The End Time Battle and feast of the beasts
Behemoth and Leviathan
May those who curse days curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan.
"Can you pull in the leviathan with a fishhook or tie down his tongue with a rope?
It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert.
There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.
[ Deliverance of Israel ] In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword, Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.
What are Behemoth and Leviathan?
Job 40 15:24 "Look at the behemoth, [Possibly the hippopotamus or the elephant] which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox.What strength he has in his loins, what power in the muscles of his belly! His tail [Possibly trunk] sways like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are close-knit. His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like rods of iron. He ranks first among the works of God, yet his Maker can approach him with his sword. The hills bring him their produce, and all the wild animals play nearby. Under the lotus plants he lies, hidden among the reeds in the marsh. The lotuses conceal him in their shadow; the poplars by the stream surround him. When the river rages, he is not alarmed; he is secure, though the Jordan should surge against his mouth. Can anyone capture him by the eyes, [Or by a water hole] or trap him and pierce his nose?
The Legend of Behemoth Leviathan and Ziz
Behemoth (Hebrew בהמות, behemot; Arabic بهيموث bahīmūth, or بهموت bahamūt) is a creature mentioned in the Book of Job, 40:15-24. The word is most likely a plural form of בהמה (bəhēmāh), meaning beast or large animal. It may be an example of pluralis excellentiae, a Hebrew method of expressing greatness by pluralizing a noun; it thus indicates that Behemoth is the largest and most powerful animal ever to exist. Metaphorically, the name has come to be used for any extremely large or powerful entity.
The passage describes Behemoth in this way: it was created along with man (40:15a), it is herbivorous (40:15b), it has strong muscles and bones, and it lives in the swamp (40:21).
In Jewish belief, Behemoth is the primal unconquerable monster of the land, as Leviathan is the primal monster of the waters of the sea and Ziz the primordial monster of the sky. There is a legend that the Leviathan and the Behemoth shall hold a battle at the end of the world. The two will finally kill each other, and the surviving men will feast on their meat. According to midrash recording traditions, it is impossible for anyone to kill a behemoth except for the person who created it, in this case the God of the Hebrews. A later Jewish haggadic tradition furthermore holds that at the banquet at the end of the world, the behemoth will be served up along with the Leviathan and Ziz.
Behemoth also appears in the Apocryphal Book of Enoch, giving the following description of this monster's origins there mentioned as being male, as opposed to the female Leviathan:
"And that day will two monsters be parted, one monster, a female named Leviathan in order to dwell in the abyss of the ocean over the fountains of water; and (the other), a male called Behemoth, which holds his chest in an invisible desert whose name is Dundayin, east of the garden of Eden." - 1 Enoch 60:7-8
There is another Jewish hymn recited on the festival of Shavuot (celebrating the giving of the Torah), known as Akdamut, wherein it says: "...The sport with the Leviathan and the ox (Behemoth)...When they will interlock with one another and engage in combat, with his horns the Behemoth will gore with strength, the fish [Leviathan] will leap to meet him with his fins, with power. Their Creator will approach them with his mighty sword [and slay them both]." Thus, "from the beautiful skin of the Leviathan, God will construct canopies to shelter the righteous, who will eat the meat of the Behemoth [ox] and the Leviathan amid great joy and merriment, at a huge banquet that will be given for them." Some rabbinical commentators say these accounts are allegorical (Artscroll siddur, p. 719), or symbolic of the end of conflict.
Many have interpreted Behemoth as a mythical animal. However, some have attempted to identify it with real animals. In the book of Job, both Behemoth and Leviathan are listed alongside a number of mundane animals, such as goats, eagles, and hawks, leading many Christian scholars to surmise that Behemoth and Leviathan may also be mundane creatures. Suggested animals include the water buffalo, rhinoceros and the elephant, but the most common suggestion is the hippopotamus. Some readers also identify a hippopotamus in Isaiah's bahamot negeb or "beasts of the south" (30:6).
Others disagree with these identifications, pointing to the fact that the animal's tail "moves like a cedar" (40:17), an unlikely description for any of these animals. Scholars maintaining identification with the elephant say that "tail" could describe an elephant's trunk. Moreover, some suggest that "tail" is a euphemism for male genitalia. Support for this is based on another meaning of the Hebrew word "move" which means "extend" and on the second part of verse 17 describing the sinew around its "stones" (the Vulgate uses the word "testiculorum").
Some Young Earth Creationists propose that the Behemoth is a dinosaur. Some sort of sauropod is usually proposed since large sauropods had tails "like a cedar". Adherents of the sauropod-behemoth viewpoint hold that the further descriptions given in Job (i.e., bone strength equaling bronze and iron; the use of Hebrew plural to describe a singular specimen), along with the attributive "chief of the ways of God," and the description "like a cedar" (זְנָבוֹ כְמוֹ-אָרֶז (z'navo kamo arez)) to describe the tail itself point to an animal of immense proportions; hence a sauropod or equivalent. Some however argue that the references to a cedar-like tail refer to bristles resembling the cedar's needle-like leaves which are present on the tails of elephants and hippopotami.
Critics argue that according to the fossil record, and the spoon or pencil-shaped teeth of the sauropods themselves, sauropods were tree-browsers that lived 225 million years ago, and went extinct some 65 million years ago. Furthermore, they cite that the earliest grass fossils date to the late Cretaceous , while the sauropods were in decline, and as such, critics insist that Sauropods would predate the appearance and rise of both people and grasses.
Also, critics cite that the Behemoth is said to eat grass like an ox, meaning it would chew cud; but sauropods lacked molar teeth, and were incapable of chewing. The spoon or pencil-shaped teeth of sauropods allowed them to pull vegetation into their mouths, which would then be swallowed. In response to this, creationists cite that the Hebrew term used in Job for ox (baqar) can denote any classification of herding animals that were common at the time of writing (presumably domesticated). It should also be noted, however, that the hippopotamus also does not chew cud as it is not a ruminant artiodactyl. Critics also argue that the description of the creature possessing a navel (Job 40:16) in the King James Version also contradicts the sauropod hypothesis, because sauropods are oviparous. According to Strong , the Hebrew word ׁשר (shôr) means a twisted string, specifically the umbilical cord. Shôr also has a figurative meaning as the centre of strength. More recent translations such as the New American Standard Bible state "Behold now, his strength in his loins and his power in the muscles of his belly" (Job 40:16)