[Am] I a sea, or a whale
Like the restless sea, to which very wicked, profligate, and abandoned sinners are compared, that are continually casting up the mire and dirt of sin and wickedness; am I such an one? or like the raging sea, its proud waters and foaming waves, to which fierce and furious persecutors and tyrannical oppressors are compared; did I behave in such a manner to the poor and distressed in the time of prosperity? nay, was I not the reverse of all this, kind and gentle to them, took their part, and rescued them out of the hands of those that oppressed them? see ( Job 29:12-17 ) ; or like its tossing waves, which attempt to pass the bounds that are set to them; am I such an one, that have transgressed the laws of God and then, which are set as boundaries to restrain the worst of men? and am I a whale, or like any great fish in the ocean, the dragon in the sea, the leviathan, the piercing and crooked serpent? an emblem of cruel princes, as the kings of Egypt and Assyria, or antichrist, ( Isaiah 27:1 ) ; see ( Psalms 74:13 Psalms 74:14 ) . The Targum is,
``as the Egyptians were condemned to be drowned in the Red sea, am I condemned? or as Pharaoh, who was suffocated in the midst of it for his sin, since thou settest a watch over me?''or, as another Targum,
``am I as the great sea, which is moved to extreme parts, or the leviathan, which is ready to be taken?''or else the sense is, have I the strength of the sea, which subsists, notwithstanding its waves are continually heating, and which carries such mighty vessels upon it, and would bear down all before it, if not restrained? or of a whale, the leviathan, whose flakes of flesh are joined together, and his heart as firm as a stone, and as hard as a piece of the nether millstone, and laughs at the spear, the sword, and the dart? no, I have not; I am a poor, weak, feeble creature, whose strength is quite exhausted, and not able to bear the weight of the chains and fetters of afflictions upon me; or rather the principal thing complained of, and which he illustrates by these metaphors, is, that he was bound with the cords of afflictions, and compassed with gall and travail, and hedged in hereby, that he could not get out, as the church says, ( Lamentations 3:5 Lamentations 3:7 ) ; or could not get released from his sorrows by death, or otherwise; just as the sea is shut up with bars and doors, that its waves can come hitherto, and no further; and as the whale is confined to the ocean, or surrounded with vessels and armed men in them, when about to be taken; and thus it was with Job, and of this he complains:
that thou settest a watch over me?
which Jarchi and others understand of Satan; and though in his hands, he was not suffered to take away his life; but besides him may be meant all his afflictions, calamities, and distresses, in which he lay fettered and bound, in which he was shut up as in a prison, and by which he was watched over and guarded; and from which he could make no escape, nor get a release.