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Between the first and the second part of the Divine discourse, at the end of which Job wholly humbles himself (Job 42:1-6), is interposed a short appeal on the part of tile Almighty, and a short reply on Job's part, which, however, is insufficient. God calls upon Job to make good his charges (verses 1, 2). Job declines, acknowledges himself to be of no account, and promises silence and submission for the future (verses 3-5). But something more is needed; and therefore the discourse is further prolonged.
Job 40:1, Job 40:2
Moreover the Lord. Jehovah' as in Job 38:1 and in the opening chapters (see the comment on Job 12:9). Answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? rather, Can he that reproveth contend with the Almighty? (see the Revised Version). Does Job, the reprover, think that he can really contend with the Almighty? If so, then he that reproveth God, let him answer it; or, let him answer this; let him answer, that is, what has been urged in Job 38:1-41 and Job 39:1-30.
Job 40:3, Job 40:4
Then Job answered, the Lord, and said, Behold, I am vile; literally, I am light; i.e. I am of small account (see the Revised Version). It would be absurd for one so weak and contemptible to attempt to argue with the Almighty. What shall I answer thee? or, What should I answer thee! What should I say, if I were to attempt a reply? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth (see the comment on Job 21:5).
Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but l will proceed no further. The meaning is, "I have already spoken, not once, but more than once. Now I will be silent; I will say no more.' There is a sort of recognition that the arguments used were futile, but not a full and complete confession, as in Job 42:3.
Job's confession not having been sufficiently ample, the Divine discourse is continued through the remainder of this chapter, and through the whole of the next, the object being to break down the last remnants of pride and self-trust in the soul of the patriarch, and to bring him to complete submission and dependence on the Divine will. The argument falls under three heads—Can Job cope with God in his general providence (verses 6-14)? can he even cope with two of God's creatures—with behemoth, or the hippopotamus (verses 15-24); with leviathan, or the crocodile (Job 41:1-34)?
Then answered the Lord unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said (comp. Job 38:1). The storm still continued, or, after a lull, had returned.
Gird up thy loins now like a man (see the comment on Job 38:3): I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Job is given every opportunity of making good his pleas before God. If he has anything to say that he really wishes to urge, God is ready, nay, anxious, to hear him.
Wilt thou also (rather, even) disannul my judgment? i.e. maintain that my judgment towards thee has not been just and equitable, and therefore, so far as it lies in thy power, disannul it? Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? Dost thou think it necessary to accuse me of injustice, and condemn me. in order to establish thine own innocence? But there is no such necessity. The two things—my justice and thy innocence—are quite compatible. Only lay aside the notion that afflictions must be punitive.
Hast thou an arm like God? The might of God's arm is often dwelt upon in Scripture. He brought Israel out of Egypt ,' with a mighty hand and stretched-out arm" (Deuteronomy 5:15; Deuteronomy 7:19, etc.). "Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand," says one of the psalmists (Psalms 89:13). "Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord!" says Isaiah (Isaiah 51:9). No human strength, not the strength of all men put together, can compare with it. Or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? (comp. Job 38:34, Job 38:35; and for the idea of thunder being the actual "voice of God," see Job 37:4, Job 37:5; Psalms 68:33; Psalms 77:18, etc.).
Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. God is at all times "clothed with majesty and strength" (Psalms 93:1), "with glory and beauty" (Psalms 104:1). He "decks himself with light as with a garment" (Psalms 104:2). Job is challenged to array himself similarly.
Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath. "Give vent," i.e; "to thy anger against the wicked, and let it be seen what thou canst do in the way of restraining evil and punishing transgressors." Behold every one that is proud, and abase him. If my moral government does not satisfy thee; Improve upon it. Put down those wicked ones whom thou sayest that I allow to prosper (Job 24:2-23); "abase" them in the dust; do what thou accusest me of not doing. Then wilt thou have established something of a claim to enter into controversy with me.
Job 40:12, Job 40:13
Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place. Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret. The idea of Job 40:11 is still further insisted on. Lot Job manifest himself as a power among men, if he cannot rival God in nature. Let him set the world to rights. Then he may claim to be heard with respect to the moral government of God.
Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand and save thee. When he has done what he has been challenged to do in Job 40:9-13, then Job may venture to contend with God. He will have established his own independence, and God will acknowledge him as an antagonist entitled to argue with him.
This passage, together with the whole of Job 41:1-34; has been regarded by some critics as an interpolation. Its omission would certainly not affect the argument; and it is thought, in some respects, to contain traces of a later age than that which most commentators assign to the remainder of the book, or, at any rate, to the greater portion of it. The recurrence to the animal creation, when the subject seemed to have been completed (Job 39:30), is also a difficulty. But, on the other hand, as there is no variation, either in the manuscripts or in the versions, and no marked difference either of style or tone of thought between the rest of the book and this controverted passage, it is best regarded as an integral portion of the work, proceeding from the same author, although perhaps at a later period. No one denies that the style is that of the best Hebrew poetry, or that the book would be weakened by the excision of the passage. "Le style," says M. Renan, "est celui des meilleurs endroits du poeme. Nulle part la coupe n'est pins vigoreuse, le parallelisme plus sonore.'
Behold now behemoth. "Behemoth" is ordinarily the plural of behemah "a beast;" but it is scarcely possible to understand the word in this sense in the present passage, where it seems to be a noun singular, being followed by singular verbs, and represented by singular pronouns. Hence modern critics almost unanimously regard the word here as designating "some particular animal." The mammoth, the rhinoceros, the hippopotamus, and the elephant have been suggested. Of these the mammoth is precluded by the want of any evidence that it existed in Job's day, and the rhinoceros by the absence of any allusion to its peculiar feature. Authorities are divided almost equally between the elephant and the hippopotamus; but the best recent Hebraists and naturalists incline rather to the latter. Which I made with thee; i.e. "which I created at the same time as I created thee". He eateth grass as an ox; i.e. he is graminivorous, not carnivorous. This is admitted to be true of the hippopotamus, which lives in the Nile during the day, and at night emerges from the river, and devastates the crops of sugar-cane, rice, and millet.
