The Behemoth in Job

What is the Behemoth in Job 40:15-24? I heard that some people think it is a dinosaur because of how its tail is compared to a cedar. I heard that it is also some kind of chaos monster that only God can control. I am not sure what it is.

Asked By: 
Kyle
Monsters Representing Chaos

 

Behemoth in Job 40: a dinosaur, a water buffalo, a hippopotamus? All these have been suggested. While we are at it, we should add Bigfoot, Sasquatch, a yeti, and the monster in the woods they fret about in Walnut Creek, Alabama affectionately appellated as "Booger."

Behemoth and its companion Leviathan are the ancient Israelite names for monsters, the former on land, the latter in the sea. The very definition of "monster" is a creature that defies normal categories, whether because it is too big, too small, or mixes the expected boundaries (such as the winged lions known as the cherubim who guarded divine boundaries, the throne of the temple, the Garden of Eden, in ancient Israelite lore).

What is most interesting to me about Job 40 is that the LORD claims to have a covenant with these monsters too, as if chaos is part of the Plan. In order for creation to live and thrive, the LORD explains to Job, there must be room for the random and uncanny. This idea was previewed in the first divine speech in Job 38-39, where as the LORD takes Job on a magic carpet ride over reality, special attention is paid to wild creatures and marginal places. The wild is part of God's creation too.

 


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Author: Gregory Mobley

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