Job 41 – “God’s Final Speech – Part II”

whalemouthHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God continues to describe the Leviathan with mythological detail. He argues that if no person can stand up to the mighty Leviathan, then surely no person can stand up to Himself.

II. Photo
God describes the Leviathan in v. 6: “Who can pry open the doors of his face? His bared teeth strike terror!”

III. Important Verses
vv. 2-3: There is no one so fierce as to rouse [the Leviathan]; Who then can stand up to Me? Whoever confronts Me I will requite, For everything under the heavens is Mine.
vv. 10-13: [The Leviathan’s] sneezings flash lightning, And his eyes are like the glimmerings of dawn. Firebrands stream from his mouth; Fiery sparks escape. Out of his nostrils comes smoke As from a steaming, boiling cauldron. His breath ignites coals; Flames blaze from his mouth.
v. 25: There is no one on land who can dominate him, Made as he is without fear.
v. 26: He sees all that is haughty; He is king over all proud beasts.

IV. Outline
1-3. God aggrandizes himself
4-26. The Leviathan is described

V. Comment
In this chapter God finishes his description of the Leviathan. One major question is, “Why is God telling Job so much about the Leviathan?” Clines gives a compelling explanation (Job 1-20, p. xlvi): “The point must be that hippopotamus [behemot “Behemoth”] and crocodile [liwyatan “Leviathan”], however alarming, are part of God’s creation. God expects Job to realize, and Job is not slow at grasping the point, that the natural order—the principles on which the world was created—is analogous to the moral order—the principles according to which it is governed. In both these orders, there is much that is incomprehensible to humans, even threatening their existence, but all of it is the work of a wise God who has made the world the way it is for his own inscrutable purposes. Innocent suffering is a hippopotamus. The only sense it makes, it makes to God, for it is not amenable to human rationality.”

He continues, “Job has no right to an explanation for his suffering, any more than he has a right to have the purpose of crocodiles explained to him. He is not even entitled to be told whether he is being punished for some fault he has committed, or whether he is indeed the innocent sufferer he believes himself to be. The order of creation sets the standard for the moral order of the universe; and that is, that God must be allowed to know what he is doing, and lies under no obligation to give any account of himself.” In other words, while we know that Job is innocent (cf. 1:1, 1:8, 2:3), God never explains why he punishes innocent people.
VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Clines, Job 1-20 (Word Biblical Commentary)
Hakham, Sefer Iyov (Daat Mikra [Hebrew])
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