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Job and Science, by Walter Lang ©1992

Leviathan (Job 41:1-34)
Leviathan Cannot Be Captured (Job 41:1-8)


(v.1) Can you draw out the leviathan with a hook? Or with a bridle press down his tongue?

(v.2) Can you put a rock ring into his nose? And pierce his cheek with a hook?

(v.3) Will he plead supplication with you? Will he speak soft (words) with you?

(v.4) Will he cut a covenant with you?  To take him for a servant forever?

(v,5) Will you play with him as a bird? Will you bind him for your maidens?

(v.6) Will the fisher community dig pits for him? Do they part him among merchants?

(v.7) Can you fill his skin with darts? And his head with fish harpoons?

(v.8) Lay your hand upon him! Remember the battle! do no more!


    The leviathan is described in detail and is worthy of his position as the climax of God's whirlwind talk. Though the word is used for the dragon in the sky (signs of the Zodiac) in 3:8, Zoeckler, Delitzsch, and Rawlinson say this means a crocodile. They refer to its use in Ps.74:1 3 where the Hebrew word taniyiym is translated as "dragon." In Ps.74:14 the Hebrew word liveyatan is transliterated. The two are distinguishable and both live in water. Taniyn might refer to the whale while the liveyatan may refer to a reptilian sea monster. This word does not describe a crocodile.

In Ps. 104:26 we read the liveyatan plays in the ocean. Rawlinson says this is a whale, but we think taniyn is the word for whale, as in Ps. 74: 13 and Gen. 1:21. Originally taniyn meant "the extended one" and liveyatan originally meant "the crooked one." In ls.27:1 we read the Lord will destroy leviathan as a crooked and piercing serpent, with a strong sword and will slay the dragon in the sea. There it seems the leviathan is a symbol of Egypt, and crocodile comes to mind. The taniyn in Is. 27:1 is perhaps a symbol of Assyria. Assyria and Egypt were the two world powers and the taniyn and leviathan were the two strongest sea monsters. We think Isaiah referred to them because of their power, not because in some symbolic way they represented Egypt and Assyria. In ls.27:1 we read that God will use a strong sword to destroy both these creatures. Thus, point of comparison is power of these creatures rather than their representing either Egypt or Assyria. We believe the leviathan is a large, fierce meat-eating dinosaur.

Though Delitzsch claims the leviathan is a crocodile, he admits Old Testament language has no adequate name for a crocodile. To make his case, he plays on the verb "can you draw out" timeshog. The Arab name for crocodile is claimed to be "timsah," but this is stretching. Delitzsch almost admits the word "leviathan" is not a word for crocodile. Zoeckler has the same problems as Delitzsch.

Rawlinson derives the word from lawah "twisting" and from tan "a monster." He says it is a generic name and applies to more than one type of creature. A crocodile is meant here, he claims, because Egyptians fished with a hook. But he admits a crocodile could be caught and destroyed whereas the leviathan (ch.41) cannot be caught.

    The word for "bridle" ubachebel actually means "cord." In 18:10, where Bildad speaks of traps and snares, the word is used for "snare." Here it means a rope that served as a bridle.

The word "press down" tasheqiy'a is derived from shaqa'and means "to make, to seal, to press down." Gesenius says it means to put a hook in his mouth, while Rawlinson has the better suggestion that it means putting a rope around the lower part of his mouth to press down the tongue. Zoeckler refers to Aristotle and Herodetus who, perhaps jokingly, suggested the crocodile has no tongue. It has a tongue, as Delitzsch notes, but it cannot stretch it. According to Delitzsch, the word means "to snag the crocodile with a hook in its mouth where the tongue is." We prefer Rawlinson's approach because of the verb which carries the meaning of "press down." With a rope around the lower jaw, his tongue would be pressed down. The leviathan cannot be caught with a bridle, a rope, nor with a snare made of cord.

    The word for "rush ring" 'agemon refers to rushes in a pool and, then, to a loop made from them. This resembles a rope. It is Delitzsch's opinion that fishermen put a ring through the crocodile's gills and then fashioned a rope of rushes, tying the crocodile to it. It could not escape and, thus, became a slave. Here God says this cannot be done with the leviathan.

    The word for "bore" or "pierce" is tiqob and refers to a "hook ring" ubechoach forced through the "cheek" lecheyo of the creature, keeping it captive. Rawlinson notes that captives of rank were led around by a ring, perhaps with a cord through the nose. Thus they were led before the monarch who had captured them. In II Ki.19:28 we read God will do this to the king of Assyria.

    The leviathan will not beg nor "entreat favor" tachanuniym. It is derived from chanan which means "grace, favor." The word for "pleads" is hayarebeh. The question is ironic. Will the leviathan behave as a human captive and seek favor? Of course not.

    The word for "soft" is rakot and in the Kal means "to be soft." Here we have the participle and the obvious meaning is "soft words." The leviathan cannot be subjugated by humans any more than a wild bull can be subjugated (39:9). He cannot be placed into a position where he makes supplication.

With scientific knowledge available today, we can conquer more of nature than was possible in Job's time. But God is still far ahead of us and He is author of all variety in nature. If we cannot subjugate some of God's creatures, how can we challenge Him? Rather, we ought to learn to submit ourselves to God. Even the most fierce creatures do not possess power such as comes to us through the Redeemer (19:25) or the Angel above a thousand (33:23).

    The word for "cutting a covenant" hayikerot beriyt is generally with God, but here God is ironically suggesting it be made with the leviathan. Captive monarchs also made covenants, but not so the leviathan. Here, again, is an indirect reference to the Gospel, a covenant of God with man. Though the leviathan cannot be moved by the Gospel, God can accomplish more with Job through the Gospel than the leviathan can with fierce power.

Job had demanded a legal confrontation with God (23:1-6) which would eventually involve a legal covenant. This cannot be done with a leviathan. God is saying He cannot make a legal pact with Job because he is too much like the leviathan.

    The verb "to take" tiqachenu is derived from laqach and means just that, "to take. "Job cannot take a leviathan as a servant forever, or even for a time. But God can take Job forever through the Gospel, implying that Job is acting like the leviathan.

One wonders why the "forever" is added, because who would want to make the leviathan a servant forever? Rather, Job should be a servant to God forever, but he is rebelling like a leviathan. "Forever" 'olam is a word not understood in nature or in science. Forever is possible only through the Gospel, for it gives us perfection in eternity.

    The word for "bird" katzipor means "little bird," "sparrow." Background of the verb tzipor is "twitter." This word is used in Prov.26:2, referring to a wandering bird not much subject to cause-and-effect. It applies here, where God refers to a random playing with the leviathan, if such a thing were possible. In Prov.27:8 the word refers to a bird wandering from her nest or place of refuge. In Eccl. 12:4 it refers to the voice of the sparrow at early dawn and in Ps.84:3 it is a sparrow that has found a nest for herself in the house of God. The psalmist describes himself as a sparrow alone on the housetop (Ps. 102:8). In Prov.6:4 we read the debtor should deliver himself from a friend to whom he is indebted as a "bird" from the fowler. A bird hastens to the snare, not knowing it is intended to take its life (Prov.7: 23).

The word for "play" hatsacheq-bo is used in Ps. 104:26 to describe a leviathan playing in the ocean. Here the bo does not mean to play "in," but play "with." The leviathan is not a pet. The implication is that God would like to be with Job, and in him, as John writes of God's indwelling in John 14:23. Job needs to be radically changed.

Rawlinson suggests that, according to a reference from Herodotus (2:39), Egyptians tamed antelope, leopards and monkeys. And sometimes they tamed a crocodile. But this leviathan can never be tamed. According to the Talmud and Lewysohn, the reference is to a golden beetle or a grasshopper. That does not fit. God has provided many things in nature purely for enjoyment. It is a foretaste of perfect enjoyment we shall have in heaven.

