Notes & Commentary:
I. Hebrew, "None is so fierce that dare stir it up." (Haydock) --- Cruel, or rash, like those to Tentyra, chap.
iii. 8. (Calmet) --- This monster is terrible to those that flee, while it retires from the pursuer. --- But only these people
dare to attack it. (Pliny, [Natural History?] viii. 25.) --- "I will not ask the crocodile to revenge me of my enemies," as
some might do in a rage, through impotence. (Haydock) (Sanchez) (Menochius) --- Countenance, even though they might
overcome the crocodile. God is here speaking. Septuagint, "Dost thou not fear, since it is ready for thee, (Grabe substitutes,
"me,") for who will resist me?" or, "who shall stand against me, and live? All," &c., ver. 2. (Haydock) --- God ruleth
not with cruelty, like a tyrant, but with justice, ease, and power. (Worthington)
Supplication. This is explained by the Fathers as spoken of the devil. (Amama) --- But the Hebrew may signify, that
God will reward each one according to his deserts, and that Job had consequently no reason to complain; or it means, that
the strength and beauty of the crocodile should be made known. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "I will not conceal his parts, nor
his power, nor his comely proportion." Theo.[Theodotion?] in Septuagint, "I will not keep silence on his account, and the
word of power shall take pity on his equal." (Haydock)
Garment, or the skin. (Menochius) --- Who shall look steadfastly, or dare to take off its skin? --- Mouth. Protestants,
"Who can come to him with his double bridle?" (Haydock) though it be of the greatest strength; or, who will enter its jaws,
or put bits in them? It is reported that the Tentyrites jump on the crocodile's back, and having thrown a piece of wood into
its open mouth, like bits, which they hold with both hands, they conduct it to the river side, and kill it. (Pliny viii. 25.)
--- Septuagint, "Who would enter the wrinkles of his breast, (Calmet) or the folds of its coat of arms?" which may
allude to the almost impenetrable scales of the leviathan. (Haydock) --- Symmachus, "Who will enter the folds of its scales?"
The crocodile can open its mouth so wide as to swallow a heifer, or to let a man stand upright. (Calmet) --- Each jaw is furnished
with thirty-six teeth. (Vansleb.)
Body. Septuagint, "entrails are like brazen shields." Protestants, "His scales are his pride shut up
together, as with a close seal." (Haydock)
Sneezing. When the whale breathes, it causes the water to foam. (Pineda) (Menochius) --- The eyes of the crocodile
are also (Haydock) very bright, when out of the water. (Pliny viii. 25.) They appear first, and therefore were used as an
hieroglyphic of Aurora, (Horus i. 65.) or of the morning star. (Haydock) --- Syriac, "His look is brilliant." Arabic,
"The apples of his eyes are fiery, and his eyes are like the brightness of the morning." Septuagint, "like Aurora." (Calmet)
--- Olaus (xxi. 5.) says, "that the eyes of the whale shine at night,...and at a distance, are taken by fishermen for great
Fire, when they spout water, (Menochius) or pursue their prey open mouthed. This description is extremely poetical,
like that of anger, 2 Kings xxii. 9. (Calmet)
Smoke; breath, or streams of water sent upwards.
Breath, like bellows, ver. 10. (Menochius)
Neck. Some deny that the crocodile has any, being formed like a lizard. But it is a dispute about words. The animal
turns with difficulty, so that Thomas Gage assures us he escaped one by going in different directions. --- Want. It
ravages a whole country. Hebrew, "fear." (Calmet) --- Protestants, "sorrow is turned into joy before him;" which seems strange.
Septuagint, "destruction runs before him." (Haydock) --- The poets place fear, carnage, &c., in the train of Mars. (Calmet)
Place; though people may shoot at him, they will make no impression, chap. xl. 20, 26. (Haydock) --- If God send his
thunderbolts at him, the monster must however perish. (Calmet) --- Symmachus, "His flesh being cast for him, as in
the foundry, (molten) is immoveable." (Haydock) --- Yet God destroyeth him whom man cannot overcome. (Worthington)
Stone. Pineda understands this of the whale's heart. Others suppose that it alludes to its cruel and fearless temper.
(Menochius) --- The Arabs call a valiant man, "heart of stone." (Calmet) --- Smiths. Protestants, "as a piece of the
nether millstone," (Haydock) which must be larger and more compact than that which is above. (Calmet) --- Septuagint,
"He hath stood immoveable as an anvil." (Haydock)
Angels. Elim. That is, the mighty, the most valiant, shall fear this monstrous fish, and in their fear shall seek to
be purified, (Challoner) by contribution. (Sanchez) --- R. Levi has given a ridiculous exposition, which is adopted by Sa
(Amama) and others, (Haydock; see Ezechiel ii. 7.; Aristotle iv. prob. 32.) as the natural consequences of fear. (Calmet)
(Menochius) --- The Fathers refer this to the fall of Lucifer, when the other angels might tremble for their own safety. (Haydock)
--- Angels with reverent fear honour God's power, and his most perfect servants are filled with apprehensions at his judgments;
as the most valiant are terrified at the sight of this huge fish. (Worthington) --- Septuagint, "If he turn, there is fear
among the wild quadrupeds, jumping on the land." Hebrew, 'When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of
breakings, they purify themselves." (Protestants) or "spoil themselves," (Calmet) expecting nothing but certain death. (Amama)
Plate. Protestants, "habergeon." The precise nature of these arms is not known. (Calmet) --- Neither offensive or defensive
weapons can avail. (Menochius) --- All agree that the crocodile can be pierced only under the belly. (Calmet)
Are. Literally, "are turned into stubble," as in Hebrew. (Haydock) --- They have no more effect. (Menochius)
Hammer. Septuagint sphura, means also, "the bottom of a rock." This would not overwhelm the whale; as
some are represented like floating islands. Protestants, "darts." (Haydock) --- Chaldean, "axe." Others have, "the ballista;"
an instrument to throw stones. (Calmet)
Under him. He shall not value the beams of the sun: and gold to him be like mire. (Challoner) (Menochius) --- Hebrew,
"sharp stones (or potsherds) are under him; he spreadeth (or lieth upon) sharp-pointed things, as upon the mire."
