Job 40:17
He moves his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) The sinews of his stones.—Rather, of his thighs.

Job 40:17. He moveth his tail like a cedar — Though the tail be but short, both in the elephant, and in the hippopotamus; yet, when it is erected, it is exceeding stiff and strong. The sinews of his stones, &c. — Rather, of his thighs, as the Hebrew may be rendered. The thighs and feet of the river- horse are so sinewy and strong that one of them is able to break or overturn a large boat.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.He moveth his tail like a cedar - Margin, "setteth up." The Hebrew word (חפץ châphêts) means "to bend, to curve;" and hence, it commonly denotes "to be inclined, favorably disposed to desire or please." The obvious meaning here is, that this animal had some remarkable power of "bending" or "curving" its tail, and that there was some resemblance in this to the motion of the cedar-tree when moved by the wind. In "what" this resemblance consisted, or how this was a proof of its power, it is not quite easy to determine. Rosenmuller says that the meaning is, that the tail of the hippopotamus was "smooth, round, thick, and firm," and in this respect resembled the cedar. The tail is short - being, according to Abdollatiph (see Ros.), about half a cubit in length. In the lower part, says he, it is thick, "equalling the extremities of the fingers;" and the idea here, according to this, is, that this short, thick, and apparently firm tail, was bent over by the will of the animal as the wind bends the branches of the cedar.

The point of comparison is not the "length," but the fact of its being easily bent over or curved at the pleasure of the animal. Why this, however, should have been mentioned as remarkable, or how the power of the animal in this respect differs from others, is not very apparent. Some, who have supposed the elephant to be here referred to, have understood this of the proboscis. But though "this would be" a remarkable proof of the power of the animal, the language of the original will not admit of it. The Hebrew word (זנב zânâb) is used only to denote the tail. It is "possible" that there may be here an allusion to the unwieldy nature of every part of the animal, and especially to the thickness and inflexibility of the skin and what was remarkable was, that notwithstanding this, this member was entirely at its command. Still, the reason of the comparison is not very clear. The description of the movement of the "tail" here given, would agree much better with some of the extinct orders of animals whose remains have been recently discovered and arranged by Cuvier, than with that of the hippopotamus. Particularly, it would agree with the account of the ichthyosaurus (see Buckland's "Geology, Bridgewater Treatise," vol. i. 133ff), though the other parts of the animal here described would not accord well with this.

The sinews of his stones are wrapped together - Good renders this, "haunches;" Noyes, Prof. Lee, Rosenmuller, and Schultens, "thighs;" and the Septuagint simply has: "his sinews." The Hebrew word used here (פחד pachad) means properly "fear, terror," Exodus 15:16; Job 13:11; and, according to Gesenius, it then means, since "fear" is transferred to cowardice and shame, anything which "causes" shame, and hence, the secret parts. So it is understood here by our translators; but there does not seem to be any good reason for this translation, but there is every reason why it should not be thus rendered. The "object" of the description is to inspire a sense of the "power" of the animal, or of his capacity to inspire terror or dread; and hence, the allusion here is to those parts which were fitted to convey this dread, or this sense of his power - to wit, his strength. The usual meaning of the word, therefore, should be retained, and the sense then would be, "the sinews of his terror," that is, of his parts fitted to inspire terror, "are wrapped together;" are firm, compact, solid. The allusion then is to his thighs or haunches, as being formidable in their aspect, and the seat of strength. The sinews or muscles of these parts seemed to be like a hard-twisted rope; compact, firm, solid, and such as to defy all attempts to overcome them.

17. like a cedar—As the tempest bends the cedar, so it can move its smooth thick tail [Umbreit]. But the cedar implies straightness and length, such as do not apply to the river horse's short tail, but perhaps to an extinct species of animal (see on [561]Job 40:15).

stones—rather, "thighs."

wrapped—firmly twisted together, like a thick rope.

He moveth his tail; which though it be but short, both in the elephant and in the hippopotamus, yet when it is erected is exceeding stiff and strong. But this may be understood, either,

1. Of his generative part, which is off called by that or the like name, which the following close of the verse may seem to favour. Or,

2. Of the elephant’s trunk, which being so eminent and remarkable a part, would not probably be omitted in this description, to which these words very fitly agree, because of its admirable motion and strength. Nor is it strange that this is called his tail, because that word is oft used improperly for any end of a thing, as Isaiah 7:4. See also Deu 25:18 28:13,44.

