Job 40 – Behold, Behemoth

This chapter of Job is one of the most interesting, and with God doing most of the talking, that is quite understandable. God challenges Job again, but Job has already realized that he has been wrong in his assumptions about God’s part in his suffering, as well as in questioning God in the first place. The Lord’s questions continue, and one of the points that he makes in all of this is that one of Job’s mistakes was in his suggestion that God had any share in any wrong-doing (verse 8). The Lord continues throughout the chapter, pointing out more of His majestic works. Why, Job must have thought, would he have ever thought that God would have devoted so much time to chastising one of such “small account” (verse 8).

Hippopotamus Copyright (C) David Redhouse 2002

Hippopotamus Copyright (C) David Redhouse 2002

We cannot, of course, leave this chapter without covering the subject of the creature “behemoth” that God describes from verse 15 through the end of the chapter. We find the suggestions of the past that the animal was a hippopotamus or an elephant completely without merit. Depending on the version, verse 17  states that “he moves his tail like a cedar.” This alone speaks volumes, and certainly does not fit with any beast alive today.

The details that lead many to the conclusion that the creature described is some sort of dinosaur is very compelling, all things considered. But the subject is covered much better than we could do in this article at Apologetics Press. Very interesting reading. We agree that the elephant and hippo theories are likely the result of intellectual timidity on the part of believers amid the traditional evolutionist viewpoint. The very context of the chapter demands the conclusion that God was speaking to Job of a beast that was quite majestic – not a “river horse” or circus animal.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.


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