Lo now, his strength is in his loins. The strength of the hippopotamus is its principal characteristic. Weighing often two thousand kilogrammes, and of a short thick make, when roused to anger it has a force which is irresistible. In the water it upsets large beats; on land it forces its way through dense thickets and fences of all kinds. The loins are especially strong, being deep, broad, and immensely muscular. And his force is in the navel of his belly; rather, in the muscles of his belly. The word used (שׁרידים) occurs only in this place. It is a plural form, and therefore cannot designate a single object, like the navel. The root seems to be the Syriac serir, "firm," whence Schultens proposes to translate שׁרירים by firmitates.
He moveth his tail like a cedar. The tail of the hippopotamus is remarkably short and thick. It only bends slightly, being stiff and unyielding, like the stem of a cedar. The sinews of his stones (rather, of his thighs) are wrapped together; or, interwoven one with another (so Professor Lee and Mr. Houghton).
His bones are as strong pieces of brass; rather, as tubes of bronze. The great thigh-bones—μηρία of the Greeks—are probably intended. These are hollow, being filled with marrow, and are so strong that they may be well compared to "tubes of bronze." His bones (rather, his ribs) are like bars of iron. Either the ribs, or the solid bones of the lower leg, forearm, etc; are intended.
He is the chief of the ways of God. This is the main argument in favour of the elephant, rather than the hippopotamus, being intended (see Schultens, ad loc.). It has, indeed, been argued that some specimens of the hippopotamus exceed the elephant in height and bulk; but no modern naturalist certainly would place the former animal above the latter in any catalogue raisonée of animals arranged according to their size and importance. The elephant, however, may not have been known to the author of Job, or, at any rate, the Asiatic species, which seems not to have been imported into Assyria before the middle of the ninth century b.c. In this case, the hippopotamus might well seem to him the grandest of the works of God. He that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. This is explained to mean, "Only God can attack behemoth with success and slay him; man is powerless to do so" (Canon Cook, Stanley Leathes, Revised Version). But the Egyptians, from very early times, used to attack the hippopotamus and slay him. It is better, therefore, to translate the passage, with Schultens, "He that made him hath furnished him with his sword," and to understand by "his sword" those sharp teeth with which the hippopotamus is said to "cut the grass as neatly as if it were mown' and to sever, as if with shears' a tolerably stout and thick stem". Compare the 'Theriaca' of Nicander, 11. 566, 567—
Ἢ ἵππου τὸν Νεῖλος ὑπὲρ Σάΐν αἰθαλόεσσαν
Βόσκει ἀρούρησιν δὲ κακὴν ἐπιβάλλεται ἅρπην
Surely the mountains bring him forth food. Neither the hippopotamus nor the elephant is an inhabitant of "mountains,'' according to our use of the word. But the harim (הָרִים) of the original is used of very moderate eminences. In the highly poetical language of Job, and especially of this passage, the term may well be applied to the hills on either side of the Nile, which approach closely to the river, and to this day furnish the hippopotamus with a portion of its food. Where all the beasts of the field play. By "the beasts of the field" seem to be meant the cattle and other do-mastic animals which are not driven from their pasture-grounds by the "river-horse".
He listh under the shady trees; or, under the lotus trees (Revised Version). The Lotus sylvestris, or Lotus Cyrenaiea, "grows abundantly an the hot banks of the Upper Nile" (Cook). and is thought to be the tree here intended (Schultens. Cook, Houghton, and others). But the identification is very doubtful. The dense shade of trees is sought alike by the hippopotamus and the elephant. In the covert of the reed, and fens. This is exactly descriptive of the hippopotamus; far less so of the elephant. Gordon Cumming says, "At every turn there occurred deep still pools, and occasional sandy islands, densely clad with lofty reeds Above and beyond these reeds stood trees of immense age. beneath which grew a rank kind of grass, on which the sea-cow (hippopotamus) delights to pasture".
The shady trees (or, the lotus trees) cover him with their shadow (see the comment on Job 40:21); the willows of the brook compass him round about. The "willow of the brook" (Leviticus 23:40) is probably the Saliz Aegyptiaca, or safsaf, which grows plentifully in the Nile valley, fringing the course both of the Nile itself and of the many streams derived from it. The Saliz Babylonica, or "weeping willow," is less likely.
Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not; rather, behold, let a river overflow, he trembleth not (ἐὰν πλημμύρα γεηται, οὐ μὴ αἰσθηθῇ' LXX). As an amphibious animal, the overflowing of a river has no terrors for the hippopotamus. But it would have some terrors for an elephant. He trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. It is better to translate, he is steadfast (or, confident)' though Jordan swell even to his mouth. "Jordan" probably stands for any large and strong-flowing river. The conjecture that ירדן is a corruption of יר, which often stands for "the Nile," is ingenious, but unnecessary.
He taketh it with his eyes; rather, Shall one take him when he is looking on? "Can he be captured." i.e.' "when his eyes are open, and when he sees what is intended? No. If captured at all, it must be by subtlety, when he is not on the watch." His nose pierceth through snares; rather, Or can one bore his nostril with cords? i.e. can we lead him away captive, with a ring or hook passed through his nose, and a cord attached (compare the next chapter, Job 40:2)?
Jehovah to Job: the first answer-the application.
I. JEHOVAH'S CONDESCENSION TOWARDS JOB.
1. In listening with patient silence to Job's censures and complaints. "Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him?" literally, "Shall the reprover [i.e. of God] contend in contending with the Almighty?" This is the first formal notice taken by Jehovah of the fact that Job had indulged in censorious reflections against the Divine character and administration. They had all been heard by that ever-listening ear which no sound can escape. But no sign or indication had been given that the Deity was cognizant of the reflections cast upon him by his angry servant. Patiently he had suffered Job to proceed against him as far as he thought good. And the like meek, uncomplaining attitude does he still preserve towards them, whether ungodly unbelievers or backsliding professors, who cast reproaches on his Name (Psalms 50:21). The Divine patience in the face of man's provocations to wrath is a sublime miracle of condescension.
2. In seeking rather to remove Job's censures by instruction than to silence them by chastisement. When at length Job had ended his long arraignment of the Divine government of the world, it would not have been surprising had God descended on him by way of punishment, calling him to account for his over-bold behaviour. Instead of that, the Almighty causes an ambassador, Elihu, to deal with him by way of education, imparting to him such views of God's character and ways as might serve to correct his misapprehensions. Nay, himself, the supreme Jehovah, stoops to become his own Ambassador for the selfsame purpose, that he might set before the mind of his servant such an image and presentment of himself that the misconceptions which gave rise to his censures might be removed. What God gave to Job out of the whirlwind he has in the Person of Jesus Christ given to the world—a manifestation of himself—and for a like purpose, not condemnation, but salvation (John 3:17), through the removal of those erroneous ideas which hinder men from giving him their confidence and love (2 Corinthians 4:6).
