Behemoth

In chapter 40, God is describing His power and might, and he refers to an incredible animal that He has made, as if to say, "Look at this mighty animal. Yet how much mightier is the One who created him!" So why exactly did God pluck this animal out of all the myriad of animals on the earth to use as an example? Verse 19 gives us the answer:
"It ranks FIRST among the works of God."
It is entirely logical that God would use the largest land animal that existed to reflect His own might. This animal was obviously a contemporary of Job, whom creationist scientists have suggested lived between the time of Noah and Abraham.



Scripture References

Let's discuss some key points about this animal from chapter 40.

"It feeds on grass like an ox."
It was a vegetarian.

"Its tail sways like a cedar."
The cedar was one of, if not the largest, tree known to Job. God is using the largest tree to make a comparison of how big the creature was, because just its tail, which is usually diminutive on an animal was as large as the largest tree!.

"It ranks first among the works of God."
It was the largest animal that God created to walk on land.

"Under the lotus plants it lies, hidden among the reeds in the marsh."
It resided primarily in the water, probably to support its bulk.

"A raging river does not alarm it; it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth."
Very large animals often like the water because it supports their bulk, even though they're land animals. With this creature, even when the water was at flood stage and raging, the animal's size made it secure and immune to being washed downstream.

"Can anyone capture it by the eyes, or trap it and pierce its nose?"
This animal, probably as an adult, was too large to capture. Many animals, even today, are too large to capture as adults without tranquilizer darts, but this verse does narrow down the possibilities of what it could be
.

IDENTIFICATION

We know from the fossil record that sauropods (animals with a big body, long neck, and long tails) were the largest animals to walk the planet (as far as we know). From the aforementioned texts, there are several things we can conclude. First, since the largest animals, living or extinct, that have been discovered are sauropods, this animal was almost certainly such an animal.

Second, since its tail was compared to a cedar, this matches a typical sauropod tail, which was huge. Also, for such a huge animal, a river or lake would have been a perfect habitat for them, since the water would have supported their immense weight.

One particular sauropod, Argentinosaurus, was estimated to have weighed close to 100 tons, which would have most certainly anchored it to the river bottom when floodwaters came. And how would ancient man have possibly captured a 100-ton, 60-ft-tall (or bigger) animal? Even a hundred men with large ropes would have no chance to corral such an animal, especially considering that its tail was its main weapon, which it would sling back and forth like a multi-ton club to demolish anything in its path.

Skeptics

Anti-Bible and evolutionary skeptics are desperate to disprove that dinosaurs and man lived together, so their attacks are often illogical and emotional - not scientific. They need to explain away a dinosaurian possibility in Job 40. One alternate possibility that they often propose for behemoth is the hippo(!) However, this animal should be rejected as a viable candidate for several reasons. First, it doesn't rank "first" among the works of God. Far from it, even though it can weigh three tons and is tied for the second-largest land animal today. But of all the animals that God made ever, a hippo might rank around 200 or so in size, behind all the sauropod kinds, mastodons, theropods such as T-rex, spinosaurus, allosaurus, and others. Then there were indricotheriums, giant bisons, monster ground sloths, etc, etc, which were all much larger and heavier than hippos.

Other skeptics propose that behemoth could be an elephant, ignoring all the detailed descriptions in the biblical text. Or they say the descriptions are taken out of context, the entire passage is a metaphor for evil, or that the comparison of its "tail like a cedar" is really describing a part of a tree or its genitalia(!) Do any of these explanations make sense? Probably not, unless you're an evolutionist and want to stay that way.

It is interesting that while exploring the alternate explanations by skeptics, I encountered a dearth of remotely credible possibilities. Since the text clearly describes a sauropod so perfectly, evolutionists have to speculate that it's an allegory, a metaphor, it's taken out of context, or made up out of thin air. Anything but a dinosaur!

A life-size reproduction of argentinosaurus at a park in Bolivia, South America called "Parque Creatico." [Note the woman waving by its front leg. Click here for a larger image.] Behemoth would have been at least this large, if not larger.

The author next to the foot of an argentinosaurus skeleton.


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