Some interpreters hold that many of the biblical references to Leviathan (Job 41:1-34; Psa 74:14; 104:26; Isa 27:1), dragons (Ps 74:13; Isa 27:1; 51:9), and the behemoth (Job 40:14-24) preserve early memories of dinosaurs. Most, however, prefer to explain these great monsters in terms of large and terrifying animals known to man today.

The word “Leviathan” (perhaps derived from the meaning “to twist”) is the proper name of a large sea creature that defies easy zoological classification. Suggestions as to the identity of Leviathan include the crocodile, the dolphin, the whale, or the sea serpent.

The Hebrew word for dragon (tannin), which often refers to serpents (e.g., Exod 7:9; Deut 32:33; Psa 91:13), is used generically in Gen 1:21 for large sea creatures. Other passages mentioning tannin indicate a specific kind of large sea creature (Job 7:12; Psa 74:13; Isa 27:1; 51:9) that cannot be identified with certainty.

Behemoth (the plural form of the common Hebrew noun for cattle) occurs as a great monster only in Job 40:14-24. The description in Job suggests in a hippopotamus or elephant.

God created all life for His enjoyment and glory, including dinosaurs (Ps 148:7). However, difficulties in interpretation preclude us from knowing to what extent the biblical writers knew about dinosaurs.

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