“Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook?
Can you press down its tongue with a cord?
Can you put a rope in its nose?
Can you pierce its jaw with a hook?”
In the Bible of Jerusalem this is the end of chapter 40 and not the beginning of chapter 41. However, the text is exactly the same so I am using the Oxford Bible numbering until the end of chapter 41, where the 2 works once again coincide. The Leviathan was the sea monster personified. If anything it might have been a large crocodile or a water dragon of some kind. Later in medieval Christianity, the Leviathan was considered to be the devil in popular works. For philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) the Leviathan was a big government that came from a social contract. You obviously could not catch this monster with a fish hook, a cord, or a rope. This biblical author spends a long time explaining the Leviathan in this part of Yahweh’s speech.
“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.