721.) Job 40

"Behemoth and Leviathan" by William Blake, 1805 (Morgan Library, New York)

Job 40 (New Living Translation)

One of my trusted advisers has suggested that I offer an abbreviated study on Job.  So we will be looking at only 13 chapters of Job, instead of the full 42.  It seems to me a merciful thing to do for you, my readers!  (You are, of course, welcome to read the whole book on your own!)

1 Then the Lord said to Job,

2 “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty?
You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”

Job Responds to the Lord

3Then Job replied to the Lord,

4 “I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers?
I will cover my mouth with my hand.
5 I have said too much already.
I have nothing more to say.”

What a difference in tone here!  Before, Job was full of questions, demanding answers!  Now God is with him, and Job sees he does not have the ability to judge God or even to question his actions.  Job says, “You are God and I am not.”

_________________________

Music:

“Trading My Sorrows”  by the irrepressible Darryl Evans.  I love the line “Yes, Lord, Yes, Lord, Yes, Yes, Lord!”  Bet Job would sing along with this song!

_________________________

The Lord Challenges Job Again

6Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:

7 “Brace yourself like a man,
because I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.

8 “Will you discredit my justice
and condemn me just to prove you are right?

How often do I presume to judge my circumstances — and God! — so as to put myself in the right?  O Lord, forgive.

Job 40:8 (English Standard Version)

Will you even put me in the wrong?
   Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?

We might say that Job fell into the trap of thinking that because he couldn’t figure God out, that perhaps God wasn’t fair. Yet in this larger section of God’s revelation of Himself to Job, God has demonstrated that there are many things that Job doesn’t know, and therefore he was not a fit judge of God’s ways.

–David Guzik

9 Are you as strong as God?
Can you thunder with a voice like his?
10 All right, put on your glory and splendor,
your honor and majesty.
11 Give vent to your anger.
Let it overflow against the proud.
12 Humiliate the proud with a glance;
walk on the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them in the dust.
Imprison them in the world of the dead.
14 Then even I would praise you,
for your own strength would save you.

15 “Take a look at Behemoth,
which I made, just as I made you.

Several of the commentaries I have read suggest that the behemoth might be a hippopotamus.  So let’s go with that!  The great African hippopotamus, pictured above, stands about 5 feet tall at the shoulder and may weigh up to 4 tons.  It has been clocked running 19 mph over short distances.  The hippopotamus is one of the most aggressive animals in the world even though it eats only grasses.

_________________________

It eats grass like an ox.
16 See its powerful loins
and the muscles of its belly.
17 Its tail is as strong as a cedar.
The sinews of its thighs are knit tightly together.
18 Its bones are tubes of bronze.
Its limbs are bars of iron.
19 It is a prime example of God’s handiwork,
and only its Creator can threaten it.
20 The mountains offer it their best food,
where all the wild animals play.
21 It lies under the lotus plants,
hidden by the reeds in the marsh.

Behold the hippopotamus!
We laugh at how he looks to us,
And yet in moments dank and grim,
I wonder how we look to him.

Peace, peace, thou hippopotamus!
We really look all right to us,
As you no doubt delight the eye
Of other hippopotami.

–Ogden Nash

_________________________
22 The lotus plants give it shade
among the willows beside the stream.
23 It is not disturbed by the raging river,
not concerned when the swelling Jordan rushes around it.
24 No one can catch it off guard
or put a ring in its nose and lead it away.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Blake.  http://www.1artclub.com/uploads/08-0182.jpg
hippopotamus.   http://accessscience.com/loadBinary.aspx?aID=4405&filename=319000FG0010.gif
hippopotamus eating its salad.  http://www.itsnature.org/Ground/images/article-pics/hippo3.jpg
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