3. In submitting to discuss the question of his own character with his creature. "He that reproveth God, let him answer it;" i.e. if Job had anything to urge in reply to the representation which God had given of himself, God was ready to attend to it. Surely here was a depth of self-abasement to which only a God of love and grace could stoop! A prefigurement, may it not be said, of the stupendous condescension of the Incarnation, when God, not arrayed in majesty, but clothed in the lowly garb of humanity, stooped to talk with sinful man, as a man talketh with his friend!
II. JOB'S SUBMISSION TO JEHOVAH.
1. An acknowledgment of insignificance. "Behold, I am vile;" literally, "I am mean, small, of no account, a being to be despised in comparison with thee." It is not yet a sense of moral imperfection that fills the breast of Job, as afterwards, when the second Divine remonstrance ends (Job 42:6), but simply a vivid realization of his utter feebleness and contemptibleness before a God of such incomparable majesty as Jehovah, of such far-reaching power and wide-ranging wisdom. Man never knows his real littleness until he understands the greatness of God.
2. A confession of ignorance. "What shall I answer thee?" Job meant that he felt utterly unable to reply to the arguments which God had adduced in support of his right to govern the world on principles of his own without taking Job or any other creature into his confidence. Hence the resolution, "I will lay my hand upon my mouth," was designed to intimate both his resolution to be silent and his inability to reply. The less men attempt to answer God the better. When God brings his heavenly teachings home to the spirit, the proper attitude is silent admiration and submission. "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth."
3. An admission of error. "Once have I spoken; but I will not answer [literally. and I will not answer,' i.e. I will not reply again]; yea, twice; but [literally, 'and'] I will proceed no further." Whether Job intended to say that he had twice, or only once, answered God, he certainly meant that he had spoken wrongly in his previous utterances. It was much that he had now arrived at a clear perception of his error. It was a good preparation for his ultimate complete withdrawal from the false position which all throughout the controversy with God he had maintained.
4. A profession of amendment. He had done wrong in the past; he would do so no more—at least in this respect. This becoming resolution was "a fruit meet for repentance," a promise of the final soul-surrender which was drawing nigh.
1. That God deals with men on the principles of grace, even when they richly deserve to receive only justice.
2. That for a puny creature to find fault with God is an amazing act of presumption.
3. That the first sign of goodness in a human soul is a perception, however faint, of its own insignificance.
4. That they who have fallen into sin once should, like Job, endeavour to do so no more.
Jehovah to Job: the second answer: 1. A sublime challenge.
I. A SUMMONS ISSUED. "Gird up thy loins like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me." Here again appears a series of gracious wonders.
1. That Jehovah should propose to continue further the instruction of his servant. But so God deals with all whom he undertakes to educate, teaching them with patience, perseverance, minuteness, giving them line upon line, and desisting not until their spiritual enlightenment is complete.
2. That Jehovah should advise his servant of the searching character of the examination to which he was about to be subjected. He had done so on the first occasion. But after Job's partial submission it might have been expected that the second ordeal would be easier than the first. In order to prevent the rise of any such misunderstanding, Job is a second time advised that the forthcoming inter. view, like the first, wilt require on his part the most strenuous resolution and endeavour. God seldom takes his people unawares except with mercy.
3. That Jehovah should a second time invite his servant to become his instructor. This is practically what he does in giving Job another opportunity to reply to his interrogations. But there is no limit to God's grace in stooping to help his creature man.
II. A QUESTION ASKED. "Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?" Jehovah means by this to say that Job's conduct, in maintaining as he had done his own righteousness, really involved two tremendous assumptions.
1. That he (Job) could govern the world better (i.e. more justly) than God. Hence Jehovah inquires if Job proposed to disannul the Divine judgment, and take upon himself the task of administering mundane affairs. Even good men do not always understand how much is involved in the statements they rashly utter. Nor can any interpreter so clearly tell them as God.
2. That he (Job) was a more righteous being than his Maker. No doubt Job would have shrunk from any such deification of himself, had be clearly foreseen how much his utterances meant. Job's example should teach saints to keep the door of their lips. That Jehovah still urged these interrogations on his servant was a proof that the work of reducing him to complete subjection was not yet accomplished.
III. A PROPOSAL MADE. That Job should for once take God's place, and show what he could do in the way of governing the world. "Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?" On the supposition that Job is competent to exchange places with the Supreme, he is invited:
1. To array himself in the royal robes of Deity. "Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty." Whatever glory man possesses is not inherent, but derived, and is really as no glory by the reason of the glory that excelleth, viz. the glory of the supreme Creator. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork." God "covereth himself with light as with a garment," and is "clothed with honour and with majesty." Jehovah means that Job should similarly array himself in splendours like those of the material creation, or that he should occupy the throne of which these constituted, as it were, the external trappings and visible decorations.
2. To display the righteous wrath of Deity. "Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath;" literally, "Let the overflowings of thy wrath pour themselves forth." A characteristic attribute of Deity to manifest holy indigtation against evildoers (Isaiah 2:10-21), it is here suggested to Job for imitation. This, however, does not warrant good men to usurp the place and function of him who says, "Vengeance is mine: I will repay, saith the Lord." God's people may pour forth their righteous indignation against iniquity; upon the evil-doer they are only warranted to pour forth pity.
3. To exercise the judicial functions of Deity. "Behold every one that is proud, and abase him;" or, "Behold all pride and abase it; behold all pride and bring it low; and tread," or cast down, "the wicked in their place." The language sets forth
(1) the principle of the Divine administration, which is to humble pride (Leviticus 26:19; Psalms 18:27; Proverbs 8:13; Isaiah 2:11; Matthew 23:12);
(2) the certainty of its operation, indicated by the repetition of the challenge, "Behold all pride, and abase it," i.e. as I do without failing;
(3) the ease with which it is carried into execution, "Behold pride, and abase it," cast it down with a look, as I do;
(4) the efficiency with which it is performed, "Hide them in the dust together, and bind their faces in secret," the allusion being either to the shutting up of prisoners (Umbreit, Delitzsch), or perhaps to the bandaging of mummies or shrouding of corpses (Carey).