    The thought of play is continued. The word for "bind" wetiqesherenu is derived from the general word for "bind" qashar. In 39:10 it refers to inability to bind the "auroch" or "wild bull." When Tamar gave birth to twins, the midwife "bound" a scarlet ribbon on the firstborn (Gen.38:28). In Prov.3:3 we read that mercy and truth should be bound on the neck, and in Prov.6:21 God's commandments are to be bound continually on the heart and tied to the neck.

The word for "maidens" lena'aroteka may be for either a female child, a "girl" or "female slave." Gesenius prefers "child" while Zoeckler prefers "slave." Job cannot tie the leviathan so that little girls can play with it. Again, the implication is that Job should be docile and kind, but now he is like this fierce leviathan. This was crushing to Job who diligently tried to be kind.

    The word for "fisher community" chabariym simply means "companions" and here fishermen are considered as an association. Obviously one fisherman could not prevail against a leviathan, but even a whole group could not prevail.

The word for "dig pit" yikeru means first "dig" but here the meaning is "to dig a pit" or "lay snares." The KJV follows the Septuagint and reads "make a banquet." In II Ki.6:23 the word wayikereh is used for a banquet made for a band of Syrians who had been blinded and led into the fort. The Targum, Schultens and Rosenmueller also follow this. We agree with Delitzsch that use of "Akarah" does not apply. Delitzsch follows a third meaning "to buy, sell, trade." He applies this already to the first part of the verse. And he thinks of chabariym as an association of merchants rather than fishermen, though he translates "fishermen."

Delitzsch makes a distinction between chobariyn and chabariym. The latter refers to companions, as in Is.1:23, 44:11 and Ps.119:63. Here reference is more to a union or association of fishermen. Zoeckler follows this and has them trading, rather than laying, a snare. In Luke 5:7.10 partners helped haul in fish. According to Zoeckler, because of kena'aniym in the second phrase, clearly meaning "Canaanites" or "merchants," the idea of merchants is already in the first phrase. Thus he, as well as Delitzsch, translate the verb karah as "buy, trade." We follow Gesenius and translate "lay snare," "digging a pit" in the first phrase and leaving the buying and selling for the second phrase.

    The verb "part" is yechetzuhu and is derived from chatzah "to cut in half and divide." There is a play on words in chabariym at the end of the first phrase and a similar sounding kena'aniym at the end of the second phrase. There may also be a play on sounds of the two verbs at the head of each phrase, yikeru "lay snare" and yechetzuhu "part." For Job, emphasis is on his trading ability. He was like a leviathan who could not be caught by any combination of fishermen or merchants. Whales and sharks have been commercialized but not the leviathan. This may indicate that Job, like Abraham, gained some of his fortune through trade with merchant groups.

    The word for "darts" besukot apparently is used only here in Scripture. It is a thorny, sharp weapon. The leviathan's thick skin and many scales prevent a dart from injuring him. The skin of the leviathan is protected by plates, close to one another, as in a turtle. Darts bounce off him. With modern-day explosive harpoons we might have an advantage over the ancients, yet these creatures still exist in the oceans as a form of plesiosaurus.

    The word for "harpoons" ubetziletzal is derived from the whizzing and clanging sound made by harpoons as they fly through the air. It is restricted to "fish" dagiym harpoons. They do nothing to the leviathan. On crocodiles there is a joint where neck and head are joined where a harpoon could be effective. This creature must be something other than a crocodile.

The KJV translates "fish spears." Zoeckler has "fish harpoons" while Beck simply has "harpoons." The "head" ro'sheo is featured. You cannot touch the skin nor head. This is a challenge to Job. At this point, apparently, neither friends, nor Elihu, nor God seemed to touch Job. As the leviathan, he seemed impervious. In our scientific age, we can do better than fight with darts and harpoons, but we are still very limited. Nor can we do anything to gain salvation.

    The accentuation indicates there should be a pause or an exclamation mark here. When you lay your hand on this creature, the battle will be so fierce you will never again do it nor forget it. In our opinion, Zoeckler is wrong in claiming this does not indicate the leviathan is untamable. A crocodile perhaps, but the leviathan no.

    The word for "do no more," "do not add" tosaph is not an infinitive dependent on "remember" tsekor, but is an imperative consecutive as Ewald states in his dictionary (224b). The word tosaph is in pausal form for toseph. The struggle will be so fierce and disastrous that no one will ever again dare to try it.

This is the way Job has been acting. After the first whirlwind talk he did put his hand over his mouth and he did say he was vile (40:4.5) but he had not yet fully repented. Thus, God compared him with a leviathan.

The truth is that Job was not yet fully repentant, but further details of the leviathan would crush him into repentance. As Job needed to be radically changed, so our studies of science and nature need to be changed to include the Creator God.

Only God Can Capture Leviathan (Job 41:9-11)


(v.9) Behold! his hope is proved to be false, Shall not one also be prostrated at his sight?

(v.10) Not will you be brave so as to arouse him, Who is able to stand firm before me?

(v.11) Who has prevented me that I should repay? All under heaven is mine.


    "Behold" heen is used at critical places in the whirlwind talk. Job uses it as an answer to the first such talk in 40:4. It is used also when the behemoth is introduced (40:15), in speaking of strength in loins of the behemoth (40:16), and with reference to the behemoth facing the full force of the Jordan river (40:23).

The expression "proved to be false" niketsabah is Niphal passive of Hiphiel of katsob which means "to lie, be false." In Prov. 30:6 we read a person who adds to God's words is a liar. The "hope" teochaleto refers to hope of the assailant, not to hope of the beast. The word is a verb, not a participle. "His hope" teochaleto has a suffix contracted. In this section there are sudden changes in subject, and here the subject is the fisherman. His hope of catching this creature is altogether false.

    The very sight of a leviathan causes one to fall prostrate. The verb yuthal is in the Hophal and means "to be cast down at full length, to be prostrate." The phrase "shall not one" hagam is equivalent to lo'gam. Here it is abbreviated. Not only is there no hope of doing something, one even falls prostrate. God is able to effect a change in Job.

In our time we may not fear a leviathan, but there are fears of nuclear war, fear of results of recombination of genes, fears of ecological problems.

    Delitzsch claims the "not" Io' is exclamatory and, thus, different from 'eeyn. The word for "arouse him" is ye'urenu in the Chetib, or written, reading. The alternative, or Keri, reading is ye'iyrenu, the Palestine reading. The Chetib is better and is derived from ya-yir in a transitive meaning. It is like shub in 39:12 and 42:10.

The word for "brave" 'aketsar is a masculine noun, derived from the verb katar which means "to be violent." In 30:21 Job complains that God is cruel to him, using this word. Here it is used in a good sense, "brave."

This creature may appear to be asleep, as reptiles often do. But no one is so brave or foolish as to arouse him. Thus, one thought is that it is foolish for Job to arouse God; He is infinitely more powerful than the leviathan.

Another thought is that God can create a creature which man cannot subdue but which will do as God commands it. Though God has given man the commission to "subdue the earth" (Gen. 1:28), He has created some creatures which, apparently, man is unable to subdue. Man is to be humble before God.

    Beck follows the Targum, translating "before him." But it reads "before me" lephaneey. The argument reaches a climax. If one cannot stand before a leviathan, how can he stand before God who created the leviathan?

The word "stand firm" yiteyatzab in the Hiphiel is used differently from Job 1 :6 and 2:1 . There it speaks of sons of God, or angels, standing in God's presence when Satan appears. Here it means to stand firm.

This verse has a sudden change in subject which is common in Hebrew, particularly in Isaiah and Jeremiah. This verse and the next ought to end this section, but God adds still more detail about ferocity of the leviathan (41 :12-30) to break down Job's resistance and to move him to recognize the changes needed which only the Angel above a thousand could effect.

    Without support that we can find, Beck translates this as "who can meet him and survive." All others conclude God is speaking of Himself and, sort of, bringing this part to conclusion. Job is like the proud leviathan, demanding a legal confrontation with God (9:34, 10:3, 13:3-22, 23:3-7). God is greater than any or all. In Rom. 11:35 Paul writes that no one can demand of God; perhaps he quotes Job. The Psalmist writes that all beasts and cattle belong to God (Ps. 50:11). No one negotiates with God.

