Then Job replied to the Lord and said,
“Behold, I am of little importance and contemptible; what can I reply to You?
I lay my hand on my mouth.
“I have spoken once, but I will not reply again—
Indeed, twice [I have answered], and I will add nothing further.”
God Questions Job
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, saying,
“Now [a]gird up your loins (prepare yourself) like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me.
“Will you really annul My judgment and set it aside as void?
Will you condemn Me [your God] that you may [appear to] be righteous and justified?
“Have you an arm like God,
And can you thunder with a voice like His?
“Adorn yourself with eminence and dignity [since you question the Almighty],
And array yourself with honor and majesty.
“Pour out the overflowings of your wrath,
And look at everyone who is proud and make him low.
Look at everyone who is proud, and humble him,
And [if you are so able] tread down the wicked where they stand.
“[Crush and] hide them in the dust together;
Shut them up in the hidden place [the house of death].
“[If you can do all this, Job, proving your divine power] then I [God] will also praise you and acknowledge
That your own right hand can save you.
God’s Power Shown in Creatures
“Behold now, [b]Behemoth, which I created as well as you;
He eats grass like an ox.
“See now, his strength is in his loins
And his power is in the muscles and sinews of his belly.
“He sways his tail like a cedar;
The tendons of his thighs are twisted and knit together [like a rope].
“His bones are tubes of bronze;
His [c]limbs are like bars of iron.
“He is the first [in magnitude and power] of the works of God;
[Only] He who made him can bring near His sword [to master him].
“Surely the mountains bring him food,
And all the wild animals play there.
“He lies down under the lotus plants,
In the hidden shelter of the reeds in the marsh.
“The lotus plants cover him with their shade;
The willows of the brook surround him.
“If a river rages and overflows, he does not tremble;
He is confident, though the Jordan [River] swells and rushes against his mouth.
“Can anyone capture him when he is on watch,
Or pierce his nose with barbs [to trap him]?
- Job 40:7 See note 38:3.
- Job 40:15 Or the hippopotamus. Although Behemoth cannot be identified with certainty, the biblical description seems most like the hippopotamus. In ancient times it may have been even more formidable than today. In Job’s day the hippopotamus was the largest known creature, was commonly found in the lower Nile River, and may also have existed in the Jordan.
- Job 40:18 Lit bones.
God’s Power Shown in Creatures
“[a]Can you draw out [b]Leviathan with a fishhook?
Or press down his tongue with a cord?
“Can you put a rope [made] of rushes into his nose
Or pierce his jaw through with a hook?
“Will he make many supplications to you [begging to be spared]?
Or will he speak soft words to you [to coax you to treat him kindly]?
“Will he make a covenant or an arrangement with you?
Will you take him for your servant forever?
“Will you play with him as with a bird?
Or will you bind him [and put him on a leash] for your maidens?
“Will traders bargain over him?
Will they divide him up among the merchants?
“Can you fill his skin with harpoons,
Or his head with fishing spears?
“Lay your hand on him;
Remember the battle [with him]; you will not do such [an ill-advised thing] again!
“[c]Behold, his [assailant’s] hope and expectation [of defeating Leviathan] is false;
Will not one be overwhelmed even at the sight of him?
“No one is so fierce [and foolhardy] that he dares to stir up Leviathan;
Who then is he who can stand before Me [or dares to contend with Me, the beast’s creator]?
“Who has first given to Me that I should repay him?
Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine. [Who can have a claim against Me who made the unmastered beast?]
“I will not keep silence concerning his limbs,
Nor his mighty strength, nor his orderly frame.
“Who can penetrate or strip off his outer armor?
Who can come to his jaws with a double bridle?
“Who can open the doors (jaws) of his face?
Around his [open jaws and] teeth there is terror.
“His strong scales are his pride,
Bound together as with a tight seal.
“One is so near to another
That no air can come between them.
“They are joined one to another;
They stick together and cannot be separated.
“His sneezes flash forth light,
And his eyes are like the [reddish] eyelids of the dawn.
“Out of his mouth go burning torches,
And sparks of fire leap out.
“Out of his nostrils smoke goes forth
As from a boiling pot and [as from] burning rushes.
“His breath kindles coals,
And a flame goes forth from his mouth.
“In Leviathan’s neck resides strength,
And dismay and terror dance before him.
“The folds of his flesh are joined together,
Firm on him and immobile [when he moves].
“His heart is as hard as a stone,
Indeed, as solid as a lower millstone.
“When he raises himself up, the mighty are afraid;
Because of the crashing they are bewildered.
“The sword that reaches him cannot avail,
Nor [does] the spear, the dart, or the javelin.
“He considers iron as straw,
Bronze as rotten wood.
“The arrow cannot make him flee;
Slingstones are treated as stubble by him.
“Clubs [also] are regarded as stubble;
He laughs at the rushing and the rattling of the javelin.
“His underparts are like sharp pieces of broken pottery;
He moves across and spreads out [grooves] like a threshing sledge on the mire (muddy river banks).
“He makes the deep water boil like a pot;
He makes the sea like a [foaming] pot of ointment.
“Behind him he makes a shining wake;
One would think the deep to be gray-haired [with foam].
“Upon earth there is nothing like him—no equal exists,
A creature made without fear.
“He looks on everything that is high [without terror];
He is monarch over all the sons of pride. [And now, Job, [d]who are you who does not dare to disturb the beast, yet who dares resist Me, the beast’s creator? Everything under the heavens is Mine; therefore, who can have a claim against God?]”
- Job 41:1 Ch 40:25 in Hebrew.
- Job 41:1 Or the crocodile. In recent years archeologists have uncovered the remains of crocodiles much larger and far more terrifying than those known today.
- Job 41:9 Ch 41:4 in Hebrew.
- Job 41:34 This repeats the thought of vv 10, 11, which is the key to God’s argument with Job.
Then Job answered the Lord and said,
“I know that You can do all things,
And that no thought or purpose of Yours can be restrained.
“[You said to me] ‘Who is this that darkens and obscures counsel [by words] without knowledge?’
Therefore [I now see] I have [rashly] uttered that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, please, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct [and answer] me.’
“I had heard of You [only] by the hearing of the ear,
But now my [spiritual] eye sees You.
“Therefore I retract [my words and hate myself]
And I repent in dust and ashes.”
God Displeased with Job’s Friends
It came about that after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will accept him [and his prayer] so that I may not deal with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.
God Restores Job’s Fortunes
The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before came to him, and they ate bread with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him over all the [distressing] adversities that the Lord had brought on him. And each one gave him a piece of money, and each a ring of gold. And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first [daughter] Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. In all the land there were found no women so fair as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. After this, Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons and his grandsons, four generations. So Job died, an old man and full of days.