Bible Articles on the Topic of Leviathan

The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.

Leviathan

Among the ancient civilizations there are myths about dragons. The Babylonian creation myth contains a battle between Merodach and a dragon (Tiamet). The destruction of this dragon turns into the creation of the earth and the ascendancy of Merodach.

What Is Gefilte Fish?

“Gefilte fish” is fish prepared in a certain manner, a dish traditionally enjoyed by Ashkenazi Jews on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

An Eschatological Interpretation of Constantine’s Labarum Coin

Shortly after the opening of the Constantinople mint in A.D. 326, several coin types were issued commemorating Constantine’s victory over Licinius in the recent civil war.¹ Among these was a bronze issue displaying reverse iconography strongly suggesting biblical imagery. The motif depicts a labarum piercing a dragon or crooked serpent, with the legend SPES PVBLIC (Hope of the Commonwealth) stamped across the field (Figure 1). The labarum on the coin is the Christian war standard originated by Constantine, and described in Eusebius’ Vita Constantini I. 31:² a vexillum topped with a monogram composed of the first two letters of the Greek word christos, a chi superimposed on a rho.³ Overlaid on the descending staff is a crossbar carrying a banner with three medallions representing Constantine and his two sons holding the rank of Caesar (Constantine II and Constantius II). The four regular specimens of this coin type in museum collections contain obverses only of Constantine I, with the legend CONSTANTI-NVS MAX AVG.⁴

Leviathan and Behemoth: Mot and Satan

These monster figures appear at the end of the book of Job, forming a kind of inclusio with the opening reference to Satan; and they are clearly part of God’s final answer to Job’s “case”. Behe-mot can be understood as a reference to Mot, the Canaanite god of death; and Leviathan appears to be the Canaanite version of the orthodox ‘Satan’ figure, perhaps a reference to the ‘Lotan’ of the Ugaritic myths. In great detail, these figures are deconstructed. They are shown to be created beings—created by the one almighty God of the Old Testament, to be completely under His control to the point that He can even tease them, so enormously greater is His power than theirs. These Canaanite ‘Satan’ figures are thereby shown to have no significant existence; and they certainly don’t exist as opposed to God. They are totally under His control. And yet these monster figures clearly have characteristics shared by known animals, such as the hippopotamus, crocodile etc. Those similarities are intended. It’s been well observed: “To say that Leviathan has characteristics of the crocodile and the whale is not to say that it is such a creature, but rather to suggest that evil is rooted in the natural world”⁴—and the point is so laboured in Job that the natural world is of God’s complete creation. ‘Evil’ in a form independent of Him, in radical opposition to Him, simply isn’t there. It is He who not only created Behemoth, but can effortlessly control him in accord with His purpose (Job 40:15). That’s the comfort of the message. Indeed the descriptions of the natural world which lead up to the Leviathan/Behemoth passages are there to underline this point; and it’s interesting that those passages zoom in upon the cruelties and even brutalities within nature. Yet these are all of God’s ultimate design and creation, and under His providential control. Job had earlier perceived this; for he responds to the friends’ allusions to an evil ‘Satan’ figure as the source of his suffering by observing: “Ask the animals… the birds of the air… [they show that] the hand of the Lord [and not any supernatural ‘Satan’] has done this” (Job 12:7-9). Ginzberg demonstrates that the Jews saw the monster ‘Rahab’ and Leviathan as the same entity⁵; and twice Job stresses how infinitely greater than Rahab is Yahweh. When God starts speaking about Leviathan, He is therefore confirming the truth of what Job has earlier said about His power over Rahab/Leviathan. The context of Job’s comments was to answer the theories of the friends—and God is as it were confirming that Job’s deconstruction of their ‘Satan’ theories was correct. The same Hebrew words are used about God’s binding and loosing of the stars [which were thought to control evil on earth] and His binding, loosing and opening of Leviathan’s mouth (Job 38:31 cp. Job 40:29). Whether or not Leviathan/a ‘Satan’ figure, or the bad stars, are for real… God is in utter control of them, and there is thus no conflict, no war in Heaven, no ultimate dualism at all in the cosmos. Which is just the message we would expect from a monotheistic Old Testament book. Israel’s God is truly the Almighty. Just as Job is described as God’s “servant” (Job 1:8), so is Leviathan (Job 40:28; 41:4). No evil power uncontrolled by God is at work in Job’s life. We also need to give due weight to the fact that God speaks the Leviathan/Behemoth passages “out of the storm”, which had been gathering since Job 37:2. This is significant because storms were seen as manifestations of evil powers. Yet here (and elsewhere in Scripture), the one true God speaks out of such storms, to demonstrate how far greater He is than any storm god; and showing by implication that such storm gods don’t exist, and the ‘evil’ which supposedly came from them was in fact under His control.

