Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Job 41:19-21. Out of his mouth go burning lamps — “This,” says Dr. Young, “is nearer truth than at first view may be imagined. The crocodile, says the naturalists, lying long under water, and being there forced to hold its breath, when it emerges, the breath, long repressed, is hot, and bursts out so violently that it resembles fire and smoke. The horse suppresses not his breath, by any means, so long, neither is he so fierce and animated; yet the most correct of poets venture to use the same metaphor concerning him. By this I would caution against a false opinion of the eastern boldness, (the boldness of their metaphors,) from passages in them ill understood.” We add the doctor’s paraphrase on these verses:
“His bulk is charged with such a furious soul,
That clouds of smoke from his spread nostrils roll,
As from a furnace; and, when roused his ire,
Fate issues from his jaws in streams of fire.”
Smoke, as out of a caldron — Hebrew, אגמן, agmon, sometimes rendered bulrush, and, Job 41:2, put for a hook; but the word likewise signifies a pool, or stagnating water, and is here rendered a caldron, because a caldron sends forth a great smoke, as a pool doth vapours. By a like figure, the great brazen laver, in the temple, was called a sea, on account of the great quantity of water which it contained. His breath kindleth coals — A hyperbolical expression, signifying only extraordinary heat.
And sparks of fire leap out - There is an appearance like sparks of fire. The animal, with an open throat highly inflamed, seems to breathe forth flames. The figure is a common one applied to a war-horse. Thus, Ovid:
"From their full racks the generous steeds retire,
Dropping ambrosial foam and snorting fire."
The same thing is remarked by Achilles Tatius, of the hippopotamus, "With open nostrils, and breathing smoke like fire (πυρώδη καπνόν purōdē kapnon) as from a fountain of fire." And in Eustathius it is said, "They have an open nostril, breathing forth smoke like fire from a furnace " - πυρώδη καπνόν, ὠς ἐκ καμίνου πνέοντα purōdē kapnon, hōs ek kaminou pneonta. See Bochart.that his nostrils are very large, and he breathes forth a fiery smoke like that of a furnace, than to the whale, which rather casts forth streams of water, as was noted before, than flames of fire, there being no such great heat observed in whales, nor, as far as I know, in any other fishes. Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19. burning lamps] Or, burning torches.
19–21. These verses refer probably to the animal’s emergence from the water, when the long-repressed hot breath is blown out along with water from his mouth, and shines in the sun like a fiery stream.Verse 19. - Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. The description now becomes highly poetical, and it would be a mistake to endeavour to substantiate it. The intention is to represent the impression which the animal would make on an impressible but unscientific observer viewing it in its native haunts for the first time. Splashing, snorting, and throwing up spray all around, it would seem to be breathing out steam and smoke, from which the idea of fire is inseparable (see the next verse).
The proportion of his power and the comeliness of his structure.
13 Who could raise the front of his coat of mail?
Into his double teeth-who cometh therein?
14 The doors of his face-who openeth them?
Round about his teeth is terror.
The Ker לו authorized by the Masora assumes an interrogative rendering: as to it, should I be silent about its members (לו at the head of the clause, as Leviticus 7:7-9; Isaiah 9:2), - what perhaps might appear more poetic to many. החרישׁ (once, Job 11:3, to cause to keep silence) here, as usually: to be silent. בּדּיו, as Job 18:13. דּבר signifies the relation of the matter, a matter of fact, as דּברי, facts, Psalm 65:4; Psalm 105:27; Psalm 145:5. חין (compared by Ew. with הין, a measure) signifies grace, χάρις (as synon. חסד), here delicate regularity, and is made easy of pronunciation from חנן, just as the more usual חן; the language has avoided the form חנן, as observed above. לבוּשׁ . clothing, we have translated "coat of mail," which the Arab. libâs usually signifies; פּני לבוּשׁו is not its face's covering (Schlottm.), which ought to be לבוּשׁ פּניו; but פּני is the upper or front side turned to the observer (comp. Isaiah 25:7), as Arab. wjh, (wag'h), si rem desuper spectes, summa ejus pars, si ex adverso, prima (Fleischer, Glossae, i. 57). That which is the "doubled of its mouth" (רסן, prop. a bit in the mouth, then the mouth itself) is its upper and lower jaws armed with powerful teeth. The "doors of the face" are the jaws; the jaws are divided back to the ears, the teeth are not covered by lips; the impression of the teeth is therefore the more terrible, which the substantival clause, Job 41:14 (comp. Job 39:20), affirms. שׁנּיו gen. subjecti: the circle, ἓρκος, which is formed by its teeth (Hahn).
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