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Behemoth is a creature that has captured the imagination of people for centuries. It is mentioned in the biblical Book of Job and is often depicted as a powerful and fearsome beast. According to Jewish tradition, Behemoth was created by God at the beginning of creation and is paired with another chaos-monster, Leviathan.

The description of Behemoth in the Book of Job is vivid and awe-inspiring. It is said to have bones like tubes of bronze, limbs like bars of iron, and a tail that sways like a cedar. Some scholars believe that the description of Behemoth is based on a real animal, possibly a hippopotamus or an elephant. Others believe that it is a mythical creature created to represent chaos and disorder.

Despite the mystery surrounding Behemoth, it remains a fascinating topic for scholars and enthusiasts alike. Its depiction in art, literature, and popular culture has contributed to its enduring appeal. In the following sections, we will explore the origins, characteristics, and significance of Behemoth in more detail.

Behemoth in Mythology

Biblical References

Behemoth is a powerful and fearsome creature that appears in the biblical Book of Job. According to the text, Behemoth is a land animal created by God at the beginning of time. His great strength and size are emphasized, as well as his ability to uproot trees with ease. The exact identity of Behemoth is uncertain, but some scholars believe it may have been inspired by real-life animals such as the hippopotamus or the elephant.

Ancient Near Eastern Context

The story of Behemoth is not unique to the Bible, as similar tales of monstrous creatures can be found in the mythology of other ancient Near Eastern cultures. For example, the Babylonian god Marduk was said to have slain the dragon Tiamat, who was often depicted as a massive serpent or sea monster. In some versions of the story, Tiamat was accompanied by a creature known as the “mušḫuššu,” which was described as a dragon with hind legs like a bird.

Later Jewish Literature

In later Jewish tradition, Behemoth and another creature known as Leviathan were said to be destined to fight each other in the end times. The righteous would then feast upon their flesh as a reward for their faithfulness. Behemoth is also mentioned in other Jewish texts, such as the Talmud and Midrash, where he is sometimes depicted as a symbol of God’s power and majesty.

Overall, Behemoth remains a fascinating and mysterious figure in mythology, inspiring countless interpretations and adaptations over the centuries.

Behemoth in Literature

Medieval Bestiaries

Behemoth, as a creature of myth and legend, has a long history in literature. Medieval bestiaries often depicted Behemoth as a monstrous creature, with the power to crush trees and destroy entire villages. These bestiaries often portrayed Behemoth as a symbol of chaos and destruction, contrasting with the divine order of creation.

Renaissance Depictions

During the Renaissance, Behemoth was often depicted in art and literature as a symbol of earthly power. Artists and writers of this era often portrayed Behemoth as a majestic and powerful creature, capable of great feats of strength and endurance. These depictions often emphasized the awe-inspiring nature of Behemoth, highlighting the creature’s ability to inspire both fear and admiration.

Modern Adaptations

In modern literature, Behemoth has continued to be a popular subject. Many contemporary writers have reimagined the creature, exploring new interpretations of its mythology and symbolism. Some writers have focused on Behemoth’s role as a symbol of chaos and destruction, while others have emphasized its power and majesty. Still others have used Behemoth as a metaphor for political or social power, exploring the creature’s ability to inspire awe and fear in human beings.

Overall, Behemoth’s role in literature has been a complex and multifaceted one, reflecting the many different ways in which human beings have sought to understand and interpret this enigmatic creature.

Behemoth in Zoology

Hypotheses on Real-Life Counterparts

Behemoth, as described in the Book of Job, is a powerful and grass-eating animal. There are several hypotheses on the real-life counterparts of Behemoth. Some experts suggest that Behemoth might be a hippopotamus because of its massive size, sharp teeth, and the fact that it is a herbivore. Others argue that Behemoth could be a type of dinosaur or an extinct species of elephant.


Cryptozoology is the study of animals that are rumored to exist but have not been proven to exist. Behemoth is often considered a cryptid, and many cryptozoologists believe that it could be a surviving species of prehistoric animal. However, there is no concrete evidence to support this theory.

Despite the lack of evidence, many people believe in the existence of Behemoth and continue to search for it. Some have even claimed to have seen the creature in various parts of the world. However, until there is concrete evidence, the existence of Behemoth remains a mystery.

Behemoth in Popular Culture

Film and Television

Behemoth has made appearances in various films and television shows over the years. In the 1959 film “Behemoth, the Sea Monster,” the creature is depicted as a prehistoric dinosaur that has been awakened by atomic testing. In the popular television show “Supernatural,” Behemoth is portrayed as a powerful demon that can possess humans and cause chaos.

Video Games

Behemoth has also made appearances in several video games. In the game “Final Fantasy XIV,” Behemoth is a recurring boss character that players must defeat in order to progress through the game. In the game “God of War III,” Behemoth is a giant creature that players must battle in order to progress through the game’s story.

Comics and Graphic Novels

Behemoth has been featured in various comics and graphic novels as well. In the comic book series “The Incredible Hulk,” Behemoth is a powerful monster that battles the Hulk. In the graphic novel “Sandman,” Behemoth is a character that is summoned by the main character, Dream, to help him defeat an enemy.

Overall, Behemoth has become a popular figure in popular culture, appearing in various forms of media over the years. Whether it’s in film, television, video games, or comics, Behemoth continues to captivate audiences with its awe-inspiring size and power.

Behemoth in Symbolism

Chaos and Creation

Behemoth is often seen as a symbol of chaos and disorder, representing the untamed and wild aspects of creation. Its immense strength and untamable nature reflect the unpredictability and uncontrollable forces within the world. In the biblical Book of Job, Behemoth is described as a form of the primeval chaos-monster created by God at the beginning of creation. It is paired with the other chaos-monster, Leviathan, and according to later Jewish tradition both would become food for the righteous at the end-time.

Strength and Power

Behemoth is also a symbol of strength and power. In the Old Testament, it is described as a powerful, grass-eating animal whose bones are tubes of bronze, and its limbs like bars of iron. This description emphasizes the immense strength and power of Behemoth, making it a fitting symbol of strength and power.

Nature and Wilderness

Behemoth is also seen as a symbol of nature and wilderness. Its untamed nature and association with the wildness of creation make it a fitting symbol of nature and wilderness. Behemoth is often depicted as a creature of the earth, living in the untamed wilderness and embodying the untamed power of nature.

In conclusion, Behemoth is a powerful symbol that represents chaos and creation, strength and power, and nature and wilderness. Its significance in various cultures and traditions has made it an enduring symbol that continues to captivate and inspire people today.

Scientific Interpretations


Paleontologists have long debated the identity of Behemoth, with some suggesting that it may have been a type of dinosaur. The description of Behemoth in the Book of Job as a powerful, grass-eating animal with limbs like bars of iron and bones like tubes of bronze bears a striking resemblance to the physical characteristics of sauropod dinosaurs. However, the lack of any fossil evidence for such a creature in the Middle East region where the story of Job is set has led some to question this interpretation.

Comparative Mythology

Behemoth is often compared to other mythological creatures, such as the Egyptian god Set and the Babylonian monster Tiamat. Some scholars have suggested that Behemoth may be a representation of chaos or evil in the world, while others see it as a symbol of strength and power. In Jewish tradition, Behemoth is paired with another chaos-monster, Leviathan, and both are said to become food for the righteous at the end of time.

Overall, while there is no definitive answer to the identity of Behemoth, these scientific and comparative interpretations offer intriguing possibilities for understanding this enigmatic creature.