Job 41:31
He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.
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(31) The seai.e., not necessarily the salt water, for the Nile is still called the sea by the Arabs, and so with many other large rivers. Example, the “sea-wall” of the Thames below Gravesend.

Job 41:31-32. He maketh the deep — The deep waters; to boil like a pot — To swell, and foam, and froth, by his strong and vehement motion, as any liquor does when it is boiled in a pot, especially boiling ointment. The sea — Either the great sea, the proper place of the whale, Psalm 104:25, or the great river Nile, which is called a sea, both in Scripture, as Isaiah 11:15, and in other authors, as Euphrates is called the sea of Babylon, Isaiah 21:1; Jeremiah 51:36. Lakes also are most frequently called seas, both in the Old and New Testament; and in such lakes the crocodiles are, as well as in the Nile. He maketh a path to shine after him — Houbigant renders the text, He leaves behind him a shining path; that is, the way in which he moves appears shining and conspicuous, as when a ship sails, and leaves a visible path behind it, which in the night appears to shine. One would think the deep to be hoary — It is so covered with froth and foam that it looks as if it were grown old, and become hoary.

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 maketh the deep to boil like a pot - In his rapid motion through it. The word "deep" (מצולה metsôlâh) may refer to any deep place - either of the sea, of a river, or of mire, Psalm 69:2. It is applied to the depths of the sea, Jonah 2:3; Micah 7:19; but there is nothing in the word that will prevent its application to a large river like the Nile - the usual abode of the crocodile.

He maketh the sea - The word "sea" (ים yâm) is often applied to a large river, like the Nile or the Euphrates; see the notes at Isaiah 19:5.

Like a pot of ointment - When it is mixed, or stirred together. Bochart supposes that there is an allusion here to the smell of musk, which it is said the crocodile has, and by which the waters through which he passes seem to be perfumed. But the allusion seems rather to be merely to the fact that the deep is agitated by him when he passes through it, as if it were stirred from the bottom like a pot of ointment.

31. Whenever he moves.

sea—the Nile (Isa 19:5; Na 3:8).

pot of ointment—the vessel in which it is mixed. Appropriate to the crocodile, which emits a musky smell.

The deep; the deep waters, or the sea, which is called the deep, Psalm 107:24 Jonah 2:3, as it is explained in the next clause.

To boil like a pot; to swell, and foam, and froth by his strong and vehement motion, as any liquor doth when it is boiled in a pot.

The sea; either the great sea, the proper place of the whale, Psalm 104:25; or the great river Nilus, which is called a sea, both in Scripture, as Isaiah 11:15, and in other authors, (of which see my Latin Synopsis,) as Euphrates is called the sea of Babylon, Isaiah 21:1 Jeremiah 51:36; or lakes or pools, which are most frequently called seas, both in the Old and New Testament, as every one knows. And in such lakes the crocodiles are no less than in Nilus, as it is attested by Herodotus, and Strabo, and others.

Like a pot of ointment: this clause seems to be added very emphatically, to intimate that this leviathan causeth not only a vehement commotion, but also a great fragrancy in the sea or waters where it is; which, though it was not observed by the ancients, yet is unanimously affirmed by later authors upon their own knowledge and experience, that it casts a perfume like musk; of which see the names and words of the authors in my Latin Synopsis.

He maketh the deep to boil (k) like a pot,.... Which is all in a from through the violent agitation and motion of the waves, caused by its tossing and tumbling about; which better suits with the whale than the crocodile, whose motion in the water is not so vehement;

he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment; this also seems to make against the crocodile, which is a river fish, and is chiefly in the Nile. Lakes indeed are sometimes called seas, in which crocodiles are found; yea, they are also said to be in the seas, Ezekiel 32:2; and Pliny (l) speaks of them as common to the land, river, and sea; and the Nile is in the Alcoran (m) called the sea, and its ancient name was "Oceames" with the Egyptians, that is, in Greek, "ocean", as Diodorus Siculus (n) affirms; and so it is thought to be the Egyptian sea in Isaiah 11:15. It is observed that they leave a sweet scent behind them; thus Peter Martyr (o), in his account of the voyages of Columbus in the West Indies, says, they sometimes met with crocodiles, which, when they fled or took water, they left a very sweet savour behind them, sweeter than musk or castoreum. But this does not come up to the expression here of making the sea like a pot of ointment; but the sperm of the whale comes much nearer to it, which is of a fat oily nature, and like ointment, and which the whale sometimes throws out in great abundance, so that the sea is covered with it; whole pails full may be taken out of the water; it swims upon the sea like fat; abundance of it is seen in calm weather, so that it makes the sea all foul and slimy (p): and there are a sort of birds called "mallemuck", which fly in great numbers and feed upon it (q). I cannot but remark what the bishop of Bergen observes (r) of the sea serpent, that its excrements float on the water in summertime like fat slime.

(k) "Fervetque----aequor". Virgil. Georgic. l. 1. v. 327. (l) Nat. Hist. l. 32. c. 11. (m) Schultens in Job, xiv. 11. (n) Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 17. (o) Decad. 3. l. 4. (p) Voyage to Spitzbergen, p. 148, 149. (q) Vid. Scheuchzer. ut supra, (vol. 4.) p. 852. & Voyage to Spitzbergen, p. 167. (r) Pantoppidan's History of Norway, part 2. p. 204.

