Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 40:20

"Surely the mountains bring him food, And all the beasts of the field play there.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Animals;   God;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Behemoth;   Leviathan;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Behemoth;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Animals;   Behemoth;   Hippopotamus;   Job, the Book of;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Behemoth;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Be'hemoth;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The mountains bring him forth food - It cannot therefore be the hippopotamus, as he is seldom found far from the rivers where he has his chief residence.

Where all the beasts of the field play - He frequents those places where he can have most prey. He makes a mock of all the beasts of the field. They can neither resist his power, nor escape from his agility. All this answers to what we know of the mammoth, but not at all to the hippopotamus.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 40:20". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-40.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Surely the mountains bring him forth food - That is, though he lies commonly among the reeds and fens, and is in the water a considerable portion of his time, yet he also wanders to the mountains, and finds his food there. But the point of the remark here does not seem to be, that the mountains brought forth food for him, but that he gathered it “while all the wild beasts played around him, or sported in his very presence.” It was remarkable that an animal so large and mighty, and armed with such a set of teeth, should not be carnivorous, and that the wild beasts on the mountains should continue their sports without danger or alarm in his very presence. This fact could be accounted for partly because the “motions” of the hippopotamus were so very slow and clumsy that the wild beasts had nothing to fear from him, and could easily escape from him if he were disposed to attack them, and partly from the fact that he seems to have “preferred” vegetable food. The hippopotamus is seldom carnivorous, except when driven by extreme hunger, and in no respect is he formed to be a beast of prey. In regard to “the fact” that the hippopotamus is sometimes found in mountainous or elevated places, see Bochart.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 40:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-40.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Surely the mountains bring him forth food,.... Grass, which grows on mountains, and is the food of the river horse as well as of the elephant; and therefore is furnished with teeth like a scythe to mow it down; and it is not a small quantity that will suffice it, mountains only can supply it; and marvellous it is that a creature bred in a river should come out of it to seek its food on mountains. There is a creature in the northern parts, as in Russia, Greenland, &c. which is called morss and sea morss, and by the description of it is much like the river horse, of the size of an ox, and having an head like one, with two large long teeth standing out of its upper jaw, and an hairy skinF1Olaus Magus ut supra, (De Ritu. Septent. Gent.) l. 21. c. 19. Vid. Bochart. ut supra, (Apud Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 5. c. 14.) Colossians 763. Eden's Travels, p. 318. , said to be an inch thick, and so tough that no lance will enter itF2See the North West Fox, p. 232. Voyage to Spitzbergen, p. 115,120. Supplement, p. 194. ; it comes out of the sea, and by its teeth gets up to the tops of mountains, and having fed on grass rolls itself down again into the sea; and this it does by putting its hinder feet to its teeth, and so falls from the mountain with great celerity, as on a sledgeF3Olaus Magnus, ut supra, (De Ritu. Septent. Gent. l. 21. c. 19.) & Eden's Travels, ut supra. (p. 318.) ;

where all the beasts of the field play; skip and dance, and delight in each other, being in no fear of behemoth; whether understood of the elephant or river horse; since neither of them are carnivorous creatures that feed on other animals, but on grass only; and therefore the beasts of the field may feed with them quietly and securely. PlinyF4Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 7. says of the elephant, that meeting with cattle in the fields, it will make signs to them not to be afraid of it, and so they will go in company together.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 40:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-40.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

The mountain is not his usual haunt. Bochart says it is sometimes found there (?).

beasts … play — a graphic trait: though armed with such teeth, he lets the beasts play near him unhurt, for his food is grass.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 40:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-40.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.

Mountains — Though he lives most in the water, yet he often fetches his food from the land, and from the mountains or hills, which are nigh the river Nile.

Play — They not only feed securely, but sport themselves by him, being taught by experience that he is gentle and harmless.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 40:20". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-40.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 40:20 Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.

Ver. 20. Surely the mountains briny him forth food] And food enough, though he be of a huge body. Learn we to trust unto God’s providence for our necessary provision: the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof. See Job 40:15.

Where all the beasts of the field play] And play they may securely for him; for he is so far from using his sword to destroy them, that when he is to pass through the herds of other beasts or cattle, he maketh way, saith Pliny, with his snout, that he may not hurt any of them, and beckoneth to them therewith, as it were with his hand, that he will only pass by them, and do them no harm.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 40:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-40.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Though this creature be vastly great, and require much food, and no man careth for it; yet God provides for it out of his own stores, and makes even desert mountains to afford him sufficient sustenance. The hippopotamus also, though he live most in the water, fetched his food from the land, and from the mountains or hills, which are nigh unto the river Nile.

Where all the beasts of the field play; they not only feed securely, but sport themselves by him or with him, being taught by experience that he is gentle and harmless, and never preys upon them.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 40:20". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-40.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

20.Surely Yet; used adversatively.

