Job 40:18

18 Its bones are tubes of bronze, its limbs like rods of iron.

Job 40:18 in Other Translations

18 His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.
18 His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron.
18 Its bones are tubes of bronze. Its limbs are bars of iron.
18 His skeleton is made of steel, every bone in his body hard as steel.
18 His bones are bronze tubes; his limbs are like iron rods.

Job 40:18 Meaning and Commentary

Job 40:18

His bones [are as] strong pieces of brass: his bones [are] as
bars of iron.
] Than which nothing is stronger. The repetition is made for greater illustration and confirmation; but what is said is not applicable to the elephant, whose bones are porous and rimous, light and spongy for the most part, as appears from the osteology F11 of it; excepting its teeth, which are the ivory; though the teeth of the river horse are said to exceed them in hardness F12; and artificers say F13 they are wrought with greater difficulty than ivory. The ancients, according to Pausanias F14, used them instead of it; who relates, that the face of the image of the goddess Cybele was made of them: and Kircher F15 says, in India they make beads, crucifixes, and statues of saints of them; and that they are as hard or harder than a flint, and fire may be struck out of them. So the teeth of the morss, a creature of the like kind in the northern countries, are valued by the inhabitants as ivory F16, for hardness, whiteness, and weight, beyond it, and are dearer and much traded in; (See Gill on Job 40:20); but no doubt not the teeth only, but the other bones of the creature in the text are meant.


F11 In Philosoph. Transact. vol. 5. p. 155, 156.
F12 Odoardus Barbosa apud Bochart. ut supra. (Apud Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 5. c. 14. col. 758.)
F13 Diepenses apud ib.
F14 Arcadica, sive, l. 8. p. 530.
F15 China cum Monument. p. 193.
F16 Olaus Magnus, ut supra, (De Ritu. Septent. Gent.) l. 2. c. 19. Voyage to Spitzbergen, p. 115.

Job 40:18 In-Context

16 What strength it has in its loins, what power in the muscles of its belly!
17 Its tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of its thighs are close-knit.
18 Its bones are tubes of bronze, its limbs like rods of iron.
19 It ranks first among the works of God, yet its Maker can approach it with his sword.
20 The hills bring it their produce, and all the wild animals play nearby.

Cross References 2

  • 1. Job 41:12
  • 2. Isaiah 11:4; Isaiah 49:2
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