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To convince Job of his wickedness, he is here challenged to subdue
and tame the leviathan, ver. 1 - 10.
A particular description of him. ver. 11 - 34.
1: Leviathan - Several particulars in the following description,
agree far better with the crocodile, than the whale. It is highly
probable, that this is the creature here spoken of. Cord - Canst thou
take him with a hook and a line, as anglers take ordinary fishes.
2: Thorn - Or, with an iron hook, or instrument as sharp as a thorn;
wherewith thou usest to carry little fishes.
3: Supplications - Doth he dread thine anger or power? Or will he
earnestly beg thy favour? It is a metaphor from men in distress, who
use these means to them to whose power they are subject.
7: Fill - A whale's you may: but the skin of a crocodile is so hard
that an iron or spear will not pierce it.
8: Lay - Seize upon him, if thou darest. Battle - But ere thou
attempt it consider what thou art doing, and with whom, thou art
going to fight. Do no more - Proceed no farther, draw back thy hand.
9: Hope - The hope of taking or conquering him.
10: Stand - To the battle.
Me - To contend with me who created him?
11: Prevented - Hath laid the first obligation upon me, for which I
am indebted to him. Who can be before - hand with me in kindnesses, since
all things under heaven are mine.
13: Discover - Or, uncover, or take off from him. Face - The
upper or outward part of his garment, or, the garment itself:
the word face being often redundant. And by the garment is
meant the skin which covers the whole body; who dare attempt
to touch his very skin? Much less to give him a wound.
His double bridle - His fast jaws, which have some resemblance
to a double bridle: whence the Greeks call those parts of the face
which reach to the jaws on both sides, the bridles.
14: Doors - His mouth. If it be open, none dare enter within,
and if it be shut, none dare open it.
15: Shut - Closely compacted together, as things that are fastened
together by a seal. This likewise is true of the crocodile, but the
skin of the whale is smooth and entire without any scales at all.
18: Sneesings - This the crocodile is said frequently to do.
Eyes - To which they seem very fitly compared, because the eyes of
the crocodile are dull and dark under the water, but as soon as
they appear above water, cast a bright and clear light; like the
morning light, suddenly breaking forth after the dark night.
19: Lamps - This also better agrees with the crocodile, which
breathes like the river - horse, of which ancient authors affirm,
that his nostrils are very large, and he breathes forth a fiery
smoke like that of a furnace.
21: Kindleth coals - An hyperbolical expression, denoting
22: And sorrow - Sorrow is his companion and harbinger, which
attends upon him wheresoever he goes. So anger and fear are said
by the poets to accompany the God of war.
24: Nether mill - stone - Which being to bear the weight of the upper,
ought to be the harder and stronger of the two.
25: Raiseth - Upon the top of the waters. Mighty - Even the
stout - hearted. Breakings - By reason of their great danger and
distress; which is expressed by this very word, (Ps 60:2,Jon 2:4).
Purify - Those who ordinarily live in the neglect of God, they cry
unto God in their trouble, and endeavour to purge their consciences
from the guilt of their sins.
26: Hold - Heb. cannot stand, cannot endure the stroke, but will
be broken by it. The crocodile's skin, no sword, nor dart, nor musquet
bullet can pierce.
28: Turned - Hurt him no more than a blow with a little stubble.
30: Stones - His skin is so impenetrable, that the sharpest stones
or shells are as easy unto him as the mire.
31: Boil - To swell, and foam, and froth by his strong and vehement
motion, as any liquor does when it is boiled in a pot, especially
boiling ointment. The sea - The great river Nile, is called a sea,
both in scripture, as (Isa 11:15), and in other authors, as
Euphrates is called the sea of Babylon, (Isa 21:1,Jer 51:36).
Lakes also are most frequently called seas both in the Old and New
Testament: and in such lakes the crocodiles are as well as in the Nile.
32: Shine - By the white froth or foam upon the waters.
The same may be observed in the wake of a ship by night.
34: King, &c. - He can tame both the behemoth and leviathan, as
strong and stout - hearted as they are. This discourse concerning them
was brought in, to prove that it is God only, who can look upon proud
men and abase them, bring them low, and hide them in the dust, he it
is that beholdeth all high things, and wherein men dealt proudly, he
is above them. He is king over all the children of pride, brutal or
rational, and makes them either bend or break before him.