Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
job 41:1Leviathan - Several particulars in the following description, agree far better with the crocodile, than the whale. It is highly probable, that this is the creature here spoken of. Cord - Canst thou take him with a hook and a line, as anglers take ordinary fishes.
job 41:2Thorn - Or, with an iron hook, or instrument as sharp as a thorn; wherewith thou usest to carry little fishes.
job 41:3Supplications - Doth he dread thine anger or power? Or will he earnestly beg thy favour? It is a metaphor from men in distress, who use these means to them to whose power they are subject.
job 41:7Fill - A whale's you may: but the skin of a crocodile is so hard that an iron or spear will not pierce it.
job 41:8Lay - Seize upon him, if thou darest. Battle - But ere thou attempt it consider what thou art doing, and with whom, thou art going to fight. Do no more - Proceed no farther, draw back thy hand.
job 41:9Hope - The hope of taking or conquering him.
job 41:10Stand - To the battle. Me - To contend with me who created him?
job 41:11Prevented - Hath laid the first obligation upon me, for which I am indebted to him. Who can be before - hand with me in kindnesses, since all things under heaven are mine.
job 41:13Discover - Or, uncover, or take off from him. Face - The upper or outward part of his garment, or, the garment itself: the word face being often redundant. And by the garment is meant the skin which covers the whole body; who dare attempt to touch his very skin? Much less to give him a wound. His double bridle - His fast jaws, which have some resemblance to a double bridle: whence the Greeks call those parts of the face which reach to the jaws on both sides, the bridles.
job 41:14Doors - His mouth. If it be open, none dare enter within, and if it be shut, none dare open it.
job 41:15Shut - Closely compacted together, as things that are fastened together by a seal. This likewise is true of the crocodile, but the skin of the whale is smooth and entire without any scales at all.
job 41:18Sneesings - This the crocodile is said frequently to do. Eyes - To which they seem very fitly compared, because the eyes of the crocodile are dull and dark under the water, but as soon as they appear above water, cast a bright and clear light; like the morning light, suddenly breaking forth after the dark night.
job 41:19Lamps - This also better agrees with the crocodile, which breathes like the river - horse, of which ancient authors affirm, that his nostrils are very large, and he breathes forth a fiery smoke like that of a furnace.
job 41:21Kindleth coals - An hyperbolical expression, denoting extraordinary heat.
job 41:22And sorrow - Sorrow is his companion and harbinger, which attends upon him wheresoever he goes. So anger and fear are said by the poets to accompany the God of war.
job 41:24Nether mill - stone - Which being to bear the weight of the upper, ought to be the harder and stronger of the two.
job 41:25Raiseth - Upon the top of the waters. Mighty - Even the stout - hearted. Breakings - By reason of their great danger and distress; which is expressed by this very word, Psa 60:2; Jon 2:4. Purify - Those who ordinarily live in the neglect of God, they cry unto God in their trouble, and endeavour to purge their consciences from the guilt of their sins.
job 41:26Hold - Heb. cannot stand, cannot endure the stroke, but will be broken by it. The crocodile's skin, no sword, nor dart, nor musquet bullet can pierce.
job 41:28Turned - Hurt him no more than a blow with a little stubble.
job 41:30Stones - His skin is so impenetrable, that the sharpest stones or shells are as easy unto him as the mire.
job 41:31Boil - To swell, and foam, and froth by his strong and vehement motion, as any liquor does when it is boiled in a pot, especially boiling ointment. The sea - The great river Nile, is called a sea, both in scripture, as Isa 11:15, and in other authors, as Euphrates is called the sea of Babylon, Isa 21:1; Jer 51:36. Lakes also are most frequently called seas both in the Old and New Testament: and in such lakes the crocodiles are as well as in the Nile.
job 41:32Shine - By the white froth or foam upon the waters. The same may be observed in the wake of a ship by night.
job 41:34King, &c. - He can tame both the behemoth and leviathan, as strong and stout - hearted as they are. This discourse concerning them was brought in, to prove that it is God only, who can look upon proud men and abase them, bring them low, and hide them in the dust, he it is that beholdeth all high things, and wherein men dealt proudly, he is above them. He is king over all the children of pride, brutal or rational, and makes them either bend or break before him.