New Defender's Study Bible Notes
40:2 contendeth with the Almighty. There is a pause in God’s monologue on creation at this point. God rebukes Job mildly for presuming to question His actions, even when he didn’t understand them, and Job accepts the rebuke and confesses his sin.
40:15 behemoth. The word “behemoth” means, simply, “huge beast,” and commentators commonly take it to be either an elephant or a hippopotamus. The subsequent description, however, fits neither of these, nor any other living animal. On the other hand, it seems to match the probable description of a great land dinosaur, such as the tyrannosaurus.
40:17 tail like a cedar. No elephant or hippo has a tail like a cedar! This description supports the theory mentioned above that a behemoth may have been a dinosaur (see notes on Job 40:19).
40:19 chief of the ways. The behemoth was the “chief” of all created land animals, which could only, therefore, have been one of the great land dinosaurs. These, like all other animals, were created on the fifth and sixth days of creation week. Seemingly, the dinosaur had representatives preserved on Noah’s ark. Some descendants survived to and beyond Job’s day, giving rise to all the traditions of dragons in various parts of the world.
40:19 his sword. No mere man could overcome such an animal, but God could! As Job beheld the great reptile, it might well have called to his mind the old Serpent of Eden, who was ultimately responsible for all the world’s sin and suffering. He also knew of the ancient promise of the Redeemer who would come some day to slay the Serpent. Furthermore, he had expressed faith in that coming Redeemer (Job 19:25), and had sensed that his sufferings might somehow be a trial to which God was subjecting him (Job 23:10). Perhaps God was helping him realize what was really going on behind the scenes in connection with his trials.