William Kelly Major Works Commentary
Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,Job Chapter 40
And at this point Jehovah appeals to Job again (Job 40). "Moreover, Jehovah answered Job and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it." Then Job does answer. "And Job answered Jehovah and said, Behold I am vile, what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth." Jehovah repeats what He said before, "Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?" That is what Job had done. "Hast thou an arm like God?" Who are you to talk to God about Him as you have done? "Or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?" Well, now, "Deck thyself" with the excellency of God if you can. There was Job - a poor woebegone man with all his flesh corrupt, and the very worms feeding upon him before he had died - in the greatest possible misery of his body. "Deck thyself with majesty and glory." "Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath; and behold every one that is proud, and abase him." Why do you not put down all the bad people in the world? "Look on every one that is proud, bring him low" (vers. 1 - 14). But he was entirely dependent upon God.
That is the reverse of the picture. God now takes up in the latter part of His discourse but two animals, and of an amphibious nature. They were neither among the beasts of the earth proper, nor were they birds of heaven. They were a mixture of animals that could enter upon the land, and could also betake themselves to the waters. And these are described under the name, first, of "behemoth," and secondly, of "leviathan."
"Behemoth" means what is called the hippopotamus. It ought not to be called a river- horse, at all, which is what "hippopotamus" means, It is a river-ox. It is like an ox rather than a horse; of course, with its own peculiarities; and they are very peculiar. But still it is very much more after the appearance and habits of an ox than it is of a horse. And these two creatures were well known, particularly on the Nile. Both of them were familiar in the waters of the Nile; and in Arabia in the desert, to which these speakers all belonged more or less - the edge of it or beginning of that which abutted on the desert - they were familiar by report, if not by actual visit to Egypt. They were familiar with these animals. They have been very much misunderstood by learned men. They have called them all sorts of strange things. For instance, many will have it that "behemoth" means an elephant, but when you read the account you will see it is very unlike an elephant, except that it is a big creature and with enormous strength, but beyond that, nothing.
"Behold now behemoth*, which I made with thee" [vers. 15 - 24). When I made you I made him. "He eateth grass as an ox." I have, therefore, good reason for saying that it is a river-ox, and not at all a river-horse. "Lo, now, his strength is in his loins and his force is in the navel of his belly." I rather think that the expression in the 19th verse means, not that he makes the sword to approach unto him to kill him, but that He that made him made him a sword - made him a scythe; it is a scythe rather than a sword, and that is pretty much what the tusk of a hippopotamus is. It has great power in cleavings of all kinds, and in cutting. "Surely the mountains bring him forth food" - he can go to the mountain if he likes, in the neighbourhood of it - "where all the beasts of the field play. He lieth under the shady trees" - that is where he loves to be - "in the covert of the reed, and fens."
* Behemoth. "Behemoth is as competent men believe, an Egyptian designation (p-cho-mo, literally, water-ox) of the hippopotamus in Shemitic form"
Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.
Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.
Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?
Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?
Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty.
Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him.
Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place.
Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret.
Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.
Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.
Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.
He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.
He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.
Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.
He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.
The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.
Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.
He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.