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Bible Commentaries

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament
Job 41



Verses 1-5

1 Dost thou draw the crocodile by a hoop-net,

And dost thou sink his tongue into the line?!

2 Canst thou put a rush-ring into his nose,

And pierce his cheeks with a hook?

3 Will he make many supplications to thee,

Or speak flatteries to thee?

4 Will he make a covenant with thee,

To take him as a perpetual slave?

5 Wilt thou play with him as a little bird,

And bind him for thy maidens?

In Job 3:8, לויתן signified the celestial dragon, that causes the eclipses of the sun (according to the Indian mythology, râhu the black serpent, and ketu the red serpent); in Psalms 104:26 it does not denote some great sea-saurian after the kind of the hydrarchus of the primeval world,

(Note: Vid., Grässe, Beiträge , S. 94ff.)

but directly the whale, as in the Talmud (Lewysohn, Zoologie des Talm . §178f.). Elsewhere, however, the crocodile is thus named, and in fact as תּנּין also, another appellation of this natural wonder of Egypt, as an emblem of the mightiness of Pharaoh (vid., on Psalms 74:13.), as once again the crocodile itself is called in Arab. el - fir‛annu . The Old Testament language possesses no proper name for the crocodile; even the Talmudic makes use of קרוקתא = κροκόδειλος (Lewysohn, §271). לויתן is the generic name of twisted, and תנין long-extended monsters. Since the Egyptian name of the crocodile has not been Hebraized, the poet contents himself in תּמשׁך with making a play upon its Egyptian, and in Arab. tmsâḥ , timsâḥ ,

(Note: Herodotus was acquainted with this name ( χάμψαι = κροκόδειλοι ); thus is the crocodile called also in Palestine, where (as Tobler and Joh. Roth have shown) it occurs, especially in the river Damûr near Tantûra .)

Arabized name (Ew. §324, a ). To wit, it is called in Coptic temsah , Hierogl. (without the art .) msuh ( emsuh ), as an animal that creeps “out of the egg ( suh ).”

(Note: Les naturalistes - says Chabas in his Papyr. magique , p. 190 - comptent cinq espèces de crocodiles vivant dans le Nil, mais les hieroglyphes rapportent un plus grand nombre de noms déterminés par le signe du crocodile . Such is really the case, apart from the so-called land crocodile or σκίγκος (Arab. isqanqûr ), the Coptic name of which, hankelf (according to Lauth ha . n . kelf , ruler of the bank), is not as yet indicated on the monuments. Among the many old Egyptian names for the crocodile, Kircher's charuki is, however, not found, which reminds one of the Coptic karus , as κροκόδειλος of κρόκος , for κροκόδειλος is the proper name of the Lacerta viridis (Herod. ii. 69). Lauth is inclined to regard charuki as a fiction of Kircher, as also the name of the phoenix, αλλοη (vid., p. 562). The number of names of the crocodile which remain even without charuki , leads one to infer a great variety of species, and crocodiles, which differ from all living species, have also actually been found in Egyptian tombs; vid., Schmarda, Verbreitung der Thiere , i. 89.)

In Job 41:1 , Ges. and others falsely translate: Canst thou press its tongue down with a cord; השׁקיע does not signify demergere = deprimere , but immergere : canst thou sink its tongue into the line, i.e., make it bite into the hook on the line, and canst thou thus draw it up? Job 41:1 then refers to what must happen in order that the משׁך of the msuh may take place. Herodotus (and after him Aristotle) says, indeed, ii. 68, the crocodile has no tongue; but it has one, only it cannot stretch it out, because the protruding part has grown to the bottom of the mouth, while otherwise the saurians have a long tongue, that can be stretched out to some length. In Job 41:2 the order of thought is the same: for first the Nile fishermen put a ring through the gills or nose of valuable fish; then they draw a cord made of rushes ( σχοῖνον ) through it, in order to put them thus bound into the river. “As a perpetual slave,” Job 41:4 is intended to say: like one of the domestic animals. By צפּור , Job 41:5 , can hardly be meant צפּרת הכּרמים , the little bird of the vineyard, i.e., according to a Talmud. usage of the language, the golden beetle ( Jesurun , p. 222), or a pretty eatable grasshopper (Lewysohn, §374), but, according to the words of Catullus, Passer deliciae meae puellae , the sparrow, Arab. ‛asfûr - an example of a harmless living plaything ( שׂחק בּ , to play with anything, different from Psalms 104:26, where it is not, with Ew., to be translated: to play with it, but: therein).

