|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
40:15-24 God, for the further proving of his own power, describes two vast animals, far exceeding man in bulk and strength. Behemoth signifies beasts. Most understand it of an animal well known in Egypt, called the river-horse, or hippopotamus. This vast animal is noticed as an argument to humble ourselves before the great God; for he created this vast animal, which is so fearfully and wonderfully made. Whatever strength this or any other creature has, it is derived from God. He that made the soul of man, knows all the ways to it, and can make the sword of justice, his wrath, to approach and touch it. Every godly man has spiritual weapons, the whole armour of God, to resist, yea, to overcome the tempter, that his never-dying soul may be safe, whatever becomes of his frail flesh and mortal body.
Verse 18. - His bones are as strong pieces of brass; rather, as tubes of bronze. The great thigh-bones - μηρία of the Greeks - are probably intended. These are hollow, being filled with marrow, and are so strong that they may be well compared to "tubes of bronze." (On the identity of nekhushah or nekhosheth with "bronze" rather than "brass," see the article on "Brass," in Dr. W. Smith's 'Dictionary of the Bible,' vol. 1. p. 225.) His bones (rather, his ribs) are like bars of iron. Either the ribs, or the solid bones of the lower leg, forearm, etc., are intended.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
His bones are as strong pieces of brass: his bones are as bars of iron. Than which nothing is stronger. The repetition is made for greater illustration and confirmation; but what is said is not applicable to the elephant, whose bones are porous and rimous, light and spongy for the most part, as appears from the osteology (k) of it; excepting its teeth, which are the ivory; though the teeth of the river horse are said to exceed them in hardness (l); and artificers say (m) they are wrought with greater difficulty than ivory. The ancients, according to Pausanias (n), used them instead of it; who relates, that the face of the image of the goddess Cybele was made of them: and Kircher (o) says, in India they make beads, crucifixes, and statues of saints of them; and that they are as hard or harder than a flint, and fire may be struck out of them. So the teeth of the morss, a creature of the like kind in the northern countries, are valued by the inhabitants as ivory (p), for hardness, whiteness, and weight, beyond it, and are dearer and much traded in; See Gill on Job 40:20; but no doubt not the teeth only, but the other bones of the creature in the text are meant.
(k) In Philosoph. Transact. vol. 5. p. 155, 156. (l) Odoardus Barbosa apud Bochart. ut supra. (Apud Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 5. c. 14. col. 758.) (m) Diepenses apud ib. (n) Arcadica, sive, l. 8. p. 530. (o) China cum Monument. p. 193. (p) Olaus Magnus, ut supra, (De Ritu. Septent. Gent.) l. 2. c. 19. Voyage to Spitzbergen, p. 115.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. strong—rather, "tubes" of copper [Umbreit].
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