New American Standard Bible
"Behold now, Behemoth, which I made as well as you; He eats grass like an ox.
King James Bible
Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.
Darby Bible Translation
See now the behemoth, which I made with thee: he eateth grass as an ox.
World English Bible
"See now, behemoth, which I made as well as you. He eats grass as an ox.
Young's Literal Translation
Lo, I pray thee, Behemoth, that I made with thee: Grass as an ox he eateth.
Job 40:15 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Behold now behemoth - Margin, "or, the elephant, as some think." In the close of the argument, God appeals to two animals as among the chief of his works, and as illustrating more than any others his power and majesty - the behemoth and the leviathan. A great variety of opinions has been entertained in regard to the animal referred to here, though the "main" inquiry has related to the question whether the "elephant" or the "hippopotamus" is denoted. Since the time of Bochart, who has gone into an extended examination of the subject ("Hieroz." P. ii. L. ii. c. xv.), the common opinion has been that the latter is here referred to. As a "specimen" of the method of interpreting the Bible which has prevailed, and as a proof of the slow progress which has been made toward settling the meaning of a difficult passage, we may refer to some of the opinions which have been entertained in regard to this animal. They are chiefly taken from the collection of opinions made by Schultens, in loc. Among them are the following:
(1) That wild animals in general are denoted. This appears to have been the opinion of the translators of the Septuagint.
(2) Some of the rabbis supposed that a huge monster was referred to, that ate every day "the grass of a thousand mountains."
(3) It has been held by some that the wild bull was referred to. This was the opinion particularly of Sanctius.
(4) The common opinion, until the time of Bochart, has been that the elephant was meant. See the particular authors who have held this opinion enumerated in Schultens.
(5) Bochart maintained, and since his time the opinion has been generally acquiesced in, that the "riverhorse" of the Nile, or the hippopotamus, was referred to. This opinion he has defended at length in the "Hieroz." P. ii. L. v. c. xv.
(6) Others have held that some "hieroglyphic monster" was referred to, or that the whole description was an emblematic representation, though without any living original. Among those who have held this sentiment, some have supposed that it is designed to be emblematic of the old Serpent; others, of the corrupt and fallen nature of man; others, that the proud, the cruel, and the bloody are denoted; most of the "fathers" supposed that the devil was here emblematically represented by the behemoth and the leviathan; and one writer has maintained that Christ was referred to!
To these opinions may be added the supposition of Dr. Good, that the behemoth here described is at present a genus altogether extinct, like the mammoth, and other animals that have been discovered in fossil remains. This opinion is also entertained by the author of the article on "Mazology," in the Edinburgh Encyclopaedia, chiefly for the reason that the description of the "tail" of the behemoth Job 40:17 does not well accord with the hippopotamus. There must be admitted to be some plausibility in this conjecture of Dr. Good, though perhaps I shall be able to show that there is no necessity for resorting to this supposition. The word "behemoth" (בהמות behêmôth), used here in the plural number, occurs often in the singular number, to denote a dumb beast, usually applied to the larger kind of quadrupeds. It occurs very often in the Scriptures, and is usually translated "beast," or collectively "cattle."