The meaning of "prevent" hiqediymaniy is determined by "repay" wa'ashaleem. Here it means to anticipate by gifts presented as a solicitor approaches.

    The hu' here would seem to be personal, but is neutral. This is how Delitzsch uses it. In 13:16 hu' refers to God who is my salvation, and there it is not neutral. It is used as neutral also in 15:9 where Eliphaz asks what Job understands that the friends do not. However, in 31:11 where "this" refers to a heinous crime to be punished by judges, e.g., marital unfaithfulness, it is neutral.

The phrase "under all the heavens" tachat kal-hashamayim seems to be virtually the subject. One would think these verses should end the discourse, but they are intended to teach Job how to apply pictures of the leviathan and all wild animals (38:39 ff). Job already knew, though most commentators are unwilling to make such an application. But it is also true, as Zoeckler suggests, that Hebrew poetry is not always logical. Thus, numerous new elements are added in the description of the leviathan. God crystallized His meaning in the description of the unapproachable leviathan. God is greater than any of His created creatures; therefore, He cannot be challenged. Cursed by sin, nature is unable to provide absolutes, but God's Word provides these absolutes.

Face, Scales, Fire-Leviathan (Job 41:12-22)


(v.12) Not will I keep silence concerning his parts, The report of his strength and the beauty of his structure.

(v.13) Who can uncover the front of his clothing (scales) ? His double row of teeth—who can go in?

(v.14) The doors of his face - who opens them? Terror surrounds his teeth!

(v.15) His pride (are) his strong shields, Shut up with a close seal.

(v.16) One joins on to the other, And no air comes between them.

(v.17) Each to the other are they glued, They hold fast and not do they separate.

(v.18) His sneezing sends forth light, And his eyes are as the eyelids of dawn.

(v.19) Out of his mouth proceed flames, A pot of fire escapes from him.

(v.20) Out of his nostrils goes forth smoke, Like a seething pot and a burning kettle.

(v.21) His breath kindles coals, And a flame comes from his mouth.

(v.22) His strength lodges in his neck, And despair dances before him.


    Without explanation Beck translates "Cannot I (God) silence his boasting?" The KJV reads "I will not conceal his parts" while the RSV has "I will not conceal his limb." We follow Zoeckler and Delitzsch who translate "God will not keep silent; He will now add more." God will now describe parts of the leviathan.

The word for "parts" is badaiw and in 18:13 is used for "parts of his skin" being devoured. In 17:16 it is used for "parts" or "bars of hell." Here it seems to refer to various parts, or equipment, of the leviathan which God will describe. Background of the word is "equipment" used severally and serially.

The Keri here is lo rather than lo'. It is authorized by the Massorites and assumes an interrogative thought. The Chethib is better. If it were interrogative, it would read "should I be silent about its members?" (See Lev.7:7-9 and Is.9:2). This may seem more poetic, but we prefer the Chethib.

    According to Delitzsch, the word for "report" udebar refers to "proportion," while Zoeckler has "praise" and RSV has "matter." Gesenius has "report" of his strength. We prefer to follow Gesenius. In Dt.15:2 the word is translated as "manner." Actually, dabar simply means "word." In Ex.5:19 it is translated as "case." The word is widely used and is somewhat flexible in meaning.

The word for "beauty" wechiyn is derived from cheen which is derived from chesen. Hebrews do not care to say cheenen so they say chiyn. It refers to the comely proportions of the leviathan.

The word "clothing" 'ereko means "equipment, armature." Gesenius translates it armature and refers to the creature's scales. Because we think this is a plesiosaurus, we think reference is to the general equipment, or structure, of the creature. "Structure" is the word Delitzsch uses. Beck seems to have missed the real meaning in translating "bold manner." In 28:13 this word is used for "price, estimation," meaning no one knows the price of wisdom.

These are all scientific statements: parts of the leviathan's body, his strength, and beauty of his structure. They are mentioned to teach a moral lesson, indicating a relationship between Scripture and science, and that Scripture is scientifically accurate.

    Literally this reads "who can uncover the face of his clothing?" Beck translates "who can strip off his outer hide?" while Delitzsch has "who could raise the front of his coat of mail?" According to Delitzsch, peneey lebusho is not covering the face, but the upper or front side turned to the observer. In ls.25:7 we read that God will destroy the face of the covering cast over all people (when blessing Israel). He will also uncover the veil spread over all nations. Zoeckler says this means no one can tear off the covering of the scales, here pictured as clothing. Rawlinson notes that some critics say this means "who can lay him open to assault?" He prefers the idea that if scales are stripped, the leviathan would be vulnerable. But no one can do that.

The word for "scales," "clothes," "outer hide," "coat of mail" lebusho is used also in 7:5 where we read Job's body is clothed with worms. Job was clothed with righteousness (29:14).

Already here is there a beginning of mention of the six elements found in the leviathan which cause him to exhale fire and smoke. They are:

    1. Controlled humidity
    2. Friction
    3. Electricity
    4. Oxygen
    5. Sulphur
    6. Phosphorous

Of these the first is referred to here and is stated more fully in 41:15-17 where it is emphasized that scales are the leviathan's outward clothing. They are so closely joined that no air can come between them. This provides controlled humidity which would be lost if the protective covering were torn off.

There may be such creatures inhabiting the oceans today. Perhaps, with use of explosives, this outer coat could be ripped. But today it is a matter of finding such creatures. They are very rare and seldom observed.

    The word translated as "teeth" riseno means first "bridle" and then "jaw." Because "double" bekephel is used with it, we do not think of double jaws, but of double rows of teeth. Not altogether accurately, Beck translates "who can penetrate his double armour?" Delitzsch suggests double jaws with teeth, for teeth are the most prominent and most fierce parts of the leviathan. No one dares go near him.

Rawlinson, Schultens and Lee translate this "who can come to him with his double bridle?" No one dares to try to open his face. We prefer the idea of a double set of teeth rather than double jaw. This, then, classifies the leviathan as a meat-eater whereas the behemoth is a plant eater, eating grass like an ox (40:15). This identifies him with dinosaurs for there were both plant-eaters and meat-eaters living at the same time. According to evolutionists, they lived 75 million years apart in time.

    The KJV reads "who can open the doors of his face?" while Beck translates "who dares open the doors of his face?" Zoeckler finds the thought of rage in the leviathan. When he rages, who would dare open the doors of his face?

Delitzsch says its jaws are hinged as doors and its teeth protruded. No one would dare try to open its mouth for it would snap its powerful jaws and teeth. It is poised and skilled in using its jaws as hinged doors.

Job used his jaws to utter many words and he talked arrogantly about God. His speech was powerful. But the miracle of the Gospel silenced him (33:23) as it was conveyed to him through pictures of wild animals (38:39-41). This same picture is needed to convey to scientists who stubbornly resist the concept that God is Creator of all and who, like Job, need the miracle of the Gospel.

    Literally this reads "round about its teeth with terror." The KJV reads "his teeth are terrible round about it" while Delitzsch has "round about his teeth is terror." In 39:20 we read the war horse is not afraid as grasshoppers would be. The double rows of teeth are mentioned in 41:13. That they inspire terror indicates he was a fierce meat-eater. The fiercest of meat-eaters known is the Tyrannosaurus Rex, but the leviathan was perhaps not a Tyrannosaurus Rex, for he spent much time in water. Nor was Tyrannosaurus Rex able to create fire and smoke as this creature did.

Rawlinson mentions the crocodile's teeth which are significant and could strike terror. But here the terror seems greater than what a crocodile could engender with its teeth. According to Rawlinson, crocodiles tear prey with their teeth rather than masticating them. According to Zoeckler, a crocodile has 36 sharp upper teeth and 30 lower teeth. Perhaps the leviathan's teeth were similar.

As noted in chapter 29, Job also inspired a certain type of terror though he had renounced violence (ch.31). He challenged God to a legal confrontation, and when he appeared, kings put their hands over their mouths (29:9.10). Because of his refusal to see God's love in the chastisements, he was striking terror. Job was in need of a big change.

