Then answered the LORD to Job out of the whirlwind, and said,…
In the previous discourse we have had especially the universal power and wisdom of God impressed upon us; in the present the thought of the justice of his rule is to be more fully brought into the light: in order thus to bring Job to full conviction, and expel the last remains of anger and pride from his heart; while Divine love triumphs in his repentance (Job 42:6).
I. REBUKE OF THE PRESUMPTION WHICH DOUBTS OF THE JUSTICE OF GOD. (Vers. 6-14.) Once again is Job summoned to gird up his loins and prepare for the contest with Divine reason. Let, then, these questions receive an answer from the murmurer's and the doubter's lips. Will man "disannul" or bring to nought the justice of God? For this he seems to aim at who would place his own notions of what is right in the place of the Divine. Or, if man would enter on this competition, has he the means to carry out the strife? has he the arm, the power of God? can he wield the thunder of Omnipotence? Let the experiment be tried. Let man clothe himself with the Divine attributes, at least in fancy; let him put on glory and pride, splendour and pomp. Let his anger break forth in fiery floods, and let him overwhelm all the pinnacles of human pride. Let him as just judge cast the wicked clown; strew them in the dust before his righteous retribution. Let man do these things, and Jehovah will praise him, and there will be no need of self-praise and boasting, because his right hand helps him; because he actually possesses the power to carry out his ideas of justice and make them prevail on the earth (comp. Psalm 45:4; Isaiah 59:18; Isaiah 63:5). If man can do none of these things, how can he venture to challenge him who alone can and does execute judgment in the earth? God does ever punish and destroy the wicked, and is ever ready to help the faithful; can man excel or equal God in his ideas or practice of righteousness? "The Lord says to Job, Shall my judgment, by which I either afflict the godly or declare all men to be liars, be empty and vain in thy opinion? Doth it behove me to be unjust, that thy justice may stand? Thou art indeed just, and thou hast my testimony to this (ch. 2.), but it shall not therefore be lawful for thee to slander the judgments of God in affliction." "They who ascribe to themselves in their own strength righteousness before God, simply condemn God and make his judgment void, as if he had not the competence and power to judge and condemn them (Romans 3:4)" (Cramer).
II. REBUKE OF JOB'S PRIDE; DESCRIPTION OF THE GREAT BEASTS. (Ver. 15-41:84.) These two vast monsters, behemoth and leviathan, are types of God's creative power. Their gigantic strength fills feeble man with wonder; and yet they are but as toys in the hand of the Almighty. They are subject to the Divine will; and in them we are to see an exemplification of the manner in which God subdues the pride of the creature. The behemoth. (Vers. 15-24.) This huge and terrible animal is a fellow-creature of Job, an effect of the same almighty power. Let Job consider him, and perceive how small and feeble in the presence of God are all created existences, and of how little avail is all haughty and proud confidence in external things before him. Then follows the striking description of the power of the hippopotamus, or horse of the Nile, uniting elasticity with firmness, so that he is "a firstling of the ways of God'" or a masterpiece of the Creator. Everything about this creature is noteworthy; his sword-like, gigantic teeth; his fodder, which whole mountain tracts supply. As he lies among the reeds and lotus-plants, taking his noonday repose, he is the very image of living force. Were a river, a very Jordan, to force its way into his mouth, he could make light of it. Yet this huge beast is entirely in the power of God. His size and strength avail him nought, if God has determined to destroy him. How aptly says the Roman poet, "Force devoid of judgment sinks beneath its own weight; while that which is self-controlled Heaven advances in greatness. God hates the strength that sets in motion ill with the mind" (Her., 'Od.,' 3. 4)! He, amidst the obscure notions of the pagan mythology, still sees clearly the truth here and in so many Scriptures set forth, that no might, bestial, human, or superhuman, can stand against that will which is of almighty power and absolute righteousness. - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,