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. 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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