IV. A RESULT STIPULATED. "Then will I also confess unto thee [or, 'extol thee'] that thine own hand can save thee [or, 'bring to thee help']." The words imply:
1. That man cannot save' or even effectually help, himself. The human heart is prone to think it can effect its own deliverance from misery and sin; but the utter helplessness of man to escape condemnation and free himself from the moral pollution in which he naturally lies, or even to surmount the calamities of life, is not only declared by Scripture, but confirmed by all experience. "Without me," said Christ, "ye can do nothing."
2. That nothing short of Divine power is required to accomplish man's salvation. Only on the hypothesis that Job was possessed of powers and attributes that were Divine does Jehovah admit that he might achieve his own emancipation from either the afflictions that assailed his body or the fears that disturbed his mind. This thought lays the axe to the root of the doctrine of the self-regenerative power of human nature. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh."
3. That such power belongs exclusively to Jehovah. Hence he alone is a God of salvation. "I am a just God and a Saviour, and there is none beside me." Hence also he alone is the quarter to which man should look for succour. "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thy help."
4. That, as a consequence' to God alone belongs the praise of man's salvation. Jehovah admits that to save a man like Job would be a creditable achievement, an extremely praiseworthy deed, and offers, moreover, to extol him if he can perform it. But to God alone pertains the power that is able to redeem. Hence also to God alone pertains the glory (1 Chronicles 29:11; Revelation 4:11; Revelation 5:9, Revelation 5:12).
1. That the proper subject of man's judgment is not God, but himself.
2. That he who thinks to rival Goat is self-deceived.
3. That the visible part of God's glory is as nothing in comparison to what is yet to be revealed.
4. That God's government of the world is always in the interests of meekness, truth, and righteousness.
5. That man should not stint the praise of him who hath brought salvation nigh to a fallen world.
Jehovah to Job: the second answer: 2. Concerning behemoth.
I. THE RELATION OF BEHEMOTH TO OTHER ANIMALS. "He is the chief of the ways of God" (verse 19). This huge monster, this giant among beasts, as perhaps the above-cited phrase indicates, is commonly supposed to have been the hippopotamus, or Nile-horse. It is here described by a variety of particulars.
1. Its terrific strength. Concerning this are noted:
(1) its seat or source, the creature's inward parts—"Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel [literally, the cords,' i.e. the sinews or muscles] of his belly;" "the sinews of his stones," or legs, "are wrapped together," or firmly interwoven; "his bones are as strong pieces," tubes, "of brass; his bones are like bars of iron" (verses 16-18); and
(2) its exercise or manifestation—"he moveth his tail like a cedar," with as much ease "as the mighty tempest is able to drive hither and thither the loftiest trees" (Umbreit).
2. Its herbivorous appetite. "He eateth grass as an ox" (verse 15); "Surely the mountains bring him forth food" (verse 20). Though an animal of such gigantic proportions, the hippopotamus is not carnivorous as might have been anticipated. The quantity of food, however, which he does devour is enormous. "He makes sad havoc among the rice-fields and cultivated grounds, when be issues forth from the reedy fens" (Tristram).
3. Its peaceful disposition. Whereas one might naturally have expected to find him ferocious, "all the beasts of the field play around" (verse 20) while he grazes. If unmolested, he is harmless. How much of the ferocity of even wild animals is the natural response to the cruelty of man! The creatures would seldom rise against man if he did not first tyrannize over them.
4. Its amphibious nature. While capable of living on the land, its peculiar habitation is under the lotus-bushes, and among the reeds and fens of the river. "The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about" (verse 22).
5. Its absolute fearlessness. So much at home among the water is the brute that it matters nothing whether the river is in flood or not. "Behold, if the stream be strong, he doth not quake: he remaineth cheerful, though a Jordan burst upon his mouth" (verse 23).
II. THE RELATION OF BEHEMOTH TO MAN.
1. Created along with man. "Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee" (verse 15). The language might certainly mean that behemoth was one of those primeval animals which were called into existence with man on the sixth of the creative days (Carey), but probably it implies nothing more than that behemoth had been created to be with man (Bochart, Delitzsch), or as well as man (Umbreit). Though the firstling of the ways of God, a very masterpiece of the Divine Artificer's hand, he was still a creature like Job.
2. Subordinated at first to man. Though not stated in the passage, it is worthy of being here recalled, that man was by an original appointment of the Creator constituted lord of the creatures (Genesis 1:28). What is suggested by the passage is the loss of this divinely given supremacy over the animals.
3. Untamable by man. "He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares" (verse 24). This may signify that the animal when swimming receiveth the water up to his eyes, and is able to drive right through any snares or nets that may be spread to catch him (Carey); but the rendering of the margin is commonly preferred, "Will any take him in his sight?" i.e. can one catch him while he is watching? "or bore his nose with a gin?" "Neither the open face, nor the stratagem, which one employs with effect with other animals, is sufficient to overpower this monster" (Delitzsch).
III. THE RELATION OF BEHEMOTH TO GOD.
1. Behemoth was God's creature. Job at the best was nothing more. Jehovah had made Job; Jehovah had also made behemoth. This was fitted to remind Job
(1) of his dependence upon God;
(2) of the humility he should cherish when reflecting on his origin;
(3) of the relation he sustained to the animals; and
(4) of the kindness he owed to the creatures.
2. Behemoth was God's masterpiece. "The chief of the ways of God" (verse 19), as above hinted, points to superiority of nature rather than to priority of time. The behemoth was, in its sphere or world, one of the noblest productions of God. Was man also, in his sphere or world, a masterpiece of God? Here was food for reflection to the patriarch, for self-examination, and doubtless also for self-humiliation.
3. Behemoth was God's subject. "He that made him can make his sword approach unto him" (verse 19). Though this verse, when properly translated, points rather to the peculiar sword which God has bestowed on behemoth, viz." the gigantic incisors ranged opposite one another, with which it grazes upon the meadow as with a sickle" (Delitzsch), yet the sentiment, as it stands, is correct, and was probably one Jehovah intended to suggest, viz. that though Job could not master behemoth, yet he, Jehovah, could.
1. That he who made the world of creatures is best able to describe them.
2. That God rejoices in the strength and beauty of the lower creatures.
3. That in every sphere of creation there are gradations of excellence among the works of God.
4. That from the study of zoology we may learn much concerning the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Creator.
