What are Leviathan and Behemoth? I have books that say they are the hippo
and crocodile, I have books that say they are dinosaurs and I have books
that say they are mythical creatures.


Leviathan and Behemoth are certainly not dinosaurs and they probably are
not a hippo or a crocodile either. In the book of Job, you are reading
poetic writing. Job uses many literary devices. You should not expect to
extract an exact literal meaning to everything in this book. Rather you
should read it to understand what the author is trying to say. “Can you
pull on leviathan with a fishhook?” (Job 3:8) may be a reference to an
actual huge sea creature (such as the whale) or it may be a reference to a
mythical creature used to make a point. Either way, you need to give the
poet some poetic license and try to understand his point, which is that
God is very powerful. You do not want to mess with God.

Leviathan and Behemoth are not dinosaurs, as there is absolutely no chance
the author of Job even knew what a dinosaur is. They might be a reference
to an actual specific, powerful creature, but we cannot know exactly what
creature. In any case, it really does not matter! What matters is the
meaning of the scripture, which is the greatness of God and the relative
puniness of mankind. My suggestion is to let people with a lot of time on
their hands handle the not-very-important debate over the identity of
Behemoth and focus in on the God Job is trying to draw our attention to.

John Oakes

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