What do you believe that the creatures in Job 40-41 are?
Q: I just wanted to ask, what do you believe that the creatures in Job 40-41 are? I don't really think that the behemoth is an elephant, because an elephant does not have a tail like a cedar!
A: Dear Rachel,
What a thoughtful question it is! It’s good to know you are reading and trying to understand your Bible. God will bless your understanding as you try to know Him better.
Most of the Old Testament was written in the Hebrew language (including Job), and the Hebrew word translated “behemoth” is the word “behemah,” which simply means “beast”. In the way the word is used in Job 40-41, it refers to a very big beast. That’s all we know from the Bible, and many people have come up with different ideas about this giant beast. Some have thought it was a hippopotamus, others an elephant, and still others believe it refers to some extinct beast, likely of the dinosaur variety.
It is interesting that the description on certain verses make this beast sound like a fire-breathing dragon. For example, Job 41:18-20 says “His sneezings flash forth light, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn. Out of his mouth go flaming torches; sparks of fire leap forth. Out of his nostrils comes forth smoke, as from a boiling pot and burning rushes.” The Bible symbolically calls Satan a “fiery red dragon” (Revelation 12:2, 9). Some of the description of this giant beast could be symbolically speaking of Satan. “He is first of the works of God” (Job 41:19); “His heart is as hard as a stone” (verse 24); “He is king over all the sons of pride” (verse 34). Some people believe that God is using a giant, extinct dinosaur-like beast as a symbol of Satan, the real power behind all the destruction in the book of Job. That makes sense to me. Of course, all of these are just different opinions. The Bible doesn’t tell us for sure what this beast is.
Thanks for writing, and remember, there's never been a better time to share Jesus!
Your friend, Pastor Howard