|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
41:1-34 Concerning Leviathan. - The description of the Leviathan, is yet further to convince Job of his own weakness, and of God's almighty power. Whether this Leviathan be a whale or a crocodile, is disputed. The Lord, having showed Job how unable he was to deal with the Leviathan, sets forth his own power in that mighty creature. If such language describes the terrible force of Leviathan, what words can express the power of God's wrath? Under a humbling sense of our own vileness, let us revere the Divine Majesty; take and fill our allotted place, cease from our own wisdom, and give all glory to our gracious God and Saviour. Remembering from whom every good gift cometh, and for what end it was given, let us walk humbly with the Lord.
Verse 34. - He beholdeth all high things He looks without fear on everything that is high and great. Nothing alarms him; nothing disturbs his equanimity. He is a king over all the children (literally, sons) of pride (comp. Job 28:8). He feels himself superior to all other animals that come within his ken. They may be "sons of pride," but he has more to be proud of than the proudest of them. Ordinarily, the lion poses as "the king of beasts;" but here he is, as it were, deposed, and relegated into the second position (Job 38:39), the crocodile being exalted into his place. From different points of view, there are several great beasts which might be regarded as the lords of the animal creation.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He beholdeth all high things,.... Or "who beholdeth all high things"; even he that made leviathan, that is, God, as the above interpreter: he does that which Job was bid to do, and could not; beholds everyone that is proud, and abases him, Job 40:11; and therefore he ought to acknowledge his sovereignty and superiority over him, and submit to him;
he is a king over all the children of pride: the proud angels that fell, and all the proud sons of men; proud monarchs and potentates of the earth, such as Nebuchadnezzar and others, Daniel 4:31. But interpreters generally understand all this either of the crocodile, or of a fish of the whale kind. Bochart observes, that the crocodile, though it has short legs, will behold, and meet unterrified, beasts abundantly taller than itself, and with one stroke of its tail break their legs and bring them low; and will destroy not only men, but all sorts of beasts, as elephants, camels, horses, oxen, boars, and every animal whatsoever. But others apply this to the whale, which beholds the tossing waves of the sea, which mount up to heaven; the clouds of heaven on high over it; the lofty cliffs or shores, and ships of the greatest bulk and height; and which, when it lifts up itself above the water, equals the high masts of ships, and is abundantly superior to all the tribes of watery animals, or the beasts of the sea. But this seems not wholly to come up to the expressions here used. Upon the whole, as there are some things that agree with the crocodile, and not the whale; and others that agree with the whale, of one sort or another, and not with the crocodile; it is uncertain which is meant, and it seems as if neither of them were intended: and to me very probable is the opinion of Johannes Camerensis (c), and to which the learned Schultens most inclines, that the leviathan is the dragon of the land sort, called leviathan, the piercing serpent, as distinct from the dragon in the sea, Isaiah 27:1; which agrees with the description of the leviathan in the whole: as its prodigious size; its terrible countenance; its wide jaws; its three forked tongue; its three rows of sharp teeth; its being covered all over, back and belly, with thick scales, not to be penetrated by arrows and darts; its flaming eyes, its fiery breath, and being most terrible to all, and fearless of every creature; it will engage with any, and conquer and kill an elephant (d); hence in Ethiopia dragons have no other names than elephant killers: and so it may be said to be king over all the children of pride; of all which proof may be given from various writers, as Pliny (e), Aelianus (f), Philostratus (g), and others; and particularly the dragon Attilius Regulus, the Roman general, killed near Bagrade in Africa, is a proof itself of almost all the above articles, as Osorius (h) has described it; nor is it any objection that the leviathan is represented as being in the sea, since the dragon, even the land dragon, will plunge into rivers, and is often found in lakes called seas, and in maritime places, and will go into the sea itself, as Pliny (i) and Philostratus (k) relate. To which may be added, that this creature was found among the Troglodytes (l) who lived near the Red sea, and not far from Arabia, where Job dwelt, and so might be well known by him: and besides, of all creatures, it is the most lively emblem of the devil, which all the ancient Christian writers make leviathan to be; and Satan is expressly called the dragon in Revelation 12:3. So Suidas (m) says, the devil is called a dragon in Job. But be the leviathan what it may, it certainly is an illustrious instance of the power of God in making it; and therefore Job and every other man ought to submit to him that made it, in all things, and be humble under his mighty hand; owning freely, that it is his right hand, and his only, and not man's, that can save, either in a temporal or spiritual sense; for which end this and the behemoth are instanced in.
(See definition for 03882. Editor.)
(c) Apud Pinedam, in v. 1.((d) Isidor. Origin l. 12. c. 4. (e) Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 14. (f) De Animal. l. 2. c. 21. & l. 10. c. 48. & l. 15. c. 21. & l. 16. c. 39. (g) Vit. Apollon. l. 3. c. 2. Vid. Ovid. Metamorph. l. 3. Fab. 1.((h) Hist. l. 4. c. 8. (i) Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 13. (k) Ut supra. (Vit. Apollon. l. 3. c. 2. Vid. Ovid. Metamorph. l. 3. Fab. 1.) (l) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 11, 12. & l. 31. c. 2.((m) In voce & in voce
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
34. beholdeth—as their superior.
children of pride—the proud and fierce beasts. So Job 28:8; Hebrew, "sons of pride." To humble the pride of man and to teach implicit submission, is the aim of Jehovah's speech and of the book; therefore with this as to leviathan, the type of God in His lordship over creation, He closes.
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