Today scientists inspire terror through the atom bomb and chemical warfare. People in our day fear scientific achievement in some areas, as people in Job's time feared the leviathan. Such terror is not a virtue.

    There is considerable variance of translation here. The KJV has "his scales are his pride." Delitzsch has "a pride are the furrows of his shields" while Beck translates "on his back are a row of scales." Does 'aphiyqeey mean a "tube, furrow, channel" or does it mean "strong, mighty?" In 6:15 the word is used for "valley, brook." And in 12:21 and 40:18 the word is used to depict "strength." We think this makes more sense; pride of the leviathan is his strong shield. We prefer to translate "shields" because mageniym means "shields." Obviously it is used for "scales" of the leviathan which look like shields.

If we translate "tubes, furrows," we think of the 17 rows of scales of a crocodile, according to Zoeckler. Rawlinson mentions five rows of scales. Though comparison with a crocodile may be helpful, we are not here making a comparison with a crocodile. We cannot observe a real, living leviathan today.

    The word "close" tzar means first "narrow"--as in Num.22:26 where an angel led Balaam and his donkey into a narrow place and the donkey talked. Here it means the seals are close to one another. The word for "seal" chotam is used in 38:14 and refers to a seal or signet ring. In 38:14 reference is to the sun's rising and revealing the earth as a seal is revealed. It is a close seal and not even air can enter. Thus, there is controlled humidity.

The significant word in this phrase is "shut up" sagur. In Josh. 6:1 (city of Jericho was shut up) the word is used double, an absolute construct in a way. Here the seal is even more close. Job has stated in 12:14 that God can shut up, as in an underground prison, which no one can open. Emphasis is on seals being so tight no air can enter.

Delitzsch says the "close seal" is an accusative of closer definition. He describes six rows of knotty scales and four scales on the neck of a crocodile. These are in the upper part of the body, firmly attached to one another in almost impenetrable layers, as described in 41:15. Rawlinson quotes Canon Tristram: a rifle ball will glance off these shields as off a rock. Again, the thought is air cannot get in or out, thus controlling humidity. This makes possible the fire and flame of later verses.

    The word for "join" yigashu has both a Pathach and Athnach accent. It is a straight Kal word meaning "to join." These are 'echad be'echad which is Hebrew repetition, poetic, having the same sounds. Thus, they are joined. This is significant because it gives the leviathan a strong armor and controls humidity. It is able to breathe out fire and smoke. We think it probable that this creature spewed forth fire and smoke. The six conditions stated previously have been met and is the reason for describing the shields, or scales, as being closely joined. These six conditions for controlled fire and smoke were developed by Dr. Carl Baugh, a Baptist pastor and paleontologist. They are set forth in his audiotape titled "Fire-Breathing Dinosaurs."

Because God sets forth absolutes due to human sin does not mean lack of variety. Within the kinds, and within the framework of absolutes, there is much variety. This refers also to Job. He was shut off from learning spiritual lessons he needed.

    Literally we read "and air, not does it come between them." Beck translates "no space is between them." The Hebrew word is weruach. That is not a word for "space" but rather, a word for "air," "spirit." Because the description of fire and smoke now follows, it would seem the main reason for seals being close together is to provide controlled humidity.

This applied also to Job. He was closed so tightly he did not permit God's "spirit" ruach to enter. It is significant that "spirit" ruach is used here. Job had closed his seals so tightly the Holy Spirit could not reach him through normal processes. Elihu's teaching of Gospel and power of the whirlwind talk were needed to penetrate his armor.

    The expression "each to the other" 'iysh-be'achiyhu adds the point they are cleaving, or glued one to another. The verb "glued" yedubaqu is derived from dabaq "to cleave," and here in the Pual passive, it means to be glued together, "to cleave fast." In 38:38 we read the clods cleave fast together when, because of lack of rain, dust grows into hardness. In ls.41:7 we read that in making idols, pieces were soldered together. The word used for soldering is dabaq. Reason for the cleaving or gluing of these shields is to gain controlled humidity behind the seals, required for production of fire and smoke.

This emphasizes dramatically that Job has hindered God's Spirit from entering his heart. He boasts of his righteousness, which he truly had. But he wrongfully accuses God of injustice, gluing shut his armor to keep God out.

    In the preceding clause we had the verb "to cleave" dabaq and "a close seal" in the preceding phrase.

Here is the verb "hold fast together" yitelakedu in the Hithpael. Here it is scales are held together while in 38:30 the same form is used for surface of the sea being held together. Before, emphasis was on closeness of the seal, allowing no air between. Here emphasis is on shields, or scales, being held together. They are made thus.

The word for "separate" yitparadu is also Hithpael, indicating to separate oneself. In Ps.22:15 this word is used with reference to Christ's bones being separated. Because in both parts of this verse the reflexive Hithpael is used, it means the bones cannot of themselves be separated. They automatically remain joined.

This is difficult to explain as a chance happening; a Designer is required. Nor does this creature evolve into a different form. Natural selection cannot account for its unique traits. As the leviathan required a radical change to become a tame crocodile, so Job needed a radical change which can be provided only by the Angel above a thousand (33:23).

    The word for "sneezing" 'athiyshotayw is derived from 'athash and appears to be used only this once in the Old Testament. It means "to sneeze." This sneezing causes a light to shine. The verb tahel is the Hiphiel of halal originally meaning "to be clear, bright, to shine." Here the Hiphiel means "cause to shine." The sneezing causes some sort of light to shine.

Delitzsch quotes Herodotus and Deiterici who observed that a crocodile delights in sunning itself on land, turning its open jaws toward the sun. When it sneezes, light of the sun produces an irritation on the retina, and thence on the vagus. Because the sun shines on the fine particles of watery slime issued in sneezing, a meteoric appearance may be produced. Dieterici also notes that when a crocodile lies on sand with its jaws wide open, water-wagtail birds go right into the jaws to pick out worms. Herodotus mentions that especially the sandpiper likes to do this. Rawlinson doubts this, but Zoeckler quotes Bochart who claims they do.

We think Carl Baugh provides a better explanation. This is one of six elements permitting the leviathan to emit fire and smoke. Sneezing would produce friction and perhaps indicate the leviathan can manufacture electricity. Also, it may have something to do with sulphur which, apparently, is connected with the leviathan and plesiosaurus. Baugh quotes a frogman of his acquaintance who claimed that Chinese frogmen were aware of a plesiosaurus that emitted a line of light behind his sneezings. The frogmen did not linger. Electric eels make electricity of sorts, as do fire-flies. The expression "it causes light to shine" means it is not merely a reflection from blowing through the mouth.

Baugh also finds a reference to phosphorous, one of six elements needed to create a controlled fire. The leviathan has the same capabilities as fireflies and electric eels which shine due to phosphorous. Applied to Job, it means he could create some sort of shining light, but he needed to be changed.

    Commentators struggle to learn how a crocodile's eyes are as eyelids of the dawn. The word for "eyelids" ke'aphe'apeey is used already in 3:9 where Job says he wished he had not been born and not seen "the eyelids of the dawn" or "dawning of the day." 'Apheapo refers to something fluttering or winking, hence, eyelashes. In 16:16 Job says death is on his eyelids. Here reference seems to be to rays of the morning sun, as Gesenius suggests. Eyelashes or eyelids refer to the first rays of the morning sun.

Delitzsch thinks of the crocodile's two eyes as being a hieroglyph, or picture-writing for the dawn, in Egypt. He notes a peculiar brilliance in the eyes of certain animals referred to here which, either because the iris is furnished with a so-called lustrous substance or there being in the pupil of the eye, as in an ostrich, a spot which, like shining metal, has a lustre in the depth of the eye. A crocodile's eyes are close together and slanting. When a few feet under water, they glimmer and give off a red glow. Delitzsch quotes others who indicate a crocodile's eyes are a figure of light, shining from darkness. The inner, or third, eyelid is rose red, like eyelids of dawn. He is suggesting that a crocodile's eyes may represent dawn. Zoeckler says because a crocodile's eyes shine from the water before its head is seen, it depicts dawning.

