|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 21. - He listh under the shady trees; or, under the lotus trees (Revised Version). The Lotus sylvestris or Lotus Cyrenaiea "grows abundantly an the hot banks of the Upper Nile" (Cook). and is thought to be the tree here intended (Schultens. Cook, Houghton, and others). But the identification is very doubtful. The dense shade of trees is sought alike by the hippopotamus and the elephant. In the covert of the reed, and fens. This is exactly descriptive of the hippopotamus; far less so of the elephant. Gordon Cumming says, "At every turn there occurred deep still pools, and occasional sandy islands, densely clad with lofty reeds Above and beyond these reeds stood trees of immense age. beneath which grew a rank kind of grass, on which the sea-cow (hippopotamus) delights to pasture" ('Lion-Hunter of South Africa,' p. 297).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed,
and fens. This may be thought to agree very well with the river horse, the inhabitant of the Nile, where reeds in great plenty grew, and adjoining to which were fenny and marshy places, and shady trees; and, as historians relate (e), this creature takes its lodging among high reeds, and in shady places; yea, the reeds and sugar canes, and the leaves of the papyrus, are part of the food on which it lives; and hence the hunters of them sometimes cover their bait with a reed to take them; though it must be allowed that the elephant delights to be about rivers, and in clayey and fenny places (f), and therefore Aelianus (g) says it may be called the fenny animal.
(e) Ammian. Marcellin. l. 22. Bellonius & Achilles Tatius apud Bochart ut supra. (Apud Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 5. c. 14. col. 760.) (f) Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 46. Plin. l. 8. c. 10. Aelian. de Animal. l. 9. c. 56. (g) lbid. l. 9. c. 24.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. lieth—He leads an inactive life.
shady trees—rather, "lotus bushes"; as Job 40:22 requires.
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