The sinews of his stones: this may be noted, because the elephant’s testicles do not hang down below the belly, as they do in other beasts, but are contained within his belly, where they are fastened by ligaments of extraordinary strength. Or, the sinews of the terror thereof, to wit, of the trunk last mentioned, under the name of the

tail, i.e. its terrible sinews are strongly and strangely wrapped together, that he can move it as he listeth with wonderful dexterity and strength. Or,

the sinews of his thighs, as the latter word oft signifies in the Arabic tongue, which is very near akin to the Hebrew. The thighs and feet of the hippopotamus are noted to be so sinewy and strong, that one of them is able to break or overturn a large boat. He moveth his tail like a cedar,.... To which it is compared, not for the length and largeness of it; for the tail both of the elephant and of the river horse is short; though Vartomannus (c) says, the tail of the elephant is like a buffalo's, and is four hands long, and thin of hair: but because of the smoothness, roundness, thickness, and firmness of it; such is the tail of the river horse, being like that of a hog or boar (d); which is crooked, twisted, and which it is said to turn back and about at pleasure, as the word used is thought to signify. Aben Ezra interprets it, "maketh to stand": that is, stiff and strong, and firm like a cedar. One writer (e) speaks of the horse of the Nile, as having a scaly tail; but he seems to confound it with the sea horse. Junius interprets it of its penis, its genital part; to which the Targum in the King's Bible is inclined: and Cicero (f) says, the ancients used to call that the tail; but that of the elephant, according to Aristotle (g), is but small, and not in proportion to the size of its body; and not in sight, and therefore can hardly be thought to be described; though the next clause seems to favour this sense:

the sinews of his stones are wrapped together; if by these are meant the testicles, as some think, so the Targums; the sinews of which were wreathed, implicated and ramified, like branches of trees, as Montanus renders it. Bochart interprets this of the sinews or nerves of the river horse, which having such plenty of them, are exceeding strong; so that, as some report, this creature will with one foot sink a boat (h); I have known him open his mouth, says a traveller (i), and set one tooth on the gunnel of a boat, and another on the second strake from the keel, more than four feet distant, and there bite a hole through the plank, and sink the boat.

(c) Navigat. l. 4. c. 9. (d) Aristot. Plin. Solin. & Isidore ut supra. (See Job 40:16.) (e) Nicet. Choniat. apud Fabrit. Gr. Bibliothec. vol. 6. p. 410. (f) Epist. l. 9. Ephesians 22. (g) Hist. Amimal. l. 2. c. 1.((h) Apud Hierozoic, par. 2. l. 5. c. 14. col. 758. (i) Dampier's Voyages, vol. 2. part 2. p. 105.

He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. The “tail” of the hippopotamus is short, naked and muscular, resembling that of the hog. The great strength of the animal may be inferred from the muscular stiffness of the tail, which bends like the branch or young stem of a cedar.Verse 17. - He moveth his tail like a cedar. The tail of the hippopotamus is remarkably short and thick. It only bends slightly, being stiff and unyielding, like the stem of a cedar. The sinews of his stones (rather, of his thighs) are wrapped together; or, interwoven one with another (so Professor Lee and Mr. Houghton). 10 Deck thyself then with pomp and dignity,

And in glory and majesty clothe thyself!

11 Let the overflowings of thy wrath pour forth,

And behold all pride, and abase it!

12 Behold all pride, bring it low,

And cast down the evil-doers in their place;

13 Hide them in the dust together,

Bind their faces in secret:

14 Then I also will praise thee,

That thy right hand obtaineth thee help.

He is for once to put on the robes of the King of kings (עדה, comp. עטח, to wrap round, Psalm 104:2), and send forth his wrath over pride and evil-doing, for their complete removal. הפיץ, effundere, diffundere, as Arab. afâda, vid., Job 37:11. עברות, or rather, according to the reading of Ben-Ascher, עברות ,rehcsA, in its prop. signif. oversteppings, i.e., overflowings. In connection with Job 40:11, one is directly reminded of the judgment on everything that is high and exalted in Isaiah 2, where beטמנם בּעפר also has its parallel (Isaiah 2:10). Not less, however, does Job 40:14 recall Isaiah 59:16; Isaiah 63:5 (comp. Psalm 98:1); Isaiah I and II have similar descriptions to the book of Job. The ἁπ. λεγ. הדך is Hebraeo-Arab.; hadaka signifies, like hadama, to tear, pull to the ground. In connection with תמוּן (from טמן; Aram., Arab., טמר), the lower world, including the grave, is thought of (comp. Arab. mat-murât, subterranean places); חבשׁ signifies, like Arab. ḥbs IV, to chain and to imprison. Try it only for once - this is the collective thought - to act like Me in the execution of penal justice, I would praise thee. That he cannot do it, and yet venture with his short-sightedness and feebleness to charge God's rule with injustice, the following pictures of foreign animals are now further intended to make evident to him: -

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