Job 41:26
The sword of him that lays at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) The sword of him that layeth at him.—Literally, As to one approaching him (to slay him), his sword cannot stand; it will snap in his hand.

Job 41:26. The sword of him that layeth at him — That approacheth to him, and dares to strike at him; cannot hold — Hebrew, בלי תקום, beli takum, cannot stand. Either, 1st, Cannot endure the stroke, but will be broken by it; or, 2d, Cannot take hold of him, or abide fixed in him; but is instantly beaten back by the excessive hardness of his skin, which cannot be pierced by it. This also seems much better to agree to the crocodile, whose skin no sword, nor dart, nor (as some add) musket-ball can pierce, than to the whale, whose skin is easily pierced, as experience shows, except the whales here spoken of were of another kind than those we are acquainted with. Nor the habergeon — Hebrew, שׁריה, shirjah, which the margin of our Bible renders, breast-plate, and Ab. Ezra, a coat of mail, as the word means 1 Samuel 17:38. But Heath and Houbigant translate it here, the pike; and it evidently means some missile weapon.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.The sword of him that layeth at him - The word "sword" here (חרב chereb) means undoubtedly "harpoon," or a sharp instrument by which an attempt is made to pierce the skin of the monster.

Cannot hold - That is, in the hard skin. It does not penetrate it.

The spear, the dart - These were doubtless often used in the attempt to take the animal. The meaning is, that "they" would not hold or stick to the animal. They flew off when hurled at him.

Nor the habergeon - Margin, "breastplate." Noyes, "javelin." Prof. Lee, "lance." Vulgate, "thorax, breastplate." So the Septuagint, θώρακα thōraka. The word used here (שׁריה shiryâh), the same as שׁריון shiryôn 1 Samuel 17:5, 1 Samuel 17:38; Nehemiah 4:16; 2 Chronicles 26:14, means properly a "coat of mail," and is so called from its shining - from שׁרה shârâh, "to shine." It is not used in the sense of spear or javelin elsewhere, though perhaps it may have that meaning here - denoting a "bright" or "shining" weapon. This agrees best with the connection.

26. cannot hold—on his hard skin.

habergeon—coat of mail; avail must be taken by zeugma out of "hold," as the verb in the second clause: "hold" cannot apply to the "coat of mail."

That layeth at him; that approacheth to him, and dare strike at him.

Cannot hold, Heb. cannot stand, i.e. either,

1. Cannot endure the stroke, but will be broken by it. Or rather,

2. Cannot abide or take hold of him, or be fixed in him; but is instantly beaten back by the excessive hardness of the skin, which cannot be pierced by it, as may be gathered from this and other passages before and after it. This also seems better to agree to the crocodile, whose skin no sword, nor dart, nor musket bullet (as others add) can pierce, than to the whale, whose skin is easily pierced, as experience showeth in our whales; except the whale here spoken of were of another kind, which is not impossible.

Nor the habergeon; or, breastplate. As offensive weapons cannot hurt him, so defensive weapons cannot secure a man from him. But men that go upon the design of taking either whales or crocodiles do not use to fortify themselves in that manner. Some therefore take this to be another offensive weapon, a kind of dart, as this word signifies in the Arabic language; which is but a dialect of the Hebrew, and from which the true signification of many Hebrew words must be gathered. The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold,.... It is either broken by striking at him, or however cannot pierce him and stick in him; but since a sword is not used in fishery, rather the harpagon or harpoon may be meant, which cannot enter into the crocodile, being so fenced with scales; but the whale being struck with it, it enters deep into his flesh, and is wounded by it; wherefore this and what follows in the next verses seems best to agree with the crocodile, or some other fish;

the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon; that is, neither of these can fasten upon him or enter into him: and yet it is certain that the whale, after he has been struck and wounded by the harping-iron, men approach nearer to him and thrust a long steeled lance or spear under his gills into his breast, and through the intestines, which dispatches him: darts are not made use of in the whale fishery; and as for crocodiles, as Peter Martyr says (c), they are not to be pierced with darts: the habergeon, or coat of mail, being a defensive piece of armour, seems not to be designed, as being never used in taking such creatures; rather therefore a javelin or hand dart may be intended; since, as Bochart observes, in the Arabic language such an one is expressed by this word.

