Many like to guess at the identities of the Behemoth with a tail that “sways like a cedar” or the species of Leviathan that has “flames stream from its mouth.” Though questions pertaining to these creatures are interesting, ultimately the most important question arising from this passage is when God asks Job, “Would you discredit my justice?” (Job 40:8) This question gets at the real conflict in the book of Job.
Was God just in allowing Satan to attack Job’s family and afflict Job’s body? Is God right to do such a thing to one righteous like Job? After God answers with more questions, we see Job’s answer: “Surely, I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me” (Job 42:3). Job doesn’t get an answer, and he doesn’t mind. Job has seen God, and he recognizes that, in light of God’s majesty, even the suggestion that God does injustice is a thought to be despised. It turns out Job didn’t need an answer per se, but needed to hear from God.
It is important to remember, that Job is not a book with all the answers, but is about an arrival, an appearance of God to speak to Job in his suffering. In our own predicaments, the best answer to our suffering isn’t a defense of God’s goodness in light of such massive suffering, but rather the arrival of a Savior for us and with us. God’s best answer to questions about our suffering is His suffering in our place. Jesus’s coming similarly isn’t an answer to our suffering per se, but Jesus is certainly God speaking to us. May we, like Job, close our mouths whenever we go through prolonged questioning of God’s justice, especially in light of the injustice of the cross.