Job 41:15
His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal.
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Job 41:15-17. His scales are his pride — He prides and pleases himself in his strong and mighty scales. Hebrew, אפיקי מגנים, aphikee maginnim, robusta scutorum, the strength, or strong things, of his shields are his pride. Or, his body, or his back, (as גאוה, gaavah, is rendered by many ancient and modern interpreters,) is the strength of shields, that is, fortified with scales strong as shields. Heath translates it, Strong scales cover his back. This is remarkably the case with the crocodile, whose strength is in his back, which is covered with impenetrable scales, whereas his belly is very soft, and easily pierced. If it be interpreted as meant of the whale, we must understand by these shields the several coats of his skin, which, though it be smooth and entire, and without scales, may nevertheless be said to be as strong as shields, (shields being formerly made of leather,) because it is exceeding hard and strong, and almost impenetrable, and that not only on his back, as in the crocodile, but also in the belly all over. “The outward, or scarf-skin of the whale,” indeed, “is no thicker than parchment; but this being removed, the real skin appears, of about an inch thick, and covering the fat, or blubber, that lies beneath, which is from eight to twelve inches in thickness. The muscles lie beneath this, and, like the flesh of quadrupeds, are very red and tough.” — Ency. Brit. But as the skin of the whale is all one entire piece, and does not consist of different parts joined together, the following clause, and the contents of the next two verses, do not seem to be properly applicable to it. Shut up together as with a close seal — That is, the shields, or scales, are closely compacted together, as things that are fastened by a seal. One is so near another, &c. — This plainly shows that the scales, or shields, are several, which certainly agrees better to the crocodile than to the whale, unless there be a sort of whales which have scales, as some have affirmed, but it is not yet known or proved. By these shields, or scales, the animal is not only kept warm, for no air can come between them, but kept safe, for no sword can pierce through those scales. They stick together that they cannot be sundered — It is exceeding difficult, and almost impossible, by any power or art, to sever them one from another.

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.His scales are his pride - Margin, "strong pieces of shields." The literal translation of this would be, "Pride, the strong of shields;" that is, the strong shields. There can be no doubt that there is reference to the scales of the animal, as having a resemblance to strong shields laid close to each other. But there is considerable variety of opinion as to its meaning. Umbreit and Prof. Lee take the word here rendered "pride" (גאוה gê'voh) to be the same as (גוה gêvâh), "back," and then the meaning would be that his back was armed as with a shield - referring, as Prof. Lee supposes, to the dorsal fin of the whale. But there is no necessity for this supposition, and it cannot be denied that it is somewhat forced. The "connection" requires that we should understand it, not of the dorsal fin, but of the scales; for a description immediately follows in continuation of this, which will by no means apply to the fin. The obvious and proper meaning is, that the pride or glory of the animal - that on which his safety depended, and which was the most remarkable thing about him - was his "scales," which were laid together like firm and compact shields, so that nothing could penetrate them. This description accords better with the crocodile than with any other animal. It is covered with scales, "which are so hard as to resist a musket-ball." "Ed. Ency." The description cannot be applied to a whale, which has no scales; and accordingly Prof. Lee supposes that the reference in this verse and the two following is not to the "scales," but to the "teeth," and to "the setting in of the dorsal fin!"

Shut up together - Made close or compact.

As with a close seal - As if they had been sealed with wax, so that no air could come between them.

15. Rather, his "furrows of shields" (as "tubes," "channels," see on [564]Job 40:18), are, &c., that is, the rows of scales, like shields covering him: he has seventeen such rows.

shut up—firmly closed together. A musket ball cannot penetrate him, save in the eye, throat, and belly.