Leviathan

A transliterated Hebrew word (livyathan), meaning “twisted,” “coiled.” In Job 3:8, Revised Version, and marg. of Authorized Version, it denotes the dragon which, according to Eastern tradition, is an enemy of light; in 41:1 the crocodile is meant; in Psalms 104:26 it “denotes any large animal that moves by writhing or wriggling the body, the whale, the monsters of the deep.” This word is also used figuratively for a cruel enemy, as some think “the Egyptian host, crushed by the divine power, and cast on the shores of the Red Sea” (Psalms 74:14). As used in Isaiah 27:1, “leviathan the piercing [R.V. ‘swift’] serpent, even leviathan that crooked [R.V. marg. ‘winding’] serpent,” the word may probably denote the two empires, the Assyrian and the Babylonian.

Astronomy: The Constellations

The principal achievement of the science of astronomy in the centuries during which the books of the Old Testament were written was the arrangement and naming of the constellations, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the same system was known to the Hebrews as that which has been handed down to us through the Greek astronomers. Paul certainly knew the Greek constellations, for in his sermon on Mars’ Hill (Acts 17:28) he quoted from that poetical description of them which Aratus the great poet of Cilicia had written about 270 BC. But these constellations have a much greater antiquity than this, and it is probable that they were well known to Abraham before he left Ur of the Chaldees. It has been frequently shown (The Astronomy of the Bible, 158; Astronomy without a Telescope, 5) that these constellations themselves supply evidence that they were designed about 2700 BC. They thus antedated the time of Abraham by some centuries, and since some of their most characteristic forms are found upon old Babylonian “boundary stones,” it is clear that they were known in the country from whence he came out.

Leviathan

lḗ-vi ́a-than (לויתן, liwyāthān (Job 41:1-34), from  לוה, lāwāh, “to fold”; compare Arabic name of the wry neck, Iynx torq̱uilla, abū-luwā, from kindred, lawā, “to bend”):

Leviathan

Levi’athan, (Heb. לויָתָן, usually derived from לַויָה, a wreath, with adject. ending ןbut perhaps compounded of לַוי, wreathed, and תִּן, a sea-monster; occurs Job 3:8; 41, I [Hebrew xl, 25], Psalms 74:14; 104:26; Isaiah 27:1; Sept. δράκων, but τὸμέγα κῆτος in Job 3:8; Vulg. Leviathan, but draco in Psa.; Auth. Vers. “Leviathan,” but ‘"their mourning” in Job 3:8) probably has different significations, e.g.:

Behemoth and Leviathan (1825 engraving)

Leviathan

Behemoth and Leviathan

Leviathan

Creation (1954)

Leviathan

Leviathan (folio 518b) (13th c. illumination)

Leviathan

Leviathan, the Crooked Serpent Punished

Leviathan

Leviathan

Leviathan (/lᵻˈvaɪ.əθən/; Hebrew: לִוְיָתָן, Modern Livyatan, Tiberian Liwyāṯān) is a sea monster referenced in the Tanakh, or the Old Testament.