Truth, Understanding, Insight

Behemoth, Leviathan, Dinosaurs & Creation

5th January 2011, hej


There is much evidence that great animals existed in the past, much larger than the largest found today. There is also some evidence of extinction, even in recorded history. Some ask 'were all animals that have ever lived on this earth all part of this creation?' This is a short consideration of what the Bible says.


To prepare our thinking on this subject, let us ponder how much we can't know. Do you personally know all there is to know about your DNA? Why do the bones of a baby grow in the womb? Why, or by what mechanisms, does a baby take its first breath? Do you know why people in old age stop breathing? As far as is known, nobody knows yet why bones grow except that is programmed, or why people live, or stop breathing. These are all things intimately connected to us! And how few know how even their car works!

Science over the last 200 years hasn't revealed that gaps in knowledge are getting smaller, but in fact shows that the more that is known, the more that can't be known. As yet none has answered Isaac Newton's understanding that God's power is an 'arm' for the circling of the planets, for by his laws they should go in a straight line, if there be any motion at all! Yet people expect to know all regarding the distant past! But there are some things we can be sure of.

6,000 years

Biblical chronology is surprisingly complete, and relatively unbroken from Jesus back to Adam. The chronology to the flood is detailed (see here). Any person with time may chart the lineages and come up with dates within a few hundred years of consensus of creation about 4,000BCE. In other words we have, give or take a few hundred years, approximately six thousand years of recorded history. The most complete and oldest section of written history is the Bible from one family-nation which covers 4,000 years. That other ancient families made myths and did not write their history down does not negate the records we have. Other ancient accounts tend to carry traces of Biblical elements, for example the flood and serpent. Also population growth patterns projected back match a more recent creation. Population before the 18th century is an estimate. We may also estimate based on the Bible.

Drawn over map from

Historians always value written documents over artefacts, and if the Bible was not so available, if it was instead dug up from the desert sands, the secular world would think it wonderful!

But does that history in the Bible explain everything that may be dug up? Does it explain the very large animals that we have evidence existed but are no longer around today?

In Britain a large part of a skull of what is believed to be a sea creature, the skull measuring 2.4m long was found. BBC earth news Another of a more complete skeleton a sea creature with a flipper 3m long was found in the Arctic and was even bigger than a similar specimen found in Australia (showing global distribution). BBC science

There were large beasts on earth. Skeletons show the woolly mammoth may been up to 4m tall. And there were not just one or two of them but many with more than 150 alone found in China. But this is not to be compared to beasts such as one found in Australia where a single bone of a large creature, a “humerus weighs 100kg and is a rare complete bone measuring 1.5m in length” science daily

and another found in Egypt with a a 5-foot-7-inch upper arm bone CNN tech

There were large flying things with heads up to 15cm long and bodies over 50cm long which have been found in China scielo

Even though incomplete and the artistic reconstructions mostly imaginative, and the idea of what they ate a often fantasy, it is clear they were huge and they are no longer in existence.

There is no doubt that many large beasts and sea creatures once existed on earth. Were they part of this creation? Were they Behemoth and Leviathan?


In most translations Behemoth only occurs once, in the book of Job where God speaks to Job and says,

Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eats grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moves his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. (Job 40:15-19)

There are in fact 14 occurrences. The first is untranslated. The word was used first by Job,

But ask now the beasts (behemoths), and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee; Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee; and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee; (Job 12:7-8)

Then Elihu uses it in the same way as Job does,

Who teaches us more than the beasts (behemoths) of the earth, and makes us wiser than the fowls of heaven?' There they cry, but none gives answer, because of the pride of evil men. (Job 35:11-12)

The psalmist writes

(8:7) Thou hast made him [mankind] to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under His feet: (8:8) Sheep and oxen, all of them, yea, and the beasts (Behemoth) of the field; (Psalm 8:6-7)
I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he-goats out of thy folds. For every beast (Behemoth) of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. (Psalm 50:9-10)

It is clearly not a mythical beast. Note how there are domestic animal names then all others are lumped together as 'behemoth'. In fact Behemoth seems to be a general classification for all large beasts. In Isaiah and Micah the context indicates that the term encompasses and includes a few beasts including lions.

The burden of the beasts (behemoths) of the South. Through the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the lioness and the lion, the viper and flying serpent, they carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the humps of camels, to a people that shall not profit them. (Isaiah 30:6)
(5:7) And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through, treads down and tears in pieces, and there is none to deliver. (Micah 5:8)

It seems the term was used for all beasts in the following passages.

