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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Job 41

Verses 1-34

God Describes the Largest Animals in Creation - In Job 40:15 through Job 41:34 God describes the greatest land animal (Job 40:15-18.40.24), then the greatest animal of the sea in His divine creation (Job 41:1-18.41.34). The point of God describing these two majestic creatures is to point out to Job that if man cannot tame God’s creatures, neither can he overcome a contest against God. This passage further reveals to Job his frailty and weakness as one of God’s creatures.

The story of Leviathan and Behemoth are embedded in ancient Jewish mythology. The Jewish Pseudepigrapha refer to these two monsters on a number of occasions as figurative images of wickedness. According to ancient Jewish tradition, these two creatures were made on the fifth day of creation and are now reserved by God to be later used as a part of the fulfillment of their Messianic prophecies.

“And on that day were two monsters parted, a female monster named Leviathan, to dwell in the abysses of the ocean over the fountains of the waters. But the male is named Behemoth, who occupied with his breast a waste wilderness named Duidain, on the east of the garden where the elect and righteous dwell, where my grandfather was taken up, the seventh from Adam, the first man whom the Lord of Spirits created. And I besought the other angel that he should show me the might of those monsters, how they were parted on one day and cast, the one into the abysses of the sea, and the other unto the dry land of the wilderness.” ( 1 Enoch 60.7-9) [44]

[44] 1 Enoch, trans. R. H. Charles, ed. R. H. Charles, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol. 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 2:224.

“And these things I saw towards the Garden of the Righteous. And the angel of peace who was with me said to me: These two monsters, prepared conformably to the greatness of God, shall feed . . .” ( 1 Enoch 60.23-24) [45]

[45] 1 Enoch, trans. R. H. Charles, ed. R. H. Charles, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol. 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 2:225.

“Then didst thou preserve "two living creatures"; the name of the one thou didst call Behemoth and the name of the other thou didst call Leviathan. And thou didst separate the one from the other; for the seventh part, where the water was gathered together, was unable to hold them (both). And thou didst give Behemoth one of the parts which had been dried up on the third day to dwell in, (that namely) where are a thousand hills: but unto Leviathan thou gavest the seventh part, namely the moist: and thou hast reserved them to be devoured by whom thou wilt and when.” ( 4 Ezra 49-52) [46]

[46] 4 Ezra, trans. G. H. Box, ed. R. H. Charles, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol. 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 2:579.

“And Behemoth shall be revealed from his place and Leviathan shall ascend from the sea, those two great monsters which I created on the fifth day of creation, and shall have kept until that time; and then they shall be for food for all that are left.” ( 2 Baruch 29.4) [47]

[47] 2 Baruch, trans. R. H. Charles, ed. R. H. Charles, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol. 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 2:497.

Rabbinic tradition reflects a similar approach in identifying these two creatures.

“And the Lord said, Let the lakes of the waters swarm forth the reptile, the living animal, and the fowl which flieth, whose nest is upon the earth; and let the way of the bird be upon the air of the expanse of the heavens. And the Lord created the great tanins, the lev-ya-than and his yoke-fellow which are prepared for the day of consolation, and every living animal which creepeth, and which the clear waters had swarmed forth after their kind; the kinds which are clean, and the kinds which are not clean; and every fowl which flieth with wings after their kinds, the clean and the unclean.” ( The Targum of Jonathan Genesis 1:21) [48]

[48] J. W. Etheridge, The Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel On the Pentateuch With The Fragments of the Jerusalem Targum From the Chaldee (1862).

Church tradition has followed a literal interpretation for these two creatures, attempting to identify them with some of God’s larger animals, such as the elephant and mastodon, the hippopotamus, the crocodile, the whale, and the dinosaur.

Verses 1-34

God Describes the Largest Animals in Creation - In Job 40:15 through Job 41:34 God describes the greatest land animal (Job 40:15-18.40.24), then the greatest animal of the sea in His divine creation (Job 41:1-18.41.34). The point of God describing these two majestic creatures is to point out to Job that if man cannot tame God’s creatures, neither can he overcome a contest against God. This passage further reveals to Job his frailty and weakness as one of God’s creatures.

The story of Leviathan and Behemoth are embedded in ancient Jewish mythology. The Jewish Pseudepigrapha refer to these two monsters on a number of occasions as figurative images of wickedness. According to ancient Jewish tradition, these two creatures were made on the fifth day of creation and are now reserved by God to be later used as a part of the fulfillment of their Messianic prophecies.

“And on that day were two monsters parted, a female monster named Leviathan, to dwell in the abysses of the ocean over the fountains of the waters. But the male is named Behemoth, who occupied with his breast a waste wilderness named Duidain, on the east of the garden where the elect and righteous dwell, where my grandfather was taken up, the seventh from Adam, the first man whom the Lord of Spirits created. And I besought the other angel that he should show me the might of those monsters, how they were parted on one day and cast, the one into the abysses of the sea, and the other unto the dry land of the wilderness.” ( 1 Enoch 60.7-9) [44]

[44] 1 Enoch, trans. R. H. Charles, ed. R. H. Charles, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol. 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 2:224.

“And these things I saw towards the Garden of the Righteous. And the angel of peace who was with me said to me: These two monsters, prepared conformably to the greatness of God, shall feed . . .” ( 1 Enoch 60.23-24) [45]

[45] 1 Enoch, trans. R. H. Charles, ed. R. H. Charles, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol. 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 2:225.

