Behemoth and Leviathan

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Britannica classifies the Leviathan as a sea serpent that represents Israel’s enemies and the Behemoth as a powerful hippopotamus. But what are they really? Do they have a deeper meaning? Or are they simply animals that walked the earth? Both of these creatures appear in the book of Job. The Leviathan is also found in other places throughout the Bible in Psalm, Revelation, Isaiah and even sources of mythology. However, the Behemoth is only found in Job 40:14-24. These creatures have puzzled Christians for a number of years, and due to their air of mystery, a lot of self-interpretation goes along with these creatures. Needless to say, there are many possible theories surrounding these creatures of mystery. In order to come to a more solid conclusion, we will be shedding some light on a few of these possible explanations, including what each creature is and its role in the book of Job. Finally, based on our research, we will give our personal thoughts on what we feel is the most accurate theory. The first theory surrounding the Behemoth and Leviathan is that they are actual creatures that walk (or walked) the earth. Wilson suggests that when the Bible mentions them and talks about how large they are that it is simply the author making them more colorful due to a lack of true knowledge about them (3). The name Behemoth is the “plural of majesty” of the ordinary word for animal, or in other words, an animal of excellence. The most common animal that the Behemoth is attributed to is the hippopotamus. There is a focus on the strength of the loins and belly, which is true of the common hippo. Some scholars believe that the section about the “tail of cedar” is a major downfall for the hippo theory, since hippos have a very small tail. H... ... middle of paper ... ...n J. Allen. Vol. 4. Nashville: Broadman, 1971. 145-49. Print. Life Application Study Bible. NIV ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005. Print. 26 Mar. 2012. "Leviathan." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. . The New Interpreter's Bible. Vol. 4. Nashville: Abingdon, 1996. Print. Smick, Elmer B. "Another Look At The Mythological Elements In The Book Of Job." Westminster Theological Journal 40.2 (1978): 213-228. Walton, John H., ed. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary. Vol. 5. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009: 296-302. Print. Wilson, Kinnier, J V. "Return To The Problems Of Behemoth And Leviathan." Vetus Testamentum 25.1 (1975): 1-14. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials. Web
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