God continues to speak to Job about Leviathan, but He changes the form of address. He no longer speaks in questioning form, but in descriptive form. The previous section deals with the relationship of this beast to Job. In this part it is about the relationship of this beast to God. God gives an impressive description of the beast. He points Job to different parts of the body. The intention is to make it extra clear who He is in comparison with this mighty, dangerous beast. He is the only One Who has complete control over it. After the inability of man in the face of this monster has been demonstrated, here follows the climax in the complete authority of God over him.
There is no one, neither Job nor any other man, who dares to come near Leviathan to awaken him (verse 1010“No one is so fierce that he dares to arouse him;
Who then is he that can stand before Me?
). The meaning is clear. God says here: If one of My creatures is so formidable that man does not dare to challenge him, how can man enter into battle with the great Creator? Here we can listen to a reprimand to Job. After all, Job said that he wanted to submit his case to God so that God would justify him.
If the creature is so impressive, for whom no one can stand, who can stand before its Creator (cf. Psa 76:77You, even You, are to be feared;
And who may stand in Your presence when once You are angry?
)? This is even more daring and dangerous than defying Leviathan. Can Job, who said he would come to meet God “as a prince” if he had the chance (verse 1111“Who has given to Me that I should repay [him]?
[Whatever] is under the whole heaven is Mine.
; Job 31:3737“I would declare to Him the number of my steps;
Like a prince I would approach Him.
)? If man is unable to catch a creature of the Almighty by surprise and submit to serve him, how can he expect to force the Creator to grant him the favors he requests?
And would God repay him for what he has done, as if God were in his debt (cf. Rom 11:3535Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again?)? With one mighty word God silences anyone who takes up the word against Him: “What is under all heaven is mine” (cf. Psa 24:11A Psalm of David.
The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains,
The world, and those who dwell in it.
; 50:10-1210“For every beast of the forest is Mine,
The cattle on a thousand hills.
11“I know every bird of the mountains,
And everything that moves in the field is Mine.
12“If I were hungry I would not tell you,
For the world is Mine, and all it contains.
). God says here: ‘Everything belongs to Me, everything is subject to Me. I dispose of it according to My pleasure. No one can claim anything as his own. No one can deprive Me of anything.’ This claim to the ownership of all things created is made here to show Job that no one can exercise control over Someone Who is so exalted. It is therefore Job’s duty to submit to Him without any complaint and to receive with gratitude from Him what He chooses to give.
After this interlude about His exaltation, God continues with the description of Leviathan. It will be a more detailed description than in the previous chapter. There it is a general description and the beast is presented as a great power. God is now going to describe the various “limbs” of the beast that confirm the general impression (verse 1212“I will not keep silence concerning his limbs,
Or his mighty strength, or his orderly frame.
). As a result, the listener will be even more deeply impressed by it and, as a consequence, by its Creator. The description of the limbs includes in particular his beak, his teeth, his skin (“outer armor”), his eyelids, his nose, his neck, and his heart.
God does not remain silent about this. He wants to emphatically draw our attention to this. He does so by talking about it, through which we get His view, the right view, on this beast. He will speak “of his mighty strength”, and “his orderly frame”. God knows what He is talking about. Everything that characterizes this beast, He has given it. That is about his strength and his form, the right proportions of all the limbs. In it the creativity and skill of the Creator can be admired. It isn’t the admiration of the beast but the admiration of the Creator Who is capable of such a work of art.
What is visible first is “outer armor”, that is his skin (verse 1313“Who can strip off his outer armor?
Who can come within his double mail?
). Is there anyone who would dare to “strip off” his garment, that is to say to strip him of his skin and make him defenseless? No one has the courage to do that. Nobody dares to approach him, because his skin is a “double mail”. The scales are so layered that they form a double armor. The beast is truly an unapproachable and impregnable walking fortress. With regard to satan, of whom this beast is a picture, only the Lord Jesus is the Stronger. He has taken away from this strong satan, invincible to man, “all his armor on which he had relied” (Lk 11:2222But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder.) and completely “disarmed” him (Col 2:1515When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.).
And then his mouth, his mighty jaws, which here poetically are called “the doors of his face” (verse 1414“Who can open the doors of his face?
Around his teeth there is terror.
; cf. Psa 141:33Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.
). Who can force the beast to open its huge beak, whose jaws look like gate doors? No one shall dare to do so; for whoever does it shall be devoured by it. When it opens its jaws, teeth appear which are an utter terror. What once is caught between those awfully big teeth is irreversibly grinded.
In verses 15-1715“[His] strong scales are [his] pride,
Shut up [as with] a tight seal.
16“One is so near to another
That no air can come between them.