(Haydock) --- He is not afraid of being hurt.
When. Hebrew, "a pot of ointment." This boils out very much. (Calmet) --- The flesh of the crocodile has also the smell
of musk; (Bochart) and Peter Martyr asserts, that Columbus found some in America, which plunged into the water, and left behind
them the odour of musk or castor. When they are wounded, they give the same perfume to the sea, or rather to the waters, where
they abide. The Hebrews style all deep rives and lakes, seas. (Calmet) --- Crocodiles were kept in the lake Mœris,
being adored and honoured as gods. (Herodotus ii. 69.) --- Septuagint, "He deems the sea as a vase of ointment; (23)
and the Tartarus of the abyss, like a prisoner." Theodotion adds, "He hath considered the abyss as a walk."
The deep as growing old. Growing hoary, as it were, with the froth which he leaves behind him. (Challoner) --- The
Vulgate has well expressed the force of the original, and shews the rapidity with which the crocodile moves. (Calmet) ---
Protestants, "one would think the deep to be hoary." The devil transforms himself into an angel (Haydock) of light. (Du Hamel)
Power. Hebrew and Septuagint, "none like him on earth," for bulk. --- One. Septuagint, "made to be played with,
or beaten, by my angels." (Haydock)
He is king, &c. He is superior in strength to all that are great and strong amongst living creatures: mystically
it is understood of the devil, who is king over all the proud. (Challoner) (St. Gregory xxxiv. 4., and 17.) (Worthington)
--- Hence Job perceived that God has also now permitted this cruel foe to exercise a dominion over him, and to pull him from
his high station, though innocent. (Haydock) --- This would henceforward be more frequently the order of Providence, and therefore
he expresses his entire resignation, chap. xlii. (Houbigant) --- Pride: the strongest and fiercest animals. (Haydock)
--- The crocodile has been seen encountering even the elephant, and gaining the victory. He is king of all fishes. Septuagint,
"of all in the waters." Chaldean, "of all the sons of the mountains:" or Theodotion, "of arrogance." This may particularly
denote the Egyptians, as the crocodile was one of their gods; and people are often styled after them, Numbers xxi. 29., and
Jeremias xlviii. 46. (Calmet) --- Pharao even means "a crocodile," in Arabic. (Bochart, Anim. p. ii. b. v. 16.) ---
He is styled simply, the proud, Psalm lxxxviii. 11. (Calmet) --- The pride of the Egyptians was notorious, Ezechiel
xxxii. 12. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
A further description of the leviathan.
1 I will not stir him up, like one that is cruel: for who can resist my
2 Who hath given me before, that I should repay him? All things that are
under heaven are mine.
3 I will not spare him, nor his mighty words, and framed to make supplication.
4 Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can go into the midst
of his mouth?
5 Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about.
6 His body is like molten shields, shut close up with scales pressing upon
7 One is joined to another, and not so much as any air can come between
8 They stick one to another and they hold one another fast, and shall not
9 His sneezing is like the shining of fire, and his eyes like the
eyelids of the morning.
10 Out of his mouth go forth lamps, like torches of lighted fire.
11 Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, like that of a pot heated and boiling.
12 His breath kindleth coals, and a flame cometh forth out of his mouth.
13 In his neck strength shall dwell, and want goeth before his face.
14 The members of his flesh cleave one to another: he shall send lightnings
against him, and they shall not be carried to another place.
15 His heart shall be as hard as a stone, and as firm as a smith's anvil.
16 When he shall raise him up, the angels shall fear, and being affrighted,
shall purify themselves.
17 When a sword shall lay at him, it shall not be able to hold, nor a spear,
nor a breast-plate.
18 For he shall esteem iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood.
19 The archer shall not put him to flight, the stones of the sling are
to him like stubble.
20 As stubble will he esteem the hammer, and he will laugh him to scorn
who shaketh the spear.
21 The beams of the sun shall be under him, and he shall strew gold under
him like mire.
22 He shall make the deep sea to boil like a pot, and shall make it as
when ointments boil.
23 A path shall shine after him, he shall esteem the deep as growing old.
24 There is no power upon earth that can be compared with him who was made
to fear no one.
25 He beholdeth every high thing, he is king over all the children of pride.