Human knowledge of Dinosaurs is ancient

Seeing how it is written just after mentioning stones, and with that connotation, it tends to be consistent with a phallic reference rather than a swishing tail.

My understanding is that all amniotes have a navel (i.e. an umbilical scar) at some point in their lives. It is just a question of how long it is retained. In modern birds and reptiles the scar heals over and disappears shortly after hatching. However, it appears that some dinosaurs may have retained their navel like mammals do.

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The KJV translators were cheating. The root generally means “dread”, “awe”, though the use in Job is so far off that it is generally assumed that the use here is a loan word from . . . somewhere; most assume it is old Aramaic – and given the links between that and (old) Arabic go with “thigh” these days.

And that’s presuming the word even belongs there; I haven’t paid any attention to this word but I do know that it doesn’t appear in all ancient copies and the verse reads smoothly without it.

Anyway, the KJV relied on the Douay version, which was a mistake since it was translated from Latin; I have no idea where the Vulgate got its rendition from; it isn’t supported by the LXX or anything I can find! Though my most recent Hebrew lexicon right now is the BDB, which leaves a century in which more may have been learned. Interestingly, Keil & Delitsch go with “legs”, which makes poetic sense anyway; I don’t have access to the full commentary so I couldn’t read their analysis.

OTOH, while reviewing I came across the proposition that Behemoth is a word taken from Egyptian where it apparently referred to the (giant) river hippopotamus, now extinct. I have to wonder how big a hippo would have to be to be considered “giant”, though another reference suggested “large as an elephant”.

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We have two threads going now about behemoth. Thoughts on it being a crocodile?

About 4000 kg, apparently.


I’m on team hippo. That is my best guess, meaning I am conscious that it is a only a guess.

It is the lotus and reeds that tilt in that direction. The close association is displayed by the 50 or so glazed ceramic hippo figurines from mid dynastic Egypt in various museums. They are invariably decorated with lotus plants and reeds, reflecting the Job’s description of the habitation of these animals.

Under the lotus plants it lies,
hidden among the reeds in the marsh.
The lotuses conceal it in their shadow

In burial sites, these ceramic hippo’s are usually found with the legs broken.

the ancient Egyptians believed that hippos evoke chaotic forces because of the danger they pose to humans as wild animals in this world. For this reason, they often snapped off the legs of hippopotamus statuettes before placing them in tombs, so the hippos wouldn’t be able to eat the soul of the deceased.

Then as now, a hippo on the rampage was a deadly force of nature. Even though hippo’s are herbivores, they are responsible for hundreds of deaths every year in Africa, on land and in water, by ramming, trampling, and biting. This fits the verse, which describes such an charging animal and need not be taken as a euphanism for its phallus.

What strength it has in its loins,
what power in the muscles of its belly!

Adult hippos have no challengers. They share the water with crocodiles with impunity.

It ranks first among the works of God

Sauropods are terrestrial, and not the swamp creatures depicted in much art. Even if they were, they would not wade around with their mouths open to the water, which is exactly what is distinctive to hippos.

A raging river does not alarm it;
it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth.

And of course, hippos are grazers.

which feeds on grass like an ox.

That leaves the tail. Behemoth as dinosaur advocates never let up on the tail. But Job is not discussing the size of the tail, but how it moves.

Its tail sways like a cedar;

Hippos move their tails like windsheild wipers in a cloudburst when, uh, required for sanitation. To me, that does not call to mind swaying ceders, so perhaps a little poetic license is required there.


Yeah, this does not describe a whippy tail.

You almost convinced me but I’m now on team I don’t know.

Team hippo - but what about the tail?
Team crocodile - but what about the grass?
Team sauropod - but what about hiding in the reeds?

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Not impressed with the idea, given that (1) crocodiles don’t eat grass like an ox, and (2) the possible word roots don’t fit.

This is true.

This clip perhaps:

Herodotus describes the hippo as follows:

The hippopotamus, in the canton of Papremis, is a sacred animal, but not in any other part of Egypt. It may be thus described:- It is a quadruped, cloven-footed, with hoofs like an ox, and a flat nose. It has the mane and tail of a horse, huge tusks which are very conspicuous, and a voice like a horse’s neigh. In size it equals the biggest oxen, and its skin is so tough that when dried it is made into javelins.

(History 2.71)

Herodotus had been to Egypt, yet he describes its tail like that of a horse. Maybe he didn’t know any better comparison.

Yet if even someone who visited Egypt himself makes such a “mistake”, how much more possible is it that an Israelite who has never seen a hippo gives a description (of an animal he only heard about!) containing some inaccuracies.


From the way the ground was rising and falling, that tree has a problem – it looks like a root got cut and thus is no longer supporting the tree on that side, and the ground rising and falling is due to the severed root.

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Just to make you more confused:

Team legend: an amalgam of different animals, spun into a legendary beast (e.g. griffins).


It is interesting to note the Greek roots of the name: hippo = horse, potamus = river. So, a river horse.


At least this makes it very clear that Job 40 can’t be used as an uncontested prooftext for dinosaurs living in Biblical times, lol.


How about Team generic term for large animals in general?


If Behemoth comes from a Hebrew root, it just means “Big one”.

Some still think there’s a Babylonian connection, their word being “Bahamut”, but Job is too old for that, so I think it’s from the Hebrew root.


pretty interesting, Adam. Thanks for sharing. Sounds like they surmise that the petroglyphs and/or artwork were done deliberately at the site of the ancient footprints.

Yes, I have heard that association…that is: Behemoth=dinosaur.

See below from online dictionary (for what it is worth)

  1. a huge or monstrous creature.

“behemoths like the brontosaurus”

  • something enormous, especially a big and powerful organization.

“shoppers are now more loyal to their local stores than to faceless behemoths”

OK…we recognize that the biblical reference does not pertain to the experience of K-Mart shoppers…Word Biblical Commentary on Job 38-42 gives a brief history of what/whom commentators and others have thought the behemoth and/or Leviathan represented --Thomas Aquinas said the elephant and the whale…G.R. Driver argued unsuccessfully for the crocodile…Eedrmans thought it was the dolphin…someone named Couroyer thought it was related to the wild buffalo…The commentator of Job 40 seems to think the terms Behemoth and Leviathan were real creatures but the description is at least sometimes symbolic —such as that found in “a Patmos manuscript of the book of Job” showing Behemoth and Leviathan as “a single androgynous monster, representing sensuality and fertility, the navel…being especially focused on…” Sounds perplexing—and then the commentator goes on to note that the hippo is what is now believed to have been meant…

As for the dinosaur interpretation—maybe that is what is represented in that Patmos illustration.


Was Job written originally in Hebrew?

The current interpretation, based on better understanding of ANE linguistics and culture, suggests that Leviathan or Behemot cannot be dinosaurs. I recommend the Youtube videos by Ben Stanhope or the book he wrote ((Mis)interpreting Genesis…).

He shows that the hydra-like (multiple heads according to Psalms) Leviathan in Genesis is most probably the same as the chaos monster in the other ANE cultures.

Behemot is most likely a ‘superbull’-type (mythical) creature that is the terrestrial counterpart of the Leviathan and a symbol of fertility in some ANE cultures. The ‘tail’ in the description seems to be an euphemism, in other words the male appendage. It is paired with another euphemism on the following line, an expression that means testicles.

It seems that the message in Genesis utilizes the common beliefs of ANE people, which can be understood as accommodating the message to the understanding of the receivers (ANE people, not us).