The LORD asks Job, “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?” If Job argues with God, he must give a response. Job replies that he is small; how can he answer? “I lay my hand upon my mouth,” he tells God, and will speak no more.
God calls Job a “faultfinder”—meaning that Job has been finding fault with God and therefore shouldn’t dare to question God. Finally given a chance to speak to God directly, Job’s response is silence—he now sees that no other response is fitting.
God again speaks to Job out of the whirlwind, telling him to “gird up his loins like a man” and answer when he’s questioned. He orders Job to “deck yourself with […] dignity,” bring low the proud, and tread upon the wicked. Only then will God acknowledge that Job can gain victory by his own hand.
God isn’t done with Job yet. Next, he challenges Job to embody God’s justice and power by dealing justly with the proud and wicked. If he can do that, then maybe Job is worthy to question God.
God tells Job to consider Behemoth, which God made just as he made Job. This powerful creature eats grass just like an ox. Its creation was God’s first great act, and only God can control it. It lies in the shade of the lotus plant, surrounded by the willows in the wadi. It’s unafraid of the turbulent River Jordan.
To further demonstrate his mysterious ways, God describes his creation of intimidating creatures that only God could come up with or control. The first is Behemoth, perhaps a hippopotamus or even a mythical beast. Again, Job’s understanding is no match for the wonders of God’s creation.