Job 40:17

17 Its tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of its thighs are close-knit.

Read Job 40:17 Using Other Translations

He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
He makes his tail stiff like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are knit together.
Its tail is as strong as a cedar. The sinews of its thighs are knit tightly together.

What does Job 40:17 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Job 40:17

He moveth his tail like a cedar
To which it is compared, not for the length and largeness of it; for the tail both of the elephant and of the river horse is short; though Vartomannus F3 says, the tail of the elephant is like a buffalo's, and is four hands long, and thin of hair: but because of the smoothness, roundness, thickness, and firmness of it; such is the tail of the river horse, being like that of a hog or boar F4; which is crooked, twisted, and which it is said to turn back and about at pleasure, as the word used is thought to signify. Aben Ezra interprets it, "maketh to stand": that is, stiff and strong, and firm like a cedar. One writer F5 speaks of the horse of the Nile, as having a scaly tail; but he seems to confound it with the sea horse. Junius interprets it of its penis, its genital part; to which the Targum in the King's Bible is inclined: and Cicero F6 says, the ancients used to call that the tail; but that of the elephant, according to Aristotle F7, is but small, and not in proportion to the size of its body; and not in sight, and therefore can hardly be thought to be described; though the next clause seems to favour this sense:

the sinews of his stones are wrapped together;
if by these are meant the testicles, as some think, so the Targums; the sinews of which were wreathed, implicated and ramified, like branches of trees, as Montanus renders it. Bochart interprets this of the sinews or nerves of the river horse, which having such plenty of them, are exceeding strong; so that, as some report, this creature will with one foot sink a boat F8; I have known him open his mouth, says a traveller F9, and set one tooth on the gunnel of a boat, and another on the second strake from the keel, more than four feet distant, and there bite a hole through the plank, and sink the boat.


F3 Navigat. l. 4. c. 9.
F4 Aristot. Plin. Solin. & Isidore ut supra. (See ( Job 40:16 ) .)
F5 Nicet. Choniat. apud Fabrit. Gr. Bibliothec. vol. 6. p. 410.
F6 Epist. l. 9. ep. 22.
F7 Hist. Amimal. l. 2. c. 1.
F8 Apud Hierozoic, par. 2. l. 5. c. 14. col. 758.
F9 Dampier's Voyages, vol. 2. part 2. p. 105.
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