17“They are joined one to another;
They clasp each other and cannot be separated.
, the strong scales with which the beast is covered are exposed. The scales are “[his] pride”. They look like strong shields. Each scale is attached to the skin as a tight seal. They are so tightly connected and are so close together, “that no air can come between them”. They lie on the beast like tiles on a house. It gives the impression of a solid whole in which there is not a single weak spot, not a single hole. It has been laid like an artistic mosaic by God on this beast. The scales are glued together and interlock in a way that makes separation between the scales impossible. There is no gap and no gap can be forced.
A sneeze from the beast is impressive. In verses 18-2118“His sneezes flash forth light,
And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.
19“Out of his mouth go burning torches;
Sparks of fire leap forth.
20“Out of his nostrils smoke goes forth
As [from] a boiling pot and [burning] rushes.
21“His breath kindles coals,
And a flame goes forth from his mouth.
, God describes in poetic language what becomes visible during a sneeze, whereby we can probably best think of a sneeze in the sunlight. A sneeze can be caused by a stimulation of the nose as a result of looking in the sun. When the beast sneezes (verse 1818“His sneezes flash forth light,
And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.
), numerous drops, moisture particles, come out of its nose and mouth. In this beast, this is an enormous bundle of water particles, which in sunlight looks like an enormous bundle of light spreading light. During the sneeze, the eyes light up, reflecting the glistening of the dawning day, and they become like “the eyelids of the morning”.
A similar effect can be seen in the moisture particles coming out of his mouth (verse 1919“Out of his mouth go burning torches;
Sparks of fire leap forth.
). They look like torches in the sunlight from which fiery sparks leap forth. The vapor coming out of his nostrils is reminiscent of smoke, just as it comes from “a boiling pot and [burning] rushes” (verse 2020“Out of his nostrils smoke goes forth
As [from] a boiling pot and [burning] rushes.
). The breath coming out of his mouth seems to set the whole environment on fire as if it were coal (verse 2121“His breath kindles coals,
And a flame goes forth from his mouth.
). The mass of water that comes out of his mouth when he sneezes, looks like the flame of a fire-breathing mountain in the sunlight.
In the book of Revelation, beasts, horses in that case, are described of which it is said, “and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone” (Rev 9:1717And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: [the riders] had breastplates [the color] of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone.). They are symbols of demonic powers connected to hell. The symbolic description of the manifestations of Leviathan as torches, fiery sparks, smoke, fire and flame indicates once again that this beast represents a demonic power with a relationship to hell. Incidentally, it may be that God really did make this monster spit fire. A sea dragon could have had an explosion-producing mechanism to make it a real fire breathing dragon. [http://creationwiki.org/Fire_breathing_dragon]
His enormous neck is the seat of his strength (verse 2222“In his neck lodges strength,
And dismay leaps before him.
). Wherever he goes, dismay leaps before him. Everything and everyone flees, for fear of being grabbed and devoured by him. The beast is one great mass of flesh (verse 2323“The folds of his flesh are joined together,
Firm on him and immovable.
). But every week is lacking. It is a solid, contiguous whole. There is no movement in it. If you try to push your finger into it, it feels like steel.
The beast is totally insensitive to what it does to others. God indicates this by saying of this beast that his heart is “hard as stone” (verse 2424“His heart is as hard as a stone,
Even as hard as a lower millstone.
). He emphasizes the hardness of his heart by adding that his heart is as hard “as a stone, Even as hard as a lower millstone”. The lower millstone is the hardest of the two millstones and is also immovable. Everything that needs to be grinded is placed on it.
Here again God speaks in human language about this beast, a beast that knows no fear. It again makes it clear that this monster has a symbolic meaning and that it represents satan. Satan also has a heart of stone. He is a ruthless and unparalleled monster who is only out to devour and destroy.
So is Leviathan. As the beast raises himself up and moves, it immediately becomes dangerous (verse 2525“When he raises himself up, the mighty fear;
Because of the crashing they are bewildered.
). This terrifying monster inspires fear. The strong, those who are otherwise not easily daunted, are overwhelmed by fear. When it breaks through the protection behind which the strong believe they are safe, they are completely upset and do not know where to go from fear. They flee in all directions.
There is no fighting against him (verse 2626“The sword that reaches him cannot avail,
Nor the spear, the dart or the javelin.
). Any attempt by a man with any weapon to subdue this monstrous apparition is futile. Nothing bothers him. He considers sword, spear, lance or arrow as straw (verse 2727“He regards iron as straw,
Bronze as rotten wood.
