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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

Job 41

 

 

Verses 1-34

LEVIATHAN

(vv.1-34)

Leviathan was a water creature, and appears to be the crocodile, the most fearsome of all aquatic beasts, unless it was another similar animal, now extinct. Job could use a hook to catch fish, but how futile the thought of a hook for a crocodile! (v.1). His jaws and his nose are impervious to any kind of attack (v.2). Could Job persuade him to respond softly to him in order to bring about his submission? (v.4). The very appearance of the crocodile is hostile and intimidating. He would certainly never be tamed to engage in play like some birds or animals, and certainly not as a pet for girls! (v.5). Who would think of trying to obtain his flesh to make a dinner of him? Harpoons were useless against him, for they could not penetrate his outer covering (v.7). If one was bold enough to lay his hand on him, let him remember the battle encountered in any such efforts, and never do it again! (v.8).

The Lord assures Job that any hope of overcoming Leviathan is futile: the very sight of the beast should overwhelm his would-be attacker. No human is so fierce that he would dare to stir up such a creature (v.10). But let us remember it is God who made this beast: Who then could possibly stand against God? Thus we are shown the fearful, untameable character of leviathan, as wild and unapproachable as behemoth, and this reminds us of the first beast of Revelation 13:1-18, the beast who rises out of the sea (v.1). Being a water creature, Leviathan evidently symbolises the Gentile power that will arise during the Tribulation period, a revival of the Roman Empire, embracing ten nations who "give their power and authority to the beast" (Revelation 17:13). This empire is called the Beast, and the man who rules over it will also be called the Beast. Of him people will say, "Who is like the Beast? Who is able to make war with him?" (Revelation 13:4). This Beast, along with the Antichrist, will form a powerful union of such strength that they will not be afraid to challenge their own Creator! While no man can stand before them, however, the Lord will bring them down to a defeat of abject humiliation, and both will be cast alive into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20).

But the Lord says of Leviathan, "I will not conceal his limbs, his mighty power, or his graceful proportions" (v.12). The Lord would not hesitate to describe him exactly as he is, to let us know that the Lord knew him perfectly and took full account of his strength. "Who can remove his outer coat? Who can approach him with a double bridle? Who can open the doors of his face, with his terrible teeth all around? (vv.13-14). Men have captured crocodiles and put them in large pools of water, but who would dare to get into the same pool, as some do with dolphins?

"His rows of scales are his pride, shut up tightly as with a seal: one is so near another that no air can come between them: they are joined one to another, they stick together, and cannot be parted" (vv.15-17). Thus he is protected as by a coat of armour. The Roman Beast too will employ every means of protecting himself against the attacks of any enemy.

But he will take the offensive also, as does the crocodile. "His sneezings flash forth light and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. Out of his mouth go burning lights. Sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke goes out of his mouth" (vv.18-21). Of course this is figurative language, and speaks of the vicious words that proceed from the mouth of the Beast, as we are told of him in Revelation 13:5-6, "He was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven." But the appearance of light, as though the beast brought light and wisdom with him, is a false show. The boastful pride of this man and his ominous threats are strikingly illustrated in the character of Leviathan.

"Strength dwells in his neck" (v.22), for his neck is stiffened in rebellion against God. "And sorrow dances before him" - as though sorrow was trying to clothe itself with spurious joy, yet only to bring misery and wretchedness. "The folds of his flesh" are so joined as to make him invulnerable to attack (v.23), and underneath his heart is as hard as a stone. What a picture of the great champion of infidelity, who will arise because the world has rejected the faithful, gracious Lord of glory, and this beast will think of himself as the saviour of the world!

The mighty men of earth will be afraid when this man asserts himself (v.25). Neither the sword, spear, dart or javelin can penetrate Leviathan's armour (v.26), and all men's efforts to defeat the Beast will be to no avail. Iron and bronze weapons, arrows, darts, slingstones and javelins are useless against him (vv.27-29). Underneath too he is equipped to resist attack (v.30).

"He makes the deep boil like a pot; he makes the sea like a pot of ointments" (v.31). As Leviathan stirs up the water, so the Roman Beast will stir up the nations (the sea) in tumultuous trouble. The "shining wake" he leaves behind him tells us that there will be marked results from the Beast's activity.

"On earth there is nothing like him, which is made without fear" (v.33). God has made this creature as a picture of the assumed greatness of the Roman Beast, who will rise as the champion of mankind in his opposition both to God and to the true welfare of the people. He will aspire to every high thing, a "king over all the children of pride" (v.34).

When this Roman Beast arises, he will be in league with the Antichrist who will erect an idolatrous image in the temple area of Jerusalem in honour of the Beast (Revelation 13:14-15). This will be the ultimate peak of man's pride, an arrogant challenge against God. Then the Lord Jesus will meet this challenge in awesome power, and both of these enemies of God will be "cast alive into the lake of fire" (Revelation 19:19-20). Such will be the fearful end of him who "is king over all the children of pride." What a lesson for us to learn now to judge our own pride!

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Job 41:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/job-41.html. 1897-1910.

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