The Flame Throwing Crocodile?

“Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook or press down his tongue with a cord? Can you put a rope in his nose or pierce his jaw with a hook? Will he make many pleas to you? Will he speak to you soft words? Will he make a covenant with you to take him for your servant forever? Will you play with him as with a bird, or will you put him on a leash for your girls? 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 hands on him; remember the battle—you will not do it again! Behold, the hope of a man is false; he is laid low even at the sight of him. No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up. Who then is he who can stand before me? Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine. “I will not keep silence concerning his limbs, or his mighty strength, or his goodly frame. Who can strip off his outer garment? Who would come near him with a bridle? Who can open the doors of his face? Around his teeth is terror. His back is made of rows of shields, shut up closely as with a seal. One is so near to another that no air can come between them. They are joined one to another; they clasp each other and cannot be separated. His sneezings flash forth light, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn. Out of his mouth go flaming torches; sparks of fire leap forth. Out of his nostrils comes forth smoke, as from a boiling pot and burning rushes. His breath kindles coals, and a flame comes forth from his mouth. In his neck abides strength, and terror dances before him. The folds of his flesh stick together, firmly cast on him and immovable. His heart is hard as a stone, hard as the lower millstone. When he raises himself up the mighty are afraid; at the crashing they are beside themselves. Though the sword reaches him, it does not avail, nor the spear, the dart, or the javelin. He counts iron as straw, and bronze as rotten wood. The arrow cannot make him flee; for him sling stones are turned to stubble. Clubs are counted as stubble; he laughs at the rattle of javelins. His underparts are like sharp potsherds; he spreads himself like a threshing sledge on the mire. He makes the deep boil like a pot; he makes the sea like a pot of ointment. Behind him he leaves a shining wake; one would think the deep to be white-haired. On earth there is not his like, a creature without fear. He sees everything that is high; he is king over all the sons of pride.” (Job‬ ‭41:1-34‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

The Lord seems to choose his most glorious creature for the end; I mean he takes a whole chapter to exult this amazing animal. Some commentators have said that Leviathan is a crocodile, others say it is a whale. The end of the section says Leviathan makes the deep, and the sea boil. To my knowledge, crocodiles don’t live in the sea. The Reformation Study Bible downplays the language that this creature breaths forth fire. It says that when the crocodile comes out of the water fast, the glistening spray from the mouth when it attacks can appear like fire. Huh?

  • “His sneezes flash forth lightning.” V. 18
  • “Out of his mouth go flaming torches; sparks of fire leap forth.” V19
  • “Out of his nostrils comes forth smoke as from a boiling pot and burning rushes.” V. 20
  • “His breath kindles coals, and a flame comes forth from his mouth.” V21

I don’t like when commentators downplay things like this simply because we don’t know of any creatures currently on earth that fit this description. God seems to not just be intending Leviathan has glistening mist that reflects from his mouth. This creature is awesome and is intended to reflect the glory of the Lord by his strength, fearlessness, fury, and wrath of fire.

There is one statement in this chapter that I do not understand. When God is exulting Leviathan, and man’s inability to restrain such a beast; he says to Job in verse 5:

“Will you play with him as with a bird, or will you put him on a leash for your girls?

To my understanding, all of Job’s girls have been killed. Maybe God is foreseeing the three daughters that are coming in chapter 42. I don’t know, but it seems to me that this question from God would sting Job.

An odd application of this same verse will please my second daughter Rylee. God at least acknowledges that girls are intended to have pets. Job would have been utterly confused to think of a daughter of his leading any creature down the driveway on a leash if children didn’t have pets in Job’s time. Play on my girls … ruff, ruff.

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