Job Chapter Forty-One

 

Read Job 41:1-10

 

v1.  “CANST THOU DRAW OUT LEVIATHAN WITH AN HOOK? OR HIS TONGUE WITH A CORD which THOU LETTEST DOWN?

 

            Chapter 41 continues where chapter 40 left off.  Again man’s divisions of the text into chapters and verses divides this book right in the middle of God’s discourse and is obviously artificial.  The leviathan is most often thought to be a whale, a huge animal, not a fish that lives in the deep but breaths air just as you and I.  Another animal large enough that there would be no way for a man to draw one out of the water with a hook or a cord.  One of the highlights of being in Hawaii or Baja California at certain seasons is that you can take a boat out where these animals are and watch them roll, play, chase each other and generally entertain you.  That is if you don’t mind being out in the ocean in a boat no bigger than one of the whales you’re watching.

 

v2.  “CANST THOU PUT AN HOOK INTO HIS NOSE? OR BORE HIS JAW THROUGH WITH A THORN?”

 

            Job can you put a hook in this animal’s nose or bore through his jaw with a thorn and be able to control him?  Of course not.

 

v3-4.  “WILL HE MAKE MANY SUPPLICATIONS UNTO THEE? WILL HE SPEAK SOFT words UNTO THEE?  WILL HE MAKE A COVENANT WITH THEE? WILT THOU TAKE HIM FOR A SERVANT FOR EVER?”

 

            Job could not make this animal his prisoner, nor force him to cry for mercy, or surrender himself at his discretion.  He knows his own strength so well that he would never be the servant of man because of fear for his life.

 

v5.  “WILT THOU PLAY WITH HIM AS with A BIRD? OR WILT THOU BIND HIM FOR THY MAIDENS?”

 

            Job would you keep this animal as you do a bird in a cage to keep as a pet or as something to play with?  Of course, the whale is far too large, far too strong to be captured and treated in this way.

 

v6.  “SHALL THE COMPANIONS MAKE A BANQUET OF HIM? SHALL THEY PART HIM AMONG THE MERCHANTS?  CANST THOU FILL HIS SKIN WITH BARBED IRONS? OR HIS HEAD WITH FISH SPEARS?”

 

            Will you make a meal of this animal for your companions and friends?  His flesh is too strong to be useful for food though the natives of the cold lands seem to do OK living as they have in years gone by on whale blubber.  Will you catch him and bring parts of his body to the merchants, perhaps the bones to one, flesh to another and oil to another.  Can you fill his body with arrows, barbed spears or anything of that nature and bring him under your control.  Apparently the ability to hunt whales and means to kill them had not yet been invented at the time of the writing of Job.

 

v8.  “LAY THINE HAND UPON HIM, REMEMBER THE BATTLE, DO NO MORE.”

 

            God here enjoins Job to lay his hand on the leviathan, remember the kind of battle that he would have and then do no more.  The parallel is to consider the power of God, remember who you are preparing to battle and then turn back and do no more.

 

v9.  “BEHOLD, THE HOPE OF HIM IS IN VAIN: SHALL NOT one BE CAST DOWN EVEN AT THE SIGHT OF HIM?”

 

            If men go about to seize this animal, the very sight of him makes their hearts weak, their knees tremble and make a stout man ready to faint away.

 

v10.  “NONE is so FIERCE THAT DARE STIR HIM UP: WHO THEN IS ABLE TO STAND BEFORE ME?”

 

            If man cannot stand before the fierceness of the leviathan that was created by God then how should he expect to stand before God himself.  If the inferior creatures that are put under the feet of man, and over whom he has dominion (Genesis 1:26-28), keep us in awe thus, how terrible must the majesty of our great Lord be, who has a sovereign dominion over us and all things.

 

Read Job 41:11-34

 

v11.  “WHO HATH PREVENTED ME, THAT I SHOULD REPAY him? whatsoever is UNDER THE WHOLE HEAVEN IS MINE.”

 

            God is not indebted to any of his creatures.  Who has laid any obligations upon him by any services he has done for him?  Who can pretend to be beforehand with me?  If any were, I would not long be behind-hand with them; I would soon repay them.

 

v12.  “I WILL NOT CONCEAL HIS PARTS, NOR HIS POWER, NOR HIS COMELY PROPORTION.”

 

            Now we go back to the leviathan.  Though he is a creature of monstrous bulk, yet there is in him a comely portion, the power he exerts, especially when he is set upon are what God will not conceal, and therefore what we must observe and acknowledge the power of God in.

 

v13-14.  “WHO CAN DISCOVER THE FACE OF HIS GARMENT? or WHO CAN COME to him WITH HIS DOUBLE BRIDLE?  WHO CAN OPEN THE DOORS OF HIS FACE? HIS TEETH are TERRIBLE ROUND ABOUT.”

 

            Who is brave enough to come near this great creature that God created to discover or see the skin with which he is clothed as with a garment, go near him as to bridle him like a horse and so lead him away, so near him as to be within reach of his jaws.  Who will look into his mouth and risk losing part of your anatomy to his great teeth.  Some whales do not have teeth while others do.

 

v15-17.  His SCALES are his PRIDE, SHUT UP TOGETHER as with A CLOSE SEAL.  ONE IS SO NEAR TO ANOTHER, THAT NO AIR CAN COME BETWEEN THEM.  THEY ARE JOINED ONE TO ANOTHER, THEY STICK TOGETHER, THAT THEY CANNOT BE SUNDERED.”

