In chapter 40, God is describing His own power and might, and he refers to an incredible animal called "behemoth" 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 Christians 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.


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.


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 up to four tons and is tied for the second-largest land animal today (with the rhino). But of all the animals that God made ever, a hippo might rank 200th 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, or 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.

An excerpt from my book "Noah: A Novel" of Noah encountering a behemoth

These trees with their height and spreading canopy tended to obscure the sun to a large degree, so he took greater care in the dimmer light. As he made his way forward through the tangle of jungle undergrowth, he spied a dusty cliff wall straight ahead. Puzzled, he looked around, verifying his location. He didn’t remember any rock formations in this area. As he stopped to investigate this obstacle in his path, his eyes went wide as the high wall began to move.

He took an involuntary step back as he slowly looked up higher and higher. Then he saw a very long, tapering neck extending up and nearly out of sight with a small head attached to the end. Suddenly, a massive leg crashed through the brush in front of him, easily knocking aside smaller trees with the hair-raising sound of the trunks splintering in two. The huge front leg set down again, and the ground shook with the impact. Its foot was over a yard wide, and the tremendous weight upon it made it sink at least two feet into the earth as the beast slowly moved its tonnage forward.

Noah knew that there were many varied species of sauropod roaming the planet. But this one was not just any sauropod – it was the largest and most massive of them all. It was called "behemoth," and though it was a plant-eater, its sheer size made it an animal to strictly avoid. Yet here he was like a distracted fool, close enough to touch one.

He froze in fear as it moved slowly by, oblivious to his presence. Its head soared eighty feet above the ground, and its weight was estimated by the experienced hunters at over one hundred and twenty tons. It rarely came out of the rivers, since the water helped to support its immense bulk. No spear, arrow, or sword could possibly affect it in any way with its tough, two-inch-thick skin. After all, what weapon could possibly reach a vital organ? He heard that once, long ago, a hunting party with numerous catapults hurling massive stones, had brought one down, but it had taken a coordinated effort, great expense, and a lot of luck to do it. Even so, many had been killed, it was said.

The behemoth in front of him was obviously an adult, and it was a veritable mountain of flesh. It could be almost a thousand years old, Noah thought, considering how slow these huge reptiles grew. As it slowly moved ahead, he began taking small steps backward. Being within spitting distance of the largest animal on earth made the hair on his head feel like it was standing on end. He took another step back and stepped on a small oak branch lying in the brush. Because it was dry, it gave a sharp Crack! sound.

His heart stopped as he looked down and stared daggers into the broken branch under his sandal. He immediately looked back up and saw that the behemoth had stopped moving. Its head far above had turned toward him with its long neck slowly curling in his direction. Noah didn't move a muscle.

The giant suddenly straightened and began a fast shuffle toward the river, its massive legs picking up and setting down like large, moving trees. It knew that men were dangerous and cruel, so it began to make a beeline for the water and away from this possible threat.

Noah knew that he was faster and could easily keep from getting stepped on and crushed. But the creature's tail was at least fifty feet long and as large as a redwood tree. Moreover, it's tail was its main weapon, and it would use it like a very efficient, multi-ton club. Anything hit with it was extremely unlikely to get up again. His timing had to be just right if he wanted to live until sundown.

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