Job 41:11
Who has prevented me, that I should repay him? whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.
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(11) Who hath prevented me?—It is manifest that this appeal would come more appropriately at the end of the following detailed description than, as it does here, just before it. “Who hath prevented me,” &c., of course means, Who hath first given to me, that I should repay him?

Job 41:11. Who hath prevented me? — Namely, with offices or services done for me, and thereby hath laid the first obligation upon me, for which I am indebted to him? That I should repay him? — Should be engaged to requite his favours? Who came beforehand with me in kindnesses? inasmuch as all men, and all things under heaven, are mine, made by my hand, and enriched with all their endowments by my favour. The apostle quotes this sentiment for the silencing of all flesh in God’s presence, (Romans 11:35,) Who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things. As God doth not inflict upon us the evils we have deserved, so he doth bestow upon us the favours we have not deserved. Having said, and largely proved, that man could not contend with God in power, he now adds that he cannot contend with him in, or with respect to justice; because God oweth him nothing, nor is any way obliged to him: which having briefly hinted, to prevent an objection, he returns to his former argument, the description of leviathan.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.Who hath prevented me? - As this verse is here rendered, its meaning, and the reason why it is introduced, are not very apparent. It almost looks, indeed, as if it were an interpolation, or had been introduced from some other place, and torn from its proper connection. Dr. Harris proposes to remove the principal difficulty by translating it,

"Who will stand before me, yea, presumptuously?

Whatsoever is beneath the whole heaven is mine.

I cannot be confounded at his limbs and violence,

Nor at his power, or the strength of his frame."

It may be doubted, however, whether the original will admit of this translation. Rosenmuller, Umbreit, and Noyes, unite in supposing the meaning to be, "Who has done me a favor, that I must repay him?" But perhaps the true idea of the passage may be arrived at by adverting to the meaning of the word rendered "prevented" - קדם qâdam. It properly means in the Piel, to go before; to precede; to anticipate, Psalm 17:13; Psalm 119:148. Then it means to rush upon suddenly; to seize; to go to meet anyone either for succor, Psalm 59:11, or for a different purpose. Isaiah 37:33, "no shield shall come up against her." יקדמנה yaqâdamenâh "i. e." against the city. So Job 30:27, "The days of affliction prevented me." A similar meaning occurs in the Hiphil form in Amos 9:10, "The evil shall not overtake us nor prevent us;" that is, shall not rush upon us as if by anticipation, or when we are off our guard.

If some idea of this kind be supposed to be conveyed by the word here, it will probably express the true sense. "Who is able to seize upon me suddenly, or when I am off my guard; to anticipate my watchfulness and my power of resistance so as to compel me to recompense him, or so to overmaster me as to lay me under obligation to confer on him the favors which he demands?" There may be an allusion to the manner in which wild beasts are taken, when the hunter springs his gin suddenly, anticipates the power of the animal, rushes unexpectedly upon him, and compels him to yield. God says that no one could thus surprise and overpower him. Thus explained, the sentiment agrees with the argument which the Almighty is presenting. He is showing his right to reign and do all his pleasure. He appeals, in proof of this, to his great and mighty works, and especially to those specimens of the animal creation which "man" could not tame or overcome. The argument is this: "If man cannot surprise and subdue these creatures of the Almighty, and compel "them" to render him service, how can he expect to constrain the Creator himself to be tributary to him, or to grant him the favors which he demands?"

Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine - That is, "All belong to me; all are subject to me; all are mine, to be conferred on whom I please. No one can claim them as his own: no one can wrest them from me." This claim to the proprietorship of all created things, is designed "here" to show to Job that over a Being thus supreme man could exert no control. It is his duty, therefore, to submit to him without a complaint, and to receive with gratitude what he chooses to confer.

11. prevented—done Me a favor first: anticipated Me with service (Ps 21:3). None can call Me to account ("stand before Me," Job 41:10) as unjust, because I have withdrawn favors from him (as in Job's case): for none has laid Me under a prior obligation by conferring on Me something which was not already My own. What can man give to Him who possesses all, including man himself? Man cannot constrain the creature to be his "servant" (Job 41:4), much less the Creator. Who hath prevented me, to wit, with offices or service done for me, by which he hath laid the first obligation upon me, for which I am indebted to him? Who can be beforehand with me in kindnesses, since not only the leviathan, but all men, and, as it follows, all things under heaven, are mine, made by my hand and enriched with all their endowments by my favour, without which, O Job, thou wouldst not have had either reason or such to use so perversely to reproach my providence. Having now said and largely proved that man could not contend with God in power, he now adds, that he cannot do it in justice, because God oweth him nothing, nor is any way obliged to him; which having briefly hinted to prevent an objection, he returns to his former argument, the description of the leviathan.

