Job 41:15
His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 41:15-17. His scales are his pride — He prides and pleases himself in his strong and mighty scales. Hebrew, אפיקי מגנים, aphikee maginnim, robusta scutorum, the strength, or strong things, of his shields are his pride. Or, his body, or his back, (as גאוה, gaavah, is rendered by many ancient and modern interpreters,) is the strength of shields, that is, fortified with scales strong as shields. Heath translates it, Strong scales cover his back. This is remarkably the case with the crocodile, whose strength is in his back, which is covered with impenetrable scales, whereas his belly is very soft, and easily pierced. If it be interpreted as meant of the whale, we must understand by these shields the several coats of his skin, which, though it be smooth and entire, and without scales, may nevertheless be said to be as strong as shields, (shields being formerly made of leather,) because it is exceeding hard and strong, and almost impenetrable, and that not only on his back, as in the crocodile, but also in the belly all over. “The outward, or scarf-skin of the whale,” indeed, “is no thicker than parchment; but this being removed, the real skin appears, of about an inch thick, and covering the fat, or blubber, that lies beneath, which is from eight to twelve inches in thickness. The muscles lie beneath this, and, like the flesh of quadrupeds, are very red and tough.” — Ency. Brit. But as the skin of the whale is all one entire piece, and does not consist of different parts joined together, the following clause, and the contents of the next two verses, do not seem to be properly applicable to it. Shut up together as with a close seal — That is, the shields, or scales, are closely compacted together, as things that are fastened by a seal. One is so near another, &c. — This plainly shows that the scales, or shields, are several, which certainly agrees better to the crocodile than to the whale, unless there be a sort of whales which have scales, as some have affirmed, but it is not yet known or proved. By these shields, or scales, the animal is not only kept warm, for no air can come between them, but kept safe, for no sword can pierce through those scales. They stick together that they cannot be sundered — It is exceeding difficult, and almost impossible, by any power or art, to sever them one from another.41:1-34 Concerning Leviathan. - The description of the Leviathan, is yet further to convince Job of his own weakness, and of God's almighty power. Whether this Leviathan be a whale or a crocodile, is disputed. The Lord, having showed Job how unable he was to deal with the Leviathan, sets forth his own power in that mighty creature. If such language describes the terrible force of Leviathan, what words can express the power of God's wrath? Under a humbling sense of our own vileness, let us revere the Divine Majesty; take and fill our allotted place, cease from our own wisdom, and give all glory to our gracious God and Saviour. Remembering from whom every good gift cometh, and for what end it was given, let us walk humbly with the Lord.His scales are his pride - Margin, "strong pieces of shields." The literal translation of this would be, "Pride, the strong of shields;" that is, the strong shields. There can be no doubt that there is reference to the scales of the animal, as having a resemblance to strong shields laid close to each other. But there is considerable variety of opinion as to its meaning. Umbreit and Prof. Lee take the word here rendered "pride" (גאוה gê'voh) to be the same as (גוה gêvâh), "back," and then the meaning would be that his back was armed as with a shield - referring, as Prof. Lee supposes, to the dorsal fin of the whale. But there is no necessity for this supposition, and it cannot be denied that it is somewhat forced. The "connection" requires that we should understand it, not of the dorsal fin, but of the scales; for a description immediately follows in continuation of this, which will by no means apply to the fin. The obvious and proper meaning is, that the pride or glory of the animal - that on which his safety depended, and which was the most remarkable thing about him - was his "scales," which were laid together like firm and compact shields, so that nothing could penetrate them. This description accords better with the crocodile than with any other animal. It is covered with scales, "which are so hard as to resist a musket-ball." "Ed. Ency." The description cannot be applied to a whale, which has no scales; and accordingly Prof. Lee supposes that the reference in this verse and the two following is not to the "scales," but to the "teeth," and to "the setting in of the dorsal fin!"

Shut up together - Made close or compact.

As with a close seal - As if they had been sealed with wax, so that no air could come between them.

15. Rather, his "furrows of shields" (as "tubes," "channels," see on [564]Job 40:18), are, &c., that is, the rows of scales, like shields covering him: he has seventeen such rows.

shut up—firmly closed together. A musket ball cannot penetrate him, save in the eye, throat, and belly.

He prides and pleaseth himself in his strong and mighty scales. Heb. His strong shields (i.e. scales) are his pride. Or, (as other, both ancient and modern, interpreters render it,) his body, (or his back, as this word is used, Isaiah 38:17; which, if meant of the crocodile, is emphatical, because his scales and strength is in his back, whereas his belly is very soft, and easily pierced) is the strength of shields, i.e. fortified with scales strong as shields. This is meant either,

1. Of the whale whose skin, though it be smooth and entire, and without scales, may be said to be as (which particle is oft understood) strong shields, because it is, as Galen reports, exceeding hard and strong, and almost impenetrable, and like a shield, especially then, when shields were made of leather; and so it is not only on the back, as in the crocodile, but also in the belly all over. Or,

2. Of the crocodile, which hath scales properly so called, and those most truly such as are here described, as all authors and eye-witnesses consent.

