Job 40:18
His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.
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(18) Strong pieces.—Or, perhaps, tubes. His limbs are like bars of iron.

Job 40:18-19. His bones — Under which title are comprehended his ribs, (as the LXX. here render it,) and his teeth; are as strong pieces of brass — Exceeding hard and strong. Such they are both in the elephant and river- horse. He is the chief of the ways of God — That is, of God’s works, namely, of that sort, or among living and brute creatures. This is eminently and unquestionably true of the elephant, in regard of his vast bulk and strength, joined with great activity; and especially of his admirable sagacity, and aptness to learn; and of his singular usefulness to man, his lord and master; and many other commendable qualities. And the hippopotamus also is, in some sort, the chief, or one of the chief, of God’s works, in regard of his bulk, which, say the authors of the Encyclopedia Britannica, “is so great that twelve oxen were found necessary to draw one ashore, which had been shot in a river beyond the Cape of Good Hope; and Hasselquist says, his hide is a load for a camel.” His strength and sagacity also are very remarkable, as well as the manner of his living, both in the water and on the land. But it must be granted, that the elephant exceeds the hippopotamus in many things. Can make his sword to approach unto him — Though he be so strong and terrible, yet God can easily subdue, or destroy him, either immediately, or by arming other creatures against him. But, העשׁו יגשׁ חרבו, hagnosho jaggesh charbo, may be properly rendered, He that made him hath applied, or given to him, his sword, or arms, that is, He hath formed him so as to make him appear dreadful and terrible. Heath renders it, He who made him hath furnished him with his scythe, taking the Hebrew word, rendered sword, or scythe, to denote the instrument by which this animal gathers his food. Houbigant’s translation of the clause is, His Creator sharpeneth his crooked tooth.

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.His bones are as strong pieces of brass - The circumstance here adverted to was remarkable, because the common residence of the animal was the water, and the bones of aquatic animals are generally hollow, and much less firm than those of land animals. It should be observed here, that the word rendered "brass" in the Scriptures most probably denotes "copper." Brass is a compound metal, composed of copper and zinc; and there is no reason to suppose that the art of compounding it was known at as early a period of the world as the time of Job. The word here translated "strong pieces" (אפיק 'âphı̂yq) is rendered by Schultens "alvei - channels," or "beds," as of a rivulet or stream; and by Rosenmuller, Gesenius, Noyes, and Umbreit, "tubes" - supposed to allude to the fact that they seemed to be hollow tubes of brass. But the more common meaning of the word is "strong, mighty," and there is no impropriety in retaining that sense here; and then the meaning would be, that his bones were so firm that they seemed to be made of solid metal. 18. strong—rather, "tubes" of copper [Umbreit]. His bones; under which title are comprehended his ribs (as the LXX here render it) and his teeth.

As strong pieces of brass, exceeding hard and strong, as they are in both these creature.

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.

His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.
18. strong pieces of brass] Rather literally, are pipes of brass.

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. Job 40:1815 Behold now the behmth,

Which I have made with thee:

He eateth grass like an ox.

16 Behold now, his strength is in his loins,

And his force in the sinews of his belly.

17 He bendeth his tail like a cedar branch,

The sinews of his legs are firmly interwoven.

18 His bones are like tubes of brass,

His bones like bars of iron.

בּהמות (after the manner of the intensive plur. הוללות, חכמות, which play the part of the abstract termination), which sounds like a plur., but without the numerical plural signification, considered as Hebrew, denotes the beast κατ ̓ ἐξοχήν, or the giant of beasts, is however Hebraized from the Egyptian p-ehe-mau, (muau), i.e., the (p) ox (ehe) of the water (mau as in the Hebraized proper name משׁה). It is, as Bochart has first of all shown, the so-called river or Nile horse, Hippopotamus amphibius (in Isaiah 30:6, בּהמות נגב, as emblem of Egypt, which extends its power, and still is active in the interest of others), found in the rivers of Africa, but no longer found in the Nile, which is not inappropriately called a horse; the Arab. water-hog is better, Italian bomarino, Eng. sea-cow ?, like the Egyptian p-ehe-mau. The change of p and b in the exchange of Egyptian and Semitic words occurs also elsewhere, e.g., pug' and בּוּץ, harpu and חרב (ἅρπη), Apriu and עברים (according to Lauth). Nevertheless p-ehe-mau (not mau-t, for what should the post-positive fem. art. do here?) is first of all only the בהמות translated back again into the Egyptian by Jablonsky; an instance in favour of this is still wanting. In Hieroglyph the Nile-horse is called apet; it was honoured as divine. Brugsch dwelt in Thebes in the temple of the Apet.

(Note: In the astronomical representations the hippopotamus is in the neighbourhood of the North Pole in the place of the dragon of the present day, and bears the name of hes-mut, in which mut equals t. mau, "the mother." Hes however is obscure; Birch explains it by: raging.)

In Job 40:15 עמּך signifies nothing but "with thee," so that thou hast it before thee. This water-ox eats חציר, green grass, like an ox. That it prefers to plunder the produce of the fields - in Arab. chadı̂r signifies, in particular, green barley - is accordingly self-evident. Nevertheless, it has gigantic strength, viz., in its plump loins and in the sinews (שׁרירי, properly the firm constituent parts,

(Note: Staring from its primary signification (made firm, fast), Arab. srı̂r, שׁרירא can signify e.g., also things put together from wood: a throne, a hand-barrow, bedstead and cradle, metaphor. the foundation. Wetzst. otherwise: "The שׂרירי הבטן are not the sinews and muscles, still less 'the private parts' of others, but the four bearers of the animal body equals arkân el-batn, viz., the bones of the מתנים, Job 40:16, together with the two shoulder-blades. The Arab. sarı̂r is that on which a thing is supported or rests, on which it stands firmly, or moves about. Neshwn (i. 280) says: ‛sarı̂r is the substratum on which a thing rests,' and the sarı̂r er-ra's, says the same, is the place where the head rests upon the nape of the neck. The Kms gives the same signification primo loco, which shows that it is general; then follows in gen. Arab. muḍṭaja‛, "the support of a thing.")

therefore: ligaments and muscles) of its clumsy belly. The brush of a tail, short in comparison with the monster itself, is compared to a cedar (a branch of it), ratione glabritiei, rotunditatis, spissitudinis et firmitatis (Bochart); since the beast is in general almost without hair, it looks like a stiff, naked bone, and yet it can bend it like an elastic cedar branch; חפץ is Hebraeo-Arab., ḥfḍ


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