He maketh the deep to {k} boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.

(k) Either he makes the sea to seem like it is boiling by his wallowing, or else he spouts water in such abundance as it would seem that the sea boiled.

31. The commotion he raises in the deep.

The second clause of the verse hardly refers to fermentation in the pot of ointment, but rather to the foaming mixture of ingredients.

Verse 31. - He maketh the deep to boil like a pot. The rush of the crocodile through the water of the stream or pool in which he dwells causes a stir and a commotion which is forcibly compared to the boiling of water in a caldron. He maketh the sea like a pot of ointment. It is generally allowed that by "the sea" here is meant the Nile, as in Isaiah 18:2; Isaiah 19:5; and Nahum 3:8. The swirl of the Nile, as the crocodile makes his rush, is like the heaving of a pot of boiling oil or ointment Job 41:3130 His under parts are the sharpest shards,

He spreadeth a threshing sledge upon the mire.

31 He maketh the deep foam like a caldron,

He maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.

32 He lighteth up the path behind him,

One taketh the water-flood for hoary hair.

33 Upon earth there is not his equal,

That is created without fear.

34 He looketh upon everything high,

He is the king over every proud beast.

Under it, or, תּחתּיו taken like תּחת, Job 41:11, as a virtual subject (vid., Job 28:5): its under parts are the most pointed or sharpest shards, i.e., it is furnished with exceedingly pointed scales. חדּוּד is the intensive form of חד (Arab. hadı̂d, sharpened equals iron, p. 542, note), as חלּוּק, 1 Samuel 17:40, of חלק (smooth),

(Note: In Arabic also this substantival form is intensive, e.g., lebbûn, an exceedingly large kind of tile, dried in the open air, of which farm-yards are built, nearly eight times larger than the common tile, which is called libne (לבנח).)

and the combination חדּוּדי חרשׂ (equal the combination חדודי החרשׂים, comp. Job 30:6) is moreover superlative: in the domain of shards standing prominent as sharp ones, as Arab. chairu ummatin, the best people, prop. bon en fait de peuple (Ew. 313, c. Gramm. Arab. 532). lxx ἡ στρωμνὴ αὐτοῦ ὀβελίσκοι ὀξεῖς, by drawing ירפּד to Job 41:30, and so translating as though it were רפידתו (Arab. rifâde, stratum). The verb רפד (rafada), cogn. רבד, signifies sternere (Job 17:13), and then also culcire; what is predicated cannot be referred to the belly of the crocodile, the scales of which are smooth, but to the tail with its scales, which more or less strongly protrude, are edged round by a shallow cavity, and therefore are easily and sharply separated when pressed; and the meaning is, that when it presses its under side in the morass, it appears as though a threshing-sledge with its iron teeth had been driven across it.

The pictures in Job 41:31 are true to nature; Bartram, who saw two alligators fighting, says that their rapid passage was marked by the surface of the water as it were boiling. With מצוּלה, a whirlpool, abyss, depth (from צוּל equals צלל, to hiss, clash; to whirl, surge), ים alternates; the Nile even in the present day is called bahr (sea) by the Beduins, and also compared, when it overflows its banks, to a sea. The observation that the animal diffuses a strong odour of musk, has perhaps its share in the figure of the pot of ointment (lxx ὥσπερ ἐξάλειπτρον, which Zwingli falsely translates spongia); a double gland in the tail furnishes the Egyptians and Americans their (pseudo) musk. In Job 41:32 the bright white trail that the crocodile leaves behind it on the surface of the water is intended; in Job 41:32 the figure is expressed which underlies the descriptions of the foaming sea with πολιός, canus, in the classic poets. שׂיבה, hoary hair, was to the ancients the most beautiful, most awe-inspiring whiteness. משׁלו, Job 41:33, understood by the Targ., Syr., Arab. version, and most moderns (e.g., Hahn: there is not on earth any mastery over it), according to Zechariah 9:10, is certainly, with lxx, Jer., and Umbr., not to be understood differently from the Arab. mithlahu (its equal); whether it be an inflexion of משׁל, or what is more probable, of משׁל (comp. Job 17:6, where this nomen actionis signifies a proverb equals word of derision, and התמשּׁל, to compare one's self, be equal, Job 30:19). על־עפר is also Hebr.-Arab.; the Arabic uses turbe, formed from turâb (vid., on Job 19:25), of the surface of the earth, and et-tarbâ-u as the name of the earth itself. העשׂוּ (for העשׂוּי, as צפוּ, Job 15:22, Cheth. equals צפוּי, resolved from עשׂוּו, ‛asûw, 1 Samuel 25:18, Cheth.) is the confirmatory predicate of the logical subj. described in Job 41:33 as incomparable; and לבלי־חת (from חת, the a of which becomes i in inflexion), absque terrore (comp. Job 38:4), is virtually a nom. of the predicate: the created one (becomes) a terrorless one (a being that is terrified by nothing). Everything high, as the לבלי־חת, Job 41:33, is more exactly explained, it looketh upon, i.e., remains standing before it, without turning away affrighted; in short, it (the leviathan) is king over all the sons of pride, i.e., every beast of prey that proudly roams about (vid., on Job 28:8).

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