Shut up together as with a close seal; closely compacted together, as things that are fastened together by a seal. His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal. This is notoriously true of the crocodile, whose back and tail are covered with scales, which are in a measure impenetrable and invincible: which all writers concerning it, and travellers that have seen it, agree in; See Gill on Ezekiel 29:4; but the skin of the whale is smooth; the outward skin is thin, like parchment, and is easily pulled off with the hand; and its under skin, though an inch thick, is never stiff nor tough, but soft (d): though, if Nearchus (e) is to be credited, he reports, that one was seen fifty cubits long, with a scaly skin all over it a cubit thick; and such, it is said, were by a storm brought into our river Trent some years ago, and cast ashore, which had scales upon their backs very hard, as large and thick as one of our shillings (f). But Aben Ezra interprets this of the teeth of the leviathan, and in which he is followed by Hasaeus; which are strong like a shield, as the words used signify; so Mr. Broughton,

"the strong shields have pride:''

but then this is as applicable, or more so, to the scales of the crocodile; which are so close as if they were sealed together, and are like a shield, its defence, and in which it prides itself.

(d) Voyage to Spitzbergen, p. 146, 147, 152. (e) Apud Arrian. in Indicis. (f) Vid. Wesley's Dissertations on Job, dissert. 38. p. 290.

His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. his scales are his pride] Rather, the rows of his shields are a pride. Each of his scales is a shield, and they are disposed in rows, or courses, lit. pipes (ch. Job 40:18), so called from their being curved or bossed. Of these rows there are said to be seventeen. The second clause describes the firmness and closeness with which each scale adheres to the body.

15–17. His armour of scales.Verse 15. - His scales are his pride; or, his pride is in the channeling of his scales (literally, of his shields). The scales of the crocodile are arranged in five rows along his entire back, with a depression between the rows which is like a "channel." Each individual scale resembles a shield. They are shut up together as with a close seal; each, i.e. closely attached to its fellow,so that there is no space between them. "A rifle-ball," according to Canon Tristram, "glances off from them as from a rock" ('Natural History of the Bible,' p. 352). 6 Do fishermen trade with him,

Do they divide him among the Canaanites?

7 Canst thou fill his skin with darts,

And his head with fish-spears?

8 Only lay thy hand upon him

Remember the battle, thou wilt not do it again!

9 Behold, every hope becometh disappointment:

Is not one cast down even at the sight of him?

The fishermen form a guild (Arab. ṣunf, sunf), the associated members of which are called חבּרים (distinct from חברים). On כּרה על, vid., on Job 6:27. "When I came to the towns of the coast," says R. Akiba, b. Rosch ha-Schana, 26b, "they called selling, which we call מכירה, כירה, there," according to which, then, Genesis 50:5 is understood, as by the Syriac; the word is Sanscrito-Semitic, Sanscr. kri, Persic chirı̂den (Jesurun, p. 178). lxx ἐνσιτούνται, according to 2 Kings 6:23, to which, however, עליו is not suitable. כּנענים are Phoenicians; and then, because they were the merchant race of the ancient world, directly traders or merchants. The meaning of the question is, whether one sells the crocodile among them, perhaps halved, or in general divided up. Further, Job 41:7 : whether one can kill it בּשׂכּות, with pointed missiles (Arab. shauke, a thorn, sting, dart), or with fish-spears (צלצל, so called from its whizzing, צלל, ). In Job 41:8 the accentuation is the right indication: only seize upon him - remember the battle, i.e., thou wilt be obliged to remember it, and thou wilt have no wish to repeat it. זכר .ti t is a so-called imperat. consec.: if thou doest it, thou wilt ... , Ges. 130, 2. תּוסף is the pausal form of תּוסף (once ͂, Proverbs 30:6), of which it is the original form.

The suff. of תּוהלתּו refers to the assailant, not objectively to the beast (the hope which he indulges concerning it). נכזבה, Job 41:9, is 3 praet., like נאלמה, Isaiah 53:7 (where also the participial accenting as Milra, occurs in Codd.); Frst's Concord. treats it as part., but the participial form נקטלה, to be assumed in connection with it, along with נקטלה and נקטלת, does not exist. הגם, Job 41:9, is, according to the sense, equivalent to הלא גם, vid., on Job 20:4. מראיו (according to Ges., Ew., and Olsh., sing., with the plural suff., without a plur. meaning, which is natural in connection with the primary form מראי; or what is more probable, from the plur. מראים with a sing. meaning, as פּנים) refers to the crocodile, and יטּל (according to a more accredited reading, יטּל equals יוּטל) to the hunter to whom it is visible.

What is said in Job 41:6 is perfectly true; although the crocodile was held sacred in some parts of Egypt, in Elephantine and Apollonopolis, on the contrary, it was salted and eaten as food. Moreover, that there is a small species of crocodile, with which children can play, does not militate against Job 41:5. Everywhere here it is the creature in its primitive strength and vigour that is spoken of. But if they also knew how to catch it in very early times, by fastening a bait, perhaps a duck, on a barb with a line attached, and drew the animal to land, where they put an end to its life with a lance-thrust in the neck (Uhlemann, Thoth, S. 241): this was angling on the largest scale, as is not meant in Job 41:1. If, on the other hand, in very early times they harpooned the crocodile, this would certainly be more difficult of reconcilement with v. 31, than that mode of catching it by means of a fishing-hook of the greatest calibre with Job 41:1. But harpooning is generally only of use when the animal can be hit between the neck and head, or in the flank; and it is very questionable whether, in the ancient times, when the race was without doubt of an unmanageable size, that has now died out, the crocodile hunt (Job 7:12) was effected with harpoons. On the whole subject we have too little information for distinguishing between the different periods. So far as the questions of Jehovah have reference to man's relation to the two monsters, they concern the men of the present, and are shaped according to the measure of power which they have attained over nature. The strophe which follows shows what Jehovah intends by these questions.

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