Who Is Leviathan?

Who is Leviathan

In Isaiah 27:1 we are told that leviathan is the twisted serpent who lives in the sea. Most likely, it was a dinosaur that was living during times that humans did too. Therefore, it partially helps to answer the question how old dinosaurs are.

In Job 41 of the Old Testament, Leviathan is described in more detail.  One  recorded sighting  of a creature like leviathan was made by a missionary named Hans Egede  off the coast of Greenland in 1734. Sightings of sea serpents were apparently not too uncommon only a few hundred years ago. 

In Job 41, leviathan is described as a sea monster who could breath fire, and who was Not afraid of man, nor any of his weapons.  In fact, God boasts about making him.  Below is an excerpt from this Old Testament passage.

“Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook?  … Can you put a rope in his nose? … Will he make many supplications to you? … ‘Lay your hand on him; remember the battle; you will not do it again! … No one … dares to arouse him;  Who then is he that can stand before Me?  Who has given to Me that I should repay him? …  I will not keep silence concerning his limbs,* or his mighty strength, or his orderly frame.  Who can strip off his outer armor?  Who can come within his double mail?  Who can open the doors of his face?  Around his teeth there is terror.  His strong scales are his pride, shut up as with a tight seal …  They clasp each other and cannot be separated.  His sneezes flash forth light. … Out of his mouth go burning torches. … His breath kindles coals and a flame goes forth from his mouth. sneezes flash forth light …  Out of his mouth go burning torches;  Sparks of fire leap forth When he raises himself up, the mighty fear …  The sword that reaches him cannot avail; nor the spear, the dart, or the javelin.  He regards iron as straw, bronze as rotten wood.  The arrow cannot make him flee; Slingstones are turned into stubble … He makes the depths to boil like a pot … Behind him he makes a wake to shine … Nothing on earth is like him, One made without fear …”

Job 41  NASB

Some Old Testament commentaries say that Leviathan was a crocodile, however, a crocodile doesn’t fit the description above, nor from Isaiah 27 for the following reasons:

  • A crocodile doesn’t exhale, or breathe out a “flame,” nor anything that resembles a “burning torch” from its mouth.
  • A crocodile that was swimming in the ocean, or sea, would not make  a “wake.”
  • A crocodile could not raise itself up, out of the water, so as to make “the mighty fear.”  In fact, a crocodile can’t “raise itself up” out of the water at all.
  • A crocodile’s belly is vulnerable to spears, javelins, and arrows; however, according to Job  41:26-30, leviathan was not vulnerable at all to such things and that his underparts were covered with “potsherds.”
  • According to this passage, Leviathan could even make “the depths to boil,” or cause water to boil as if it were in a pot: something no ordinary crocodile can do.  
  • A crocodile is not a “twisted serpent.”

* Although the word “limbs” appears in verse 12 of the New American Standard Bible, this word does not appear in the Hebrew or the King James: again suggesting that leviathan was a serpent rather than a crocodile or a plesiosaur with legs or limbs.

Some say that leviathan was not even a real creature but represents a demon or the spirit of pride; however, it that is the case then the whole description above is false and would mean that the whole chapter of Job 41 is deceptive.  This idea is also contrary to what we are plainly told in Isaiah 27, where we are told that leviathan was a “twisted serpent” that lived in the sea.  And in Psalm 74:13-14 we are also told that God Himself slew leviathan and gave his body to the beasts of the field as food.  This likely took place after the flood when the earth’s animal population was being replenished.

Who Is Leviathan?
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