The Leviathan

“Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? . . . None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me?” (Job 41:1, 10)

Leviathan was a large and fierce marine animal and may be the source for the dragon stories. God uses a whole chapter to describe this creature! It had limbs, power, and graceful proportions. It also had teeth in the “doors of his face” that were “terrible round about.” The leviathan had scales fitted so close together “that no air can come between them.”

We might compare the leviathan to an ichthyosaur or a mosasaur, or maybe a pliosaur. It is also possible that this enormous animal could have been a Spinosaurus. But when God speaks of “neesings” that cause “sparks of fire [to] leap out,” with smoke coming out of its nose like “a seething pot or caldron,” we get the impression that this creature was something very unusual!

There are, of course, many legends and stories about fire-breathing dragons of the sea and land—all of which contain references to fire that comes from the mouth or nostrils of these ancient animals. Whatever this creature may have been, God Himself uses it as an example of a real animal that Job would have known either from his own personal experience or from current accounts of active commerce that plied the waters of the ancient world.

It is interesting to note that Job understood the need to learn that “the beasts . . . and the fowls of the air . . . and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?” (Job 12:7-9). Perhaps God wanted him to understand something of His implacable justice and punishment. HMM III

Adapted from Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis by Dr. Henry Morris III.

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