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Thursday, November 20 2014

Job 41: The Origin Of Moby Dick

"And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind ... and God saw that it was good"

Whales and all other sea creatures were created by the LORD. "And God saw that it was good."

"1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good." (Genesis 1:21 KJV)

Many humans have a self-inflicted defective habit of calling things and behavior, that the LORD declared are good, "evil" - and of calling things and behavior, that the LORD declared are evil, "good." The spirit of rebellion remains, for a little while longer, the way of sinful man (see Repent, For The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand).

"Sea monsters" have been the subject of human fantasies for thousands of years (land "monsters" too; see The Dragons Of The Bible). Sometimes, never-happened legends were created from actual experiences with sea creatures that were twisted into fables of humans in their mythical "heroic struggle against nature" i.e. their wanton and irresponsible destruction of the LORD's Creation and the God-given "nature" of its creatures, despite the LORD's command for humans to be responsible caretakers of the animal world (see What Did The LORD Say About Animals?).

A famous example from the early 1800s: A whaling ship attacked a group of peaceful whales who were not attacking or threatening the ship in any way. They harpooned the largest whale among them, an 80 ton "monster" ("monster" simply means big). In their attempts to kill and haul in the whale, their ship was damaged by the otherwise peaceful creature as it was writhing in great pain from the harpoons that the humans had thrust deep into it. Although the humans were in fact the deadly aggressors, the incident was used as the basis for a story about a sinister killer whale - the famous fantasy Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

Interestingly, along with knowledge of the incident, Melville's writing of the novel was reportedly based on his "experience at sea, on his reading in whaling literature, and on literary inspirations such as Shakespeare and the Bible." The Bible?

Moby Dick
The incident with Jonah and the whale is well-known, but that wasn't about whalers (see the Fact Finder question below).

There is however another reference to a fight with a great whale recorded in the Bible. It's found in the Book of Job where the LORD Himself actually described how harpooning a whale will cause the whale to fight to defend itself - according to the nature that the LORD gave to it: "41:7 Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears? 41:8 Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more." (Job 41:7-8 KJV). Creatures that defend themselves when attacked aren't evil - they are doing what the LORD made them to do (see also Meet Your Maker).

The LORD used that lesson of a harpooned whale to portray what happens to those who attack Him: "None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me?"

"41:1 Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? 41:2 Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn? 41:3 Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee? 41:4 Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever? 41:5 Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens? 41:6 Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants? 41:7 Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears? 41:8 Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more. 41:9 Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him? 41:10 None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me? 41:11 Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.

41:12 I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion. 41:13 Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can come to him with his double bridle? 41:14 Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about. 41:15 His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal. 41:16 One is so near to another, that no air can come between them. 41:17 They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered. 41:18 By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. 41:19 Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. 41:20 Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. 41:21 His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth. 41:22 In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him. 41:23 The flakes of his flesh are joined together: they are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved. 41:24 His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone. 41:25 When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves. 41:26 The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon. 41:27 He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood. 41:28 The arrow cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble. 41:29 Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear. 41:30 Sharp stones are under him: he spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire. 41:31 He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment. 41:32 He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary. 41:33 Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear. 41:34 He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride." (Job 41:1-34 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why did Jonah have an experience with "a great fish"?
See Jonah: Three Days And Three Nights


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This Day In History, November 20

284: Diocletian was proclaimed Emperor of Rome (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars and Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire; also Whatever Happened To Those Romans?).

762: During the An Shi Rebellion in China, forces of the Tang Dynasty, with the help of Huihe tribe, recaptured Luoyang from the rebels.

1194: Palermo, Sicily was conquered by the Holy Roman Emperor, German King Heinrich (in English, Henry) VI (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

German Empire
1272: Edward I became King of England.

1541: John Calvin, 32, established a religious government at Geneva, creating a center for growing Protestantism in Europe.

1759: In the Battle of Quiberon Bay during the Seven Years War, the British fleet with 23 warships under Admiral Hawke destroyed the French invasion fleet of 21 warships under Admiral Conflans.

1780: Britain declared war on the Netherlands after the Dutch had supplied French and Spanish arms to U.S. rebels (the Dutch were the colonial rulers of the colonies before Britain took them and renamed them "New England," while France and Spain both had colonies throughout North America, that they tolerated no independence for, while they at the same time supported the revolt of the English colonies against Britain).

Queen Elizabeth 1820: An 80-ton whale "attacked" the Essex, a whaling ship from Nantucket, Massachusetts. The peaceful whale (and members of its family) was actually the one being attacked by the whaling ship, thrashing about in great pain after being harpooned. The falsely-reported event was later used as the basis for the 1851 fictional novel Moby Dick.

1873: In Hungary, the rival cities of Buda and Pest were joined to form the national capital - Budapest.

1910: Francisco Madero issued the Plan de San Luis Potosi that called for revolution against President Porfirio Diaz, thereby starting the Mexican Revolution.

1917: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), 324 British tanks struck at the German lines in the Battle of Cambrai, France, the first major battle involving tanks. By the end of the battle, no gains had been made and the British lost 43,000 men.

1922: In Switzerland, the Lausanne Conference began to resolve differences between the allied powers after the First World War.

1923: During the inflation crisis in Germany, the Rentenmark replaced the Papiermark as the official currency. It had an initial exchange rate of one Rentenmark to one trillion Papiermarks.

1945: The war crime trials of 24 Nazi leaders began at Nuremberg, Germany. On the same day, the Allied Control Commission approved the transfer of 6,000,000 ethnic-Germans from Austria, Hungary and Poland back to West Germany.

1946: Alberta's oil boom began when the initial drilling was done at the famous Leduc well south of Edmonton.

1947: Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II) married Philip Mountbatten, the Duke of Edinburgh, in Westminster Abbey.

1967: Lester Pearson, a Nobel Prize winner who would later become Prime Minister of Canada, was presented with the Medallion of Valour of the State of Israel for his efforts on behalf of Israel at the United Nations.

1977: Egyptian President Anwar Sadat addressed the Israeli Knesset. Sadat's visit made him the first Arab leader to officially visit Israel.

1980: Jiang Qing, widow of Mao Zedong, went on trial in China on charges of treason.

1985: Microsoft Windows 1.0 was released.

1992: A fire that burned for 15 hours before being brought under control severely damaged part of Windsor Castle in London.

1992: 20 paintings by Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) went unsold at an auction after they failed to receive a single bid.

1998: A Taliban court in Afghanistan declared terrorist leader Osama bin Laden to be "a man without a sin."

1998: The first module of the International Space Station was launched on a Russian Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.


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Copyright © Wayne Blank