(49:13) But man abides not in honour; he is like the beasts (behemoths) that perish. (Psalm 49:12)
But I was brutish, and ignorant; I was as a beast (behemoth) before Thee. (Psalm 73:22)
How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of the whole field wither? For the wickedness of them that dwell therein, the beasts (behemoths)are consumed, and the birds; because they said: 'He sees not our end.' (Jeremiah 12:4)
Yea, the beasts (behemoths)of the field pant unto Thee; for the water brooks are dried up, and the fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness. (Joel 1:20 cp 2:22)
For the violence done to Lebanon shall cover thee, and the destruction of the beasts (behemoths), which made them afraid; because of men's blood, and for the violence done to the land, to the city and to all that dwell therein. (Habakkuk 2:17)

It is therefore possible large beasts were behemoth, as all beasts which were not domestic seem to have been called behemoth. Thus we may understand that the features spoken of in Job need not necessarily belong to one animal, each feature was to be observed among the very wide class of known large beasts. Of note is that many large strong wild beasts such as Rhinoceros are vegetation eaters,

Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eats grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. (Job 40:15-16)

Some are beasts of the mountains,

Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play. (Job 40:20)

Others are great beasts that live beside rivers such as the hippopotamus,

He lies under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.

Behemoth also may describe an elephant,

Behold, he drinks up a river, and hastes not: he trusts that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. (Job 40:21-23)

The point of the discussion is that Job can't abase a proud human, and they have less power over the wild beasts, though humans were given dominion,

Shall any take him by his eyes, or pierce through his nose with a snare? (Job 40:24)

Humans may be wilful but great power rests with God, such as that power shown in the beasts,

He is the beginning of the ways of God; He only that made him can make His sword to approach unto him. (Job 40:19)

In other words Job was of small power, and his will of small effect. The great beasts show how weak humans are.

So what about the strange Leviathan?


Much has been made of Leviathan. God says to Job,

Can thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou let down? Can thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn? Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee? (Job 41:1-3)

From this we may understand that it is not any fish, but one that defies a fishing line. It seems Hebrews were less used to the sea, for whereas Behemoth has 14 occurrences, leviathan has only 5.

The first mention is Job's use of it in the beginning of his discourse,

Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night wherein it was said: 'A man-child is brought forth.' Let that day be darkness; let not God inquire after it from above, neither let the light shine upon it. Let darkness and the shadow of death claim it for their own; let a cloud dwell upon it; let all that makes black the day terrify it. As for that night, let thick darkness seize upon it; let it not rejoice among the days of the year; let it not come into the number of the months. Lo, let that night be desolate; let no joyful voice come therein. Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to rouse up leviathan. Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it behold the eyelids of the morning; (Job 3:3-9)

Clearly there is some knowledge regarding 'roused up leviathan' in the context of day and night. It seems large creatures of the sea sleep differently to land animals. For most, only half their brain sleeps and one eye is open for predators and they switch sides. Certainly Crocodiles are different as they nap always on alert and never enter REM sleep ( Job is saying let there be no night and day – He would have known as being ill, as it appears he could not sleep.

As with the case of Behemoth the other passages suggest what Leviathan means by their context.

Yet God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. Thou didst break the sea in pieces by Thy strength; Thou didst shatter the heads of the sea-monsters in the waters. Thou didst crush the heads of leviathan, Thou gave him to be food to the folk inhabiting the wilderness. Thou didst cleave fountain and brook; Thou dried up ever-flowing rivers. (Psalm 74:12-15)
How manifold are Thy works, O LORD! In wisdom hast Thou made them all; the earth is full of Thy creatures. Yonder sea, great and wide, therein are creeping things innumerable, living creatures, both small and great. There go the ships; there is leviathan, whom Thou hast formed to sport therein. (Psalm 104:24-26)

Note how scattering the heads of sea monsters, presumably a broad class of all the types, equals crushing the heads of leviathan. God of course does not destroy his useful natural creation which was “made good”. The salvation of humans is in the midst of the earth, where the monsters in the waters are fed to those in the wilderness. The key is that the rivers are destroyed – and the 'rivers' also in poetry speak of nations. It must not be forgotten that Psalms are poetry. The most interesting use of picture language is the following poetry in Isaiah,

In that day the LORD with His sore and great and strong sword will punish leviathan the slant serpent, and leviathan the tortuous serpent; and He will slay the dragon that is in the sea. In that day sing ye of her: 'A vineyard of foaming wine!' I the LORD do guard it, I water it every moment; lest Mine anger visit it, I guard it night and day. Fury is not in Me; would that I were as the briers and thorns in flame! I would with one step burn it altogether. Or else let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; yea, let him make peace with Me.
In days to come shall Jacob take root, Israel shall blossom and bud; and the face of the world shall be filled with fruitage. Has He smitten him as He smote those ['leviathan/dragon' of 'sea'] that smote him [Israel]? ...
Therefore by this shall the iniquity of Jacob be expiated, and this is all the fruit of taking away his sin: when he makes all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in pieces, so that the Asherim and the sun-images shall rise no more. For the fortified city is solitary, a habitation abandoned and forsaken, ...
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD will beat off His fruit from the flood of the River unto the Brook of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great horn shall be blown; and they shall come that were lost in the land of Assyria, and they that were dispersed in the land of Egypt; and they shall worship the LORD in the holy mountain at Jerusalem. (Isaiah 27:1-13)

