Job 40

1 The LORD said to Job:
2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!”
3 Then Job answered the LORD:
4 “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth.
5 I spoke once, but I have no answer— twice, but I will say no more.”
6 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:
7 “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
8 “Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
9 Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like his?
10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
11 Unleash the fury of your wrath, look at all who are proud and bring them low,
12 look at all who are proud and humble them, crush the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them all in the dust together; shroud their faces in the grave.
14 Then I myself will admit to you that your own right hand can save you.
15 “Look at Behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox.
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.
21 Under the lotus plants it lies, hidden among the reeds in the marsh.
22 The lotuses conceal it in their shadow; the poplars by the stream surround it.
23 A raging river does not alarm it; it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth.
24 Can anyone capture it by the eyes, or trap it and pierce its nose?

Job 40 Commentary

Chapter 40

Job humbles himself to God. (1-5) The Lord reasons with Job to show his righteousness, power, and wisdom. (6-14) God's power shown in Behemoth. (15-24)

Verses 1-5 Communion with the Lord effectually convinces and humbles a saint, and makes him glad to part with his most beloved sins. There is need to be thoroughly convinced and humbled, to prepare us for remarkable deliverances. After God had shown Job, by his manifest ignorance of the works of nature, how unable he was to judge of the methods and designs of Providence, he puts a convincing question to him; Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? Now Job began to melt into godly sorrow: when his friends reasoned with him, he did not yield; but the voice of the Lord is powerful. When the Spirit of truth is come, he shall convince. Job yields himself to the grace of God. He owns himself an offender, and has nothing to say to justify himself. He is now sensible that he has sinned; and therefore he calls himself vile. Repentance changes men's opinion of themselves. Job is now convinced of his error. Those who are truly sensible of their own sinfulness and vileness, dare not justify themselves before God. He perceived that he was a poor, mean, foolish, and sinful creature, who ought not to have uttered one word against the Divine conduct. One glimpse of God's holy nature would appal the stoutest rebel. How, then will the wicked bear the sight of his glory at the day of judgment? But when we see this glory revealed in Jesus Christ, we shall be humbled without being terrified; self-abasement agrees with filial love.

Verses 6-14 Those who profit by what they have heard from God, shall hear more from him. And those who are truly convinced of sin, yet need to be more thoroughly convinced and more humbled. No doubt God, and he only, has power to humble and bring down proud men; he has wisdom to know when and how to do it, and it is not for us to teach him how to govern the world. Our own hands cannot save us by recommending us to God's grace, much less rescuing us from his justice; and therefore into his hand we must commit ourselves. The renewal of a believer proceeds in the same way of conviction, humbling, and watchfulness against remaining sin, as his first conversion. When convinced of many evils in our conduct, we still need convincing of many more.

Verses 15-24 God, for the further proving of his own power, describes two vast animals, far exceeding man in bulk and strength. Behemoth signifies beasts. Most understand it of an animal well known in Egypt, called the river-horse, or hippopotamus. This vast animal is noticed as an argument to humble ourselves before the great God; for he created this vast animal, which is so fearfully and wonderfully made. Whatever strength this or any other creature has, it is derived from God. He that made the soul of man, knows all the ways to it, and can make the sword of justice, his wrath, to approach and touch it. Every godly man has spiritual weapons, the whole armour of God, to resist, yea, to overcome the tempter, that his never-dying soul may be safe, whatever becomes of his frail flesh and mortal body.

Cross References 43

  • 1. S Job 5:8; S Job 10:2; Job 13:3; Job 23:4; Job 31:35; Job 33:13
  • 2. S Job 13:3
  • 3. S Job 9:15; S Job 11:8; S Job 33:13; Romans 9:20
  • 4. S Job 9:3
  • 5. Job 42:6
  • 6. S Judges 18:19; S Job 29:9
  • 7. S Job 9:3
  • 8. S Job 9:15
  • 9. S Exodus 14:21; S Job 38:1
  • 10. S Job 38:3; Job 42:4
  • 11. S Job 15:25; S Job 27:2; Romans 3:3
  • 12. S Job 2:3; S Job 34:17
  • 13. S 2 Chronicles 32:8; S Psalms 98:1
  • 14. Isaiah 6:8; Ezekiel 10:5
  • 15. S Exodus 20:19; S Job 36:33; Job 37:5; Psalms 29:3-4
  • 16. Psalms 29:1-2; Psalms 45:3; Psalms 93:1; Psalms 96:6; Psalms 104:1; Psalms 145:5
  • 17. S Job 20:28; Psalms 7:11; Isaiah 5:25; Isaiah 9:12,19; Isaiah 10:5; Isaiah 13:3,5; Isaiah 30:27; Isaiah 42:25; Isaiah 51:20; Jeremiah 7:20; Nahum 1:6; Zephaniah 1:18
  • 18. Psalms 18:27; Isa 2:11,12,17; Isaiah 23:9; Isaiah 24:10; Isaiah 25:12; Isaiah 26:5; Isaiah 32:19; Daniel 4:37
  • 19. Psalms 10:4; Isaiah 25:11; Jeremiah 48:29; Jeremiah 49:16; Zephaniah 2:10
  • 20. S 1 Samuel 2:7; S Psalms 52:5; 1 Peter 5:5
  • 21. Psalms 60:12; Isaiah 13:11; Isaiah 22:5; Isaiah 28:3; Isaiah 63:2-3,6; Daniel 5:20; Micah 5:8; Micah 7:10; Zechariah 10:5; Malachi 4:3
  • 22. Numbers 16:31-34
  • 23. S Job 4:9
  • 24. Exodus 15:6,12; Psalms 18:35; Psalms 20:6; Psalms 48:10; Psalms 60:5; Psalms 108:6; Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 63:5
  • 25. S Job 9:9
  • 26. Isaiah 11:7; Isaiah 65:25
  • 27. S Job 39:11
  • 28. Job 41:9
  • 29. Job 41:15
  • 30. Job 41:12
  • 31. Isaiah 11:4; Isaiah 49:2
  • 32. Job 41:33; Psalms 40:5; Psalms 139:14; Isaiah 27:1
  • 33. S Job 4:17; S Job 9:9
  • 34. S Genesis 3:24
  • 35. Psalms 104:14
  • 36. Psalms 104:26
  • 37. S Job 5:23
  • 38. S Genesis 41:2; Psalms 68:30; Isaiah 35:7
  • 39. Job 8:11
  • 40. Psalms 1:3; Isaiah 44:4
  • 41. Isaiah 8:7; Isaiah 11:15
  • 42. S Joshua 3:1
  • 43. 2 Kings 19:28; Job 41:2,7,26; Isaiah 37:29

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JOB 40

In this chapter Job is called upon to give in his answer, Job 40:1,2, which he does in the most humble manner, acknowledging his vileness and folly, Job 40:3-5; and then the Lord proceeds to give him further conviction of his superior justice and power, Job 40:6-9; and one thing he proposes to him, to humble the proud, if he could, and then he would own his own right hand could save him, Job 40:10-15; and observes to him another instance of his power in a creature called behemoth, which he had made, and gives a description of, Job 40:15-24.

Job 40 Commentaries