Verses 6-9

6 Do fishermen trade with him,

Do they divide him among the Canaanites?

7 Canst thou fill his skin with darts,

And his head with fish-spears?

8 Only lay thy hand upon him

Remember the battle, thou wilt not do it again!

9 Behold, every hope becometh disappointment:

Is not one cast down even at the sight of him?

The fishermen form a guild (Arab. ṣunf , sunf ), the associated members of which are called חבּרים (distinct from חברים ). On כּרה על , vid., on Job 6:27. “When I came to the towns of the coast,” says R. Akiba, b. Rosch ha-Schana, 26 b , ”they called selling, which we call מכירה , כירה , there,” according to which, then, Genesis 50:5 is understood, as by the Syriac; the word is Sanscrito-Semitic, Sanscr. kri , Persic chirı̂den ( Jesurun , p. 178). lxx ἐνσιτούνται , according to 2 Kings 6:23, to which, however, עליו is not suitable. כּנענים are Phoenicians; and then, because they were the merchant race of the ancient world, directly traders or merchants. The meaning of the question is, whether one sells the crocodile among them, perhaps halved, or in general divided up. Further, Job 41:7 : whether one can kill it בּשׂכּות , with pointed missiles (Arab. shauke , a thorn, sting, dart), or with fish-spears ( צלצל , so called from its whizzing, צלל , ףבככב ). In Job 41:8 the accentuation is the right indication: only seize upon him - remember the battle, i.e., thou wilt be obliged to remember it, and thou wilt have no wish to repeat it. זכר .ti t is a so-called imperat. consec.: if thou doest it, thou wilt ... , Ges. §130, 2. תּוסף is the pausal form of תּוסף (once פן͂ףנ , Proverbs 30:6), of which it is the original form.

The suff . of תּוהלתּו refers to the assailant, not objectively to the beast (the hope which he indulges concerning it). נכזבה , Job 41:9, is 3 praet., like נאלמה , Isaiah 53:7 (where also the participial accenting as Milra , occurs in Codd.); Fürst's Concord . treats it as part., but the participial form נקטלה , to be assumed in connection with it, along with נקטלה and נקטלת , does not exist. הגם , Job 41:9 , is, according to the sense, equivalent to הלא גם , vid., on Job 20:4. מראיו (according to Ges., Ew., and Olsh., sing., with the plural suff., without a plur . meaning, which is natural in connection with the primary form מראי ; or what is more probable, from the plur . מראים with a sing . meaning, as פּנים ) refers to the crocodile, and יטּל (according to a more accredited reading, יטּל = יוּטל ) to the hunter to whom it is visible.

What is said in Job 41:6 is perfectly true; although the crocodile was held sacred in some parts of Egypt, in Elephantine and Apollonopolis, on the contrary, it was salted and eaten as food. Moreover, that there is a small species of crocodile, with which children can play, does not militate against Job 41:5. Everywhere here it is the creature in its primitive strength and vigour that is spoken of. But if they also knew how to catch it in very early times, by fastening a bait, perhaps a duck, on a barb with a line attached, and drew the animal to land, where they put an end to its life with a lance-thrust in the neck (Uhlemann, Thoth , S. 241): this was angling on the largest scale, as is not meant in Job 41:1. If, on the other hand, in very early times they harpooned the crocodile, this would certainly be more difficult of reconcilement with v. 31, than that mode of catching it by means of a fishing-hook of the greatest calibre with Job 41:1. But harpooning is generally only of use when the animal can be hit between the neck and head, or in the flank; and it is very questionable whether, in the ancient times, when the race was without doubt of an unmanageable size, that has now died out, the crocodile hunt (Job 7:12) was effected with harpoons. On the whole subject we have too little information for distinguishing between the different periods. So far as the questions of Jehovah have reference to man's relation to the two monsters, they concern the men of the present, and are shaped according to the measure of power which they have attained over nature. The strophe which follows shows what Jehovah intends by these questions.

Verse 10-11

10 None is so foolhardy that he dare excite him!

And who is it who could stand before Me?

