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What’s so Big About Behemoth?

Biblical Authority Devotional: The Higher Ways of God, Part 12

by Steve Ham on November 19, 2010

The behemoth was a massive creature yet God is the one who created it. Can we even fathom His awesome power? Steve Ham, AiG–U.S., addresses this question.

Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you; he eats grass like an ox. See now, his strength is in his hips, and his power is in his stomach muscles. He moves his tail like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are tightly knit. His bones are like beams of bronze, his ribs like bars of iron. He is the first of the ways of God; only He who made him can bring near His sword. (Job 40:15–19)

Today’s big question: what’s so big about Behemoth?

In many Bibles you might see a text note about these verses suggesting that this is a description of a hippopotamus or an elephant. However, neither of these creatures fit this description God called Job’s attention to the strength of this beast, especially the sinews of his thighs, bones that were like beams of bronze, and ribs like bars of iron. This animal was chief of the ways of God.

God also described the behemoth’s tail as something that moved like a cedar tree. We only need to visit a zoo to discover that neither the elephant’s skinny little tail or the hippo’s tail (which looks more like a small flap of skin) could ever compared to a huge cedar. Rather, the description of this creature sounds very much like that of a large sauropod dinosaur.

Biblical creationists often refer to this verse when discussing whether there are descriptions of dinosaurs in the Bible. Although this is a great argument supporting the idea that dinosaurs are described in the Bible, we have to ask ourselves if the point of this passage is to simply show that dinosaurs lived at the same time as man. No it isn’t.

Think about Job’s situation. He sat in dust and ashes, picking sores from his skin. He lost his family, his wealth, and his health. He questions his own existence and demands an audience with his God. Then God draws his attention to what is walking in front of him. Boom, boom, boom. The ground shakes as Job raises his head and hears the snort of the massive behemoth. God created this marvelous beast. It towers above all else and is a tribute to the amazing power and majesty of its Creator. 

Job, do you have question for Me? Job?

I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:5–6)

We are not God.

Today’s big idea: behemoth proclaims the power of the Lord.

What to pray: proclaim your smallness to a big God.


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