The Bible apparently mentions dinosaurs elsewhere in Scripture as well. The book of Job is an ancient book, and Job probably lived immediately after the Flood, between Noah and Abraham. Two animals are mentioned in the book of Job which could certainly qualify as descriptive of dinosaurs. (One must remember, however, that the word "dinosaur" wasn't coined until the 1800s. They were just another kind of animal in ancient times).
Chapter 40 speaks of "behemoth", who "ranks first among the works of God" (v.19 - probably due to its size). It had a tail like a cedar (v.17), it lived in the marsh (v.21), and even a raging river would not alarm it (v.23). It was said to be too large to either trap or capture (v.24). Scholars have speculated that this could have been something like a Brachiosaurus or "Ultrasaurus", which grew to up to 60 feet tall. (On a side note, some Bible translations say that behemoth may have been an elephant or a hippopotamus. But these animals don't have tails like cedars!)
|A Dragon in the Bible?|
Chapter 41 in
Job speaks of an even more curious creature called "leviathan".
It also lived at the water, possibly to support its great bulk. Its hide
couldn't be pierced by harpoons or spears, since it had armor plating (vv.15-16).
It had fearsome teeth (v.14), and the mere sight of it was overpowering
(v.9). And most significantly, this animal
breathed fire! "His breath sets coals
ablaze, and flames dart from his mouth" (v.21). It seems unlikely that
the tales of fire-breathing dragons in ancient times could come into existence
without a strong factual basis. Dinosaur fossils have been excavated that
show a strange protuberance with an internal cavity at the head. It is
conceivable that this could have served as a sort of mixing chamber for
combustible gasses, which could ignite when exhaled into the outside oxygen.
Many times the Bible speaks of "dragons", especially in the Old Testament, though some versions have translated this word as "jackal". One must remember that none of the writers of the Holy Scriptures had ever heard of the word "dinosaur", so they came up with their own word to describe fearsome beasts.
Dragons have always been portrayed in art as having fierce, gargoyle-like faces. Interestingly enough, "gargoyle" is a French word, originating from "dragons which roamed the riverbanks" in times past. This certainly fits the description of leviathan, which lived in or near the water's edge. And large, fearsome animals in Bible times were called "dragons".
More dragons in history
[My appreciation to Dr.
Henry Morris for his insight into Job.]