|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 5. - Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? The Egyptians were especially fond of pet animals, and Job's countrymen, it may be assumed, were the same. Besides dogs, we find the Egyptians keeping tame antelopes, leopards, and monkeys. A tame crocodile would certainly seem to be an extraordinary pet, but Herodotus says that the Egyptians tamed them (2:39), and Sir Gardner Wilkinson informed me that he had known some tame ones at Cairo. The Mesopotamian Arabs domesticate falcons to assist them in the chase of the bustard and the gazelle (Layard, 'Nineveh and Babylon,' pp. 481-483). And this usage, though not represented on the Assyrian monuments, is likely to have been ancient. Or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens? i.e. Wilt thou so secure him that he may be delivered over to thy handmaidens, to be made their pet and playfellow?
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Wilt thou play with him as with a bird?.... In the hand or cage: leviathan plays in the sea, but there is no playing with him by land, Psalm 104:26;
or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens? or young girls, as Mr. Broughton renders it; tie him in a string, as birds are for children to play with? Now, though crocodiles are very pernicious to children, and often make a prey of them when they approach too near the banks of the Nile, or whenever they have an opportunity of seizing them (k); yet there is an instance of the child of an Egyptian woman that was brought up with one, and used to play with it (l), though, when grown up, was killed by it; but no such instance can be given of the whale of any sort.
(k) Aelian. l. 10. c. 21. (l) Maxim. Tyr. Sermon. 38.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. a bird?—that is, tamed.
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