“Then didst thou preserve "two living creatures"; the name of the one thou didst call Behemoth and the name of the other thou didst call Leviathan. And thou didst separate the one from the other; for the seventh part, where the water was gathered together, was unable to hold them (both). And thou didst give Behemoth one of the parts which had been dried up on the third day to dwell in, (that namely) where are a thousand hills: but unto Leviathan thou gavest the seventh part, namely the moist: and thou hast reserved them to be devoured by whom thou wilt and when.” ( 4 Ezra 49-52) [46]

[46] 4 Ezra, trans. G. H. Box, ed. R. H. Charles, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol. 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 2:579.

“And Behemoth shall be revealed from his place and Leviathan shall ascend from the sea, those two great monsters which I created on the fifth day of creation, and shall have kept until that time; and then they shall be for food for all that are left.” ( 2 Baruch 29.4) [47]

[47] 2 Baruch, trans. R. H. Charles, ed. R. H. Charles, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol. 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 2:497.

Rabbinic tradition reflects a similar approach in identifying these two creatures.

“And the Lord said, Let the lakes of the waters swarm forth the reptile, the living animal, and the fowl which flieth, whose nest is upon the earth; and let the way of the bird be upon the air of the expanse of the heavens. And the Lord created the great tanins, the lev-ya-than and his yoke-fellow which are prepared for the day of consolation, and every living animal which creepeth, and which the clear waters had swarmed forth after their kind; the kinds which are clean, and the kinds which are not clean; and every fowl which flieth with wings after their kinds, the clean and the unclean.” ( The Targum of Jonathan Genesis 1:21) [48]

[48] J. W. Etheridge, The Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel On the Pentateuch With The Fragments of the Jerusalem Targum From the Chaldee (1862).

Church tradition has followed a literal interpretation for these two creatures, attempting to identify them with some of God’s larger animals, such as the elephant and mastodon, the hippopotamus, the crocodile, the whale, and the dinosaur.

Verses 1-34

God Describes the Largest Animals in Creation - In Job 40:15 through Job 41:34 God describes the greatest land animal (Job 40:15-18.40.24), then the greatest animal of the sea in His divine creation (Job 41:1-18.41.34). The point of God describing these two majestic creatures is to point out to Job that if man cannot tame God’s creatures, neither can he overcome a contest against God. This passage further reveals to Job his frailty and weakness as one of God’s creatures.

The story of Leviathan and Behemoth are embedded in ancient Jewish mythology. The Jewish Pseudepigrapha refer to these two monsters on a number of occasions as figurative images of wickedness. According to ancient Jewish tradition, these two creatures were made on the fifth day of creation and are now reserved by God to be later used as a part of the fulfillment of their Messianic prophecies.

“And on that day were two monsters parted, a female monster named Leviathan, to dwell in the abysses of the ocean over the fountains of the waters. But the male is named Behemoth, who occupied with his breast a waste wilderness named Duidain, on the east of the garden where the elect and righteous dwell, where my grandfather was taken up, the seventh from Adam, the first man whom the Lord of Spirits created. And I besought the other angel that he should show me the might of those monsters, how they were parted on one day and cast, the one into the abysses of the sea, and the other unto the dry land of the wilderness.” ( 1 Enoch 60.7-9) [44]

[44] 1 Enoch, trans. R. H. Charles, ed. R. H. Charles, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol. 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 2:224.

“And these things I saw towards the Garden of the Righteous. And the angel of peace who was with me said to me: These two monsters, prepared conformably to the greatness of God, shall feed . . .” ( 1 Enoch 60.23-24) [45]

[45] 1 Enoch, trans. R. H. Charles, ed. R. H. Charles, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol. 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 2:225.

“Then didst thou preserve "two living creatures"; the name of the one thou didst call Behemoth and the name of the other thou didst call Leviathan. And thou didst separate the one from the other; for the seventh part, where the water was gathered together, was unable to hold them (both). And thou didst give Behemoth one of the parts which had been dried up on the third day to dwell in, (that namely) where are a thousand hills: but unto Leviathan thou gavest the seventh part, namely the moist: and thou hast reserved them to be devoured by whom thou wilt and when.” ( 4 Ezra 49-52) [46]

[46] 4 Ezra, trans. G. H. Box, ed. R. H. Charles, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol. 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 2:579.

“And Behemoth shall be revealed from his place and Leviathan shall ascend from the sea, those two great monsters which I created on the fifth day of creation, and shall have kept until that time; and then they shall be for food for all that are left.” ( 2 Baruch 29.4) [47]

[47] 2 Baruch, trans. R. H. Charles, ed. R. H. Charles, in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English With Introductions and Critical and Explanatory Notes to the Several Books, vol. 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 2:497.

Rabbinic tradition reflects a similar approach in identifying these two creatures.

“And the Lord said, Let the lakes of the waters swarm forth the reptile, the living animal, and the fowl which flieth, whose nest is upon the earth; and let the way of the bird be upon the air of the expanse of the heavens. And the Lord created the great tanins, the lev-ya-than and his yoke-fellow which are prepared for the day of consolation, and every living animal which creepeth, and which the clear waters had swarmed forth after their kind; the kinds which are clean, and the kinds which are not clean; and every fowl which flieth with wings after their kinds, the clean and the unclean.” ( The Targum of Jonathan Genesis 1:21) [48]

[48] J. W. Etheridge, The Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel On the Pentateuch With The Fragments of the Jerusalem Targum From the Chaldee (1862).

Church tradition has followed a literal interpretation for these two creatures, attempting to identify them with some of God’s larger animals, such as the elephant and mastodon, the hippopotamus, the crocodile, the whale, and the dinosaur.

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Job 41". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/job-41.html. 2013.