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Job 40:17-19 New English Translation (NET Bible)

17 It makes its tail stiff[a] like a cedar,
the sinews of its thighs are tightly wound.
18 Its bones are tubes of bronze,
its limbs like bars of iron.
19 It ranks first among the works of God,[b]
the One who made it
has furnished it with a sword.[c]


  1. Job 40:17 tn The verb חָפַץ (khafats) occurs only here. It may have the meaning “to make stiff; to make taut” (Arabic). The LXX and the Syriac versions support this with “erects.” But there is another Arabic word that could be cognate, meaning “arch, bend.” This would give the idea of the tail swaying. The other reading seems to make better sense here. However, “stiff” presents a serious problem with the view that the animal is the hippopotamus.
  2. Job 40:19 tn Heb “the ways of God.”sn This may be a reference to Gen 1:24, where the first of the animal creation was the cattle—behemah (בְּהֵמָה).
  3. Job 40:19 tc The literal reading of the MT is “let the one who made him draw near [with] his sword.” The sword is apparently a reference to the teeth or tusks of the animal, which cut vegetation like a sword. But the idea of a weapon is easier to see, and so the people who favor the mythological background see here a reference to God’s slaying the Beast. There are again many suggestions on how to read the line. The RV probably has the safest: “He that made him has furnished him with his sword” (the sword being a reference to the sharp tusks with which he can attack).
New English Translation (NET)

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