Though we may substitute a plesiosaurus for a crocodile, it is still a reptile. If, by sneezing, it causes a light to shine, it can produce electricity as a firefly or electric eel. We think Carl Baugh has demonstrated this is scientifically possible.

    The word for "flames" lapiydiym is the one generally used. It is not merely something resembling a flame, as all commentators claim. These are real flames. Because the leviathan fulfills the six requirements for controlled fire mentioned previously, it has the ability to ignite a spark by sneezing. It has sulphur and phosphorous and is able to shoot forth real flames.

Some of Job's statements are like flames, e.g., when he said God laughs the upright to scorn (12:4). Or when he said God laughs at trials of the innocent (9:23). These are strong words, with fire. The leviathan cannot change, but Job can repent.

Sometimes creationists who believe the leviathan represents a form of meat-eating dinosaur refer to the bombardier beetle. This creature has the chemicals-quinine and hydrogen--in its lungs and, at the right time, is able to cause an explosion directed at its predators. There are two kinds of these beetles; one is the Pherosophus which is small and is found in North America. Then there is the Broychinus, which is larger and colored black and yellow, living in Brazil and Venezuela. Temperature in the explosion reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Evolutionists claim this is not an explosion, merely a big stink. Because the beetle is so small, its explosion is not readily apparent, but it can burn a hand. If the beetle can do this, why could not the leviathan do it? As Carl Baugh demonstrates, the leviathan could exhale real fire and smoke without doing what the bombardier beetle does.

    Delitzsch and others translate "sparks" of fire escape from him. The word kiydodeey may be derived from kadad meaning "strike fire" or "sparks of fire." This is not how Delitzsch, Zoeckler, KJV and Beck translate. But Gesenius derives this from dud, the word for "pot." We prefer this, with the idea being that here is a pot boiling and fire must escape, for the verb yitemalathu means first "to deliver" and here "to escape." The same word is used in 19:20 where Job says he escaped by the skin of his teeth. Here the idea seems to be that fire issues from the mouth as fire would escape from a burning pot. Something like a pot is boiling inside the leviathan; it boils over and gushes from its mouth.

Carl Baugh attaches significance to the seething pot or caldron in 41:20. To him this indicates sulphur was present, aiding in the fire. The idea of a pot boiling over is found already in this verse and may indicate sulphur. In the geysers at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and at Volcano Park on the island of Hawaii, the sulphur issues forth as from a steaming pot. That seems to be the picture here. Sulphur is needed for this creature to exude flames of fire from its mouth. Picture of a pot boiling over seems to indicate presence of sulphur.

Applied to Job, it means he is so angry it is as though he were frothing at the mouth, boiling over like a pot of sulphur fumes. It is almost like being in hell where the fire will never be quenched (ls.34:10, Mark 9:44.45). Job's rage, like fire boiling out of a pot, is noted in his insistence on a legal confrontation with God (23:4). The firebreathing attitude of Job needs a radical change.

    The word for "nostrils" minechiyrayw is used only this once in Scripture. This is real smoke. Fire exudes from the mouth and smoke, accompanying fire, issues from the nose. This implies the fire issues from the mouth. It is not steam created in water; it is real smoke 'ashan. Gesenius says it is vapor caused by breathing and snorting of an enraged animal. It is more. The combination of fire and smoke indicates it is real, not vapor.

    There is dispute over whether to translate we'agemon as something hot like a kettle or as "reed," "rush," as in 41:2 where a rope made of rushes placed in the mouth of a behemoth was regarded a possible means of keeping it in the water. There "rushes" seems to be the better translation. Some translate "rushes" here, making it a boiling or seething pot due to fire, fueled by rushes, under it. Such a fire would produce much smoke. Delitzsch, Zoeckler and others prefer this translation. We prefer the meaning of "hot," a "hot kettle." We might transliterate "as a pot blown and hot."

Dr. Baugh finds in this a reference to sulphur. Perhaps translating this as a reed fire might better support that concept. But, even as a caldron or heated pot, it would be associated with the smell of sulphur. When sulphur fumes are blown out in volcanic eruptions, they are hot, as in a kettle. In either case, reference may be to sulphur, perhaps associated with this creature. Applied to Job, it means he was obnoxious as sulphur fumes, not only because of his foul disease, but because of his attitude toward God.

    Literally this reads "his breath coals set on fire." The word for "coals" gechaliym refers not to black coal, but to burning coals. Breath sets them on fire. It may also refer to hot, burning breath which could set real coal on fire. This creature's breath had the capacity to set coal on fire because of the following: controlled humidity, friction, built-in electricity, sulphur and phosphorous.

    Here is another word for fire or flame, welahab. The waw governs the accusative. In 41:19 the word for "flame" is lapiydiym which is more like a lamp. In 41:17.21 it is "fire" 'eesh and "burning coals" gechaliym. Here is the regular word for "flame" welahab. This issues from the leviathan's mouth, kindled by controlled humidity, its close seals permitting no air between. Sneezing indicates both friction and a firefly-type of electricity. Sulphur is present and phosphorous as boiling in a pot of ointment. This is a real flame, not merely an imitation. Applied to Job, a flame issued from his mouth when he said God laughs at the innocent (9:23). Job got the message and repented (42:6).

    Literally we read "in his neck lodges strength." There was power in the leviathan's neck. The word for "neck" betzua'ro is used also in 39:19 for the neck of a war horse and by Eliphaz in 15:26 to describe how wicked men make themselves strong against God.

The word for "lodge" yaliyn is derived from lun and means that strength abides, or dwells, in the neck. In 17:2 the word is used to describe how Job's eye continues to be provoked by mockers. In 19:4 Job says if he has erred, his error abides with him. The thought conveyed seems to be that though strength departs from other parts of the body, it remains in the neck. The neck is often a symbol of strength, often obstinate strength.

The word for "strength" 'ots is used also in 12:16 to indicate strength and wisdom are with God. Job complains his friends have failed to comfort him who has no strength. In 37:6 it indicates rain and water have strength.

Rawlinson makes the observation that a whale has no neck or, at least, none that is visible. However, the crocodile has a neck of strength, attracting attention. At the point of junction it is nearly the same diameter as the head and where it joins the body, it is even larger. This would apply even to a plesiosaurus or Tyran-nosaurus Rex. The leviathan's main characteristic is a strong neck.

    Literally we read "and before him dances despair." KJV reads "and sorrow is turned into joy before him," translating de'abah as "sorrow," and tadutz as "turned to joy." We prefer "dancing with dread." The word for "despair" de'abah is derived from da'ab and means "to bring into a lost condition." Gesenius says it is derived from the idea of "melting away," becoming weak and despondent. He translates it "terror, dread." It seems this is the only place in Scripture where it is used.

The word for "dance" tadutz means to dance or skip. A similar word is used in Ps.29:6--hills of Lebanon skip like a calf at the time of seven thunders, or voices, perhaps at the time of the Noahic flood. Pictured is someone altogether terrified at sight of this creature, and jumping to escape.

There are creatures in the oceans today which cause terror. Dr. Look indicates that an hippopotamus can grab a canoe with its mouth, smash it into the water, and break it. Occupants in the canoe would certainly be terrified.

Applied to Job, reference is to chapter 29 where he indicates kings and princes respected him (29:9.10). Though he did not use force, he inspired terror and God accuses him of trying to inspire terror even before Him.

Fire-Breathing Dinosaur

We present a minority view that the behemoth and leviathan were dinosaurs, living at the time of Job - aware that most people think these creatures were extinct at that time. Also, we contend some of them breathed out fire and smoke. This is clearly stated in the description of the leviathan.

