Job 41


‘Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook or tie down its tongue with a rope? Can you put a cord through its nose or pierce its jaw with a hook? Will it keep begging you for mercy? Will it speak to you with gentle words? Will it make an agreement with you for you to take it as your slave for life? Can you make a pet of it like a bird or put it on a leash for the young women in your house?’ Job 41:1-5

The LORD Continues Speaking

God finishes His speech by mentioning two of His great creatures, to demonstrate how strong He is. The Behemoth, Job 40:15-24, and the Leviathan. The reason God mentions these two creatures is simply to let Job know that mankind is utterly incapable of controlling that which is easy for God to control. God’s power is seen in the power He is able to give to these creatures.

As mentioned in the previous chapter, there are three interpretations of the Behemoth and the Leviathan.

1. They are mythological.

But why use imaginary animals? What difference would that make to Job?

2. They are animals with which we are familiar as listed in most foot-notes, i.e., Behemoth is a hippopotamus or elephant, and the Leviathan is a whale or crocodile.

3. They are dinosaurs.

This explanation seems to be the most logical. Since no animal exists today that would fit the description of these animals, we would assume that one of the dinosaurs that existed either previous to or at the time of Job, would fit the description of both Behemoth and Leviathan. Whatever the case, Job was familiar with the animal.

The Leviathan is the fiercest of the sea creatures and the point is evident that God is putting Job in his place and there is no way Job could ever handle or constrain the animal. God says that if he can’t even challenge animals, why do you challenge me?

Job had assumed that he was qualified to contend with God but as a man, Job couldn’t in strength even compete with the large animals of creation. Leviathan could never be tamed as a pet by men and led about by a rope. In other words, if man could never tame the Leviathan, then man can’t control the creation.

‘Will traders barter for it? Will they divide it up among the merchants? Can you fill its hide with harpoons or its head with fishing spears? If you lay a hand on it, you will remember the struggle and never do it again! Any hope of subduing it is false; the mere sight of it is overpowering. No one is fierce enough to rouse it. Who then is able to stand against me? Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.’ Job 41:6-11

The Leviathan was so big that he could never be captured and used by man for food. In other words, no one can stand against the Leviathan. No one can stand before and against God and if anyone tried to control the strength of God, they would be overcome. God owns everything and the Leviathan’s power originate from God.

‘I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs, its strength and its graceful form. Who can strip off its outer coat? Who can penetrate its double coat of armor? Who dares open the doors of its mouth, ringed about with fearsome teeth? Its back has rows of shields tightly sealed together; each is so close to the next that no air can pass between. They are joined fast to one another; they cling together and cannot be parted. Its snorting throws out flashes of light; its eyes are like the rays of dawn. Flames stream from its mouth; sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke pours from its nostrils as from a boiling pot over burning reeds. Its breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from its mouth. Strength resides in its neck; dismay goes before it. The folds of its flesh are tightly joined; they are firm and immovable. Its chest is hard as rock, hard as a lower millstone. When it rises up, the mighty are terrified; they retreat before its thrashing. The sword that reaches it has no effect, nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin. Iron it treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood. Arrows do not make it flee; slingstones are like chaff to it. A club seems to it but a piece of straw; it laughs at the rattling of the lance. Its undersides are jagged potsherds, leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge. It makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment. It leaves a glistening wake behind it; one would think the deep had white hair. Nothing on earth is its equal—a creature without fear. It looks down on all that are haughty; it is king over all that are proud.” Job 41:12-34

Although God is not under obligation, Job wants God to explain what he is doing in his life but now Job is learning better. God uses this animal as an illustration of His power that is beyond the understanding of man. No matter how powerful a person was, they couldn’t capture or control either the Behemoth or Leviathan.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The spray breathed through the nostrils of the crocodile is luminous in the sunshine. His eyes are compared to the dawn because they are visible from some distance underwater. When the crocodile comes up after being submerged in the water, he blows spray into the sunlight with an effect like fireworks. That impression is enhanced by the fact that his eyes shine like coals of fire through the water.’

Kelly, in his commentary, says the following.

‘All of this may be understood as an imaginative and exaggerated description of a crocodile, or as poetic imagery.’

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The deep in these verses is not a reference to the ocean but to the Nile river, which in ancient times was often referred to as ‘the sea’. The path that the crocodile made to shine after him appears to be a reference to the wake following the crocodile’s movement through the water, reflecting the sunlight. We also have here a reference to, Leviathan’s motion in the water, which he churns up to a foam. It is generally allowed that by ‘the sea’ here is meant ‘the Nile’, as in Isaiah 19:2 / Isaiah 18:5 / Nahum 3:8.’

The Lord introduced the creature to ask him questions about him, He is trying to teach Job that his attitude is all wrong.

The point God is trying to make in talking about the Behemoth and Leviathan is Himself and His indescribable power. Why choose these animals? He picked the most fierce of both categories, land and sea animals.

Go To Job 42