Verse 24. "He taketh it with his eyes " - He looks at the sweeping tide, and defies it.
"His nose pierceth through snares. " - If fences of strong stakes be made in order to restrain him, or prevent him from passing certain boundaries, he tears them in pieces with his teeth; or, by pressing his nose against them, breaks them off. If other parts of the description would answer, this might well apply to the elephant, the nose here meaning the proboscis, with which he can split trees, or even tear them up from the roots! Thus ends the description of the behemoth; what I suppose to be the mastodon or mammoth, or some creature of this kind, that God made as the chief of his works, exhibited in various countries for a time, cut them off from the earth, but by his providence preserved many of their skeletons, that succeeding ages might behold the mighty power which produced this chief of the ways of God, and admire the providence that rendered that race extinct which would otherwise, in all probability, have extinguished every other race of animals! I am not unapprized of the strong arguments produced by learned men to prove, on the one hand, that behemoth is the elephant; and, on the other, that he is the hippopotamus or river-horse, and I have carefully read all that Bochart, that chief of learned men, has said on the subject. But I am convinced that an animal now extinct, probably of the kind already mentioned, is the creature pointed out and described by the inspiration of God in this chapter. ON ver. 1 of this chapter we have seen, from Mr. Heath's remarks, that the fourteen first verses were probably transposed. In the following observations Dr. Kennicott appears to prove the point. "It will be here objected, that the poem could not possibly end with this question from Job; and, among other reasons, for this in particular; because we read in the very next verse, That after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, &c. If, therefore, the last speaker was not Job, but the Lord, Job could not originally have concluded this poem, as he does at present. "This objection I hold to be exceedingly important; and, indeed, to prove decisively that the poem must have ended at first with some speech from God. "And this remark leads directly to a very interesting inquiry: What was at first the conclusion of this poem? This may, I presume, be pointed out and determined, not by the alteration of any one word, but only by allowing a dislocation of the fourteen verses which now begin the fortieth chapter.
"Chapters 38., 39., 40., and 41., contain a magnificent display of the Divine power and wisdom in the works of the Creator; specifying the lion, raven, wild goat, wild ass, unicorn, peacock, ostrich, horse, hawk, eagle, behemoth, and leviathan. "Now, it must have surprised most readers to find that the description of these creatures is strangely interrupted at ver. 1, and as strangely resumed afterwards at ver. 15; and therefore, if these fourteen verses will connect with and regularly follow what now ends the poem, we cannot much doubt that these fourteen verses have again found their true station, and should be restored to it. "The greatness of the supposed transposition is no objection: because so many verses as would fill one piece of vellum in an ancient roll, might be easily sewed in before or after its proper place. In the case before us, the twenty-five lines in the first fourteen verses of chapter xl. seem to have been sewed in improperly after chap. xxxix. 30, instead of after chap. xlii. 6. That such large parts have been transposed in rolls to make which the parts are sewed together is absolutely certain; and that this has been the case here, is still more probable for the following reason: " - "The lines here supposed to be out of place are twenty-five, and contain ninety-two words; which might be written on one piece or page of vellum. But the MS. in which these twenty-five lines made one page, must be supposed to have the same, or nearly the same, number of lines in each of the pages adjoining. And it would greatly strengthen this presumption if these twenty-five lines would fall in regularly at the end of any other set of lines, nearly of the same number; if they would fall in after the next set of twenty-five, or the second set, or the third, or the fourth, &c. Now, this is actually the case here; for the lines after these twenty-five, being one hundred or one hundred and one, make just four times twenty-five. And, therefore, if we consider these one hundred and twenty-five lines as written on five equal pieces of vellum, it follows that the fifth piece might be carelessly sewed up before the other four. "Let us also observe that present disorder of the speeches, which is this. In chapters 38. and 39., God first speaks to Job.
The end of chap. 39. is followed by, 'And the Lord answered Job and said,' whilst yet Job had not replied. At ver. 3-5, Job answers; but he says, he had then spoken TWICE, and he would add no more; whereas, this was his first reply, and he speaks afterwards. From ver. 15-xli. 34 are now the descriptions of behemoth and leviathan, which would regularly follow the descriptions of the horse, hawk, and eagle. And from chap. xlii. 1-6 is now Job's speech, after which we read in chap. xlii. 7, 'After the Lord had spoken these words unto Job!' "Now, all these confusions are removed at once if we only allow that a piece of vellum containing the twenty-five lines, (ver. 1-14,) originally followed chap. xlii. 6. For then, after God's first speech, ending with leviathan, Job replies: then God, to whom Job replies the second time, when he added no more; and then God addresses him the third, when Job is silent, and the poem concludes: upon which the narrative opens regularly, with saying, 'After the Lord had spoken these words unto Job,' &c. chap. xlii. 7." - Kennicott's Remarks, p. 161. The reader will find much more satisfaction if he read the places as above directed.
Having ended chap. xxix., proceed immediately to ver. 15; go on regularly to the end of chap. xlii. 6, and immediately after that add ver. 1-14. We shall find then that the poem has a consistent and proper ending, and that the concluding speech was spoken by JEHOVAH.