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Job 41

Concerning Leviathan.

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Concerning Leviathan

1 Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?

2 Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn?

3 Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee?

4 Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever?

5 Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens?

6 Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants?

7 Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears?

8 Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more.

9 Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him?

10 None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me?

11 Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.

12 I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely 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 round about.

15 His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal.

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

17 They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered.

18 By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.

19 Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out.

20 Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron.

21 His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth.

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

23 The flakes of his flesh are joined together: they are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved.

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

25 When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves.

26 The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon.

27 He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood.

28 The arrow cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble.

29 Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear.

30 Sharp stones are under him: he spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire.

31 He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.

32 He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary.

33 Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear.

34 He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. I. Heb. “None is so fierce that dare stir it up.” H. — Cruel, or rash, like those to Tentyra. C. iii. 8. C. — This monster is terrible to those that flee, while it retires from the pursuer. — But only these people dare to attack it. Pliny viii. 25. — “I will not ask the crocodile to revenge me of my enemies,” as some might do in a rage, through impotence. H. Sanchez. M. — Countenance, even though they might overcome the crocodile. God is here speaking. Sept. “Dost thou not fear, since it is ready for thee, (Grabe substitutes, “me,” for who will resist me?” or, “who shall stand against me, and live? All,” &c. v. 2. H. — God ruleth not with cruelty, like a tyrant, but with justice, ease, and power. W.

Ver. 3. Supposition. This is explained by the Fathers as spoken of the devil. Amama. — But the Hebrew may signify, that God will reward each one according to his deserts, and that Job had consequently no reason to complain; or it means, that the strength and beauty of the crocodile should be made known. C. — “I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion.” Prot. “I will not keep silence on his account, and the word of power shall take pity on his equal.” Theod. in Sept. H.

Ver. 4. Garment, or the skin. M. — Who shall look steadfastly, or dare to take off its skin? — Mouth. Prot. “Who can come to him with his double bridle?” (H.) though it be of the greatest strength; or, who will enter its jaws, or put bits in them? It is reported that the Tentyrites jump on the crocodile’s back, and having thrown a piece of wood into its open mouth, like bits, which they hold with both hands, they conduct it to the river side, and kill it. Pliny viii. 25. — Sept. “Who would enter the wrinkles of his breast, (C.) or the folds of its coat of arms?” which may allude to the almost impenetrable scales of the leviathan. H. — Sym. “Who will enter the folds of its scales?” The crocodile can open its mouth so wide as to swallow a heifer, or to let a man stand upright. C. — Each jaw is furnished with thirty-six teeth. Vansleb.

Ver. 6. Body. Sept. “entrails are like brazen shields.” Prot. “His scales are his pride shut up together, as with a close seal.” H.

Ver. 9. Sneezing. When the whale breathes, it causes the water to foam. Pineda. M. — The eyes of the crocodile are also (H.) very bright, when out of the water. Pliny viii. 25. They appear first, and therefore were used as an hieroglyphic of Aurora, (Horus i. 26.) or of the morning star. H. — Syr. “His look is brilliant.” Arab. “The apples of his eyes are fiery, and his eyes are like the brightness of the morning.” Sept. “like Aurora.” C. — Olaus (xxi. 5.) says, “that they eyes of the whale shine at night,…and at a distance, are taken by fishermen for great fires.”

Ver. 10. Fire, when they spout water, (M.) or pursue their prey open mouthed. This description is extremely poetical, like that of anger. 2 K. xxii. 9. C.

Ver. 11. Smoke; breath, or streams of water sent upwards.

Ver. 12. Breath, like bellows, v. 10. M.

Ver. 13. Neck. Some deny that the crocodile has any, being formed like a lizard. But it is a dispute about words. The animal turns with difficulty, so that Thomas Gage assures us he escaped one by going in different directions. — Want. It ravages a whole country. Heb. “fear.” C. — Prot. “sorrow is turned into joy before him;” which seems strange. Sept. “destruction runs before him.” H. — The poets place fear, carnage, &c. in the train of Mars. C.

Ver. 14. Place; though people may shoot at him, they will make no impression. C. xl. 20. 26. H. — If God send his thunderbolts at him, the monster must however perish. C. — Sym. “His flesh being cast for him, as in the foundry, (molten) is immoveable.” H. — Yet God destroyeth him whom man cannot overcome. W.

