Job 41 Study Notes


41:1 Leviathan has been identified by interpreters as a whale, shark, dinosaur, sea monster, and a crocodile. For its mythological associations, see notes at 3:8-10; 7:12. In ancient Egypt the crocodile could symbolize royal power, yet it was a hunted animal.

41:2-4 God’s challenge indicates that Job would be unable to hunt and subdue Leviathan unaided. In the ancient Near East, stronger nations imposed treaty obligations on a weaker state. Fierce Leviathan would neither petition Job for such a covenant arrangement nor ask to be his perpetual slave (Ex 21:5-6; Dt 15:16-17).

41:5 Only God is powerful enough to train Leviathan.

41:6 Leviathan cannot be captured and sold.

41:7-9 It would be impossible for Job to face Leviathan alone with the usual hunting methods. Most likely Job would collapse in fear at seeing him.

41:10-11 If Job would not dare to face Leviathan single-handedly, how could he hope to confront God who owned everything (including Leviathan) in order to present and win an argument (31:35-37)?

41:12-17 God reminded Job of Leviathan’s magnificent physical features that made him too formidable to face by any one person.

41:18-21 God’s portrayal of Leviathan’s foaming emergence from water is compared to that of a fire-breathing dragon. Similar creatures are described in Ugaritic mythology depicting Baal’s defeat of Yam, the sea god.

41:22-25 Leviathan’s strength and seemingly impregnable body were exceeded only by his inner courage and fearlessness. Leviathan’s power and self-assurance made him a fitting symbol of Satan, the fearsome and fallen being whose raging is fully and finally quelled by God in the end (Rv 20:10).

41:26-29 No human weapon had any effect on Leviathan. His fearlessness in the face of danger is compared to laughing.

41:30-32 A threshing sledge consisted of two boards whose undersides were embedded with sharp stones for crushing grain. When Leviathan dove into the water, he made it foam like ingredients boiled by the perfumer and left a wake like gray hair.

41:33-34 Fearless Leviathan was unequaled in power. If neither man nor beast dared to oppose God’s foremost creature, certainly no one could challenge the Lord, its Creator (vv. 10-11).