5. That when man can put a saddle on behomoth he may begin to cherish the hope of being able to rule the world.
HOMILIES BY E. JOHNSON
Conclusion of Jehovah's address: reply of Job: lowliness in the presence of Jehovah.
The words of Jehovah express this—
I. THAT THE DIVINE WORKS PRESENT A TRIUMPHANT CHALLENGE TO HUMAN INTELLIGENCE. (Verse 2.) Can man surpass them? Can he even imitate them? What can he do but silently admire them, and adore the Author of them? Therefore the serious contemplation of the works of God is well fitted to silence an ignorant criticism, and quell the idle murmurs of discontent. To trace his power, wisdom, and fatherly love through the various departments of the visible universe is to deepen in our minds faith in his order. We in some way are instruments for promoting that order, and shall be blessed in proportion to our active or resigned compliance with its laws.
II. THE STUDY OF THE DIVINE ORDER, THEN, IS FITTED, NOT ONLY TO SILENCE THE CAVILS OF A SHORT-SIGHTED CRITICISM, BUT TO PRODUCE BOTH FAITH AND HUMILITY. (Verses 3-5.) This is the effect on the mind of Job. He feels his littleness in presence of the infinite Intelligence; and, laying his hand upon his mouth, makes the resolve of silence for the future from all questioning of his Maker. Thus silently, as the storms and frosts of winter give place to the genial warmth and gentle influences of spring, is this proud and passionate heart, which want of sympathy and injustice at the hands of man had stung into proud self-consciousness and presumptuous appeals to God, softened by the voice and revelation of God himself into the heart of a little child. When we see ourselves as we are, because seeing ourselves in relation to him; when we are convinced of our insignificance in ourselves, and of the greatness of that grace which alone sheds a true value and significance upon our lives, peace begins to be shed through the heart, and in the silence of a true submission we wait for that which God may further have to speak to us, instead of assailing him with the clamour of passion and ignorance.—J.
Second discourse of Jehovah: the righteous government of' God.
In the previous discourse we have had especially the universal power and wisdom of God impressed upon us; in the present the thought of the justice of his rule is to be more fully brought into the light: in order thus to bring Job to full conviction, and expel the last remains of anger and pride from his heart; while Divine love triumphs in his repentance (Job 42:6).
I. REBUKE OF THE PRESUMPTION WHICH DOUBTS OF THE JUSTICE OF GOD. (Verses 6-14.) Once again is Job summoned to gird up his loins and prepare for the contest with Divine reason. Let, then, these questions receive an answer from the murmurer's and the doubter's lips. Will man "disannul" or bring to nought the justice of God? For this he seems to aim at who would place his own notions of what is right in the place of the Divine. Or, if man would enter on this competition, has he the means to carry out the strife? has he the arm, the power of God? can he wield the thunder of Omnipotence? Let the experiment be tried. Let man clothe himself with the Divine attributes, at least in fancy; let him put on glory and pride, splendour and pomp. Let his anger break forth in fiery floods, and let him overwhelm all the pinnacles of human pride. Let him as just judge cast the wicked clown; strew them in the dust before his righteous retribution. Let man do these things, and Jehovah will praise him, and there will be no need of self-praise and boasting, because his right hand helps him; because he actually possesses the power to carry out his ideas of justice and make them prevail on the earth (comp. Psalms 45:4; Isaiah 59:18; Isaiah 63:5). If man can do none of these things, how can he venture to challenge him who alone can and does execute judgment in the earth? God does ever punish and destroy the wicked, and is ever ready to help the faithful; can man excel or equal God in his ideas or practice of righteousness? "The Lord says to Job, Shall my judgment, by which I either afflict the godly or declare all men to be liars, be empty and vain in thy opinion? Doth it behove me to be unjust, that thy justice may stand? Thou art indeed just, and thou hast my testimony to this (Job 2:1-13.), but it shall not therefore be lawful for thee to slander the judgments of God in affliction." "They who ascribe to themselves in their own strength righteousness before God, simply condemn God and make his judgment void, as if he had not the competence and power to judge and condemn them (Romans 3:4)" (Cramer).
II. REBUKE OF JOB'S PRIDE; DESCRIPTION OF THE GREAT BEASTS. (Verse 15-41:84.) These two vast monsters, behemoth and leviathan, are types of God's creative power. Their gigantic strength fills feeble man with wonder; and yet they are but as toys in the hand of the Almighty. They are subject to the Divine will; and in them we are to see an exemplification of the manner in which God subdues the pride of the creature. The behemoth. (Verses 15-24.) This huge and terrible animal is a fellow-creature of Job, an effect of the same almighty power. Let Job consider him, and perceive how small and feeble in the presence of God are all created existences, and of how little avail is all haughty and proud confidence in external things before him. Then follows the striking description of the power of the hippopotamus, or horse of the Nile, uniting elasticity with firmness, so that he is "a firstling of the ways of God'" or a masterpiece of the Creator. Everything about this creature is noteworthy; his sword-like, gigantic teeth; his fodder, which whole mountain tracts supply. As he lies among the reeds and lotus-plants, taking his noonday repose, he is the very image of living force. Were a river, a very Jordan, to force its way into his mouth, he could make light of it. Yet this huge beast is entirely in the power of God. His size and strength avail him nought, if God has determined to destroy him. How aptly says the Roman poet, "Force devoid of judgment sinks beneath its own weight; while that which is self-controlled Heaven advances in greatness. God hates the strength that sets in motion ill with the mind" (Her; 'Od.,' 3. 4)! He, amidst the obscure notions of the pagan mythology, still sees clearly the truth here and in so many Scriptures set forth, that no might, bestial, human, or superhuman, can stand against that will which is of almighty power and absolute righteousness.—J.
HOMILIES BY R. GREEN
Job, unconvicted of a lack of integrity or willing departure from the law of rectitude, is nevertheless capable of self-humiliation, and, like all sensitive spiritual persons, is quick to mark his own faults in presence of a purer model. He is now bowed to the very earth. The Lord had spoken and showed Job his littleness and insignificance, and yet Job had ventured to defend himself in presence of the dealings of Jehovah. Now he is humbled and subdued. The process of the Divine discipline of the righteous 'is being unfolded. Job knows that though he can reply to his companions and friends, if he would contend with God "he cannot answer him one of a thousand." The voice of the Lord has brought Job to the dust. He is convicted of his error in pretending to justify himself in presence of the Lord's dealings. He, not Jehovah, must have been in the wrong. Then, in the attitude of conscious sinfulness before the Holy One, he confesses himself "of no account." Henceforth he will "answer" no more, but lay his hand upon his mouth and keep silence. Job's attitude of lowly humility before the Lord is another instructive feature in the drama. The man who could stand up before his fellow-men may welt bow down before the Lord. The attitude of humility before the Lord the true one for sinful man.
