Job 40 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Job 40)

Verse 1

[1] Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,

Answered — Having made a little pause to try what Job could answer. This is not said to be spoken out of the whirlwind, and therefore some think God said it in a still, small voice, which wrought more upon Job, (as upon Elijah) than the whirlwind did. Tho' Job had not spoken any thing, yet God is said to answer him. For he knows mens thoughts, and can return a fit answer to their silence.

Verse 2

[2] Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.

Reproveth — That boldly censureth his ways or works; it is at his peril.

Verse 5

[5] Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.

Answer — Speak again; I will contend no more with thee.

Twice — Often, the definite number being used indefinitely.

Verse 6

[6] Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,

Whirlwind — Which was renewed when God renewed his charge upon Job, whom he intended to humble more throughly.

Verse 8

[8] Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?

Wilt thou — Every word is emphatical, wilt (art thou resolved upon it) thou (thou Job, whom I took to be one of a better mind) also (not only vindicate thyself, but also accuse me) disannul (not only question, but even repeal and make void, as if it were unjust) my judgment? My sentence against thee, and my government and administration of human affairs? Wilt thou make me unrighteous that thou mayst seem to be righteous?

Verse 10

[10] Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty.

Deck — Seeing thou makest thyself equal, yea, superior to me, take to thyself thy great power, come and sit in my throne, and display thy Divine perfections in the sight of the world.

Verse 13

[13] Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret.

Hide — Kill every one of them at one blow.

Bind — Condemn or destroy them. He alludes to the manner of covering the faces of condemned persons, and of dead men.

In secret — In a secret place, bury them in their graves.

Verse 15

[15] Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.

Behemoth — Very learned men take the leviathan to be the crocodile, and the behemoth to be the river-horse, which may fitly be joined with the crocodile, both being well known to Joband his friends, as being frequent in the adjacent parts, both amphibious, living and preying both in the water and upon the land. And both creatures of great bulk and strength.

Made — As I made thee.

Grass — The river-horse comes out of the river upon the land to feed upon corn, and hay, or grass, as an ox doth, to whom also he is not unlike in the form of his head and feet, and in the bigness of his body, whence the Italians call him, the sea-ox.

Verse 16

[16] Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.

Strength — He hath strength answerable to his bulk, but this strength by God's wise and merciful providence is not an offensive strength, consisting in, or put forth by horns or claws, as it is in ravenous creatures, but only defensive and seated in his loins, as it is in other creatures.

Verse 17

[17] He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.

Tail — Which though it be but short, yet when it is erected, is exceeding stiff and strong.

Thighs — The sinews of his thighs. His thighs and feet are so sinewy and strong, that one of them is able to break or over-turn a large boat.

Verse 19

[19] He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.

The chief — He is one of the chief of God's works, in regard of its great bulk and strength.

Verse 20

[20] Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.

Mountains — Though he lives most in the water, yet he often fetches his food from the land, and from the mountains or hills, which are nigh the river Nile.

Play — They not only feed securely, but sport themselves by him, being taught by experience that he is gentle and harmless.

Verse 22

[22] The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.

Brook — Or, of the Nile, of which this word is often used in scripture. His constant residence is in or near this river, or the willows that grow by it.

Verse 23

[23] Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.

River — A great quantity of water, hyperbolically called a river.

Hasteth not — He drinks not with fear and caution; but such is his courage, that he fears no enemy either by water or by land. He drinks as if he designed, to drink up the whole river. He mentions Jordan, as a river well known, in and nigh unto Job's land.

Verse 24

[24] He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.

Sight — Can any man take him in his eyes? Openly and by force? Surely not. His strength is too great for man to overcome: and therefore men are forced to use wiles and engines to catch him.