Job 41:2
Can you put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn?
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(2) Hook.—Or, cord of rush.

A thorn.—Or, spike or hook.

Job 41:2. Canst thou put a hook — Hebrew, אגמן, agmon, a bulrush, that is, a hook like a bulrush, with its head hanging down, as is expressed Isaiah 58:5; into his nose? — To hang him up by it for sale, or to carry him home for use, after thou hast drawn him out of the sea or river. Or bore his jaw through with a thorn? — Or with an iron hook, or instrument, as sharp as a thorn, wherewith thou usest to carry small fishes. Heath translates the former clause, Canst thou put a bandage about his nose? meaning, by the bandage, a rope of rushes, which was to tie his mouth fast; as the thorn, or iron instrument, was to prevent him from getting the bandage off. “It is usual,” Dr. Dodd says, “to this day, to fasten the jaws of the crocodile when taken.”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.Canst thou put a hook into his nose - Or rather, a "rope," or "cord." The word used here (אגמון 'agmôn) means "a caldron," or "kettle" Job 41:20, also a reed, or bulrush, growing in marshy places, and thus a rope made of reeds, a rush-cord. The idea is, that he could not be led about by a cord, as tame animals may be. Mr. Vansittart, however, supposes that the words here are expressive of ornaments, and that the allusion is to the fact mentioned by Herodotus, that the crocodile was led about by the Egyptians as a divinity, and that in this state it was adorned with rings and various stately trappings. There can be no doubt that such a fact existed, but this does not accord well with the scope of the passage here. The object is to impress the mind of Job with a sense of the strength and untamableness of the animal, not to describe the honors which were paid to it.

Or bore his jaw through with a thorn - Or with a ring. The word here properly means a thorn, or thorn-bush, Job 31:40; Proverbs 26:9; and then also a ring that was put through the nose of an animal, in order to secure it. The instrument was probably made sharp like a thorn or spike, and then bent so as to become a ring; compare Isaiah 37:29. Mr. Bruce, speaking of the manner of fishing in the Nile, says that when a fisherman has caught a fish, he draws it to the shore, and puts a strong iron ring into its jaw. To this ring is fastened a rope by which the fish is attached to the shore, which he then throws again into the water. "Rosenmuller."

2. hook—rather, "a rope of rushes."

thorn—rather, a "ring" or "hook." So wild beasts were led about when caught (Isa 37:29; Eze 29:4); fishes also were secured thus and thrown into the water to keep them alive.

An hook, Heb. a bulrush, i.e. a hook like a bulrush, with its head hanging down, as is expressed, Isaiah 58:5.

Into his nose, to hang him up by it for sale, or to carry him home for use, after thou hast drawn him out of the sea or river, of which he spake in the former verse.

With a thorn; or, with an iron hook or instrument as sharp as a thorn, wherewith thou usest to carry little fishes. Canst thou put an hook into his nose?.... Or a rush, that is, a rope made of rushes; for of such ropes were made, as Pliny (g) affirms;

or bore his jaw through with a thorn? as men do herrings, or such like small fish, for the convenience of carrying them, or hanging them up to dry; the whale is not to be used in such a manner: but the Tentyritae, a people in Egypt, great enemies to crocodiles, had methods of taking thorn in nets, and of binding and bridling them, and carrying them as they pleased (h).

(g) Nat. Hist. l. 19. c. 2.((h) Strabo. Geograph. l. 17. p. 560. Aelian. de Animal. l. 10. c. 21. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 25.

Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or {m} bore his jaw through with a thorn?

(m) Because he fears lest you should take him.

2. a hook] lit. a cord of rush.

a thorn] That is, a spike.

The reference in the first clause may be to the habit of passing a cord through the gills of fish when caught, and letting them down into the water again, to preserve them in freshness.Verse 2. - Canst thou put an hook into his nose? rather, a reed, or a rope of reeds. The exact meaning is doubtful. Or bore his jaw through with a thorn? A hook or ring is meant, rather than a "thorn" - such a "hook" or "ring" as was commonly used for keeping fish captive in the water, or for bringing prisoners of rank into the presence of the monarchs who had captured them (see 2 Kings 19:28; 2 Chronicles 33:11; Amos 4:2; 'Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 1. pp. 304,367). 19 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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