I. IT IS AN ATTITUDE BECOMING MAN IN PRESENCE OF THE HOLINESS AND MAJESTY OF THE DIVINE NAME.
II. IT IS AN ATTITUDE BECOMING TO THE SINFULNESS OF MAN. Where should the creature so full of imperfection be found but in the dust?
III. IT IS AN ATTITUDE BECOMING ONE, WHO HAS A JUST ESTIMATE OF HIS RELATION OF DEPENDENCE UPON THE WISDOM AND POWER OF JEHOVAH. One so wholly frail and dependent—a poor worm—may well bow in lowly, humble prostration before the Lord of the whole earth.
IV. IT IS AN ATTITUDE BECOMING TO HIM WHO HAS RIGHTLY REFLECTED UPON THE GREATNESS, MAJESTY, AND GLORY OF GOD, AND HIS OWN LITTLENESS AND INSIGNIFICANCE IN PRESENCE THEREOF. This was precisely Job's case. And it is the precursor of that lifting up which is granted only to them who are truly bowed down.—R.G.
The creatures of his power.
Out of the storm and tempest, just symbols of the Divine power, the Lord answers Job in words calculated further and deeper to humble the prostrate one. The Divine hand is tempering the already yielding clay and preparing it for the impress of the Divine stamp. The Lord calls Job to compare himself with him. This Job cannot venture to do. The next process is to show how weak is man in presence of the creatures of the Divine power. In prolonged words the great might of "behemoth" and "leviathan" are set forth; but it is with a view to set forth the Divine might as illustrated in these the creatures of his hands. The process of reasoning is—If the creature of God is mighty, how much more so is the Creator himself! Thus the Divine works speak for God; and their voice every wise one will hear and heed. The greatness of nature, the marvellous works of the Divine hands; their unnumbered and innumerable hosts; their multiplied variety; their wonderful structure; their beauty; their continuous preservation; their mutual adaptation and service;—all declare the wonders of the Divine hand. In later days the eyes of men were directed to the insignificant sparrow, the ,here bird on the house-top, and from the Divine care over it men were led to learn lessons of faith and trustful hope. So here, by reference to the greater creatures of the Divine power, frail man is led lower and lower into the depths of humiliation and self-abasement. The creatures display—
I. THE DEPTH OF THE CREATIVE WISDOM OF GOD.
II. THE ALMIGHTINESS OF THE DIVINE POWER.
III. THE INFINITUDE OF THE DIVINE BENEFICENCE. "All thy works praise thee, O God."
IV. THEY TEACH THE LESSON TO MAN OF HUMBLENESS AND LOWLY TRUST. He who cares for the birds of the air and for the beasts of the field will not neglect frail man. Happy is he who has learnt to trust in the Lord and do good, knowing that he shall dwell in the land, and verily he shall be fed.—R.G.
HOMILIES BY W.F. ADENEY
Job 40:1, Job 40:2
Contending with the Almighty.
Job has been contending with the Almighty, and now God confronts him with the fact. This is the practical point to which we have come after being led through the picture-gallery of nature which has revealed to us the greatness of God in contrast with the littleness of man.
I. WE ARE TEMPTED TO CONTEND WITH GOD.
1. By our liberty. We have freedom of thought as well as freedom of will. Thus we seem to be able to turn round and take up a position of our own in opposition to God.
2. By our trouble. It was great distress that drove Job into a contention with God. We do not find him attempting or desiring anything of the kind in the opening scene of the story. When trouble comes upon us we are displeased, and not seeing why it is sent we are tempted to murmur.
3. By our sin. Even Job, innocent as regards the gross charges of his three censors, was imperfect, as he is now brought to admit. Now, sin is opposition to God, and the attempt to justify it leads to contention with God.
4. By God's forbearance. Because he is long-suffering we presume upon his patience. We are like Jacob wrestling with the "Traveller unknown," who only maintained the conflict so long as his mysterious Antagonist refrained from putting forth his strength (Genesis 32:24-32).
II. WE ARE WRONG IN CONTENDING WITH GOD. This contention shows faults in us.
1. Ignorance. If we knew all, we should see how foolish the whole contention was. But we stumble into it in our confusion and folly.
2. Rebellion. Oar business is to submit and obey. When we dispute we are resisting, if only mentally.
3. Distrust. God is not trusted when we venture to oppose ourselves to him; for if he were we should be silent, not perhaps understanding his action, but possessing our souls in patience, and waiting for the final disclosure that is to explain God's treatment of his children.
III. IT IS USELESS FOR US TO CONTEND WITH GOD. Our position in relation to God does not offer us a chance of success.
1. Inequality. This is a contest of feebleness with almightiness. How can the finite hope for a victory in wrestling with the Infinite?
2. Incompetence. We do not know how to put our ease before God, and his action is not understood by us. Therefore our contention is confused and misleading. There is only one way of coming to terms with God, and that is to accept his terms.
IV. IT IS NEEDLESS FOR US TO CONTEND WITH GOD. We are not left with the doleful prospect of simply submitting to the inevitable. Although we cannot see the good in God's action, if only we have faith in him we may rest assured that he is doing just the very best thing for us and all his creatures. This assurance depends on his nature and character. He is a just God and a Saviour, and therefore he cannot be acting unjustly and injuriously. Our indictment of God's goodness is a huge blunder from beginning to end. Let us but trust his goodness in the dark and in the face of the most distressful events, and in the end we shall see that our safety lies in submission.—W.F.A.
Humbled before God.
At length Job is brought near to the state of mind that God desires to see in him. Proud and defiant before the unwise and unjust attacks of his human accusers, he is humbled in the dust in presence of the revelation of God.
