Help with debunking dinosaurs in the Bible

There are a few claims I have heard from those claiming there are dinosaurs in the Bible which trouble me:

  1. No translation translates Behemoth’s tail as a penis
  2. The 'Re’em is described with one horn in Psalm 92:10
  3. Behemoth and Leviathan are mentioned alongside non-mythological creatures

Help please!

You’re above me. AiG believe that #3 is a sign that there were dinosaurs with contemporary/modern animals, so I’m not sure they would take that as an argument. Best wishes. I’m sure I’ll learn from this.

If it was a euphemism then why should they? There could be other reasons why they don’t translate it that way that are theological or cultural as well.

Probably because they were mythological but ‘real’ to the people writing it. Sure, we can probably find parallels to ‘real’ creatures as the text is appropriately vague (for a modern reader) that interpreters today can write volumes about what kind of creature these really were.

A casual glance at the wikipedia entry on Leviathan for example:

Some additional Biblical evidence to ponder, why does Jacob bless Josesph with “blessings from the deep that lies below, and blessings of the breasts and womb” in Genesis 49:25. This blessing literally was referring to Yahweh being the victor over Tiamat whose body was used in Babylonian mythology to create the earth-- today we say, ‘ridiculous’ but the fact that Yahweh was in control over the ‘deep’ or ‘tehom’ was a ‘real’ thing to the people and thus the blessing made sense in context–especially for those who just came out of Babylonian exile.

For as much attention as dinosaurs get to the YEC crowd, I am surprised the Bible barely mentions them at all if it really does. Why is this the case? Here are a few options:

  • Non-avian dinosaurs died out long before humans evolved. At best, some fossilised bones may have been found, giving rise to stories of dragons and giants. The writers of the books didn’t include anything that was outside their own knowledge.
  • Dinosaurs never existed! All those fossils were put in the ground by Satan to deceive us.
  • Dinosaurs and humans did interact, and the Bible totally mentions them! What do you think the Behemoth is? It’s totally a sauropod of some kind!

I think the Biblical support is extremely scarce if its there at all and it gets even worse if we’re allowed to include extra-Biblical support, i.e. archaeology, geology, stratiagraphy, nuclear physics, etc.

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It is not considered best practice to deconstruct euphemisms or metaphors and just put literal meaning. When David goes outside to “cover his feet” (euphemism for urinate) it’s translated with another euphemism, like “relieve himself.” Many study Bibles, including conservative ones like the ESV have footnootes explaining the virility and phallic sense of the ‘tail.’

I’ve seen some arguments that the semantic range of these words included non-mythological creatures as well, Hippotamus and crocodile. So, when they are mentioned alongside other animals observable in nature with detailed notes about their physiology and behavior, chances are the words were referring to modern animals.

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