It usually denotes land animals, in opposition to birds or reptiles. See the Lexicons, and Taylor's "Hebrew Concordance." It is rendered by Dr. Nordheimer (Heb. Con.) in this place, "hippopotamus." The plural form is often used (compare Deuteronomy 32:24; Job 12:7; Jeremiah 12:4; Habakkuk 2:17; Psalm 50:10), but in no other instance is it employed as a proper name. Gesenius supposes that under the form of the word used here, there lies concealed some Egyptian name for the hippopotamus, "so modified as to put on the appearance of a Semitic word. Thus, the Ethiopian "pehemout" denotes "water-ox," by which epithet ("bomarino") the Italians also designate the hippopotamus." The translations do not afford much aid in determining the meaning of the word. The Septuagint renders it, θηρία thēria, "wild beasts;" Jerome retains the word, "Behemoth;" the Chaldee, בעיריא, "beast;" the Syriac retains the Hebrew word; Coverdale renders it, "cruelbeast;" Prof. Lee, "the beasts;" Umbreit, "Nilpferd," "Nile-horse;" and Noyes, "river-horse." The only method of ascertaining, therefore, what animal is here intended, is to compare carefully the characteristics here referred to with the animals now known, and to find in what one these characteristics exist. We may here safely "presume" on the entire accuracy of the description, since we have found the previous descriptions of animals to accord entirely with the habits of those existing at the present day. The illustration drawn from the passage before us, in regard to the nature of the animal, consists of two parts:
(1) The "place" which the description occupies in the argument. That it is an "aquatic" animal, seems to follow from the plan and structure of the argument. In the two discourses of yahweh Job 38-41, the appeal is made, first, to the phenomena of nature Job 38; then to the beasts of the earth, among whom the "ostrich" is reckoned Job 39:1-25; then to the fowls of the air Job 39:26-30; and then follows the description of the behemoth and the leviathan. It would seem that an argument of this kind would not be constructed without some allusion to the principal wonders of the deep; and the fair presumption, therefore, is, that the reference here is to the principal animals of the aquatic race. The argument in regard to the nature of the animal from the "place" which the description occupies, seems to be confirmed by the fact that the account of the behemoth is immediately followed by that of the leviathan - beyond all question an aquatic monster. As they are here grouped together in the argument, it is probable that they belong to the same class; and if by the leviathan is meant the "crocodile," then the presumption is that the river-horse, or the hippopotamus, is here intended. These two animals, as being Egyptian wonders, are everywhere mentioned together by ancient writers; see Herodotus, ii.-69-71; Diod. Sic. i. 35; and Pliny, "Hist. Nat." xxviii. 8.
(2) The character of the animal may be determined from the "particular things" specified. Those are the following:
(a) It is an amphibious animal, or an animal whose usual resort is the river, though he is occasionally on land. This is evident, because he is mentioned as lying under the covert of the reed and the fens; as abiding in marshy places, or among the willows of the brook, Job 40:21-22, while at other times he is on the mountains, or among other animals, and feeds on grass like the ox, Job 40:15, Job 40:20. This account would not agree well with the elephant, whose residence is not among marshes and fens, but on solid ground.
(b) He is not a carnivorous animal. This is apparent, for it is expressly mentioned that he feeds on grass, and no allusion is made to his at any time eating flesh, Job 40:15, Job 40:20. This part of the description would agree with the elephant as well as with the hippopotamus.
(c) His strength is in his loins, and in the navel of his belly, Job 40:16. This would agree with the hippopotamus, whose belly is equally guarded by his thick skin with the rest of his body, but is not true of the elephant. The strength of the elephant is in his head and neck, and his weakest part, the part where he can be most successfully attacked, is his belly. There the skin is thin and tender, and it is there that the rhinoceros attacks him, and that he is even annoyed by insects. Pliny, Lib. viii. c. 20; Aelian, Lib. xvii. c. 44; compare the notes at Job 40:16.
LibraryWhether at the Coming Judgment the Angels Will be Judged?
Objection 1: It would seem that the angels will be judged at the coming judgment. For it is written (1 Cor. 6:3): "Know you not that we shall judge angels?" But this cannot refer to the state of the present time. Therefore it should refer to the judgment to come. Objection 2: Further, it is written concerning Behemoth or Leviathan, whereby the devil is signified (Job 40:28): "In the sight of all he shall be cast down"; and (Mk. 1:24)* the demon cried out to Christ: "Why art Thou come to destroy us …
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica
Letter xx. Self-Examination.
Book vii. On the Useful or the Ordinary
"But we are all as an Unclean Thing, and all Our Righteousnesses are as Filthy Rags,"
"Then I will also confess to you, That your own right hand can save you.
"Behold now, his strength in his loins And his power in the muscles of his belly.
"He is the first of the ways of God; Let his maker bring near his sword.
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