(c) Apud Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 5. c. 17. col. 785.

The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
26. that layeth at him] That is, that striketh at him; lit. he that layeth at him with the sword,—it doth not hold. The sword does not hold, or bite, but glances off his adamantine armour.

the habergeon] That is, the mail. “And be ye apparelled or clothed, saith Paul, with the habergeon, or coat armour of justice,” Latimer, Serm. p. 29 (Wright, Bible Word-Book).

26–29. He can be subdued by no weapon.Verse 26. - The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold. It either makes no impression or it snaps in his hand. Equally vain are the spear, the dart, and the javelin. Habergeon is a mistranslation. 18 His sneezing sendeth forth light,

And his eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn;

19 Out of his mouth proceed flames,

Sparks of fire escape from him;

20 Out of his nostrils goeth forth smoke

Like a seething pot and caldron;

21 His breath kindleth coals,

And flames go forth out of his mouth.

That the crocodile delights to sun itself on the land, and then turns its open jaws to the sunny side, most Nile travellers since Herodotus have had an opportunity of observing;

(Note: Dieterici, Reisebilder, i.:194: "We very often saw the animal lying in the sand, its jaws wide open and turned towards the warm sunbeams, while little birds, like the slender white water-wagtail, march quietly about in the deadly abyss, and pick out worms from the watery jaws." Herodotus, ii. 68, tells exactly the same story; as the special friend of the crocodile among little birds, he mentions τὸν τροχῖλον (the sand-piper, Pluvianus Aegyptius).)

and in connection therewith the reflex action of sneezing may occur, since the light of the sun produces an irritation on the retina, and thence on the vagus; and since the sun shines upon the fine particles of watery slime cast forth in the act of sneezing, a meteoric appearance may be produced. This delicate observation of nature is here compressed into three words; in this concentration of whole, grand thoughts and pictures, we recognise the older poet. עטשׁ is the usual Semitic word for "sneezing" (Synon. זרר 2 Kings 4:35). תּהל shortened from תּהל, Job 31:26, Hiph. of הלל. The comparison of the crocodile's eyes with עפעפּי־שׁחר (as Job 3:9, from עפעף, to move with quick vibrations, to wink, i.e., tremble), or the rendering of the same as εἶδος ἑωσφόρου (lxx), is the more remarkable, as, according to Horus, i. 68, two crocodile's eyes are the hieroglyph

(Note: The eyes of the crocodile alone by themselves are no hieroglyph: how could they have been represented by themselves as crocodile's eyes? But in the Ramesseum and elsewhere the crocodile appears with a head pointing upwards in company with couching lions, and the eyes of the crocodile are rendered specially prominent. Near this group it appears again in a curved position, and quite small, but this time in company with a scorpion which bears a disc of the sun. The former (κροκοδείλου δύο ὀφθαλμοί) seems to me to be a figure of the longest night, the latter (κροκόδειλος κεκυφώς in Horapollo) of the shortest, so that consequently ἀνατολή and δύσις do not refer to the rising and setting of the sun, but to the night as prevailing against or succumbing to the day (communicated by Lauth from his researches on the astronomical monuments). But since the growth of the day begins with the longest night, and vice vers, the notions ἀνατολή and δύσις can, as it seems to me, retain their most natural signification; and the crocodile's eyes are, notwithstanding, a figure of the light shining forth from the darkness, as the crocodile's tail signifies black darkness (and Egypt as the black land).)

for dawn, ἀνατολή: ἐπειδ́περ (probably to be read ἐπειδὴ πρὸ) παντὸς σώματος ζώου οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ἐκ τοῦ βυθοῦ ἀναφαίνονται. There it is the peculiar brilliancy of the eyes of certain animals that is intended, which is occasioned either by the iris being furnished with a so-called lustrous substance, or there being in the pupil of the eye (as e.g., in the ostrich) that spot which, shining like metal, is called tapetum lucidum. For ἀναφαίνεσθαι of the eyes ἐκ τοῦ βυθοῦ, is the lustre of the pupil in the depth of the eye. The eyes of the crocodile, which are near together, and slanting, glimmer through the water, when it is only a few feet under water, with a red glow.

Nevertheless the comparison in Job 41:18 might also be intended differently. The inner (third) eyelid

continued...

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