11 Who hath given Me anything first of all, that I must requite it?

Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is Mine.

One sees from these concluding inferences, thus applied, what is the design, in the connection of this second speech of Jehovah, of the reference to behךmoth and leviathan, which somewhat abruptly began in Job 40:15. If even the strength of one of God's creatures admits no thought of being able to attack it, how much more should the greatness of the Creator deter man from all resistance! For no one has any claim on God, so that he should have the right of appearing before Him with a rude challenge. Every creature under heaven is God's; man, therefore, possesses nothing that was not God's property and gift, and he must humbly yield, whether God gives or takes away. לא , Job 41:10 , is not directly equivalent to אין , but the clause is exclamatory. יעורנו Chethîb , יעירנו Kerî , is the Palestine reading, the reverse the Babylonian; the authorized text (chiefly without a Kerî ) is יעוּרנּוּ from עוּר in a transitive signification ( ἐγείρειν ), as שׁוּב , Job 39:12, comp. Job 42:10. The meaning of הקדּימני is determined according to ואשׁלּם : to anticipate, viz., by gifts presented as a person is approaching the giver (Arab. aqdama ). הוּא , Job 41:11 , is neutral, as Job 13:16; Job 15:9; Job 31:11, Job 31:28. תּחת is virtually a subj.: that which is under ... . After these apparently epiphonematic verses (2 and 3), one might now look for Job's answer. But the description of the leviathan is again taken up, and in fact hitherto it was only the invincibility of the animal that was spoken of; and yet it is not so described that this picture might form the exact pendent of the preceding.

Verses 12-14

12 I will not keep silence about his members,

The proportion of his power and the comeliness of his structure.

13 Who could raise the front of his coat of mail?

Into his double teeth-who cometh therein?

14 The doors of his face-who openeth them?

Round about his teeth is terror.

The Kerמ לו authorized by the Masora assumes an interrogative rendering: as to it, should I be silent about its members ( לו at the head of the clause, as Leviticus 7:7-9; Isaiah 9:2), - what perhaps might appear more poetic to many. החרישׁ (once, Job 11:3, to cause to keep silence) here, as usually: to be silent. בּדּיו , as Job 18:13. דּבר signifies the relation of the matter, a matter of fact, as דּברי , facts, Psalms 65:4; Psalms 105:27; Psalms 145:5. חין (compared by Ew. with הין , a measure) signifies grace, χάρις (as synon. חסד ), here delicate regularity, and is made easy of pronunciation from חנן , just as the more usual חן ; the language has avoided the form חנן , as observed above. לבוּשׁ . clothing, we have translated “coat of mail,” which the Arab. libâs usually signifies; פּני לבוּשׁו is not its face's covering (Schlottm.), which ought to be לבוּשׁ פּניו ; but פּני is the upper or front side turned to the observer (comp. Isaiah 25:7), as Arab. wjh , ( wag'h ), si rem desuper spectes, summa ejus pars, si ex adverso, prima (Fleischer, Glossae , i. 57). That which is the “doubled of its mouth” ( רסן , prop. a bit in the mouth, then the mouth itself) is its upper and lower jaws armed with powerful teeth. The “doors of the face” are the jaws; the jaws are divided back to the ears, the teeth are not covered by lips; the impression of the teeth is therefore the more terrible, which the substantival clause, Job 41:14 (comp. Job 39:20), affirms. שׁנּיו gen. subjecti: the circle, ἓρκος , which is formed by its teeth (Hahn).

Verses 15-17

15 A pride are the furrows of the shields,

Shut by a rigid seal.

16 One joineth on to the other,

And no air entereth between them.

17 One upon another they are arranged,

They hold fast together, inseparably.

