Job 40:23


King James Version (KJV)

Behold, he drinks up a river, and hastens not: he trusts that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.

American King James Version (AKJV)

Behold, he drinks up a river, and hastens not: he trusts that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.

American Standard Version (ASV)

Behold, if a river overflow, he trembleth not; He is confident, though a Jordan swell even to his mouth.

Basic English Translation (BBE)

Truly, if the river is overflowing, it gives him no cause for fear; he has no sense of danger, even if Jordan is rushing against his mouth.

Webster's Revision

Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.

World English Bible

Behold, if a river overflows, he doesn't tremble. He is confident, though the Jordan swells even to his mouth.

English Revised Version (ERV)

Behold, if a river overflow, he trembleth not: he is confident, though Jordan swell even to his mouth.

Clarke's Job 40:23 Bible Commentary

Behold, he drinketh up a river - A similar mode of expression, and of precisely the same meaning, as that in Job 39:24 : "He swalloweth the ground with fierceness." No river can stop his course: he wades through all; stems every tide and torrent; and hurries not as though he were in danger.

He trusteth that he can draw up Jordan - Even when the river overflows its banks, it is no stoppage to him: though the whole impetuosity of its stream rush against his mouth, he is not afraid. Mr. Good has seized the true idea in his translation of this verse: -

"If the stream rage, he revileth not:

He is unmoved, though Jordan rush against his mouth."

From this mention of Jordan it is probable that the behemoth was once an inhabitant of the mountains, marshes, and woods, of the land of Palestine.

Barnes's Job 40:23 Bible Commentary

Behold he drinketh up a river - Margin, "oppresseth." The margin expresses the proper meaning of the Hebrew word, עשׁק ‛âshaq. It usually means to oppress, to treat with violence and injustice; and to defraud, or extort. But a very different sense is given to this verse by Bochart, Gesenius, Noyes, Schultens, Umbreit, Prof. Lee, and Rosenmuller. According to the interpretation given by them the meaning is, "The stream overfloweth, and he feareth not; he is secure, even though Jordan rush forth even to his mouth." The reference then would be, not to the fact that he was greedy in his mode of drinking, but to the fact that this huge and fierce animal, that found its food often on the land, and that reposed under the shade of the lotus and the papyrus, could live in the water as well as on the land, and was unmoved even though the impetuous torrent of a swollen river should overwhelm him.

The "names" by which this translation is recommended are a sufficient guarantee that it is not a departure from the proper meaning of the original. It is also the most natural and obvious interpretation. It is impossible to make good sense of the phrase "he oppresseth a river;" nor does the word used properly admit of the translation "he drinketh up." The word "river" in this place, therefore (נהר nâhâr), is to be regarded as in the nominative case to יעשׁק ya‛âshaq, and the meaning is, that when a swollen and impetuous river rushes along and bears all before it, and, as it were, "oppresses" everything in its course, he is not alarmed; he makes no effort to flee; he lies perfectly calm and secure. What was "remarkable" in this appears to have been, that an animal that was so much on land, and that was not properly a fish, should be thus calm and composed when an impetuous torrent rolled over him. The Septuagint appears to have been aware that this was the true interpretation, for they render this part of the verse, Ἐάν γέηται πλνμμύρα, κ.τ.λ. Ean genētai plēmmura, etc. - "Should there come a flood, he would not regard it." Our common translation seems to have been adopted from the Vulgate - "Ecceabsorbebit fluvium."

He trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth - Or, rather, "He is confident, i. e. unmoved, though Jordan should rush forth to his mouth." The idea is, that though the whole river Jordan should seem to pour down upon him as "if" it were about to rush into his mouth, it would not disturb him. Even such an impetuous torrent would not alarm him. Being amphibious, he would not dread what would fill a land animal with alarm. There is no evidence that the hippopotamus was ever found in the river Jordan, nor is it necessary to suppose this in order to understand this passage. The mention of the Jordan shows indeed that this river was known to the writer of this book, and that it was probably written by someone who resided in the vicinity. In speaking of this huge foreign animal, it was not unnatural to mention a river that was familiarly known, and to say that he would not be alarmed should such a river rush suddenly and impetuously upon him. Even though the hippopotamus is an inhabitant of the Nile, and was never seen in the Jordan, it was much more natural to mention this river in this connection than the Nile. It was better known, and the illustration would be better understood, and to an inhabitant of that country would be much more striking. I see no reason, therefore, for the supposition of Bechart and Rosenmuller, that the Jordan here is put for any large river. The illustration is just such as one would have used who was well acquainted with the Jordan - that the river horse would not be alarmed even though such a river should pour impetuously upon him.

Wesley's Job 40:23 Bible Commentary

40:23 River - A great quantity of water, hyperbolically called a river.Hasteth not - He drinks not with fear and caution; but such is his courage, that he fears no enemy either by water or by land. He drinks as if he designed, to drink up the whole river. He mentions Jordan, as a river well known, in and nigh unto Job's land.

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