Hebrew: בְּהֵמוֹת (noun) —transliteration: Behemoth —meaning: some type of exceptionally great and powerful air-breathing land animal
The exact meaning of the name is unclear, as this is a very ancient word. However, in context, it clearly refers to an extremely impressive, large, strong, air-breathing vegetarian beast that eats in fields, swamps and rivers, and has a large tail comparable to a cedar tree—as recorded in Job 40:15-24. In the opinion of many, this is a description of a large plant-eating dinosaur.
Notice the remarkable details of its poetic description, realizing that this beast is brought to Job’s attention at the apex of God’s listing of his creations.
“Now tighten the belt on your waist like a man;
I will ask you, and you instruct Me.
Will you really nullify My judgment?
Will you condemn Me so that you may be justified?
Or do you have an arm like God,
And can you thunder with a voice like His? …
Behold, Behemoth, which I made as well as you [literally: “with you”];
He eats grass like an ox.
Behold, his strength in his waist [loins, hips],
And his power in the muscles of his belly.
He hangs [literally: extends (moves) down stiffly] his tail like a cedar;
The tendons of his thighs are knit together [implies tightly; remarkably strong thigh tendons].
His bones are tubes of bronze;
His limbs [literally: “bones”] are like bars of iron.
He is the first of the ways of God;
Let his Maker bring His sword near [e.g., Only He who made him can bring near His sword to him].
Indeed the mountains bring him food,
And all the animals of the field play there.
He lies down under the lotus plants,
In the hiding place of the reeds and the marsh.
The lotus plants cover him with shade [literally: “his shade”];
The willows of the brook surround him.
If a river rages [literally: “oppresses”], he is not alarmed;
He is confident, though the Jordan rushes to his mouth.
Can anyone capture him when he is on watch,
Can anyone pierce his nose with barbs? —Job 40:6-24 NASB excerpt
In modern times, some have mistakenly guessed that the behemoth mentioned in the Bible might be an elephant or a hippopotamus. But those animals certainly do not have tails like the thick, long trunks of cedar trees! The beast described is too great to capture. It is not afraid of rushing rivers. It does not need to be; it is huge. Their tails were so long and strong that God compared them to cedars—one of the largest and most spectacular trees of the ancient world.
This is clearly not a description of an elephant, hippopotamus or crocodile, as some have suggested. None FULLY fit the description.
The book of Job is very old, probably written around 2,000 years before Jesus was born. The animal God describes sounds like a great king of the land animals, like some of the biggest dinosaurs, such as the Diplodocus and Apatosaurus. They were gigantic plant-eaters with great muscles and very strong bones. The long Diplodocus had leg bones so strong that the beast could have held three others on his back.
After all the behemoth had died out, many people forgot them. Dinosaurs became extinct, and the fossil skeletons that are in museums today did not begin to be put together until about 150 years ago.
It should not seem strange that dinosaurs would be mentioned in the Bible. After all, God tells us that He created ALL the land animals on the 6th day of Creation—the same day that he created Adam. Man and dinosaurs lived at the same time. There was never a time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth; that is a deceptive Evolutionist myth. From the very beginning of Creation, God gave man dominion over ALL that was created, even over the dinosaurs.
- What is the leviathan mentioned in Job?
- What is the book of Job?
- Who is Job?
- Are you dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible? (illustrated) GO… (a children’s version is also available—GO…)
- ORIGIN—Where did the dinosaurs come from? Answer
- WHY did dinosaurs become EXTINCT? Answer
- NOAH’S ARK—Did Noah take dinosaurs on the Ark?
- LIVING WITH DINOSAURS—What would it have been like to live with dinosaurs? Answer
- Why did God create dinosaurs? Answer
- The Great Dinosaur Mystery and the Bible—discover fascinating information about dinosaurs and their place in history
- What are fens?