The six conditions mentioned by Dr. Baugh as necessary for manufacturing a controlled fire are apparently stated in the text. Controlled humidity is noted in close seal of scales. Friction is in sneezing. Electricity is connected with making a light to shine. Oxygen would be present in the creature raising its head out of water. Sulphur is noted in the picture of a pot boiling. And phosphorous is in the reflected light shining behind him. Scientifically it is not difficult to demonstrate this creature could breathe out fire and smoke.

Again, we mention the bombardier beetle which, today, causes an explosion of fire and smoke, though in different manner. We need more study on this section of Job.

Invincibility of Leviathan (Job 41:23-29)


(v.23) The folds of his flesh cling to him, (They) fit him tightly and immovably.

(v.24) His heart is hard as a rock, And solid as a lower millstone.

(v.25) The mighty are afraid of his rising up! From terror they miss their aim.

(v.26) A sword may strike him but will not stick: Neither spear, nor dart, nor harpoon.

(v.27) He regards iron as straw,  And brass as rotten wood.

(v.28) The son of the bow (arrow) does not cause him to flee, Sling stones are turned to stubble for him.

(v.29) Clubs are counted as stubble, He laughs at the shaking of the spear.


    The word for "folds" is mapeleey derived from mapal. Its first meaning is "failing" and then anything that falls off, as here a flap or swinging object. In Amos 8:6 it is used for "refuse" and is used only twice in Scripture. Here it refers to flabby parts. They are not just fat and in the way; they cling tight. They are under control, making this creature very dangerous. The word for "flesh" is besaro and for "cling" is dabeeku. It means the flaps cling tightly to its body.

According to Delitzsch, these fleshy parts are not flabby, but fit the creature like a metal casting, without moving, for the skin is very thick and covered with thick scales. The digestive apparatus of the animal occupies little space and scales of the back are continued toward the belly. The tender parts seem smaller, narrower, and closer together than in other animals. Rawlinson notes this and emphasizes that the scales are as shields, sticking so close together that no air can come between them (41:17). In some animals these fleshy parts are flabby, but not in this creature.

    This is Beck's translation. Delitzsch translates "fitting tightly to him, immovable." The word for "straightened, fit tightly" is yatzug. The verb tzuq means "to straighten, to press." His fleshy parts are tight against the bones and do not move of themselves. The verb is used in 32:18 where Elihu says the spirit within him presses him on, indicating he was prophetically inspired.

The other verb "moved" yimoth is used in Ps.93:1 to indicate that earth will never be moved. In Ps.21:8 it indicates God's mercy will not be moved. This creature has tight and very strong scales and flesh. No weak parts can be found by spears, javelins, bows or darts.

This is a scientific description. If any of these creatures still exist, they are so rare and inaccessible it is impossible to describe them scientifically. A creature resembling a crocodile, larger and more fierce, e.g., a plesiosaurus, would fit.

This applies to Job who stubbornly demands a confrontation with God, refusing to move. God sent Job's friends but he continued to accuse God of being unfair and laughing at the innocent (9:23,12:4). Though God described Job as "perfect," tam, he at first even held back when Elihu taught him.

    The word yatzuq is used three times in three consecutive phrases. It is not the future of tzuq, but a participle of yatzaq and means "to be straitened, to be pressed, to be hard." That it is repeated three times in close succession indicates this creature is truly impervious to being reached. In 41:23b the word emphasizes the creature is immovable, in 41:24a that he is hard as a stone, in 41:24b that he is hard as a nether millstone (very hard). He has a particularly hard physical heart. Isaiah says Assyrians have a stout heart (Is. 10:12).

Rawlinson notes that reptiles, crocodiles and also this leviathan, are torpid and sluggish, having a physically harder heart than warm-blooded creatures. Such a description of the leviathan indicates he was a fierce and large reptile.

Applied to Job it means that, though God described him as perfect (1:7), and though he was righteous in the coming Redeemer (19:25), he had a heart of stone. In Ez.11:19 we read that God will remove the stony heart from Israel and give, instead, a fleshly heart. When Job repented (42:6), God gave him a good heart.

    Here we follow Beck's translation. Again, as in Hebrew and Job's poetry, the stronger statement is reserved for the last phrase. In those days the harder stone would be the lower millstone which took the brunt of grinding the wheat. In Dt.24:6 we read that neither upper nor nether millstone was to be taken as a pledge, for they represented a man's livelihood. Here emphasis is on the hardness of the stone. Generally they were of basalt. Today we regard diamonds as being the hardest of stones. Diamonds were not as well known as nether millstones.

Applied to Job, this means his heart was harder than the hardest rock, like that of a leviathan.

    Beck translates "The mighty are afraid of his terror." The KJV reads "when he raiseth himself up, the mighty are afraid."

The word for "rising up" miseeto is derived from se'eet and means "a lifting up." Here it is contracted and is better used in the active sense than in passive. Rawlinson notes that people in Egypt were afraid to walk along the river bank because crocodiles could rise and, with a swish of the tail, throw a person into the water and devour him at leisure. If a crocodile can be that dangerous, how much more fierce was this leviathan!

The word for "mighty" is odd, 'eeliym. It is not derived from 'aiyl but from 'eeyliym. Actually, it is derived from 'ul and means "thick, fleshly," carrying over the idea of "strong." Some say it is derived from a background meaning of ram but this does not fit well. According to Delitzsch, it has a background meaning of going forward and backward and, thus, to rule. He believes the word indicates a possessor of power. At the least, reference is to people who are strong or who possess power.

The verb yaguru is derived from gur with a first meaning of "to turn" but here means "to fear," by turning out of the way. The fearful yield and turn from the way. Here the mighty turn from the path of this creature out of fear. This presents a good scientific picture of the creature, more fierce than most creatures known today. While we may not fear sea monsters, we fear other things.

Applied to Job, he was fearsome, and adamant in his dialogue with his friends. But to be feared is not a desirable trait which Job indicated in the picture of his righteousness (ch.31). Recognizing the need for radical change, he repented (42:6).

    The word for "terror" mishebariym is derived from shabarl and its first meaning is "break." Then it has the meaning of "breaking of the mind" and then "terror." The word is used also in Is. 65:14 where the translation reads "vexation of spirit" or "breaking of spirit." The terror experienced by those trying to capture the leviathan causes them to miss their target when shooting arrows at him.

The verb "miss their aim" is actually the word for "sin" yitechatha'u, but here it has its first meaning "to miss the mark." The KJV translates it "by reason of breaking they purify themselves." Rawlinson corrects this to read "they are confounded." We prefer "missing the mark." Job is fearful that his friends missed the mark while verbally shooting at him. This is no more advantage to Job than it was to the leviathan. God wants a humble Job rather than a proud Job.

    Delitzsch translates "if one reaches him with the sword it does not hold." He believes the verb masiygeehu is a nominative absolute, "one reaching him." It gives the first part of a conditional sentence, "if one reaches him," and adds the conclusion "it does not hold fast" beliy takum. The beliy is with the finite verb as in Hos. 8:7 where we read "it hath no stalk, the bud shall yield no meal." The word for "sword" chereb instrumental as in Ps. 17:13. The KJV translates "The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold." We follow Beck's translation which captures the Hebrew in more smooth English. The grammar covering construction of beliy with the finite verb is found in Ewald's grammar, paragraph 357. The verb for "it will not stick, hold" is takum and actually means "it will not stand or rise up," meaning it will not stick into the leviathan. According to Rawlinson, either it makes no impression or it snaps in his hand.

    Here construction of "not" beliy, with the finite verb, covers expressions in 41:26b. Not only does a sword not help, nor spear, nor dart, nor does a harpoon have an effect on the leviathan. "Spear" chaniyt is the word generally used. It is derived from cheen which means "favor." The spear is flexible, long, and somewhat wavy. In I Sam. 18:11, 19:10, 20:33 it is used three times with reference to the javelin Saul used in attempts to pin David to the wall. The word for "dart" masa' appears to be used just this once in Scripture. The Targum almost translates this as a "thrown stone." Septuagint and Vulgate translate "dart."