He prides and pleaseth himself in his strong and mighty scales. Heb. His strong shields (i.e. scales) are his pride. Or, (as other, both ancient and modern, interpreters render it,) his body, (or his back, as this word is used, Isaiah 38:17; which, if meant of the crocodile, is emphatical, because his scales and strength is in his back, whereas his belly is very soft, and easily pierced) is the strength of shields, i.e. fortified with scales strong as shields. This is meant either,

1. Of the whale whose skin, though it be smooth and entire, and without scales, may be said to be as (which particle is oft understood) strong shields, because it is, as Galen reports, exceeding hard and strong, and almost impenetrable, and like a shield, especially then, when shields were made of leather; and so it is not only on the back, as in the crocodile, but also in the belly all over. Or,

2. Of the crocodile, which hath scales properly so called, and those most truly such as are here described, as all authors and eye-witnesses consent.

Shut up together as with a close seal; closely compacted together, as things that are fastened together by a seal.

His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal. This is notoriously true of the crocodile, whose back and tail are covered with scales, which are in a measure impenetrable and invincible: which all writers concerning it, and travellers that have seen it, agree in; See Gill on Ezekiel 29:4; but the skin of the whale is smooth; the outward skin is thin, like parchment, and is easily pulled off with the hand; and its under skin, though an inch thick, is never stiff nor tough, but soft (d): though, if Nearchus (e) is to be credited, he reports, that one was seen fifty cubits long, with a scaly skin all over it a cubit thick; and such, it is said, were by a storm brought into our river Trent some years ago, and cast ashore, which had scales upon their backs very hard, as large and thick as one of our shillings (f). But Aben Ezra interprets this of the teeth of the leviathan, and in which he is followed by Hasaeus; which are strong like a shield, as the words used signify; so Mr. Broughton,

"the strong shields have pride:''

but then this is as applicable, or more so, to the scales of the crocodile; which are so close as if they were sealed together, and are like a shield, its defence, and in which it prides itself.

(d) Voyage to Spitzbergen, p. 146, 147, 152. (e) Apud Arrian. in Indicis. (f) Vid. Wesley's Dissertations on Job, dissert. 38. p. 290.

His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal.
15. his scales are his pride] Rather, the rows of his shields are a pride. Each of his scales is a shield, and they are disposed in rows, or courses, lit. pipes (ch. Job 40:18), so called from their being curved or bossed. Of these rows there are said to be seventeen. The second clause describes the firmness and closeness with which each scale adheres to the body.

15–17. His armour of scales.

Verse 15. - His scales are his pride; or, his pride is in the channeling of his scales (literally, of his shields). The scales of the crocodile are arranged in five rows along his entire back, with a depression between the rows which is like a "channel." Each individual scale resembles a shield. They are shut up together as with a close seal; each, i.e. closely attached to its fellow,so that there is no space between them. "A rifle-ball," according to Canon Tristram, "glances off from them as from a rock" ('Natural History of the Bible,' p. 352). Job 41:1515 A pride are the furrows of the shields,

Shut by a rigid seal.

16 One joineth on to the other,

And no air entereth between them.

17 One upon another they are arranged,

They hold fast together, inseparably.

Since the writer uses אפיק both in the signif. robustus, Job 12:12, and canalis, Job 40:18, it is doubtful whether it must be explained robusta (robora) scutorum (as e.g., Ges.), or canales scutorum (Hirz., Schlottm., and others). We now prefer the latter, but so that "furrows of the shields" signifies the square shields themselves bounded by these channels; for only thus is the סגוּר, which refers to these shields, considered, each one for itself, suitably attached to what precedes. חותם צר is an acc. of closer definition belonging to it: closed is (each single one) by a firmly attached, and therefore firmly closed, seal. lxx remarkably ὥσπερ σμυρίτης λίθος, i.e., (emery (vid., Krause's Pyrogeteles, 1859, S. 228). Six rows of knotty scales and four scales of the neck cover the upper part of the animal's body, in themselves firm, and attached to one another in almost impenetrable layers, as is described in Job 41:7 in constantly-varying forms of expression (where יגּשׁוּ with Pathach beside Athnach is the correct reading), - a גּאוה, i.e., an equipment of which the animal may be proud. Umbr. takes גאוה, with Bochart, equals גּוה, the back; but although in the language much is possible, yet not everything.

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