Since the writer uses אפיק both in the signif. robustus , Job 12:12, and canalis , Job 40:18, it is doubtful whether it must be explained robusta ( robora ) scutorum (as e.g., Ges.), or canales scutorum (Hirz., Schlottm., and others). We now prefer the latter, but so that “furrows of the shields” signifies the square shields themselves bounded by these channels; for only thus is the סגוּר , which refers to these shields, considered, each one for itself, suitably attached to what precedes. חותם צר is an acc . of closer definition belonging to it: closed is (each single one) by a firmly attached, and therefore firmly closed, seal. lxx remarkably ὥσπερ σμυρίτης λίθος , i.e., (emery (vid., Krause's Pyrogeteles , 1859, S. 228). Six rows of knotty scales and four scales of the neck cover the upper part of the animal's body, in themselves firm, and attached to one another in almost impenetrable layers, as is described in Job 41:7 in constantly-varying forms of expression (where יגּשׁוּ with Pathach beside Athnach is the correct reading), - a גּאוה , i.e., an equipment of which the animal may be proud. Umbr. takes גאוה , with Bochart, = גּוה , the back; but although in the language much is possible, yet not everything.

Verses 18-21

18 His sneezing sendeth forth light,

And his eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn;

19 Out of his mouth proceed flames,

Sparks of fire escape from him;

20 Out of his nostrils goeth forth smoke

Like a seething pot and caldron;

21 His breath kindleth coals,

And flames go forth out of his mouth.

That the crocodile delights to sun itself on the land, and then turns its open jaws to the sunny side, most Nile travellers since Herodotus have had an opportunity of observing;

(Note: Dieterici, Reisebilder , i. 194: “We very often saw the animal lying in the sand, its jaws wide open and turned towards the warm sunbeams, while little birds, like the slender white water-wagtail, march quietly about in the deadly abyss, and pick out worms from the watery jaws.” Herodotus, ii. 68, tells exactly the same story; as the special friend of the crocodile among little birds, he mentions τὸν τροχῖλον (the sand-piper, Pluvianus Aegyptius ).)

and in connection therewith the reflex action of sneezing may occur, since the light of the sun produces an irritation on the retina, and thence on the vagus; and since the sun shines upon the fine particles of watery slime cast forth in the act of sneezing, a meteoric appearance may be produced. This delicate observation of nature is here compressed into three words; in this concentration of whole, grand thoughts and pictures, we recognise the older poet. עטשׁ is the usual Semitic word for “sneezing” (Synon. זרר 2 Kings 4:35). תּהל shortened from תּהל , Job 31:26, Hiph . of הלל . The comparison of the crocodile's eyes with עפעפּי־שׁחר (as Job 3:9, from עפעף , to move with quick vibrations, to wink, i.e., tremble), or the rendering of the same as εἶδος ἑωσφόρου (lxx), is the more remarkable, as, according to Horus, i. 68, two crocodile's eyes are the hieroglyph

(Note: The eyes of the crocodile alone by themselves are no hieroglyph: how could they have been represented by themselves as crocodile's eyes? But in the Ramesseum and elsewhere the crocodile appears with a head pointing upwards in company with couching lions, and the eyes of the crocodile are rendered specially prominent. Near this group it appears again in a curved position, and quite small, but this time in company with a scorpion which bears a disc of the sun. The former ( κροκοδείλου δύο ὀφθαλμοί ) seems to me to be a figure of the longest night, the latter ( κροκόδειλος κεκυφώς in Horapollo) of the shortest, so that consequently ἀνατολή and δύσις do not refer to the rising and setting of the sun, but to the night as prevailing against or succumbing to the day (communicated by Lauth from his researches on the astronomical monuments). But since the growth of the day begins with the longest night, and vice versâ , the notions ἀνατολή and δύσις can, as it seems to me, retain their most natural signification; and the crocodile's eyes are, notwithstanding, a figure of the light shining forth from the darkness, as the crocodile's tail signifies black darkness (and Egypt as the black land).)

for dawn, ἀνατολή : ἐπειδ́περ (probably to be read ἐπειδὴ πρὸ ) παντὸς σώματος ζώου οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ἐκ τοῦ βυθοῦ ἀναφαίνονται . There it is the peculiar brilliancy of the eyes of certain animals that is intended, which is occasioned either by the iris being furnished with a so-called lustrous substance, or there being in the pupil of the eye (as e.g., in the ostrich) that spot which, shining like metal, is called tapetum lucidum . For ἀναφαίνεσθαι of the eyes ἐκ τοῦ βυθοῦ , is the lustre of the pupil in the depth of the eye. The eyes of the crocodile, which are near together, and slanting, glimmer through the water, when it is only a few feet under water, with a red glow.

