The life of the Behemoth (Job 40:19-40:24)

“It is the first of the great acts of God.

Only its Maker can approach it with the sword.

The mountains yield food for it.

It is there where all the wild beasts play.

Under the lotus plants it lies.

It lies in the covert of the reeds and in the marsh.

The lotus trees cover it for shade.

The willows of the brook surround it.

Even if the river is turbulent

It is not frightened.

It is confident though Jordan rushes against its mouth.

Can one take it with hooks?

Can one pierce its nose with a snare?”

Clearly this monster has limits since it was the work of God. Only God the maker can kill it. It lives in the mountains where all the wild beasts play. It lies under a lotus tree for shade in the reeds, willows, and marshes. Even when the Jordan River is turbulent, it is not worried. No one can catch it with hooks or snares. This sure sounds like a large hippo! It is not clear if there is more than one of these large beasts.

A description of Behemoth (Job 40:15-40:18)

“Look at Behemoth!

I made it as I made you.

It eats grass like an ox.

Its strength is in its loins.

Its power is in the muscles of its belly.

It makes its tail stiff like a cedar.

The sinews of its thighs are knit together.

Its bones are tubes of bronze.

Its limbs like bars of iron.”

Behemoth seems to be some kind of wild beast, a large hippopotamus, an ancient monster. Yahweh made this monster. The biblical author has Yahweh give a description of this monster that makes it seem like a hippo. This monster ate grass like an ox. Its power came from its loins and belly, while it had a stiff tail like a large tree. Its thighs seemed to be knit together with bronze bones and limbs like iron bars. Thus the idea that this is a large hippopotamus seems correct.