Tuesday, May 24, 2011
What Is A Leviathan?
Scholars through the ages have debated the true identity of the Leviathan, the creature mentioned in the Book of Job (from the Bible) chapter 41. Verse 1 says, "Can you pull in the leviathan with a fish hook or tie down his tongue with a rope?" Verse 7 further states, "Can you fill his hide with harpoons or his head with fishing spears?" What creature could you envision in your mind than a huge creature of the sea, the whale? But wait, the author made further descriptions at the later verses that will throw your assumptions off.
From verse 14 to 31, the author made other descriptions of this creature that are totally out of this world. Let us summarize them: Verse 14, "Who dares open the doors of his mouth, ringed about with his fearsome teeth?" Verse 15, "His back has rows of shields tightly sealed together." Verse 18, "His sneezing throws out flashes of light; his eyes are like rays of dawn."
Verse 19, "Firebrands stream from his mouth; sparks of fire shoot out." Verse 20, "Smoke pours from his nostrils as from a boiling pot over a fire of reeds." Verse 21, "His breath sets coal ablaze, and flames dart from his mouth." Verse 25, "When he rises up, the mighty are terrified; they retreat before his trashing." Verse 26, "The sword that reaches him has no effect, nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin." Verse 27, "Iron he treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood." Verse 31, "He makes the depths churn like a boiling cauldron and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment."
What creature could you conjure in your mind with the above descriptions? Yes, a fire breathing dragon. It seems that chapter 41 of the Book of Job was mentioning two different creatures instead of one. The first one named the leviathan was probably a whale, but the second one which was unnamed was more of a fire breathing dragon. We can never discover the veracity of the second creature for we have not seem the remains of this fire breathing monster.
The Book of Job was the oldest written book of the Bible, even older than the Book of Genesis believed to be written by Moses. Genesis was placed ahead of every other book because it speaks of the beginning of creation.
There are so many legends around the world about dragons. Even China and medieval Europe have their own legends of this fire breathing monster. Are they myth and a pigment of man's imagination? But why would God mentioned the creature to Job? Was it just to impress him? It is not likely, for God does not boast nor indulge in tall tales. Who can ever solve this mystery?
Tags: Leviathan, whale, dragon, Book of Job, Bible, legends
Mel Avila Alarilla