Job 40:22
The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.
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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.The shady trees - Probably the "lote-trees;" see the note at 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.

22. shady trees—Translate: "lotus bushes." 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.

The shady trees cover him with their shadow,.... Under which it lies, as in 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.

(h) Ibid. (Aelian. de Animal.) c. 31. (i) Ibid. l. 7. c. 6. (k) Ibid. c. 2.

The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.
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. Job 40:2219 He is the firstling of the ways of God;

He, his Maker, reached to him his sword.

20 For the mountains bring forth food for him,

And all the beasts of the field play beside him.

21 Under the lote-trees he lieth down,

In covert of reeds and marsh.

22 Lote-trees cover him as shade,

The willows of the brook encompass him.

23 Behold, if the stream is strong, he doth not quake;

He remaineth cheerful, if a Jordan breaketh forth upon his mouth.

24 Just catch him while he is looking,

With snares let one pierce his nose!

God's ways is the name given to God's operations as the Creator of the world in Job 40:19 (comp. Job 26:14, where His acts as the Ruler of the world are included); and the firstling of these ways is called the Behmth, not as one of the first in point of time, but one of the hugest creatures, un chef-d'oeuvre de Dieu (Bochart); ראשׁית not as Proverbs 8:22; Numbers 24:20, of the priority of time, but as Amos 6:1, Amos 6:6, of rank. The art. in העשׁו is, without the pronominal suff. being meant as an accusative (Ew. 290, d), equal to a demonstrative pronoun (comp. Ges. 109, init): this its Creator (but so that "this" does not refer back so much as forwards). It is not meant that He reached His sword to behmoth, but (on which account לו is intentionally wanting) that He brought forth, i.e., created, its (behmoth's) peculiar sword, viz., the gigantic incisors ranged opposite one another, with which it grazes upon the meadow as with a sickle: ἀρούρῃσιν κακὴν ἐπιβάλλεται ἅρπην (Nicander, Theriac. 566), ἅρπη is exactly the sickle-shaped Egyptian sword (harpu equals חרב). Vegetable food (to which its teeth are adapted) is appointed to the behmoth: "for the mountains produce food for him;" it is the herbage of the hills (which is scanty in the lower and more abundant in the upper valley of the Nile) that is intended, after which this uncouth animal climbs (vid., Schlottm.). בּוּל is neither a contraction of יבוּל (Ges.), nor a corruption of it (Ew.), but Hebraeo-Arab. equals baul, produce, from bâla, to beget, comp. aballa, to bear fruit (prop. seed, bulal), root בל, to soak, wet, mix.

(Note: Whether בּליל, Job 6:5; Job 24:6, signifies mixed provender (farrago), or perhaps ripe fruit, i.e., grain, so that jabol, Judges 19:21, in the signification "he gave dry provender consisting of barley-grain," would be the opposite of the jahushsh (יחשׁ) of the present day, "he gives green provender consisting of green grass or green barley, hashı̂sh," as Wetzst. supposes, vid., on Isaiah 30:24.)


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