The word for "harpoon" is weshireyah and is derived from shireyon. Its first meaning is "coat of mail." Delitzsch says it is equivalent to "serwe," an Arabic word referring to an arrow with long and broad edge, like a harpoon. Gesenius says it means "coat of mail," which Zoeckler also follows. Implication is that even a coat of mail would be of no help to someone attacking a leviathan.

Scientifically this describes weapons used by fishermen against large sea creatures. They used swords, spears, darts, harpoons and, for a creature this fierce, might even wear a protecting coat of mail.

Applied to Job, it means that all weapons used by his friends, including Elihu, had not affected him. He was impervious to them. Through an indirect description of Job as a leviathan, God indicated a need for miraculous change. As Christ indicated to Nicodemus (John 3), Job needed to be born again. He repented in dust and ashes (42:6).

    The word for "straw" leteben means broken straw, often mixed with barley. In 21:18 the wicked are described as stubble or straw, before the wind. Israelites were made to find straw for making bricks (Ex. 5:7,10.11). Mixed with barley or other provender, such straw is used as fodder for cattle (Is.11:7, 65:25). In Gen.24:25.33 we read it was used for feed for camels and in Judges 19:19 as feed for asses. In I Ki.4:28 we read it was used to feed horses. All these feared weapons are no more than light straw to the leviathan.

Emphasis is on "iron" baretzel weapons, most powerful known in those days. The same word is used in 28:2 for iron removed from the earth in mining operations. Already in those days there was knowledge of what today we call science.

Though we have more sophisticated and more effective weapons today, God is still able to thwart us. We cannot even find the leviathan which may be lurking in ocean depths. We are as frustrated as fishermen warriors in Job's time. Applied to Job, it means that all weapons used against him by friends, and even by God in the first whirlwind talk, were regarded by him as stubble and straw. The lesson was not lost on Job; he repented (42:6).

    Literally we read "to wood, rotten, brass." This is Hebrew poetry. The idea of something being "rotten," in riqabon poetic form for raqab, is of hollowness. The wood is hollow because of rotting. At least, it has no strength. Here items made of "brass" nechushah, regarded as strong metal in those days (indicated in 28:2, the mining chapter), is no more effective against this creature than rotten wood.

Scientifically, attempts to locate this creature, or to outdistance God, have been futile. Applied to Job, he recognized his sin of feeling superior and repented in dust and ashes (42:6).

    The Hebrew reads "sons of the bow." In 5:7 we read "sons of flame" which some say refers to sparks of lightning. In Lam.3:13 we read "sons of the quiver" which pierce the weeping Jeremiah. Beck translates "the arrow from a bow doesn't make him run away." We think the idea of "sons of" ought to be kept in the translation, though it is awkward. The KJV translates "the arrow cannot make him flee" which seems somewhat weak. Arrows from a bow, as sons of the bow, cannot cause this creature to flee; he is impervious to bows and arrows. The verb is in the Hiphiel yaberiychenu, giving it a causative meaning "cause to flee." This may be translated, as Gesenius does, "put to flight."

If, with advanced weapons of today, we could put to death a plesiosaurus (leviathan), we must first find him. Applied to Job, it means that all arrows shot at him by friends, and by God in the first whirlwind talk, did not hit their mark. Finally, Job sees himself in this leviathan and recognizes the need for a miraculous change.

    Literally we read "for stubble are turned to him stones of a sling." The KJV reads "slingstones are turned with him into stubble" while Beck has "stones from a sling are turned to stubble against him." Delitzsch has "sling stones are turned to stubble with him."

The word for "stubble" leqash is similar to the word for broken-up straw, teben used in verse 27. This word refers to stubble left in the field, easily driven by wind. It is used also in verse 29 where darts are counted as "stubble" keqash. If it were to hit a person, no harm would be done though it might be annoying. Thus, sling stones, used effectively in war in those days, were harmless as stubble against the leviathan.

The word for "sling" here seems to be a noun and "stones of a sling" is a characteristic manner of speaking. Also, it is poetic. Stones were hurled at fort walls, causing a breach. Though large and powerful, these stones had no effect on the leviathan.

Scientifically, today we might think of atomic bombs. Undoubtedly they would have an impact on this creature, if we could find one. But God is more powerful than an atomic bomb. Applied to Job, it means powerful words were spoken. Included would be the loving criticism of Elihu (32-37) and the powerful first whirlwind talk with its 39 questions. All this had not sufficiently affected Job. Now God compares Job with a leviathan and he was crushed into repentance (42:6).

    The word for "club" totach seems to be used only this once in Scripture. The KJV translates it as "darts." Rawlinson speaks of maces used by the Assyrians. These had heavy heads and were as effective as weapons as swords and spears. Even a heavy club, striking the leviathan's head, did not hurt him.

There is a problem with a plural verb for "are considered" necheshebu and the singular subject "club" totach. Delitzsch wrestles with this and rejects the idea that the word for "club" is used collectively. Rather than saying that "club and spear" are what the poet has in mind and, rather than using both words in this phrase, the poet uses a separate phrase for "spear" and includes both in the plural verb. We think here is another instance in Hebrew where you can have a singular subject with a plural verb, as in "Gods create" in Gen. 1:1. Also, sometimes Hebrew switches genders. Zoeckler agrees with Delitzsch that the next phrase with "spear" should be included. He refers to 39:23 where, in the first phrase, the war horse has the quiver rattling against him. In the next phrase he mentions sword, spear and javelin, but all are controlled by the verb in the first phrase. This illustrates how short and concise Hebrew can be, particularly Hebrew poetry.

If we could find a leviathan today, warfare with rockets or explosives might have an impact. Applied to Job, we are reminded how God struck Job-picture of behemoth in this second whirlwind talk (40:15-24), with war horse (39:19-25), and now an attack with a heavy club. This led Job to repentance (42:6).

    Beck translates this as "whirring lance." Gesenius allows "trembling spear" while Rawlinson likes the Revised Version "rushing of the javelin." The word for "shaking" is the common lira'ash, perhaps indicating noise of the spear in motion or the manner in which it weaves through the air, striking terror when it is about to hit.

Scientifically, even with more effective weapons, we cannot identify the leviathan or find him. Applied to Job, even as the spear whirred toward him, he was not truly repentant. But comparison of Job with the leviathan led to repentance and trust in God's redeeming love (42: 6).

Humility in Science

In this section (41:23-29) invincibility of the leviathan is emphasized. He cannot be touched with sword, spear, dart, javelin, iron, brass, arrow, slingstone, club or whirring spear. He was proud and, apparently invincible, a picture of proud Job. Like Job, so today science disciplines are highly regarded. In spite of claims that science is neutral, it is not and it is subject to morality. Much good has been accomplished through science, but scientists need to learn humility and to repent, as Job did (42:6). When this happens, greater blessings will follow.

King of Sons of Pride (41:30-34)


(v.30) His underside is like sharp pieces of broken pottery, He stretches out like a threshing-sledge upon the mud.

(v.31) He makes the deep sea to boil like a boiling pot, He makes the ocean like a pot of ointment.

(v.32) He causes a path to light after him, The deep appears to have hoary hair.

(v.33) Upon the dust there is nothing his equal, He is made to be without fear.

(v.34) He beholds all things that are high, He is king over all the sons of pride.


    Literally, this reads "Under him sharp pieces of potsherd," meaning his underside is rough and sharp. Delitzsch claims the underside of a crocodile is smooth, so he transfers this to the crocodile's tail. Here is another example that a crocodile is not meant; a more fierce creature is intended. In many respects he is like a crocodile because he is a reptile. In 41:16 he is described as having scales so close together no air can enter, and in 41:17 we read they are so joined they cannot be sundered. Also, they are sharp and pointed.

The "under it" tachetayw is like the tachat of 41:11 where everything "under the entire heavens" belongs to the leviathan. The word for "sharpened" chadudeey is the intensive and more poetic form of chad. The intensive form for "smooth" is used also in I Sam. 17:40 where we read David gathered five smooth stones for his sling. Chaluqeey is the intensive form of chalaq. Use of plural with "sharp" for "sharp potsherds" intensifies this concept. There are superlative potsherds, the sharpest ones doing the most damage.

