Was the Behemoth of Job 40:15 a Dinosaur?
Some writers have suggested that “behemoth,” mentioned in Job 40:15ff., could have been a type of dinosaur. However, since the Bible mentions behemoth’s “navel” (40:16), would not this exclude dinosaurs, since they were egg-layers and would not have possessed navels?
The word rendered “navel” in the King James Version of the Bible derives from the Hebrew term sharir. Scholars have suggested that the term originally meant “firm, hard,” hence, denoted “the firm parts of the belly” (Gesenius, 1979, p. 850). In Job 40:16, it thus means “sinew, muscle” (see Brown, et al., 1906, p. 1057; Harris, et al., 1980, 2:957).
In Job 40:16, the term is the plural form. Would anyone suggest that the behemoth had more than one navel? The comments of Albert Barnes are appropriate:
The word here rendered navel means properly firm, hard, tough, and in the plural form, which occurs here, means the firm, or tough parts of the belly. It is not used to denote the navel in any place in the Bible, and should not have been rendered so here (1949, 2:248).
While many commentators have identified behemoth with the elephant or the hippopotamus, elsewhere I have argued that the descriptions given in the book of Job do not fit either of these animals (see Jackson, 1983, pp. 86-87) and that there is no valid reason for rejecting the idea that behemoth could have been some species of dinosaur.
Those who reject this possibility do so solely on the assumption that dinosaurs and man were never contemporary—a view that not only is contrary to principles of sound biblical interpretation, but is, in fact, saturated with evolutionary presuppositions. Were it not for modern-day influences of evolutionary pseudoscience, certain Bible believers would have no problem at all with such passages as this.
Barnes, Albert (1949 reprint), Notes on the Old and New Testaments—Job (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Brown, F., S. Driver, and C. Briggs (1906) Hebrew and English Lexicon (Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin).
Gesenius, William (1979 reprint), Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Harris, R.L., G.L. Archer, and B.K. Waltke (1980), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Jackson, Wayne (1983), The Book of Job—Analyzed and Applied (Abilene, TX: Quality).
Originally published in Reason and Revelation, December 1986, 6:47. Copyright © 1986 Apologetics Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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