I. THE VISION OF GOD IN HIS WORKS HUMBLES US. Job has seen a succession of vivid pictures of the works of God in nature. They all transcend human efforts. Then how great must the Author of nature be! How small are we in his awful presence! Pride is always a form of godlessness. We forget God when we exalt ourselves. Our self-exaltation is only possible while we shut ourselves up in a little world. When we see God we are humbled. Now, this is not only because God is supremely powerful. There is some heroism in the weak maintaining their right in the presence of the strong. But God's greatness in nature is seen in intellectual and moral features. The wonderful thought of God impressed upon his works reveals a mind infinitely greater than the human mind; and the care with which God provides for all his creatures—wild asses, heedless ostriches, and repulsive ravens, as well as those creatures that seem more deserving of his providence—shows us how good God is. Thus the wisdom and goodness of God, added to the power that makes resistance useless, crown the revealed character of God with glory, and invite our humble adoration.
II. SILENCE BEFORE GOD IS THE TRUE EXPRESSION OF HUMILITY. It cannot be said that Job is as yet deeply conscious of sin. The "vileness" of which he makes confession is rather his mean estate, his poor, feeble, human helplessness, than moral guilt. Therefore it does not need to be made much of, or regarded as anything like a full confession. It is, however, the mark of humility to admit it, and then to relapse into silence. This is the Condition to which the great argument of the drama is designed to bring its readers. We are too busy with our own performances in religion. In prayer we have too many words to speak to God. We are always telling him what he knows already, and often dictating to him what we think he should be doing, instead of patiently waiting for his voice and humbly submitting to his will. There is room for more silence in religion and in all life.
III. SILENT HUMILITY IS A PREPARATION FOR EXALTATION, At the end of the book we discover that God exalts Job and loads him with favour and prosperity. But he must be humbled first. The later honour is only possible after Job has abased himself. So long as he justified himself and arraigned the justice of God, he could not be restored and exalted. Thus the poem shows to us the way in which God disciplines his servants and prepares them to enjoy his goodness. Humility is the door to honour. This is a very Christian truth. It is taught by Christ: "Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." It is gloriously illustrated in the life and death and exaltation of Christ (see Philippians 2:5-11).—W.F.A.
Impugning God's justice.
I. MURMURING AT PROVIDENCE IS IMPUGNING GOD'S JUSTICE. This may not be clearly seen or admitted at once. The connection between the occurrences of human history and the Divine mind that controls them is not visible to the eye of sense. Thus we may complain freely of what God does without intending to charge God with wrong. And yet this is what the complaint leads to and involves. If we do not believe that things fall out by chance, and if we do not hold that the world is administered at present by a lower providence, we must be virtually impugning the justice of God when we object to what we cannot deny to be his actions. It may be desirable that complaints should be pushed to their ultimate results, for then we shall see whether they are reasonable or not. If we are persuaded that God is just, we shall see that it is unwise and wrong to murmur at what happens to us in the course of providence.
II. WE ARE TEMPTED TO IMPUGN GOD'S JUSTICE. God seemed to be acting unjustly to Job. The present aspect of the world is not that which we should expect from a fair and equitable ruler. Our own lives are subjected to rude shocks that strike us as perplexingly unjust.
1. There is injustice arising from unjust men. Job was unjustly treated, not by God, but by his three friends. We should not charge God with the sins of our own brethren.
2. We cannot see the whole of God's plan. The opening appears to be unfair. But wait for the end. God's justice is large and far-reaching. It will be revealed when the whole sweep of his dealings with us is comprehended. The arc ends in an acute angle. Only the complete circle is without a break and smooth throughout.
III. IT IS BOTH FOOLISH AND WRONG TO IMPUGN GOD'S JUSTICE,
1. It is foolish. We are not in a position to judge; we do not know all the facts, and our standard of judgment is perverted by our own prejudices and unjust claims. The tyro cannot wisely criticize the achievements of the master.
2. It is wrong. If we knew God we should not charge ]aim foolishly. But we should know him if we drew near to him in the right spirit. Too often our doubt of God's justice is not so much the product of a purely intellectual difficulty as the result of a moral fault. It shows lack of faith in his goodness, and it springs from a miserable weakness that will not venture to trust God.
IV. CHRISTIAN FAITH FORBIDS US TO IMPUGN GOD'S JUSTICE. Even Christ does not clear up the mystery, and still we have to walk by faith. We cannot yet see that God is dealing justly with us. But we have good grounds for confidence in our Lord's revelation of the nature and character of God. Christ shows us the fatherly nature of God. He makes us see that God is good and full of love for his children. At the same time, he exalts the perfect rectitude of God. Such a knowledge of God as we have in Christ should fill our souls with faith and hope, because such a God as Christ has made known cannot act unjustly, although for a time he may appear to do so. He who knows God in Christ cannot fall into pessimism. He should be able to say with Browning—
" … This world's no blot,
Nor blank: it means intensely, and means good."
The humiliation of the proud.
The idea is something like this: If Job can sit as a judge over what God does, he ought to be able to take God's judgment-seat and execute justice among men. But can he do this? Can he humiliate the proud? If he is incapable of this act of justice, how small a creature he is before the great God who raises up and casts down!
I. THE HUMILIATION OF THE PROUD IS GREATLY NEEDED, This particular act of justice is singled out as though it were pre-eminent in importance. It is important on many accounts.
1. For the sake of the proud. Pride is ruinous to the heart in which it has taken up its abode, eating up the better feelings and preparing for the incoming of other sins. The only hope for a proud man is that he should be brought low, and so emptied of self.
2. For the sake of others. The proud spirit is domineering. Pride is at the root of tyranny. If men are to have their rights, the pride of the exalted must be brought down.
3. For God's sake. Pride is an insult to God, a usurpation of the Divine rights and honours. Before God man is small, weak, sinful. His only titling condition is one of humility and complete self-abasement in the sight of Heaven.
II. THE HUMILIATION OF THE PROUD IS MOST DIFFICULT TO ACCOMPLISH, Can Job do this? It is not to be supposed that he can. Pride is doubly strong.
1. In its own character. It is of the nature of pride to induce self-confidence. Even while the world is pointing the finger of scorn at the proud man, he wraps himself in the mantle of his own self-importance, and despises contempt. Here is a great difference between pride and vanity, for vanity is easily cast down, because it lives on the admiration of the world, while pride is self-contained, and may be most intense when it is least honoured.
2. In its circumstances. There are poor and unfortunate proud men. But, as a rule, success and power are the temptations to pride. Thus the proud man is entrenched behind his good fortune, and he uses all the means that prosperity has given him to defend his position.