That I should repay him; that I should be engaged to requite his favours.

Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine; created by my power and favour, and wholly in my possession, and at my dispose, and therefore cannot possibly prevent me, as was now said. Who hath prevented me, that one should repay him?.... First given me something that was not my own, and so laid me under an obligation to him to make a return. The apostle seems to have respect to this passage, Romans 11:35;

whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine; the fowls of the air, the cattle on a thousand hills, the fulness of the earth; gold, silver: precious stones, &c. All things are made by him, are his property and at his dispose; and therefore no man on earth can give him what he has not a prior right unto; see Psalm 24:1.

Who hath prevented me, that I should {b} repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.

(b) Who has taught me to accomplish my work?

11. who hath prevented me] Rather, who hath first given to me? So Tyndale, Or who hathe geven me anye thinge afore hand, that I am bounde to reward him agayne? As none dare contend with God (Job 41:10), so none have any ground of contention with Him. None hath given aught to God, so as to have a claim against Him, for all things under the heavens are His; comp. Psalm 50:10 seq.Verse 11. - Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? i.e. "Who hath laid me under any obligation, so that I should be bound to fall in with his views, and take such a course as he might prescribe?" The allusion is to Job's persistent demand for a hearing - a controversy (Job 9:34, 35; Job 10:3; Job 13:3, 22; Job 23:3-7, etc.) - a trial, in which he shall plead with God, and God with him, upon even terms as it were, and so the truth concerning him, his sins, his integrity, his sufferings, and their cause or causes, shall be made manifest. God resists any and every claim that is made on him to justify himself and his doings to a creature. He is not a debtor to any. If he explains himself to any extent, if he condescends to give an account of any of his doings, it is of pure grace and favour. It has been observed that we might have expected this to be the conclusion of the entire discourse begun in ch. 38; and that no doubt would have been, according to ordinary laws of human composition, its more proper place. But Hebrew poetry is erratic, and pays little regard to logical lawn If anything important has been omitted in its more proper place, it is inserted in one which is, humanly speaking, less proper. The details concerning the crocodile, which are calculated to deepen the general impression, having been passed over where we might have expected them, are here subjoined, as filling out the description of vers. 1-10. 1 Dost thou draw the crocodile by a hoop-net,

And dost thou sink his tongue into the line?!

2 Canst thou put a rush-ring into his nose,

And pierce his cheeks with a hook?

3 Will he make many supplications to thee,

Or speak flatteries to thee?

4 Will he make a covenant with thee,

To take him as a perpetual slave?

5 Wilt thou play with him as a little bird,

And bind him for thy maidens?

In Job 3:8, לויתן signified the celestial dragon, that causes the eclipses of the sun (according to the Indian mythology, râhu the black serpent, and ketu the red serpent); in Psalm 104:26 it does not denote some great sea-saurian after the kind of the hydrarchus of the primeval world,

(Note: Vid., Grsse, Beitrge, S. 94ff.)

but directly the whale, as in the Talmud (Lewysohn, Zoologie des Talm. 178f.). Elsewhere, however, the crocodile is thus named, and in fact as תּנּין also, another appellation of this natural wonder of Egypt, as an emblem of the mightiness of Pharaoh (vid., on Psalm 74:13.), as once again the crocodile itself is called in Arab. el-fir‛annu. The Old Testament language possesses no proper name for the crocodile; even the Talmudic makes use of קרוקתא equals κροκόδειλος (Lewysohn, 271). לויתן is the generic name of twisted, and תנין long-extended monsters. Since the Egyptian name of the crocodile has not been Hebraized, the poet contents himself in תּמשׁך with making a play upon its Egyptian, and in Arab. tmsâḥ, timsâḥ,

(Note: Herodotus was acquainted with this name (χάμψαι equals κροκόδειλοι); thus is the crocodile called also in Palestine, where (as Tobler and Joh. Roth have shown) it occurs, especially in the river Damr near Tantra.)


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