth cares for both his well being and that of Job, Genesis 1:1.

Verse 16 describes the strength as existing in his loins and his force as emanating from the naval area of his belly. Because this area of the elephant is thin and weak, easily stung by insects, while that of the hippopotamus is thick and strong, the latter is generally believed to be more likely the animal referred to as the behemoth, v.15.

Verse 17 states that this behemoth moves his tail like a cedar that is flexible, yet rigid. The sinews of his stones or great thighs are firmly wrapped or fixed together, giving him formidable strength.

Verse 18 adds that his bones are like strong pieces of brass or tubes of copper, and like bars of iron for strength.

Verse 19 declares also that he is (exists as) "chief of the ways of God," or the works of God, in flesh of beasts, Job 26:14; Proverbs 8:22. he that made him can also make his sword to approach, or his sword or sickle-like teeth to come forth, with which he cuts down grain, forage, and protects himself.

Verse 20 declares that all of the mountains deliver to him food, even where "all the beasts of the field play," Genesis 1:29; Psalms 104:26. The smaller beasts of the field play near him because he is an herbivorous behemoth, not carnivorous or a flesh eater. He is associated with the leviathan, also an herbivorous monster, that comes up to the mountain streams to feed, like the sea cow, with the hippopotamus.

Verse 21 adds that he lies under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed and fens, hiding near plants of the water. He leads a rather docile, inactive life. The term "shady trees" seems to refer to "lotus bushes," as in v.22. Verse 22 explains that the shady trees (lotus bushes) cover him with their shadow and the willows of the brook (that overhang the water) also compass him about or cover his hiding place; Leviticus 23:40; Psalms 137:2.

Verse 23 relates that the behemoth (hippopotamus-like) creature drinks up a river and does not get in a hurry, is slow in movement. Because he can live on land or sea, forage in either, tho his chosen hiding place is in the water, in a shady place, he is not afraid of even the flood of the Jordan which he drew into his mouth, without fear or harm; The term Jordan is used of any great river for the, behemoth, v.15; Genesis 13:18; Joshua 3:17; Jeremiah 12:5.

Verse 24 declares that he takes the "swelling of Jordan" with his eyes. His nose pierces through snares. None can capture him by open force, before his eyes. He can only be taken by guile and by a pitfall of some kind even today, Job 41:1-2. And when trapped in a pit none can take him even then by a cord or hook in his nose, a common way to take and tame other wild animals, Isaiah 37:29. Since man can not tame and successfully manage the eagles of the air or behemoths of the earth or sea, how then may he govern the universe without God’s guidance and strength?

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Job 40". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/job-40.html. 1985.