In the context there is a strange mix of metaphor. Note how Israel is a 'vineyard of foaming wine' and 'fruit'. But there is an equation where leviathan the 'slant serpent' is equated to an enemy of his people and 'the asherim and sun images', or in other words idolatry. We have the beast in the sea versus the fruit and blossom of Israel on the land as two contrasting pictures. Leviathan also includes the 'dragon' or in Hebrew 'tanniyn' which might also be whale.

Both behemoth and leviathan are a class of, respectively, large land or water creatures.

Just as the term 'macromolecule' describes a class of molecules or the general term 'fast food describes many types of food.' 'pine tree' describes many plants. In modern Hebrew the definition is more limited than the Bible and 'leviathan' means whale, which is still a broad description as there are many types of whale. But the images of Leviathan in Job seem to go beyond sea creatures we know of today. One section has puzzled commentators,

By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.
Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils goes smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. His breath kindles coals, and a flame goes out of his mouth. In his neck remains strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him. (Job 41:18-22)

It is possible the references to fire from leviathan might be to the use of whale oil and blubber and the strength from the neck and the use of whale bone. But there is enough said to be clear that it is from the mouth of the leviathan itself the flame kindling occurs. And whereas Behemoth is used of large beasts, the word leviathan has contexts which indicate an analogy to a mighty power in human events.

One thing that is clear is that Job understood what was meant. Job knew of such an real creature. Was it alive in Job's day?

The age of Job

One clue to when Job lived is what age is considered old. The generations before the flood were living well over 700 years. After that it was proclaimed that men would live 120 years (Genesis 6:3). This did not take effect immediately as Shem lived 600 years. It is to be noted however that the life spans began dropping in the generations after the flood.

Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood: And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah: And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber: And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg: And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu: And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters. And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug: And Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters. And Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor: And Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah: And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters. And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran. (Genesis 11:10-26)

Highlighted is the lifespan after they had children. The writer of Job states that,

And after this Job lived a hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations. So Job died, being old and full of days. (Job 42:16-17)

We don't know how old he was at the time but there would be a range of 40-100 years to having the children. This places Job in the generation of Nahor, and not before the generation of Serug. It also means Job lived to the age of Abraham's call out of Ur. Job could not have lived before the flood as even the estimate of 240 years is too young to be considered “full of days”.

That Job lived in the era of Serug and Nahor means also that Job was contemporary with Shem (see here). Shem is thought to be Melchizedek of Jerusalem

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. (Genesis 14:18)

And this worship is confirmed as Abraham is told,

But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. (Gen 15:16)

Note how Job saw four generations, indicating there was obviously an influence of the aged that ensured that some in the land served the true God.

There are a few indications of Shem's presence in Job and the true worship. The use of the term 'sons of God' (Job 1:6) which was used of those who called on the name of God (Gen 4:26, 6:2). Also that Job is described as, “the greatest of all the men of the east.” (Job 1:3) which indicates that the centre of worship, or of the community, was to the West, which would fit with Shem and the centre of true worship being located at Jerusalem. At this time of the patriarchs the servants are widespread, and Abraham's branch of the Shemites had travelled as far east as Ur.

This all indicates that Job lived in the era after the flood, or in our era. However it was likely he knew of the animals from those who had seen them first hand before the flood. One point to note is that only land animals and birds were destroyed by the flood, it is specifically said,

All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. (Genesis 7:22)

Which indicates that great sea creatures survived, especially with more water. But Job makes a statement regarding life,

But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knows not in all these that the hand of the LORD has wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. (Job 12:7-10)

Every living thing including the fish. And Elihu adds,

Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment. Who has given him a charge over the earth? or who has disposed the whole world? If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust. (Job 34:12-15)

This observation does not fit the flood, as all flesh did not perish as there were 8 saved and as many animals as were on the ark. When did all flesh, including fish, perish together? There is a comment specifically regarding leviathan in the same words as Job in the Psalms

There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein. These wait all upon thee; that thou may give them their meat in due season. That thou give them they gather: thou open thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou hide thy face, they are troubled: thou take away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou send forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. (Psalm 104:26-30)

Note the order that the breath of all living things is taken way and then the spirit is sent forth, just as is said in Genesis,

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Gen 1:2)

How do Job and Elihu know that all flesh could be destroyed at one time on the face of the whole earth? How is the psalmist so confident? Are they describing something that happened? Do they and we have evidence that such an event did happen?