III. THE HUMILIATION OF THE PROUD IS BROUGHT ABOUT BY GOD. This is most decidedly a Divine work. It is beyond the reach of Job or of any man. God humbles pride:
1. By his power. The proud man is helpless before his Maker. His resources are as poverty itself, and all his self-importance is but childish pretence. God lifts up the lowly, and sets down the mighty with a word.
2. In his justice. Man's pride is not attacked simply because God is jealous of it, but because it is an evil thing. An insult to God, an injury to man, it needs to be cast out in order that a right spirit of humility and obedience may take the place of it.
3. For the sake of his love. God humbles the proud man because he loves him. The abasement is not a vindictive act, but a merciful preparation for salvation. The goodness of God leads him to cast down all pretence and self-importance, so that he may raise up a new and more stable structure of solid merit in place of these empty shows. The proud but useless forest is cleared that the precious grain of wheat may be sown in its place. God cuts down man's pride to make room for Christ's grace.—W.F.A.
When Job is strong enough to humble the proud he may be able to save himself; but as he cannot do the first work he is not equal to the second. Thus we are introduced to the impossibility of self-salvation.
I. THE VAIN ATTEMPT. Men are continually trying to save themselves.
1. In danger. We feel that we need deliverance. Job desired to be saved from disease, poverty, injustice, cruelty. We all wish to escape from trouble. Some of us may be more anxious to escape from sin, our greatest enemy. There are evils, then, and the perception of them urges us to save ourselves.
2. In distrust. We ought to look to the Almighty for strength, and to the All-merciful for deliverance. But if we forget God we are tempted to rely on the arm of flesh. If we had a due appreciation of God's ability and willingness to save, we should not dream of trying to save ourselves.
3. In self-confidence. We must think little of our sin, or much of ourselves, if we imagine that we can effect our own salvation. We have not yet discovered our own weakness, nor the depth of our fall, if we suppose that there is no greater mischief with us than what we can remedy.
II. THE CERTAIN FAILURE. No man has yet saved himself. Is it likely that the latest to try the experiment will succeed? We have not yet conquered our own hearts, although we have often determined to do so. Is it probable that our next attempt will be more successful? There are good grounds for being assured that it will not.
1. The greatness and power of sin. No one who has not tried to break its yoke knows how terrific this is. We simply cannot get away from our own sin. Not only does the sin harden into a habit and so become a second nature, but it weakens the moral fibre of the soul. The prisoner languishing in the dungeon is not only held in by stone walls and iron bars, but the unhealthy condition of his confinement weakens his body so that he has not strength to break away from even smaller constraints.
2. The justice of God. This does not hold us to our sin, but it binds us to its consequences. We cannot deny that we deserve the wrath of Heaven. We cannot atone for sin. All our subsequent service is no more than is due from us, and the old debt still remains uncancelled.
III. THE GLORIOUS ALTERNATIVE. We have to learn that we cannot save ourselves, not merely to discourage useless efforts, but to lead us to the true salvation of God. What we cannot do for ourselves God can and will do if we will let him.
1. Though Jesus Christ. He was called Jesus because he would save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). He is the "Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). Christ delivers from sin as well as from its result—death. His power to save springs from his atoning sacrifice; but he saves now as a living, present Redeemer. He is the hand of God put forth to deliver the helpless and ruined.
2. In regeneration. We need to be born again (John 3:3). So great a change cannot be brought about by ourselves; Christ alone can effect it. He has not come so much to bestow on us gifts as to change our whole life, so that we may become new creatures in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).—W.F.A.
Behemoth the great.
Two monster animals, the hippopotamus and the crocodile, are set before us in typical characteristics, to idealize the great works of God in the animal kingdom.
I. GOD IS THE CREATOR OF THE ANIMAL WORLD. "God made the beast of the earth after his kind" (Genesis 1:25). We have not left the presence of God when we have come to study natural history. Here we may see indications of Divine thought. Even the coarsest wild animals are under the care of God.
1. Therefore let no one hurt them needlessly.
2. If God provides for behemoth, will he not much more provide for man?
II. MAGNITUDE AND STRENGTH HAVE A PLACE IN THE DIVINE ECONOMY. Behemoth is famous first for his size, and secondly for his physical strength. Now, these two qualities are among the lowest of good things. Still, they are good. God is glorified even by the physical greatness of his works. The chief glory of the stars is in their magnitude and in the vastness of the space which they occupy. A mere mass of flesh is the lowest excellence. Yet even this may be good if it is not abused. How much more may higher gifts?
III. EXCELLENCE IN LOWER QUALITIES IS NO GUARANTEE FOE EXCELLENCE IN HIGHER QUALITIES. Behemoth is big and strong. But he is stupid and brutal. When he opens his cavernous jaws and his dull eyes appear over them, set in a mountain of black, shapeless flesh, he is positively hideous. The gravity of his unconscious attitudes of supreme ugliness has almost a touch of humour in it. We begin to wonder how the Divine Artist who shaped the graceful gazelle and gave the perfection of motion to the swallow could have fashioned the ugly and clumsy hippopotamus. Perhaps one object was to show what a poor thing bulk of body is in comparison with brains, with thought and soul. The young man who is more proud of his biceps than of anything else belonging to him may see his ideal humiliated in behemoth. For no man can attain to the strength of a hippopotamus.
IV. THERE IS A HARMONY IN ALL GOD'S WORKS. Behemoth is suited to his home among the coarse grasses or the Nile. There his voracious appetite can find ample sustenance. God provideps for all his creatures, and he suits all his creatures for the spheres in which he has called them to live. Behemoth is naturally of a low and stupid nature, and he has all that his nature requires. Man is of a higher nature. He must not be content to dream his existence away in the sleepy land where soul-life is stifled. The true "lotus-eaters" are not refined Sybarites, but hippopotami.
V. GOD, WHO WORKS IN THE GREAT, WORKS ALSO IN THE LITTLE. He made the monsters of the deep. He also made the microscopic cell. From behemoth to the amoeba all the living creatures of nature are" fearfully and wonderfully made." When we think of God behind the tiny cell, quickening its mysterious life,
"The small becomes dreadful and immense."
VI. BULK AND POWER ARE NOT THE MOST TERRIBLE THINGS. Behemoth is a vegetarian. He is not cruel, like his much smaller fellow-creature, the lion. The little asp that he tramples beneath his feet is far more deadly. Big troubles may not be so hurtful as troubles that we can scarcely see till they have bitten us.—W.F.A.
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Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Job 40". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14