God's Behemoth

“Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee.” (Job 40:15)

As God responded to Job, He spent an unusual amount of time referring to animals Job would be familiar with—lions, goats, unicorns (probably the aurochs or wild ox), peacocks, the ostrich, the horse, hawks, and eagles, all within 33 verses.

Then, as though Job needed to pay special attention, God took 44 verses to talk about two animals—behemoth (Job 40:15-24) and leviathan (Job 41:1-34)—citing the behavior and descriptions of these very large animals. Why the interest? Why should it matter?

To begin with, behemoth was “made with thee.” Whatever it was, it was created at the same time as man. Behemoth was an enormous animal that “moveth his tail like a cedar” and had bones like “strong pieces of bronze” and “bars of iron.” Behemoth was “the chief of the ways of God; only he that made him can make his sword to approach him.” This animal illustrates something of the enormous power of the Creator and gives evidence that only God could control it (Job 40:15-19).

Today, with only fossil bones to give some idea of the enormity of this animal, science would likely call behemoth an Apatosaurus. This creature really lived in the past. The fossils indicate it was between 70 and 90 feet long and nearly 15 feet high at the hips. The tail was about 50 feet long (remember the cedar tree), and it had peg-like teeth that suggest its diet was plants. The legs were like columns. Estimates suggest that the animal weighed around 35 tons.

With this much known evidence, it is sad to see the notes in the margins of many Bibles insisting that the behemoth was either an elephant or a hippopotamus. Perhaps these “scoffers” are “willingly ignorant” (2 Peter 3:3-5). HMM III

Adapted from The Book of Beginnings by Dr. Henry M. Morris III.

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