 

            This reference to scales (the literal translation is shields) seems to lend some credence to the argument that the leviathan is not a whale but some other great fish like the one prepared too swallow Jonah.  But even that animal whose skin is in layers and the blubber underneath it that insulates him from the cold of the oceans depths reflect the wonderful providence of God who provided for his protection.

 

v18.  “BY HIS NEESINGS A LIGHT DOTH SHINE, AND HIS EYES are LIKE THE EYELIDS OF THE MORNING.”

 

            The spouting of the whale scatters terror with every breath and when blown it looks like a light shining either with the froth or the light of the sun shining through it.  The eyes of the whale are reported to shine in the night-time like a flame or those of a cat.

 

v19-21.  “OUT OF HIS MOUTH GO BURNING LAMPS, and SPARKS OF FIRE LEAP OUT.  OUT OF HIS NOSTRILS GOETH SMOKE, AS out OF A SEETHING POT OR CALDRON.  HIS BREATH KINDLETH COALS, AND A FLAME GOETH OUT OF HIS MOUTH."
           

            This analogy must be figurative rather than literal as the only thing about a whale’s breath that would compare is that it’s very bad and on the whale watching boats they will warn you not to breath in when one has rolled and blown next to your boat.  Figuratively these expressions, if they were literal, would generate a fear that would compare to the fear that we should have of the wrath of God.  And really that is what all this is designed to convince us of.

 

v22.  “IN HIS NECK REMAINETH STRENGTH, AND SORROW IS TURNED INTO JOY BEFORE HIM.”

 

            Take a view of his neck, which he appears to have none, and there you can see his strength.

 

v23.  “THE FLAKES OF HIS FLESH ARE JOINED TOGETHER: THEY ARE FIRM IN THEMSELVES; THEY CANNOT BE MOVED.”

 

            His flesh is so tough that it seems that the flakes of it are bound together until it is hard to pierce; it is as though he is all bone.

 

v24.  “HIS HEART IS AS FIRM AS A STONE; YEA, AS HARD AS A PIECE OF THE NETHER millstone.”

 

            Does anyone know what the nether millstone is?  The leviathan’s heart is described as being firm as a stone, signifying that he has great courage.  We might say as hard as flint rock.  The nether millstone is the one on the bottom and presumably the hardest of the two stones that make up a stone mill.

 

v25.  “WHEN HE RAISETH UP HIMSELF, THE MIGHTY ARE AFRAID: BY REASON OF BREAKINGS THEY PURIFY THEMSELVES.”

 

            When he raises himself up it’s like a moving mountain in the water and even the mighty are afraid that he will overturn their boats or do them some great harm.  We never saw one breach at Lahaina, which is to come up out of the water about half of the length of his body and then fall back but some folks were more than a little concerned when they started passing back and forth underneath our boat.

 

v26-29.  “THE SWORD OF HIM THAT LAYETH AT HIM CANNOT HOLD: THE SPEAR, THE DART, NOR THE HABERGEON.  HE ESTEEMETH IRON AS STRAW, and BRASS AS ROTTEN WOOD.  THE ARROW CANNOT MAKE HIM FLEE: SLINGSTONES ARE TURNED WITH HIM INTO STUBBLE.  DARTS ARE COUNTED AS STUBBLE: HE LAUGHETH AT THE SHAKING OF A SPEAR."

 

            Weapons that would destroy us, take our lives, are nothing to him.  The habergeon or breast plate would serve us no purpose to protect us from this great beast.  The darts, arrows and slingstones, which wound at a distance but would do him no real damage because God in his providence has so well armed him at all points against them all.  Man’s tools of iron or brass are as nothing.

 

v30.  “SHARP STONES are UNDER HIM: HE SPREADETH SHARP POINTED THINGS UPON THE MIRE.”

 

            And again his skin even the sharp rocks of the deep leave no impression, he chooses them to lie on and they don’t bother him.

 

v31-32.  “HE MAKETH THE DEEP TO BOIL LIKE A POT: HE MAKETH THE SEA LIKE A POT OF OINTMENT.  HE MAKETH A PATH TO SHINE AFTER HIM; one WOULD THINK THE DEEP to be HOARY.”

 

            His very motion in the water troubles it and puts it into a ferment or a boil.  When he rolls and tosses and makes a stir in the water, or is in pursuit of his prey, he makes the water to boil like a pot, he raises a great froth and foam on the water.  Where the water is luminous, it sparkles and shines in the dark when disturbed; you can trace them though the water by the path that they leave.

 

v33.  “UPON EARTH THERE IS NOT HIS LIKE, WHO IS MADE WITHOUT FEAR.”

 

            No creature in this world is comparable to him for strength and terror.  None of all the savage creatures upon earth come near him for bulk and strength, and it is well for man that he is confined to the waters and there has a watch set upon him by the divine Providence.

 

v34.  “HE BEHOLDETH ALL HIGH things: HE is A KING OVER ALL THE CHILDREN OF PRIDE.”

 

            He himself is very proud though lodged in the deep.  The rolling waves, the impending rocks, the hovering clouds, and the ships under sail with top and top-gallant, this mighty animal takes no notice, nor shows any fear for he knows that they pose no threat.