Nevertheless the comparison in Job 41:18 might also be intended differently. The inner (third) eyelid

(Note: Prof. Will refers the figure not to the third eyelid or the membrana nictitans , but to that spot on the choroidea , glistening with a metallic lustre, which the crocodile has in common with most animals of the night or the twilight, therefore to the brilliancy of its eye, which shines by virtue of its lustrous coating; vid., the magnificent head of a crocodile in Schlegel's Amphibien-Abbildungen (1837-44).)

of the crocodile is itself a rose red; and therefore, considered in themselves, its eyes may also be compared with the “eyelids of the dawn.” What is then said, Job 41:19, of the crocodile, Achilles Tatius, iv. 2, says of the hippopotamus: μυκτὴρ ἐπὶ μέγα κεχῃνὼς καὶ πνέων πυρώδη καπνὸν ὡς ἀπὸ πηγῆς πυρός . Bartram has observed on the alligator, that as it comes on the land a thick smoke issues from its distended nostrils with a thundering sound. This thick, hot steam, according to the credible description which is presented here, produces the impression of a fire existing beneath, and bursting forth. The subjective truth of this impression is faithfully but poetically reproduced by the poet. On כּידוד (root כד , escudere ). התמלּט signifies no more than to disentangle one's self, here therefore: to fly out in small particles. אגמון , Job 41:19 , is rendered by Saad., Gecat., and others, by qumqum ( קומקום ), a caldron; the modern expositors derive it from אגם = agama , to glow, and understand it of a “heated caldron.” But the word signifies either heat or caldron; the latter signification, however, cannot be linguistically established; one would look for אגּן (Arab. iggâne , a copper Germ. Waschkessel ). The noun אגמון signifies, Job 40:2, the reed σχοῖνος , and in the Jerusalem Talmud, Sota ix. 12, some menial service (comp. Arab. ugum ); Ew. rightly retains the former signification, like a pot blown upon, i.e., fired, heated, and beside it (in combination with it) reeds as fuel, which in themselves, and especially together with the steaming water, produce a thick smoke. The Waw is to be compared to the Arabic Waw concomitantiae (which governs the acc .).

Verses 22-25

22 Great strength resteth upon his neck,

And despair danceth hence before him.

23 The flanks of his flesh are thickly set,

Fitting tightly to him, immoveable.

24 His heart is firm like stone,

And firm like the nether millstone.

25 The mighty are afraid of his rising up;

From alarm they miss their aim.

Overpowering strength lodges on its neck, i.e., has its abiding place there, and before it despair, prop. melting away, dissolution ( דּאבה from דּאב , Arab. ḏ'b = דּוּב Hiph., Arab. ḍ'b II, to bring into a loose condition, synon. חמס ), dances hence, i.e., spring up and away ( ידוּץ , Arab. jadisu , to run away), i.e., it spreads before it a despondency which produces terror, and deprives of strength. Even the pendulous fleshy parts ( מפּלי ), especially of its belly, hang close together, דבקוּ , i.e., they are not flabby, but fit to it, like a metal casting, without moving, for the skin is very thick and covered with thick scales; and because the digestive apparatus of the animal occupies but little space, and the scales of the back are continued towards the belly, the tender parts appear smaller, narrower, and closer together than in other animals. יצוּק here is not, as Job 27:2; Job 29:6, the fut . of צוּק , but the part . of יצק , as also Job 41:24 : its heart is firm and obdurate, as though it were of cast brass, hard as stone, and in fact as the nether millstone ( פלח from פלח , falacha , to split, crush in pieces), which, because it has to bear the weight and friction of the upper, must be particularly hard. It is not intended of actual stone-like hardness, but only of its indomitable spirit and great tenacity of life: the activity of its heart is not so easily disturbed, and even fatal wounds do not so quickly bring it to a stand. משּׂמו from שׂת = שׂאת = שׂאת ), primary form שׂאתּ , is better understood in the active sense: afraid of its rising, than the passive: of its exaltedness. אילים (according to another reading אלים ) is not, with Ew., to be derived from איל (Arab. ı̂jal ), a ram; but אילים Exodus 15:15; Ezekiel 17:13 (comp. גּירים 2 Chronicles 2:16, נירי 2 Samuel 22:29), אלים Ezekiel 31:11; Ezekiel 32:21, and אוּלים Cheth . 2 Kings 24:15, are only alternating forms and modes of writing of the participial adject., derived from אוּל ( איל ) first of all in the primary form awil (as גּר = gawir ). The signif. assigned to the verb אול : to be thick = fleshy, which is said then to go over into the signif. to be stupid and strong (Ges. Handwörterb .), rests upon a misconception: âla is said of fluids “to become thick,” because they are condensed, since they go back, i.e., sink in or settle (Ges. correctly in Thes.: notio crassitiei a retrocendendo ). The verb âla , ja'ûlu , unites in itself the significations to go backward, to be forward, and to rule; the last two: anteriorem and superiorem esse , probably belong together, and אל signifies, therefore, a possessor of power, who is before and over others. התחטּא , Job 41:25 , has the signif., which does not otherwise occur, to miss the mark (from חטא , Arab. chaṭiya , to miss, opp . Arab. ṣâb , to hit the mark), viz., (which is most natural where אילים is the subject spoken of) since they had designed the slaughter and capture of the monster. שׁברים is intended subjectively, as תּבירא = פּחד Exodus 15:16, Targ. II, and also as the Arab. thubûr , employed more in reference to the mind, can be used of pain.

