He beholds all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.
This magniloquent title crowns the elaborate description of leviathan, which occupies the whole chapter. It gives us a vivid idea of the supremacy and kinship that are to be found in nature.
I. THERE ARE GRADATIONS OF RANK IN NATURE. Nature is not democratic or communistic. Among her various orders we observe ascending ranks of living creatures. There is a natural aristocracy; there is a natural kingship. All creatures are not endowed alike. Some are gifted with powers that lift them above their fellows. We see the same facts in the human world. All men are not endowed equally. Some have five talents, some two talents, some but one talent. There are men who seem born to rule; power is native to them. Now, these facts may seem to justify a rigid adherence to differences of rank and a repression of efforts to bring about a state of equality. But we must modify the application of them to men in two or three respects.
1. Men are all of one greatly, and are therefore am! brethren, whereas in the animal world we have been considering differences of species.
2. Men have a moral nature, and can discern a higher right than that of might.
3. Men have a religion, which teaches them that their own instincts and wills are to be subordinate to the will of God.
II. THE HIGHEST KINGSHIP IS MENTAL AND MORAL. It is only in a highly rhetorical description that the crocodile, even when idealized, can be described as "a king over all the children of pride," for he does not really rule over the beasts and birds and fishes of the Nile. It is his dragon-like size and form and power that suggest to us an idea of royalty. And what royalty! Here we have the reductio ad absurdum of the kingship of force. It is natural and right in the crocodile, who lives up to his nature. Yet with all his toughness and terror this animal is one of the most senseless of creatures. It is not much to be able to boast of physical supremacy. The born kings of men are the great leaders in the higher life - leaders of thought, as Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, Bacon, Newton, Kant; leaders of religious life and conduct, as St. Paul, Athanasius, Luther, Wesley.
III. GOD IS KING OF KINGS. It would be a fearful thing if the power and supremacy that are entrusted to the larger animals had been given to them without limits or restraints. But the kingly animals, the lion and the eagle, as well as leviathan himself, are all obedient subjects of the Lord who rules over all the works of nature. They could not rebel against their Suzerain if they would. Their kingdoms are but satrapies of the grand empire of nature which God rules absolutely. Hence the order of the worm in spite of the power of these monstrous creatures. Man alone is able to rebel. Yet God overrules the rebellion even of the human world, and brings kings to do his will, although they may recognize him as little as leviathan recognizes his Lord and Maker. Thus God gives power within limits. Men of the largest liberty and the highest privileges will be called to account before their supreme Master. Therefore it is for us to look up above all earthly greatness and rule to that perfect kingship and that one supreme authority which has been revealed to us in Christ for the guidance of our lives into the path of loyal obedience. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.