The mountains — Ezekiel (Ezekiel 43:15) calls the altar a , “mountain” of God. The word may also mean “hills.” In the Praeneste pavement, hippopotami are pictured on eminences. “Not only do these animals visit the margin of the river,” says Sir Samuel Baker, “but they wander at night to great distances from the water, attracted by good pasturage; and, although clumsy and ungainly in appearance, they clamber up steep banks and precipitous ravines with astonishing power and ease. In places where they are perfectly undisturbed, they not only enjoy themselves in the sunshine by basking half asleep upon the surface of the water, but they lie upon the shore, beneath the shady trees, upon the river’s brink. I have seen them when disturbed by our sudden arrival during the march, take a leap from a bank, about twenty feet perpendicular depth, into the water below.”’ — Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia, page 342. The mountain ranges that skirt the Nile in some places approach the river very closely.

Where all the beasts of the field play — All authorities attest the peaceable disposition of this animal, except when hunted by man. The distinguished traveller above quoted remarks: “Although the hippopotamus is generally harmless, the solitary old bulls are extremely vicious, especially when in the water. I have frequently known them charge a boat, and I have myself narrowly escaped being upset in a canoe by one of these creatures, without the slightest provocation. The females are extremely shy and harmless, and they are most affectionate mothers. The only instances I have known of a female attacking a man have been those in which the calf had been stolen.” — Ibid., page 340.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 40:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-40.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Job 40:20. The mountains bring him forth food — Though this creature be so vastly large, and require much food, and no man careth for it, yet God provides for it out of his own stores, and makes the desert mountains to afford it sufficient sustenance. This particular of the description seems more applicable to the elephant than the hippopotamus, which, though he fetches his food, in a great measure, from the land, feeding on the herbage on the banks of the Nile, and among the lakes and fens of Ethiopia, through which that river passes, yet can hardly be said to pasture upon the mountains. Both animals consume great quantities of food, and it must be acknowledged to be an instance of the goodness of God that he hath so ordered it that they feed on grass, and the other products of the field, and not on flesh; for if the latter had been their usual food, great multitudes of creatures must have died continually to keep them alive. Where all the beasts of the field play — This is equally applicable both to the elephant and the river-horse. The beasts of the field not only feed securely, but sport themselves by both of them, being taught by experience that they are gentle and harmless, and never prey upon them.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 40:20". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-40.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Leviathan: the whale, or some sea monster. (Challoner) --- Protestants' marginal note, "or a whirlpool." (Haydock) --- But some animal is designated; and Bochart understands the crocodile, which agrees very well with the context. The Thalmudists also say that the calbish is a small fish, which gets into the throat of the leviathan. They mean probably the ichneumon, which kills the crocodile by that means. Leviathan, "the winding serpent," (Calmet) often denotes the dragon or crocodile, (Psalm ciii. 26., and Isaias xxvii. 1.) which frequents the Nile. (Haydock) --- It can live as well by land as under water, (Watson, p. 293) and hence may be translated, (Haydock) "the coupled dragon." (Parkhurst) --- Moses mentions the choled, (Leviticus xi. 29.) which the Septuagint and most others translate, "the land crocodile:" but what could induce the Protestants "to render it tortoise, we are at a loss to determine." Crocodiles lay about sixty eggs, like those of geese, in the sand, the warmth of which soon hatches them. Their bodies are covered with scales, which are scarcely penetrable, except under the belly; and they are between twenty and thirty feet in length, running very fast, straight forward, though their feet be short, and they cannot turn easily. The have several rows of sharp teeth, which enter one within another, and their throat is very wide. (Button.) --- The same word may however denote whales, (Parkhurst) which are the greatest fishes with which man is acquainted. (Haydock) --- They may also be styled coupled dragons, because many smaller fishes accompany them, and they are well protected by scales, &c. (Menochius) --- This huge fish, perhaps the whale, representing the devil, is subject to God. (Worthington) --- Cord. The crocodile may be taken, but with the utmost hazard; though the Tentyrites attacked it without fear, chap. iii. 8. Herodotus (ii. 70.) says it may be caught with a hook, baited with hog's flesh, while the fisher has a pig grunting, at which the crocodile come open-mouthed. Having swallowed the hook, it is drawn to land, and its small eyes being filled with dirt it is easily slain. But the method was not yet invented, or was deemed too rash in Job's days.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 40:20". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-40.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

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

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 40:20". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-40.html. 1999-2014.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.
the mountains
15; Psalms 147:8,9
where
Psalms 104:14,26
Reciprocal: Genesis 1:30 - GeneralGenesis 6:21 - GeneralJob 39:8 - General

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 40:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-40.html.