Verses 26-29

26 If one reacheth him with the sword-it doth not hold;

Neither spear, nor dart, nor harpoon.

27 He esteemeth iron as straw,

Brass as rotten wood.

28 The son of the bow doth not cause him to flee,

Sling stones are turned to stubble with him.

29 Clubs are counted as stubble,

And he laugheth at the shaking of the spear.

משּׂיגהוּ , which stands first as nom. abs., “one reaching him,” is equivalent to, if one or whoever reaches him, Ew. §357, c , to which בּלי תקוּם , it does not hold fast ( בּלי with v. fin., as Hosea 8:7; Hosea 9:16, Chethîb ), is the conclusion. חרב is instrumental, as Psalms 17:13. מסּע , from נסע , Arab. nz‛ , to move on, hasten on, signifies a missile, as Arab. minz‛a , an arrow, manz‛a , a sling. The Targ. supports this latter signification here ( funda quae projicit lapidem ); but since קלא , the handling, is mentioned separately, the word appears to men missiles in general, or the catapult. In this combination of weapons of attack it is very questionable whether שׁריה is a cognate form of שׁריון ( שׁרין ), a coat of mail; probably it is equivalent to Arab. sirwe ( surwe ), an arrow with a long broad edge (comp. serı̂je , a short, round, as it seems, pear-shaped arrow-head), therefore either a harpoon or a peculiarly formed dart.

(Note: On the various kinds of Egyptian arrows, vid., Klemm. Culturgeschichte , v. 371f.)

“The son of the bow” (and of the אשׁפּה , pharetra ) is the arrow. That the ἁπ. γεγρ. תותח signifies a club (war-club), is supported by the Arab. watacha , to beat. כּידון , in distinction from חנית (a long lance), is a short spear, or rather, since רעשׁ implies a whistling motion, a javelin. Iron the crocodile esteems as תּבן , tibn , chopped straw; sling stones are turned with him into קשׁ . Such is the name here at least, not for stumps of cut stubble that remain standing, but the straw itself, threshed and easily driven before the wind (Job 13:25), which is cut up for provender (Exodus 5:12), generally dried (and for that reason light) stalks (e.g., of grass), or even any remains of plants (e.g., splinters of wood).

(Note: The Egyptio-Arabic usage has here more faithfully preserved the ancient signification of the word (vid., Fleischer, Glossae , p. 37) than the Syro-Arabic; for in Syria cut but still unthreshed corn, whether lying in swaths out in the field and weighted with stones to protect it against the whirlwinds that are frequent about noon, or corn already brought to the threshing-floors but not yet threshed, is called qashsh . - Wetzst.)

The plur . נחשׁבוּ , Job 41:29 , does not seem to be occasioned by תותח being conceived collectively, but by the fact that, instead of saying תותח וכידון , the poet has formed וכידון into a separate clause. Parchon's (and Kimchi's) reading תוחח is founded upon an error.

Verses 30-34

30 His under parts are the sharpest shards,

He spreadeth a threshing sledge upon the mire.

31 He maketh the deep foam like a caldron,

He maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.

32 He lighteth up the path behind him,

One taketh the water-flood for hoary hair.

