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25 Can you lead Leviathan[a] about with a hook,
    or tie down his tongue with a rope?
26 Can you put a ring into his nose,
    or pierce through his cheek with a gaff?
27 Will he then plead with you, time after time,
    or address you with tender words?
28 Will he make a covenant with you
    that you may have him as a slave forever?
29 Can you play with him, as with a bird?
    Can you tie him up for your little girls?
30 Will the traders bargain for him?
    Will the merchants[b] divide him up?
31 Can you fill his hide with barbs,
    or his head with fish spears?
32 Once you but lay a hand upon him,
    no need to recall any other conflict!

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Footnotes

  1. 40:25 Leviathan: although identified by some scholars as the crocodile, it is more likely another chaos monster; see note on 3:8.
  2. 40:30 Merchants: lit., “Canaanites,” whose reputation for trading was so widespread that their name came to be used for merchants; cf. Prv 31:24.

II

12 [a]Yet you, God, are my king from of old,
    winning victories throughout the earth.
13 You stirred up the sea by your might;(A)
    you smashed the heads of the dragons on the waters.(B)
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan,(C)
    gave him as food to the sharks.

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Footnotes

  1. 74:12–17 Comparable Canaanite literature describes the storm-god’s victory over all-encompassing Sea and its allies (dragons and Leviathan) and the subsequent peaceful arrangement of the universe, sometimes through the placement of paired cosmic elements (day and night, sun and moon), cf. Ps 89:12–13. The Psalm apparently equates the enemies attacking the Temple with the destructive cosmic forces already tamed by God. Why then are those forces now raging untamed against your own people?

Son of man, utter a lament over Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and say to him:

You liken yourself to a lion among nations,
    but you are like the monster in the sea!
Thrashing about in your streams,
    churning the water with your feet,
    polluting the streams.(A)

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