Job 41:25
When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves.
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(25) By reason of breakingsi.e., the waves he makes in the water, or the breakings he makes among the plants and trees in the water.

They purify themselvesi.e., they are beside themselves; they are so overwhelmed with terror, that they take themselves off, as those who have to dwell apart for uncleanness.

Job 41:25. When he raiseth up himself — Showing himself upon the top of the waters; the mighty are afraid — Even the stout-hearted, who used to be above fear. By reason of breakings — By reason of their great danger and distress; which is expressed by this very word, Psalm 60:2; Jonah 1:4. They purify themselves — Those who ordinarily live in the neglect of God; they cry unto God in their trouble, and endeavour to purge their consciences from the guilt of their sins. Houbigant translates this verse, When he raiseth up himself, the mighty flee; the princes quit their purposed journey. But Heath interprets the last clause thus: for very terror they fall to the ground; and he observes, very properly, that the word

שׁבר, sheber, here used, strongly expresses the idea of terror; our English word shiver is thought to have been derived from it. Henry, who understands this, and all the other parts of this description, of the whale, thus paraphrases this verse: “When he raiseth up himself, like a moving mountain in the great waters, even the mighty are afraid, lest he overturn their ships, or do them some other mischief: by reason of the breakings he makes in the water, which threaten death, they purify themselves, confess their sins, betake themselves to their prayers, and get ready for death.” Dr. Young, who understands it of the crocodile, to which it is manifestly more applicable, interprets it thus:

“When late awaked, he rears him from the floods,

And stretching forth his stature to the clouds,

Writhes in the sun aloft his scaly height,

And strikes the distant hills with transient light;

Far round are fatal damps of terror spread,

The mighty fear, nor blush to own their dread.”

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.When he raiseth up himself - When he rouses himself for an attack or in self-defense.

The mighty are afraid - The Vulgate renders this "anqels." The meaning is, that he produces alarm on those who are unaccustomed to fear.

By reason of breakings they purify themselves - This, though a literal translation, conveys no very clear idea, and this rendering is not necessary. The word rendered "breakings" (שׁבר sheber) means properly "a breaking, breach, puncture"; "a breaking down, destruction"; and then it may mean "a breaking down of the mind, that is, terror." This is evidently the meaning here. "By reason of the prostration of their courage, or the crushing of the mind by alarm." The word rendered "purify themselves" (חטא châṭâ') means in the Qal, "to miss," as a mark; "to sin; to err." In the form of Hithpael, which occurs here, it means to miss one's way; "to lose oneself;" and it may refer to the astonishment and terror by which one is led to miss his way in precipitate flight. "Gesenius." The meaning then is, "They lose themselves from terror." They know not where to turn themselves; they flee away with alarm; see Rosenmuller in loc.

25. he—the crocodile; a type of the awe which the Creator inspires when He rises in wrath.

breakings—namely, of the mind, that is, terror.

purify themselves—rather, "they wander from the way," that is, flee away bewildered [Maurer and Umbreit].

When he raiseth up himself; showing himself upon the top of the waters. Or, because of his height, or greatness, or majesty; for he is represented as a king, Job 41:31. The mighty; even the stout-hearted mariners or passengers, who use to be above fear.

By reason of breakings; either,

1. Of the sea, caused by his motion, which dasheth the waves in pieces one against another. Or rather,

2. Of their mind and state; by reason of their great danger and distress; which is expressed by this very word, Psalm 60:2 Jonah 2:4.

They purify themselves; either,

1. Naturally; that being, the usual effect of great terror. See Ezekiel 7:17. Or rather,

2. Morally, as this word is generally used. Those mariners who ordinarily live in a gross and general neglect of God, and of religion, are so affrighted with this imminent danger, that they cry unto God in their trouble, as is said in like case, Psalm 107:28, and endeavour to purge their consciences from the guilt of their sins, by confessing and seemingly forsaking of them, and to make their peace with God, and obtain his favour and help, by their vows, and promises, and prayers.

When he raiseth up himself,.... Not out of the waters, but above the surface of them, so as that his large bulk, his terrible jaws and teeth, are seem;

the mighty are afraid; not only fishes and other animals, but men, and these the most stouthearted and courageous, as mariners and masters of vessels;

by reason of breakings they purify themselves: either because of the breaches of the sea made through the lifting up of this creature, threatening the overturning of vessels; or of the breaches of men's hearts through fear, they are thrown into a vomiting, and purging both by stool and urine, which are often the effects of fear, so Ben Gersom; or they acknowledge themselves sinners, or expiate themselves, endeavouring to do it by making confession of sin, declaring repentance for it, praying for forgiveness of it, and promising amendment; which is frequently the case of seafaring men in distress; see Jonah 1:4.

