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Behold Behemoth

What really was the behemoth in the book of Job?

The awe-inspiring behemoth described in Job 40:15-24 has left so many of us to wonder just what exactly this creature could be. The word ‘behemoth’ is literally a plural form of a common Old Testament word meaning ‘beast’. Practically all translators and commentators have agreed that this word is an intensive or majestic plural, so that the meaning is something more like ‘colossal beast’[1]

“Sporting massive bones easily comparable to “bars of iron” as well as enormous cedar-like tails, this subgroup of the “lizard-hipped” dinosaur is a real possibility.”

Though many have suggested that the behemoth is an elephant or hippopotamus, neither of these animals really fit the description—especially in regards to its tail. It’s hard to imagine how the unassuming tail of an elephant or hippo could ever be compared to a cedar! But if the behemoth isn’t an elephant or hippo, then what exactly is it?

The reality is that there is no known living animal that adequately fits the description, and when we consider that roughly “150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours,”[2] it becomes apparent that the animals alive today represent only a small fraction of those living in Job’s day (approximately 2000 BC). Interestingly, if we look to the fossil record, we do find some massive beasts worthy of such descriptions. We know them today as dinosaurs, and of particular interest here is the sauropod type. Sporting massive bones easily comparable to “bars of iron” (v.18) as well as enormous cedar-like tails (v.17), this subgroup of the “lizard-hipped” dinosaur is a real possibility.

Of course, this conclusion absolutely flies in the face of conventional “wisdom” which separates dinosaurs and man by more than 65 million years. Nevertheless, the Bible teaches that man and dinosaur walked the earth together not so very long ago.[3] Real-world data such as the soft tissue and DNA found in dinosaur remains to the various depictions of these creatures in ancient artwork supports this Godly wisdom.

Ryan Hembree is a daily co-host, speaker, and writer of Bible Discovery. He also hosts a YouTube channel that shows the unity of the Bible and how science and Scripture fit together. Ryan also has an honorary Masters of Ministry in Creation Science from Phoenix University of Theology.

[1] Creation Ministries International, “Could Behemoth Have Been a Dinosaur?” Allan K. Steel. August 2001.

[2] Huffington Post, “UN Environment Programme: 200 Species Extinct Every Day, Unlike Anything Since Dinosaurs Disappeared 65 Million Years Ago,” John Vidal. May 25, 2011.

[3] Land animals were created on the same day as mankind (Gen 1:24-31), which includes the dinosaurs (or as they were called before 1841, dragons). Interestingly, the term ‘dragon’ is used more than twenty times in the OT of the KJV Bible, once metaphorically and the other times referring to real animals (e.g. Ps. 91:13; Is 34:13; Jer 9:11, etc.).

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