Ver. 15. Stone. Pineda understands this of the whale’s heart. Others suppose that it alludes to its cruel and fearless temper. M. — The Arabs call a valiant man, “heart of stone.” C. — Smiths. Prot. “as a piece of the nether millstone,” (H.) which must be larger and more compact than that which is above. C. — Sept. “He hath stood immoveable as an anvil.” H.

Ver. 16. Angels. Elim. That is, the mighty, the most valiant, shall fear this monstrous fish, and in their fear shall seek to be purified, (Ch.) by contribution. Sanchez. — R. Levi has given a ridiculous exposition, which is adopted by Sa (Amama) and others, (H. see Ezec. ii. 7. Arist. iv. prob. 32.) as the natural consequences of fear. C. M. — The Fathers refer this to the fall of Lucifer, when the other angels might tremble for their own safety. H. — Angels with reverent fear honour God’s power, and his mot perfect servants are filled with apprehensions at his judgments; as the most valiant are terrified at the sight of this huge fish. W. — Sept. “If he turn, there is fear among the wild quadrupeds, jumping on the land.” Heb.”When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings, they purify themselves.” (Prot.) or “spoil themselves,” (C.) expecting nothing but certain death. Amama.

Ver. 17. Plate. Prot. “habergeon.” The precise nature of these arms is not known. C. — Neither offensive or defensive weapons can avail. M. — All agree that the crocodile can be pierced only under the belly. C.

Ver. 19. Are. Lit. “are turned into stubble,” as in Heb. H. — They have no more effect. M.

Ver. 20. Hammer. Sept. sphura, means also, “the bottom of a rock.” This would not overwhelm the whale; as some are represented like floating islands. Prot. “darts.” H. — Chal. “axe.” Others have, “the ballista;” an instrument to throw stones. C.

Ver. 21. Under him. He shall not value the beams of the sun: and gold to him be like mire. Ch. M. — Heb. “sharp stones (or potsherds) are under him; he spreadeth (or lieth upon) sharp-pointed things, as upon the mire.” H. — He is not afraid of being hurt.

Ver. 22. When. Heb. “a pot of ointment.” This boils out very much. C. — The flesh of the crocodile has also the smell of musk; (Bochart) and Peter Martyr asserts, that Columbus found some in America, which plunged into the water, and left behind them the odour of musk or castor. When they are wounded, they give the same perfume to the sea, or rather to the waters, where they abide. The Hebrews style all deep rives and lakes, seas. C. — Crocodiles were kept in the lake M┼ôris, being adored and honoured as gods. Herod. ii. 69. — Sept. “He deems the sea as a vase of ointment; (23) and the Tartarus of the abyss, like a prisoner.” Theod. adds, “He hath considered the abyss as a walk.”

Ver. 23. The deep as growing old. Growing hoary, as it were, with the froth which he leaves behind him. Ch. — The Vulg. has well expressed the force of the original, and shews the rapidity with which the crocodile moves. C. — Prot. “one would think the deep to be hoary.” The devil transforms himself into an angel (H.) of light. D.

Ver. 24. Power. Heb. and Sept. “none like him on earth,” for bulk. — One. Sept. “made to be played with, or beaten, by my angels.” H.

Ver. 25. He is king, &c. He is superior in strength to all that are great and strong amongst living creatures: mystically it is understood of the devil, who is king over all the proud. Ch. S. Greg. xxxiv. 4. and 17. W. — Hence Job perceived that God has also now permitted this cruel foe to exercise a dominion over him, and to pull him from his high station, though innocent. H. — This would henceforward be more frequently the order of Providence, and therefore he expresses his entire resignation. C. xlii. Houbigant. — Pride: the strongest and fiercest animals. H. — The crocodile has been seen encountering even the elephant, and gaining the victory. He is king of all fishes. Sept. “of all in the waters.” Chal. “of all the sons of the mountains:” or Theod. “of arrogance.” This may particularly denote the Egyptians, as the crocodile was one of their gods; and people are often styled after them. Num. xxi. 29. Jer. xlviii. 46. C. — Pharao even means “a crocodile,” in Arabic. Bochart, Anim. p. ii. b. v. 16. — He is styled simply, the proud. Ps. lxxxviii. 11. C. — The pride of the Egyptians was notorious. Ezec. xxxii. 12. C.