Job 41:27
He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 41:27-28. He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood — He neither fears, nor feels, the blows of the one more than of the other. The arrow cannot make him flee — Hebrew, the son of the bow, as it is elsewhere called, the son of the quiver, Lamentations 3:13; the quiver being, as it were, the mother, or womb, that bears it, and the bow as the father that begets it, or sendeth it forth. Sling-stones — Great stones cast out of slings, which have a great force and efficacy, 2 Chronicles 26:14; are turned with him into stubble — Hurt him no more than a blow with a little stubble. Heath renders this clause, He throweth about sling-stones like stubble; and Houbigant, Sling-stones are no more to him than stubble. An extraordinary instance of the strength of a crocodile is related by Maillet. “I saw one,” says he, “twelve feet long, which had not eaten any thing for thirty-five days, having had its mouth tied close during that interval, which, from a single blow from its tail, overturned five or six men together, with a bale of coffee, as easily as I could overturn six men at a game of draughts.” What force then must one of twenty feet long have in its full strength, and not weakened by such a fast? Thevenot also speaks of one that he had stripped of his skin, and says, that “it was so strong, though but eight feet in length, that after they had turned him upon his back, and four persons stood upon him with both their feet, while they were cutting open his belly, he moved himself with so much force as to throw them off with violence.” See Maillet’s Description of Egypt, page 33, and Thevenot, part 2. page 72.

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.He esteemeth iron as straw - He regards instruments made of iron and brass as if they were straw or rotten wood. That is, they make no impression on him. This will agree better with the crocodile than any other animal. So hard is his skin, that a musket-ball will not penetrate it; see numerous quotations proving the hardness of the skin of the crooodile, in Bochart. 27. iron … brass—namely, weapons. He neither fears nor feels the blows of the one more than of the other.

He esteemeth iron as straw,.... You may as well cast a straw at him as a bar of iron; it will make no impression on his steeled back, which is as a coat of mail to him; so Eustathius affirms (d) that the sharpest iron is rebounded and blunted by him;

and brass as rotten wood; or steel, any instrument made of it, though ever so strong or piercing.

(d) Apud ibid. (Bochard. Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 5. c. 17. col. 785.)

He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 27. - He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass (rather, bronze) as rotten wood. Even the hardest metals are useless against the crocodile. Moderns observe that even firearms are of little avail against him. The back and tail, at any rate, resist musket-balls (Bochart); and a rifle-bullet will glance aside if it strikes one of the scales (Tristram); see ver. 15. Job 41:2726 If one reacheth him with the sword-it doth not hold;

Neither spear, nor dart, nor harpoon.

27 He esteemeth iron as straw,

Brass as rotten wood.

28 The son of the bow doth not cause him to flee,

Sling stones are turned to stubble with him.

29 Clubs are counted as stubble,

And he laugheth at the shaking of the spear.

משּׂיגהוּ, which stands first as nom. abs., "one reaching him," is equivalent to, if one or whoever reaches him, Ew. 357, c, to which בּלי תקוּם, it does not hold fast (בּלי with v. fin., as Hosea 8:7; Hosea 9:16, Chethb), is the conclusion. חרב is instrumental, as Psalm 17:13. מסּע, from נסע, Arab. nz‛, to move on, hasten on, signifies a missile, as Arab. minz‛a, an arrow, manz‛a, a sling. The Targ. supports this latter signification here (funda quae projicit lapidem); but since קלא, the handling, is mentioned separately, the word appears to men missiles in general, or the catapult. In this combination of weapons of attack it is very questionable whether שׁריה is a cognate form of שׁריון (שׁרין), a coat of mail; probably it is equivalent to Arab. sirwe (surwe), an arrow with a long broad edge (comp. serı̂je, a short, round, as it seems, pear-shaped arrow-head), therefore either a harpoon or a peculiarly formed dart.

(Note: On the various kinds of Egyptian arrows, vid., Klemm. Culturgeschichte, v. 371f.)

"The son of the bow" (and of the אשׁפּה, pharetra) is the arrow. That the ἁπ. γεγρ. תותח signifies a club (war-club), is supported by the Arab. watacha, to beat. כּידון, in distinction from חנית (a long lance), is a short spear, or rather, since רעשׁ implies a whistling motion, a javelin. Iron the crocodile esteems as תּבן, tibn, chopped straw; sling stones are turned with him into קשׁ. Such is the name here at least, not for stumps of cut stubble that remain standing, but the straw itself, threshed and easily driven before the wind (Job 13:25), which is cut up for provender (Exodus 5:12), generally dried (and for that reason light) stalks (e.g., of grass), or even any remains of plants (e.g., splinters of wood).

(Note: The Egyptio-Arabic usage has here more faithfully preserved the ancient signification of the word (vid., Fleischer, Glossae, p. 37) than the Syro-Arabic; for in Syria cut but still unthreshed corn, whether lying in swaths out in the field and weighted with stones to protect it against the whirlwinds that are frequent about noon, or corn already brought to the threshing-floors but not yet threshed, is called qashsh. - Wetzst.)

The plur. נחשׁבוּ, Job 41:29, does not seem to be occasioned by תותח being conceived collectively, but by the fact that, instead of saying תותח וכידון, the poet has formed וכידון into a separate clause. Parchon's (and Kimchi's) reading תוחח is founded upon an error.

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