The Septuagint joins the verb in the succeeding clause, "to spread" yirpad with the first clause and sharp potsherds are spread out. This is not necessary. These are the sharpest and most dangerous of potsherds. This is a scientifically accurate description of the fierce plesiosaurus. It does not describe a crocodile with a smooth belly.

Applied to Job it means he had sharp answers for his friends, and even for God, especially when he said God laughs at the innocent (9:23, 12:4), also when he demanded a legal confrontation with God (23:4). Also, Job was sharp with his friends when he pictured punishment of the wicked (16:2) and when he called them miserable comforters.

    Literally this reads "he spreads out a sharp one on the mud." With "sharp one" charutz we need to supply "threshing-sledge" morag. Though in concise poetry the "sledge" is not mentioned, it is implied. The word for "mud" thiyth means simply "mud." Walking across land or ocean bottom, especially in mud, this creature makes an impression as though a threshing sledge had been pulled over it. Marks of this creature show up in the mud.

Though later the sea and depth are mentioned, indicating this creature is not limited to the Nile River as a crocodile would be, he walks through mud. This creature is not always in the ocean depths, for sometimes it is in shallow water, dragging its sharp scales through mud, leaving imprints as a threshing instrument would. This is a scientifically accurate statement. And, applied to Job, it implies that some of Job's attacks on his friends and on God were mud-slinging. Acknowledging this served to lead Job to repentance.

    Delitzsch, Zoeckler and Rawlinson all claim this means no more than that he churns the deep sea. The word for "deep sea" is metzulah, an odd, poetic word emphasizing depth of the ocean. This does not describe the Nile River nor the ordinary Nile River crocodile.

According to Dr. Carl Baugh, the boiling is significant. He finds in this another means of creating fire and smoke (41:19-21). To him this indicates presence of sulphur in this creature. He boils in the water like the boiling sulphur vents at Volcano Park on the big island of Hawaii and in Yellowstone Park in Wyoming. This is more than the leviathan churning in the ocean. He literally makes it boil, using his own supply of sulphur which also causes him to exhale fire and smoke. In his book on the Loch Ness monster, author Thompson notes that people who have sighted this monster, say it emits a terrible stink with a purposeful repellent on its skin, like sulphur. Applied to Job it means that he should sit up and take notice; nearly everything he has said stank before God. This is lost on most commentators. But it was not lost on Job. It served to lead him to repentance (42:6).

    Rawlinson claims that "sea" yam refers to the Nile River and cites ls.18:2, 19:5 and Nah.3:8 to support the idea that sea is the Nile River. This position poses problems, for even in these references is meant the sea bordering Egypt, not the Nile River. Therefore, this creature is something other than the Nile River crocodile.

The word for "pot of ointment" kamereqacheh in our opinion, refers to sulphur because sulphur is an ingredient of ointment. Otherwise, a pot of ointment would churn the sea. Delitzsch suggests a strong odor of musk which he says is emitted from a double gland in the tail of the crocodile. Some ointments and perfumes sold by Egyptians contain musk from a crocodile's tail. We think it is sulphur which may originate in the tail of the leviathan. Applied to Job, the thought is that he stinks before God. These are harsh words against noble Job who had been declared "perfect" tam by God (1:8, 2:3) and they served to humble him.

    According to Zoeckler, Delitzsch and Rawlinson, this means simply that he leaves a white trail in the water as he travels from sand bank to sand bank. We follow Dr. Baugh's position that this creature-- like the electric eel and firefly-is himself a source of phosphorous which allows him to leave trailing behind a shining trail of light. This would explain how he can emit fire and smoke (41:19-21). Dr. Baugh tells of a U.S. frogman who worked with Chinese frogmen. When they saw a shining light in a stream, they refused to go near it.

The word for "make to shine" ya'iyr is in the Hiphiel and has a causative effect. Here it causes light to shine, and does not refer merely to an appearance of light as, for example, white foam caused by traveling through water.

The word for "path" natiyb refers to a trodden or well worn path. It causes some type of light, not just foam. In our opinion phosphorous is required for that kind of light and it contributed to breathing out of fire and smoke. Applied to Job, it means he was causing his light to shine. He boasted, particularly in describing his righteousness. Though he was righteous in the Redeemer, he was boastful and arrogant as his friends claimed.

    The word for "oceans" or "deep" is tehom. This cannot be the Nile river; it must be the ocean.

It does not say here he "makes" yasiym, as in 41:23 the deeps have hoary hair. Here we read "the deep is considered to have hoary hair" yachshob. Clearly, this is not real hoary hair, as light is real light in the first part of the verse. A distinction is made. Reference is not to white foam alone; it is more. This light made by the leviathan looks like hoary hair and he causes it to shine after him. When Scripture speaks in picture form, it tells you so. Here it tells you it is speaking in picture form.

The word for "hoary hair" leseeybah also has a le before it, meaning this light is "to hoary hair" or "like hoary hair," but is not real hoary hair. This is a common word for hoary, silver hair.

Reference to hoary hair is interesting because there has been emphasis on age. Bildad tells Job to ask of the fathers (8:8) and Eliphaz says the friends have the aged on their side (15:10). The despised cave people did not get old (30:2). Out of respect for age, Elihu remained silent until the others had finished speaking (32:4). At this time Job was perhaps about 70 years of age. Alluding to "hoary hair" also indicates their efforts to claim age did not carry weight before God.

    The word for "dust" is generally translated as "earth" but we prefer to retain the coloring of the Hebrew word in the translation. Adam was formed from the dust of the ground and, due to sin, he returned to dust (Gen. 3:1 9). This may be an indirect reference to written tablets, with use of "dust" 'aphar rather than "earth" 'eretz. In 19:25 Job's statement that on the latter day the Redeemer shall stand on the "earth" 'aphar "dust" is used.

The word for "his equal" or "like him" mashelo is actually the word for "parable." The word mashal has two meanings; one is "to rule" and the other is "like." Here it is "like." Delitzsch and Zoeckler prefer to translate "equal" because in the next phrase this creature is described as being without fear. The Targum and Peschitto follow Zoeckler, but the Septuagint and Vulgate translate "like him." A parable is something else and it teaches a lesson. Here the implication may be that the leviathan is like a parable as Job used parables (29:1). Emphasized is the fact that the leviathan is unique.

Applied to Job it means he was great, and God had called him "perfect." But he had been formed of dust and would return to dust, a creature subject to the God who created him. Seldom do commentators mention thoughts like this.

    Use of the le before the Hebrew "without" libeliy, in addition to the verb, would indicate this creature was made by God to be without fear.

The word for "fear" chat is derived from the verb chatat meaning "terror." This creature fears nothing. In 41:24-29 we read the leviathan has a heart hard as a rock and all weapons against him are useless. He did not gradually evolve into this form, but God created him like this. And as a creature, Job had no right to confront his Maker.

    God told Job (40:11) to cast away wrath and see everyone who was "high" ge'eh and abase them. Indirectly God is telling Job the same thing here. This is a creature so proud and powerful he looks upon everything "high," the word for "high" being gaboah. God implies Job is like the leviathan.

Emphasis is on "all." This creature is so strong he thinks only of that which is high and exalted. This, too, described Job. This creature cannot be a crocodile, for he is more exalted.

    This final statement clinches the need for total repentance. This creature has a built-in nature of pride which is also Job's problem. It is perhaps a variety of plesiosaur in our oceans today.

It may even be possible that a few of these creatures live and breed in the Loch Nesses of Scotland where there are rift lakes connected with the ocean and where year-round temperature of 45 degrees is ideal for breeding. Today even in the oceans these creatures are rare and sighted only a few times in a generation. Numerous sightings are reported by Huevelman in his Sea Monsters. Thompson, who wrote about the monster in the Loch Ness, has descriptions which tend to agree with those given for the leviathan. This is a challenge to science and shows how new things may be learned from the Bible.

CHAP. 39
CHAP. 40
CHAP. 41
CHAP. 42