In fact we do. It is well known that many animals, birds and fish suddenly became extinct (Bristol University shows some debate but concludes the evidence is in favour of mass extinction also and a study in Italy and a general overview of evidence for a sudden extinction in a flood answersingenesis). If we can deduce this by digging up what seems relatively easy to dig up, as often fossil bones are exposed on cliff faces, we cannot eliminate the possibility that the people of the era of Job could have done so?

The point is that having never seen a dinosaur we know a fair bit about them, from having dug them up. Our ancestors were not less able than us, and the bones are not hidden, and may have been revealed by the flood.

There are two possibilities supported by the text. A large Leviathan of the sort described to Job

  • A. perished in the flood for some reason,
  • B. perished in an event that caused the death of all life on earth and left it covered in water.

  • Job is also told about the sons of the Mighty Ones or the angels being at creation (Job 38:7), and Genesis states that the Mighty Ones came to talk to Adam and Eve,

    They heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)

    The implication is that this walking was habitual. There may be more in oral tradition than we have recorded. Somehow a prophecy of Enoch makes it to the book of Jude. What did Job and Elihu know that others after that era forgot? We don't know, but we can't assume them ignorant. We have a record of what was said, and there is every indication of a knowledge of a great sea beast, amongst other sea beasts.

    The point is, humans even now can dig up huge sea beasts in many parts of the world some even with chambers in their skulls (see Sarcosuchus imperator described in Creation).

    The question which cannot be answered now is when such sea beasts existed. None come dated, whatever may be said. There is no evidence for uniformity. And outside a world where spins define a year and with people who have an end of days, 'time' before this 6,000 year era may be beyond our conception.


    There is great evidence for a creation in the fact of the Cambrian explosion. When precisely the Cambrian era was is beyond knowing as any thinking on it is based on assumptions.

    There is evidence also of mass extinction. There is evidence of a great flood. The apostle Peter is very clear that the people of the generation of Shem should have known about the potential destruction of a flood as they knew that the earth had been covered with water, and, by the word of God at creation, of which Adam could reliably testify, the earth was moved up out of the water.

    Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: (2Peter 3:3-6)

    Which points out that at the beginning of creation the world was covered with water and without life. At that point the world was flooded.

    There is evidence in earthforms of massive earth movements where strata laid horizontally are pushed up on their side, (or in the case of Ayres Rock, nearly vertically) which are in accord with what Peter says occurred when earth was separated from the flood, or t'hom of waters, that covered it.

    The Bible makes some statements of which the most intriguing is,

    thou take away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou send forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renew the face of the earth. (Psalm 104:26-30)

    Genesis records that the Spirit was sent forth. The Bible contains as good an explanation of the evidence as any other. None can prove more than this, as none can explain how life can come from no life (as is the law of biogenesis is that no life may arise without life).

    By definition what happened yesterday is called history. It is only useful science if it is repeatable today. Any research on origins, fossils and old bones is not science but history. The best sources for history are contemporary texts. The problem is that anything dug up is mute and worse in terms of yielding information, than a forensic's cold case. Humans may speculate about it, but nothing can be known, unless it was written by a reliable contemporary source.

    And the Bible is a reliable source, as it never misses a step in terms of useful experimental repeatable science, often anticipating discovery in its observations. But more than that, we have sure evidence that though nothing has been written since the Apostles that, events occurring today were predicted as a sure future in this history of a nation, in their texts called the Bible.

    For more Misunderstood Evolution


    He that calls for the waters of the sea

    It has been in my heart to write about an observation regarding the movement in the heavens : weather, climate, sun and universe. It concerns me that people do not give the God of the Bible the glory for His gift of life, moment to moment, and the giving of rain and sun.

    The Making of the World

    For a while now I have been dissatisfied with explanations to rebut Evolution. Over a year ago I was asked by someone to think upon how I would answer in favour of the Bible account of creation.

    Comparison of “in the beginning” and the “a new heaven and a new earth”

    Three times in the Bible we are introduced to the creation of the heavens and earth. The first instance is in Genesis, the second is by the prophet Isaiah and the third is in Revelation.

    Planets: Venus, a Wandering Star

    Recent findings suggest once again that science reveals how much is not known. Venus was found to have a longer day than was measured by the Magellan in the early 1990's: a noticeably and significantly longer day. The motion in the universe might be more quixotic than many had thought.