The Trial of Job

Chapter 41

Of God's great power in the leviathan, 1-34.

"Can you draw out leviathan with a hook,/
or his tongue with a cord which you let down?

Can you put a hook into his nose,/
or bore his jaw through with a thorn?

Will he make many supplications to you?/
Will he speak soft words to you?

Will he make a covenant with you?/
Will you take him for a servant forever?

Will you play with him as with a bird?/
Or will you bind him for your young women?

Shall the traders make a banquet of him?/
Shall they part him among the merchants?

Can you fill his skin with barbed irons,/
or his head with fish spears?

Lay your hand upon him./
Remember the battle, and do so no more.

Behold, the hope of him is in vain./
Shall one not be cast down even at the sight of him?

10 No one is so fierce that he dare rouse him./
Who then is able to stand before me?

11 Who has first benefited me that I should repay him?/
Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.

12 I will not conceal his parts,/
nor his power, nor his orderly proportion.

13 Who can discover the face of his garment?/
Or who can come to him with his double bridle?

14 Who can open the doors of his face?/
His teeth are terrible around.

15 His scales are his pride,/
shut together as with a compact seal.

16 One is so near to another/
that no air can come between them.

17 They are joined to one another./
They stick together so that they cannot be separated.

18 His sneezings flash light,/
and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.

19 Out of his mouth go burning lamps/
and sparks of fire dart forth.

20 Out of his nostrils issues smoke/
as out of a boiling pot or cauldron.

21 His breath kindles coals/
and a flame issues from his mouth.

22 In his neck remains strength,/
and sorrow is turned into joy before him.

23 The hanging parts of his flesh are joined together./
They are firm in themselves. They cannot be moved.

24 His heart is as firm as a stone,/
even as hard as a piece of the nether millstone.

25 When he raises himself, the mighty are afraid./
By reason of breakings they purify themselves.

26 The sword of him who attacks him cannot hold,/
nor the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon.

27 He esteems iron as straw/
and brass as rotten wood.

28 The arrow cannot make him flee./
Sling-stones are turned with him into stubble.

29 Darts are counted as stubble./
He laughs at the shaking of a spear.

30 Sharp stones are under him./
He spreads sharp pointed things upon the mire.

31 He makes the deep to boil like a pot./
He makes the sea like a pot of ointment.

32 He makes a path to shine after him./
One would think the deep to be hoary.

33 Upon earth there is nothing like him,/
who is made without fear.

34 He beholds all high things./
He is a king over all the children of pride."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Job, Chapter 41[➚]


John Gill's Chapter Summary:

A large description is here given of the leviathan, from the difficulty and danger of taking it, from where it is inferred that none can stand before God (verses 1-10); from the several parts of him, his face, teeth, scales, eyes, mouth and neck, flesh and heart (verses 11-24); and from various wonderful and terrible things said of him, and ascribed to him (verses 25-34).

[v.1] - "leviathan" - Hebrew: לויתן (liv-yaw-thawn'). LXX: "the serpent." It is not certain to which creature the word leviathan refers. It is believed to be either a giant sea creature, such as a whale or an orca, or it could be the crocodile. John Gill posits that the text from the end of chapter 40 and the text here in this chapter makes sense if behemoth is a hippopotamus and leviathan is a crocodile because both existed on the Nile River, and therefore better known to Job than the whale or the orca. But he then states that some parts of leviathan's description fit the crocodile, some the whale or the orca, and some fit neither. Robert Hawker makes a very good point on this disagreement: "I stay not to offer any comment upon this description of the Leviathan, neither shall I enter into an inquiry what animal it is that is here intended by the Leviathan. Some have thought that it is the crocodile that is meant to be described, and others conceive that it is the whale. But it appears to me to be of little importance to inquire. It is sufficient that it is a creature of God, and, as such, displays in its formation God's power and sovereignty. And the conclusion to be made from the view of such a wonderful production, is best made in the words of God himself (verse 10): 'If a man would tremble at the idea of stirring up such a creature, who can be able to stand before God? If the thing created be tremendous, what must the great Creator be?'"

[v.11] - Quoted in Romans 11:35. Reference, Job 22:2-3, 35:7.

[v.15] - "compact" - Latin: conpactus. WBS/KJV: "shut together as with a close seal."

[v.23] - "hanging parts" - That is, dewlaps. A dewlap is the flesh that hangs from the throat of oxen, which laps or licks the dew in grazing.