). Whoever is given the chance to strike him with the sword, stands the next moment unarmed, for the sword has been smashed upon him. You might as well hit him with a straw, because the effect of both is the same, namely none. Using a weapon of bronze against him to defeat him is equivalent to using “rotten wood”. He doesn’t bother, he doesn’t care.
He is not impressed by distance weapons used as an arrow and slingstones (verse 2828“The arrow cannot make him flee;
Slingstones are turned into stubble for him.
). For an arrow pointed at him, he does not flee. Stones thrown towards him hit him as if they were stubble. The same goes for clubs that would be used against him (verse 2929“Clubs are regarded as stubble;
He laughs at the rattling of the javelin.
). The javelin that vibrates in the hand of the thrower to be thrown at him is a joke to him. That weapon can’t hurt him either, let alone kill him. This beast is afraid of nothing and no one. He is inviolable and cannot be intimidated.
The parallel with satan is obvious, because no one can stand up to satan. But the Lord Jesus can. He has come to him and conquered him (Lk 11:2222But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder.). Just as satan cannot be conquered by a mortal, the flesh in the believer cannot be tamed by himself (Rom 8:77because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able [to do so],). Only through the Spirit of life is it possible to give the flesh no chance to assert itself (Gal 5:1616But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.; Rom 8:13b13for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.).
The underparts of Leviathan’s are sharp points that are compared to “sharp potsherds” (verse 3030“His underparts are [like] sharp potsherds;
He spreads out [like] a threshing sledge on the mire.
). When he lies in the mud and moves on his belly, the trace he leaves looks as if a threshing sledge has been pulled over it. In the depths of the sea he rages so wildly that he makes the sea to “boil like a pot” (verse 3131“He makes the depths boil like a pot;
He makes the sea like a jar of ointment.
). It is a jar in which various ointments is brought to the boil.
In his course through the water, he draws a trail behind him that is, as it were, a shining path on the dark surface of the sea (verse 3232“Behind him he makes a wake to shine;
One would think the deep to be gray-haired.
). The white foam, which we also see behind the propeller of a boat, resembles silvery-white hair. The comparison with gray-haired also brings up the thought of enforcing respect (cf. Lev 19:3232‘You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the LORD.).
With this, God ends His description of this dreadful, frightening and awe-inspiring creature. He states that “nothing on earth is like him” (verse 3333“Nothing on earth is like him,
One made without fear.
). This beast towers high above all His works of creation. At the same time, we are reminded that this beast was “made” by Him, though with the curious characteristic of being “without fear”. He is and remains only a creature. But also this creature was created by God with a purpose, as shown in the following verses.
It is a beast that is characterized by a special pride. He stands above all that is high and looks down upon it as subordinate (verse 3434“He looks on everything that is high;
He is king over all the sons of pride.”). It points both to the huge stature of the beast through which it stands above every other creature and to its proud, arrogant attitude toward every other creature. “He is king”, the most proud, the most important, of all the proud beasts. He is at the head of all God’s creative works.
Here, too, the parallel with satan is obvious. We see in this monstrous creature the power of God to create a covering cherub who becomes arrogant and therefore becomes satan, the adversary of God (Eze 28:12-1712“Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,
“You had the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13“You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The ruby, the topaz and the diamond;
The beryl, the onyx and the jasper;
The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald;
And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets,
Was in you.
On the day that you were created
They were prepared.
14“You were the anointed cherub who covers,
And I placed you [there].
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.
15“You were blameless in your ways
From the day you were created
Until unrighteousness was found in you.
16“By the abundance of your trade
You were internally filled with violence,
And you sinned;
Therefore I have cast you as profane
From the mountain of God.
And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the stones of fire.
17“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.
I cast you to the ground;
I put you before kings,
That they may see you.
). This is not to instill fear in us of satan, but of God Himself. The greatest hostile power in the universe is nothing but a creature of God, a creature that He dominates and controls and uses for His purpose (cf. Rom 9:1717For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.”). He is God.
This takes nothing away from the responsibility of satan who, as the most important, privileged angel, has rebelled against God. God will judge him for that. God is always and in all things perfect Lord and Master. Nothing ever gets out of hand with Him. And not only that. He also never has to adjust anything, because otherwise things are in danger of going wrong. He has everything perfectly under control. Everything serves His purpose, even though we do not always understand the path He chooses to reach that goal.
God has spoken to Job severely, but never mocked him. By ‘meeting’ with the two most impressive beasts that God has created, Job must learn that he is utterly powerless to judge an evildoer. God also wants to teach him that His actions sometimes go beyond human logic and that man cannot explain everything He does. If Job is so incapable of constructing, maintaining, or subjugating some of God’s works of creation, it is unthinkable that he can accuse the Creator of them of maladministration.