The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Job 40:21. The same word is used here.
The willow-trees of the brook - Of the "stream," or "rivulet." The Hebrew word (נחל nachal) means rather "a wady;" a gorge or gulley, which is swollen with torrents in the winter, but which is frequently dry in summer; see the notes at Job 6:15. Willows grew commonly on the banks of rivers. They could not be cultivated in the desert; Isaiah 15:7.Of the brook; or, of Nilus, of which this word is oft used in Scripture. And this seems to be the chief argument by which the learned Bochart proves this to be meant of the hippopotamus, whose constant residence is in or near the river of Nilus, or the willows that grow by it. But it is well alleged by our learned and judicious Caryl, that this word Naal is never used to express Nilus when it is put by itself, as here it is, but only where the word Egypt is added to it, as it is in all the places which Bochart produceth. And this very phrase,
the willows of the brook, is used of other brooks or rivers besides Nilus, as Leviticus 23:40: compare Isaiah 15:7. Job 40:21; which is thought not so well to agree with the elephant, since, according to Aelianus (h) and other writers, it lies not down, at least but rarely, but sleeps standing; it being very troublesome to it to lie down and rise up again; and besides it is represented by some authors (i) as higher than the trees, and therefore this is supposed to agree better with the river horse; especially since it follows,
the willows of the brook compass him about; or the willows of the Nile, as some choose to render it; which would put it out of all doubt that the river horse is intended, if it could be established, it being an inhabitant of that river; and yet the above writer (k) speaks of elephants, when grown old, seeking large thick and shady woods to take up their abode in.The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 22. - The shady trees (or, the lotus trees) cover him with their shadow (see the comment on ver. 21); the willows of the brook compass him round about. The "willow of the brook" (Leviticus 23:40) is probably the Saliz Aegyptiaca or safsaf which grows plentifully in the Nile valley, fringing the course both of the Nile itself and of the many streams derived from it. The Saliz Babylonica or "weeping willow," is less likely.
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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