Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 40:21

"Under the lotus plants he lies down, In the covert of the reeds and the marsh.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Torrey's Topical Textbook - Herbs, &C;   Trees;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Behemoth;   Leviathan;   Reed;   Rush;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Behemoth;   Cane;   Reed;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Behemoth;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Animals;   Behemoth;   Flowers;   Hippopotamus;   Job, the Book of;   Lotus;   Marsh;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Lotus Trees;   Reed;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Behemoth;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Be'hemoth;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Reed;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Covert;   Lotus Trees;   Marsh;   Reed;   Shade;   Shady Trees;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Behemoth;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

He lieth under the shady trees - This and the following verses refer to certain habits of the behemoth, with which we are and must be unacquainted,

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 40:21". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-40.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He lieth under the shady trees - Referring to his usually inactive and lazy life. He is disposed to lie down in the shade, and especially in the vegetable growth in marshy places on the banks of lakes and rivers, rather than to dwell in the open field or in the upland forest. This account agrees well with the habits of the hippopotamus. The word here and in Job 40:22 rendered “shady trees” (צאלים tse'eliym ), is by Gesenius, Noyes, Prof. Lee, and Schultens, translated “lotus,” and “wild lotus.” The Vulgate, Syriac, Rosenmuller, Aben-Ezra, and others, render it “shady trees.” It occurs nowhere else in the Scriptures, and it is difficult, therefore, to determine its meaning. According to Schultens and Gesenius, it is derived from the obsolete word צאל tsā'al “to be thin, slender;” and hence, in Arabic it is applied to the “wild lotus” - a plant that grows abundantly on the banks of the Nile, and that often serves the wild beasts of the desert for a place of retreat. It is not very important whether it be rendered the “lotus,” or “shades,” though the probable derivation of the word seems to favor the former.

In the covert of the reed - It is well known that reeds abounded on the banks of the Nile. These would furnish a convenient and a natural retreat for the hippopotamus.

And fens - בצה bitstsâh - “marsh, marshy places.” This passage proves that the elephant is not here referred to. He is never found in such places.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 40:21". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-40.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed,

and fens. This may be thought to agree very well with the river horse, the inhabitant of the Nile, where reeds in great plenty grew, and adjoining to which were fenny and marshy places, and shady trees; and, as historians relateF5Ammian. Marcellin. l. 22. Bellonius & Achilles Tatius apud Bochart ut supra. (Apud Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 5. c. 14. Colossians 760.) , this creature takes its lodging among high reeds, and in shady places; yea, the reeds and sugar canes, and the leaves of the papyrus, are part of the food on which it lives; and hence the hunters of them sometimes cover their bait with a reed to take them; though it must be allowed that the elephant delights to be about rivers, and in clayey and fenny placesF6Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 46. Plin. l. 8. c. 10. Aelian. de Animal. l. 9. c. 56. , and therefore AelianusF7lbid. l. 9. c. 24. says it may be called the fenny animal.

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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 40:21". "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

lieth — He leads an inactive life.

shady trees — rather, “lotus bushes”; as Job 40:22 requires.

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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 40:21". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-40.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 40:21 He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.

Ver. 21. He lieth under the shady trees] Vatablus readeth the words questioning thus, Lieth he under the shady trees, in the covert of the reeds and fens? No such matter, he is too big to be shaded by trees; neither can reeds and fens cover him (So R. Levi, and Kimchi). But Aristotle tells us, That he loves to lie by the banks of rivers beset with trees, as being naturally hot, and bred in hot countries; and yet he is impatient with cold and winter (De Hist. Anim. l. 9, c. 46). And therefore when Hannibal brought many elephants out of Africa into italy, they all perished in the cold Alps, except only that one whereupon Hannibal himself rode (Pliny lib. 8, c. 10).

In the covert of the reed, and fens] Hence Cardinus saith, That the elephant is of a swinish nature, delighted with mud and mire, Ad calorem frangendum crasso coeno perfunduntur (Plin.). And Gulielmus Parisiensis applieth Behemoth in the fens, to the devil in sensual hearts. He sleepeth in moist places, saith he; that is, in those that lie melting in sinful pleasures and delights; therefore, Luke 11:24, it is said that he walketh in dry places, seeking rest, but finding none; and, Ezekiel 47:11, when the waters of the sanctuary overflowed, the miry places could not be healed.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 40:21". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-40.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The elephant lies down to rest himself; and it is but fabulous which some writers affirm, that they have no joints in their legs, and so cannot lie down, but sleep or rest themselves standing or leaning against a tree; which is denied and confuted by Aristotle in his History of Living Creatures, 2, 4. and by later writers. For the elephant, being a creature naturally hot, and living generally in hot countries, diligently seeks for and delights in shady and waterish places, as is noted by Aristotle, and after him by Pliny and Ælian.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 40:21". 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

21.Shady trees Lotus trees. The lotus silvestris, a thorny shrub, bearing fruit-like plumes, growing abundantly in Syria, Arabia, and along the banks of the upper Nile.

The reed — Hebrews, kaneh; Greek and Latin, canna, from which probably comes our own word cane. It is a shrub plant, with a knotty root, out of which spring many long, hollow stems; the arundo donax of Linnaeus, which was common on the banks of the Nile. Several species of reed still grow along the Jordan as well as the Nile. According to Rosenmuller, (Biblical Botany, p. 185,) the Hebrews used the word kaneh for reeds in general, and agmon for rushes, as in Job 41:2, which see; also Job 41:20.

And fens Bitsah, rendered mire in Job 8:11. Wilkinson gives a pictorial representation from the monuments, of this animal lying among tall reeds and beneath the shade of the lotus. (Ancient Egyptians, 3:71.)

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 40:21". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-40.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Buckle. Literally, "bracelet," (armilla.; Haydock) or ring. Horses were thus ornamented, (Virgil vii. 7.) and other beasts led about. But this fierce animal could not be tamed. Hebrew, "Wilt thou put a rush through its gills, or nose, or pierce its jaw with a thorn?" like those little fishes which are thus brought fresh to market. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 40:21". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-40.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Behemoth loves to stay in the water.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 40:21". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-40.html. 1999-2014.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(21) He lieth under the shady trees.—If this description applies to any one animal, it seems on the whole more appropriate to the elephant than the hippopotamus. No doubt the judgment of critics has been biased by their pre-conceived notions about the circumstances under which they suppose the Book of Job to have been written; and the author was more likely, it is thought, to have been acquainted with the river-horse of Egypt than with the elephant of India, though, to be sure, elephants abound also in Africa, and may very well have been known to the writer of Job from that quarter, if the other is less likely.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 40:21". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-40.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.
the reed
Isaiah 19:6,7; 35:7
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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 40:21". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-40.html.