William Kelly Major Works Commentary
Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?Job Chapter 41
Well now, in Job 41, comes a still longer description of "leviathan," and I understand that to be the crocodile. The crocodile is a very formidable beast. It is not so shy of the human kind; on the contrary, it preys upon men, women, and children, if it can get hold of them. It is not therefore at all so strange as the "behemoth" that we have been reading about.
"Canst thou draw out leviathan* with an hook?" You that can do such wonders; you can talk about God; and you can judge for God, and you can find fault with God! Well, can you catch leviathan with an hook? You ought to be able to do that. "Or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?" (vers. 1 - -8). Be off with you! Do not you fight him. "Behold, the hope of him is in vain." Spears or arrows are nothing to him and even a musket ball has no power to pierce the skin of a crocodile. "His scales are his pride," because it is not only his enormous strength, and his practical invulnerability to any ordinary weapon, but there he is so confident in it himself.
* "The leviathan here described seems to be, beyond doubt, not the dolphin or the whale, as some learned men have argued, but the crocodile. So most have been convinced since Bochart (Hieroz. iii. 705, &c., 737, &c.)."
So that here we may stop tonight. It suffices to show what God uttered to overwhelm Job in his self-confidence, and to show that his ignorance was so great, his powerlessness was evident; his lack of wisdom to enter into even the outer works of God. And, after all, what was God speaking about? Earthly things. Everyone of these things is merely of a natural kind, and has to do with what is visible, with what is seen and temporal And if Job is so utterly unable to answer one of these questions - and in point of fact they are not answered to this day with all the brag of science - still, if that is the case about earthly things, what about the heavenly? What about the eternal things? There we are entirely and absolutely dependent upon God. We know nothing but what He tells us, and this is all our blessing - this is what we are waiting for - the unseen and the eternal, and, consequently, we of all people ought to be thoroughly dependent, looking up, confiding, and believing.
If the Lord will, next Wednesday evening I hope to conclude the Book, and to say a little of its general character also, besides saying what is necessary upon the particular chapter itself - the 42nd.
Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn?
Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee?
Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever?
Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens?
Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants?
Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears?
Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more.
Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him?
None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me?
Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.
I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion.
Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can come to him with his double bridle?
Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about.
His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal.
One is so near to another, that no air can come between them.
They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered.
By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.
Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out.
Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron.
His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth.
In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him.
The flakes of his flesh are joined together: they are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved.
His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone.
When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves.
The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon.
He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood.
The arrow cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble.
Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear.
Sharp stones are under him: he spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire.
He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.
He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary.
Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear.
He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.