When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves.
25. With his “firmness” of heart there naturally goes a corresponding courage and fierceness.

by reason of breakings] Rather, by reason of terrors they are beside themselves; lit. they lose themselves. The Geneva has: for fear they faint in themselves. The expression “lose themselves” seems more naturally said of mental confusion from terror, than of literally losing their way in their attempts to escape (Gesen.).

Verse 25. - When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid. Egyptian historians said that one of their early kings had been slain by a crocodile (Manetho ap. Euseb., 'Chronicles Can.,' pars 1:20, p. 98). The worship paid to crocodiles in some parts of Egypt, and the hatred felt towards them in others, were probably alike inspired by fear. AElian says that, in the districts where crocodiles were worshipped, it was not safe for any one to wash his feet or to draw water at the river, and that in the vicinity of some towns people did not dare to walk along the bank of the stream ('Nat. An.,' 10:24). In modern times they have been known to precipitate men from the bank into the water by a sweep of their tail, and then to devour them at their leisure. By reason of breakings they purify themselves; rather, they are confounded. The "breakings" may by either the breakings forth of the animal from his lair among the Nile rushes, or his "breaking" of the weapons of his assailants. Job 41:2522 Great strength resteth upon his neck,

And despair danceth hence before him.

23 The flanks of his flesh are thickly set,

Fitting tightly to him, immoveable.

24 His heart is firm like stone,

And firm like the nether millstone.

25 The mighty are afraid of his rising up;

From alarm they miss their aim.

Overpowering strength lodges on its neck, i.e., has its abiding place there, and before it despair, prop. melting away, dissolution (דּאבה from דּאב, Arab. ḏ'b equals דּוּב Hiph., Arab. ḍ'b II, to bring into a loose condition, synon. חמס), dances hence, i.e., spring up and away (ידוּץ, Arab. jadisu, to run away), i.e., it spreads before it a despondency which produces terror, and deprives of strength. Even the pendulous fleshy parts (מפּלי), especially of its belly, hang close together, דבקוּ, i.e., they are not flabby, but fit to it, like a metal casting, without moving, for the skin is very thick and covered with thick scales; and because the digestive apparatus of the animal occupies but little space, and the scales of the back are continued towards the belly, the tender parts appear smaller, narrower, and closer together than in other animals. יצוּק here is not, as Job 27:2; Job 29:6, the fut. of צוּק, but the part. of יצק, as also Job 41:24: its heart is firm and obdurate, as though it were of cast brass, hard as stone, and in fact as the nether millstone (פלח from פלח, falacha, to split, crush in pieces), which, because it has to bear the weight and friction of the upper, must be particularly hard. It is not intended of actual stone-like hardness, but only of its indomitable spirit and great tenacity of life: the activity of its heart is not so easily disturbed, and even fatal wounds do not so quickly bring it to a stand. משּׂמו from שׂת equals שׂאת equals שׂאת), primary form שׂאתּ, is better understood in the active sense: afraid of its rising, than the passive: of its exaltedness. אילים (according to another reading אלים) is not, with Ew., to be derived from איל (Arab. ı̂jal), a ram; but אילים Exodus 15:15; Ezekiel 17:13 (comp. גּירים 2 Chronicles 2:16, נירי 2 Samuel 22:29), אלים Ezekiel 31:11; Ezekiel 32:21, and אוּלים Cheth. 2 Kings 24:15, are only alternating forms and modes of writing of the participial adject., derived from אוּל (איל) first of all in the primary form awil (as גּר equals gawir). The signif. assigned to the verb אול: to be thick equals fleshy, which is said then to go over into the signif. to be stupid and strong (Ges. Handwrterb.), rests upon a misconception: âla is said of fluids "to become thick," because they are condensed, since they go back, i.e., sink in or settle (Ges. correctly in Thes.: notio crassitiei a retrocendendo). The verb âla, ja'ûlu, unites in itself the significations to go backward, to be forward, and to rule; the last two: anteriorem and superiorem esse, probably belong together, and אל signifies, therefore, a possessor of power, who is before and over others. התחטּא, Job 41:25, has the signif., which does not otherwise occur, to miss the mark (from חטא, Arab. chaṭiya, to miss, opp. Arab. ṣâb, to hit the mark), viz., (which is most natural where אילים is the subject spoken of) since they had designed the slaughter and capture of the monster. שׁברים is intended subjectively, as תּבירא equals פּחד Exodus 15:16, Targ. II, and also as the Arab. thubûr, employed more in reference to the mind, can be used of pain.

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