Observations on life; particularly spiritual

Authority questions

God is greater than you think. He is the ultimate authorityLife is marked by events of suffering, both great and small. At present there is great suffering in Turkiye (earthquake) and the Ukraine (war). Some are the products of a natural disaster impacting entire communities with grief and loss. Others are the fruit of human evil that has a profound effect on the world. Still others are private, affecting a person of a family. In all these cases people struggle to understand why it happens. And they question God’s goodness or His justice.

Job 1-37 describes the intense suffering of Job, which causes him to question God. Then God asks lots of questions to show the huge gap in understanding between God and humanity. We have looked at God’s first speech (38:1 – 40:2) and Job’s answer (40:3-5). Now we address  God’s second speech (40:6 – 41:34) and Job’s answer (42:1-6).

God challenges Job (40:7-14). The main problem was that Job had discredited God’s justice (v.8). And he justified himself by condemning God.

Then God illustrates His sovereignty, authority, power and wisdom in creating two magnificent creatures.


15 “Take a look at Behemoth,
which I made, just as I made you.
It eats grass like an ox.
16 See its powerful loins
and the muscles of its belly.
17 Its tail is as strong as a cedar.
The sinews of its thighs are knit tightly together.
18 Its bones are tubes of bronze.
Its limbs are bars of iron.
19 It is a prime example of God’s handiwork,
and only its Creator can threaten it.
20 The mountains offer it their best food,
where all the wild animals play.
21 It lies under the lotus plants,
hidden by the reeds in the marsh.
22 The lotus plants give it shade
among the willows beside the stream.
23 It is not disturbed by the raging river,
not concerned when the swelling Jordan rushes around it.
24 No one can catch it off guard
or put a ring in its nose and lead it away.
(Job 41:15-24NLT)



12 “I want to emphasize Leviathan’s limbs
and its enormous strength and graceful form.
13 Who can strip off its hide,
and who can penetrate its double layer of armor?
14 Who could pry open its jaws?
For its teeth are terrible!
15 The scales on its back are like rows of shields
tightly sealed together.
16 They are so close together
that no air can get between them.
17 Each scale sticks tight to the next.
They interlock and cannot be penetrated.
18 “When it sneezes, it flashes light!
Its eyes are like the red of dawn.
19 Lightning leaps from its mouth;
flames of fire flash out.
20 Smoke streams from its nostrils
like steam from a pot heated over burning rushes.
21 Its breath would kindle coals,
for flames shoot from its mouth.
22 “The tremendous strength in Leviathan’s neck
strikes terror wherever it goes.
23 Its flesh is hard and firm
and cannot be penetrated.
24 Its heart is hard as rock,
hard as a millstone.
25 When it rises, the mighty are afraid,
gripped by terror.
26 No sword can stop it,
no spear, dart, or javelin.
27 Iron is nothing but straw to that creature,
and bronze is like rotten wood.
28 Arrows cannot make it flee.
Stones shot from a sling are like bits of grass.
29 Clubs are like a blade of grass,
and it laughs at the swish of javelins.
30 Its belly is covered with scales as sharp as glass.
It plows up the ground as it drags through the mud.
31 “Leviathan makes the water boil with its commotion.
It stirs the depths like a pot of ointment.
32 The water glistens in its wake,
making the sea look white.
33 Nothing on earth is its equal,
no other creature so fearless.
34 Of all the creatures, it is the proudest.
It is the king of beasts.”
(Job 41:12-34)


1 Can you catch Leviathan with a hook
or put a noose around its jaw?
Can you tie it with a rope through the nose
or pierce its jaw with a spike?
Will it beg you for mercy
or implore you for pity?
Will it agree to work for you,
to be your slave for life?
Can you make it a pet like a bird,
or give it to your little girls to play with?
Will merchants try to buy it
to sell it in their shops?
Will its hide be hurt by spears
or its head by a harpoon?
If you lay a hand on it,
you will certainly remember the battle that follows.
You won’t try that again!
No, it is useless to try to capture it.
The hunter who attempts it will be knocked down.
10 And since no one dares to disturb it,
(Job 41:1-10a)


who then can stand up to me [God]?
11 Who has given me [God] anything that I need to pay back?
Everything under heaven is mine [God].
(Job 41:10a-11)

Job’s confession

1 Then Job replied to the Lord:
“I know that you can do anything,
and no one can stop you.
You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’
It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,
things far too wonderful for me.
(Job 42:1-3)

Job’s repentance

You said, ‘Listen and I will speak!
I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.’
I had only heard about you before,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
I take back everything I said,
and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”
(Job 42:4-6)


Behemoth is powerful and strong (Appendix A). A raging river can’t move it. And it can’t be captured. It rules over all other land-dwelling creatures. Only God is greater than Behemoth.

Leviathan has enormous strength (Appendix B). Flames stream from its mouth and smoke streams from its nostrils. It is the king of beasts, the most fearless creature. It rules over all other aquatic creatures. Multiple questions in ten verses emphasise that it can’t be captured (Job 41:1-10a).

These beasts are a reminder of God (Job 41:10a-11):
– God is unapproachable, like these beasts.
– God doesn’t owe anyone (including Job) anything, like these beasts.
– God can do whatever He wishes with His creatures, like these beasts.
If people are awe-struck by Behemoth and Leviathan, how much more should they revere the God who created them? The implication is that it is more dangerous to stand against God than it is to stand against Leviathan.

Huge creatures like dinosaurs are a reminder of God.

God is sovereign, a powerful ruler, and the ultimate authority. Like Behemoth and Leviathan have dominion over all other creatures, God has dominion over all of His creation.

After God’s questions to Job in chapters 40-41 Job confesses and repents. He realises that God is supreme. He humbly accepts what God has allowed to happen, which included suffering. He said, “I was talking about things I knew nothing about”. He had received a revelation of God’s power and sovereignty through Behemoth and Leviathan. He realized his limited understanding compared to God. Then he repented of the presumptuous words he had spoken to God.

Lessons for us

The lesson for Job and for us is that if God can create such magnificent creatures, we can trust Him for the future.

Huge creatures like dinosaurs are a reminder of God. God is sovereign, a powerful ruler, and the ultimate authority. It is dangerous to stand against and oppose God.

Confession and repentance is the way to reconciliation with God.

When you are suffering or questioning God’s goodness or His justice, read Job 38:1 – 42:6.

Appendix A: Behemoth

What was a Behemoth? According to the book of Job, Behemoth was an animal that God made in day 6 of creation. God said that He made it “just as I made you [Job]” (Job 41:15). It was not a mythical creature. None of the other things God mentions in His discourse with Job are mythological. The creatures in Job 38–39 are all known animals and not particularly controversial. In context, God is clearly listing out aspects of His creation for the purpose of aweing Job.

Behemoth was a large animal, which had a large tail. So it was not a hippopotamus or an elephant which have tails like a small piece of rope. No land animals besides dinosaurs had massive tails. The description in Job is consistent with the huge sauropod dinosaurs found in the fossil record, such as Apatosaurus or Brachiosaurus, which are now extinct.

Appendix B: Leviathan

God chooses to use the words Behemoth and Leviathan to describe two living things that were around in Job’s day. They were actual creatures of which Job had knowledge (although we cannot state whether Job had direct or indirect knowledge of them). The descriptions do not match any known living species today.

Behemoth and Leviathan may well be now extinct species that were still living in Job’s day.


This post is an extension of “The mystery of suffering”, Our Daily Bread, January 2023 topic.

Also see: Dinosaurs in the Bible?

Posted, February 2023

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s