33 Upon earth there is not his equal,

That is created without fear.

34 He looketh upon everything high,

He is the king over every proud beast.

Under it, or, תּחתּיו taken like תּחת , Job 41:11, as a virtual subject (vid., Job 28:5): its under parts are the most pointed or sharpest shards, i.e., it is furnished with exceedingly pointed scales. חדּוּד is the intensive form of חד (Arab. hadı̂d , sharpened = iron, p. 542, note), as חלּוּק , 1 Samuel 17:40, of חלק (smooth),

(Note: In Arabic also this substantival form is intensive, e.g., lebbûn , an exceedingly large kind of tile, dried in the open air, of which farm-yards are built, nearly eight times larger than the common tile, which is called libne ( לבנח ).)

and the combination חדּוּדי חרשׂ (equal the combination חדודי החרשׂים , comp. Job 30:6) is moreover superlative: in the domain of shards standing prominent as sharp ones, as Arab. chairu ummatin , the best people, prop. bon en fait de peuple (Ew. §313, c. Gramm. Arab . §532). lxx ἡ στρωμνὴ αὐτοῦ ὀβελίσκοι ὀξεῖς , by drawing ירפּד to Job 41:30 , and so translating as though it were רפידתו (Arab. rifâde , stratum ). The verb רפד ( rafada ), cogn. רבד , signifies sternere (Job 17:13), and then also culcire ; what is predicated cannot be referred to the belly of the crocodile, the scales of which are smooth, but to the tail with its scales, which more or less strongly protrude, are edged round by a shallow cavity, and therefore are easily and sharply separated when pressed; and the meaning is, that when it presses its under side in the morass, it appears as though a threshing-sledge with its iron teeth had been driven across it.

The pictures in Job 41:31 are true to nature; Bartram, who saw two alligators fighting, says that their rapid passage was marked by the surface of the water as it were boiling. With מצוּלה , a whirlpool, abyss, depth (from צוּל = צלל , to hiss, clash; to whirl, surge), ים alternates; the Nile even in the present day is called bahr (sea) by the Beduins, and also compared, when it overflows its banks, to a sea. The observation that the animal diffuses a strong odour of musk, has perhaps its share in the figure of the pot of ointment (lxx ὥσπερ ἐξάλειπτρον , which Zwingli falsely translates spongia ); a double gland in the tail furnishes the Egyptians and Americans their (pseudo) musk. In Job 41:32 the bright white trail that the crocodile leaves behind it on the surface of the water is intended; in Job 41:32 the figure is expressed which underlies the descriptions of the foaming sea with πολιός , canus , in the classic poets. שׂיבה , hoary hair, was to the ancients the most beautiful, most awe-inspiring whiteness. משׁלו , Job 41:33 , understood by the Targ., Syr., Arab. version, and most moderns (e.g., Hahn: there is not on earth any mastery over it), according to Zechariah 9:10, is certainly, with lxx, Jer., and Umbr., not to be understood differently from the Arab. mithlahu (its equal); whether it be an inflexion of משׁל , or what is more probable, of משׁל (comp. Job 17:6, where this nomen actionis signifies a proverb = word of derision, and התמשּׁל , to compare one's self, be equal, Job 30:19). על־עפר is also Hebr.-Arab.; the Arabic uses turbe , formed from turâb (vid., on Job 19:25), of the surface of the earth, and et - tarbâ - u as the name of the earth itself. העשׂוּ (for העשׂוּי , as צפוּ , Job 15:22, Cheth . = צפוּי , resolved from עשׂוּו , ‛asûw , 1 Samuel 25:18, Cheth .) is the confirmatory predicate of the logical subj. described in Job 41:33 as incomparable; and לבלי־חת (from חת , the a of which becomes i in inflexion), absque terrore (comp. Job 38:4), is virtually a nom. of the predicate: the created one (becomes) a terrorless one (a being that is terrified by nothing). Everything high, as the לבלי־חת , Job 41:33 , is more exactly explained, it looketh upon, i.e., remains standing before it, without turning away affrighted; in short, it (the leviathan) is king over all the sons of pride, i.e., every beast of prey that proudly roams about (vid., on Job 28:8).


Copyright Statement
The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.

Bibliography Information
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Job 41:4". 1854-1889.

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