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WHAT WERE "BEHEMOTH" AND "LEVIATHAN?"
The long canines and incisors are used strictly as weapons; grazing is accomplished by grasping grass with the tough wide lips and jerking the head. Near the river, where grazing and trampling are heaviest, large areas may be denuded of all grass, which results in erosion.
So, the behemoth and the hippopotamus, ate grass as the bovines do. Further, God says of behemoth, "His strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly" (Job 40:16). The behenmoth was a powerful beast! The loins are the parts of the body between the hips and the lower ribs, especially regarded as the seat of physical strength and generative power. The word inexplicably translated, navel, in the KJV, means "Sinew, muscle" (Brown-Driver-Briggs). It refers to the stomach muscles in the area of the navel, not the navel itself. Elaina Zachos writes in National Geographic ("Here's Proof Hippos Do Whatever They Want," December 19, 2017):
Although they primarily only eat plants—munching on about 80 pounds of grass each day—hippos are one of the most aggressive animals on Earth. They can snap a canoe in half with their powerful jaws, and they kill about 500 people in Africa each year.
So, the behemoth and hippopotamus have some similarities. But, the hippo has some problems if it wishes to identify with the behemoth.
His Tail Is a Bit Lacking - Job 40:17
God told Job concerning the behemoth, "He moveth his tail like a cedar..." (Job 40:17). However, according to Britannica, "The hippopotamus has a bulky body on stumpy legs, an enormous head, a short tail..." ("Hippopotamus," Lory Herbison & George W. Frame}. Dave Miller, Ph.D., writes in Apologetics Press, ("Behemoth: A Tail Like a Cedar?"):
Even as Ophir was renowned for the unique quality of its gold (e.g., Isaiah 13:12), the allusions in the Bible to cedars make it clear that the tree was distinguished for its mammoth size, height, and stability.
"Mammoth size, height, and stability" obviously do not describe the tail of the hippopotamus! The tail of the hippopotamus is only about 6-8 inches long, like that of a pig ("Questions and Answers: Was the "Behemoth" of Job 40 a Hippopotamus?", Eric Lyons, M.Min.) God is clearly referring to an animal with a very large tail.
Only His Maker Can Bring a Sword near Him - Job 40:19
God told Job concerning Behemoth, "He that made him can make his sword to approach unto him" (Job 40:19). That is, only He that made him can make His sword to approach unto him. But, Lyons writes:
Yet the hippopotamus was hunted frequently and captured successfully by the Egyptians. Hartley admitted: “Egyptian pharaohs took pride in slaying a hippopotamus1
So, the hippopotamus cannot be the animal referred to as "behemoth."
Leviathan - None Is so Fierce That Dare Stir Him Up
Leviathan is mentioned four times in the scriptures (Joh 41:1-10; Ps. 74:14; Ps. 104:26; Is. 27:1), although, the contexts show latter three references are
(Continued on page 3).
1. Hartley, John E (1988), The Book of Job (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans). ↩
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