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Behemoth, from the book of Job, was a dinosaur (EvoWiki)

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Response Article

This article (Behemoth, from the book of Job, was a dinosaur (EvoWiki)) is a response to an evolutionary or anticreation assertion that was published on the EvoWiki website.

Many creationists believe that Behemoth, according to its description in the book of Job, is a dinosaur. EvoWiki has presented the following arguments against that theory.

1. The (very remote) possibility of some dinosaur breeds surviving extinction does not invalidate evolutionary theory at all. Nor does the existance (sic) of unknown creatures.

Agreed. In fact, some creatures once thought extinct have been found alive and well, if not thriving. However, this has nothing to do with the claim. That is, creationists do not use this to invalidate evolution.

2. The word "tail" in the verse is actually an euphemism for penis, a male sex organ. The verse actually translates "He stiffens his penis like a pine." indicating that Behemoth is actually a mammal, not a dinosaur.

EvoWiki offers no evidence whatsoever in support of this absurd claim. The word "tail" (Hebrew: זנב, zanab) translates to "tail, end, stump" [1]. It is used only once in Job. Outside Job, other uses include:

"But the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail"--so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand--"that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you." Exodus 4:4-5 (NASB)

"The LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. Deueronomy 28:13-14 (NASB)

"He shall lend to you, but you will not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you will be the tail." - Deuteronomy 28:44 (NASB)

"Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned the foxes tail to tail and put one torch in the middle between two tails." - Judges 4:4 (NASB)

If the word, "tail" was used as a euphemism for "penis" in these cases, it would seem very inconsistent with these passages. There is no indication that it is used thusly in Job, either, and EvoWiki provides no source. Following EvoWikis fallacy, "Stones" would then refer to "testicles." Although EvoWiki has not made this claim, it would be common if the interpretation was carried out.

"He bends his tail like a cedar; The sinews of his thighs are knit together." - Job 40:17 (NASB)

The Hebrew word for stone(s) in this passage is פחד pachad and translates to "thigh" [2] There is one instance of "stones" meaning "testicles": Leviticus 21:20 ...Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken however, the Hebrew word used is אשך 'eshek [3].

3. The passages on the Behemoth may also refer to its "navel," which is a physical structure where an umbilical cord would have been attached when he was in his mother's uterus. Dinosaurs, as egg-laying animals, did not have umbilical cords, and therefore did not have navels.

The Hebrew word for "navel" in this passage, שרירי shariyr, translates to sinew, muscle [4]. Two Hebrew words that may translate into navel" are:

  • שרש shorer (navel, umbilical cord)[5], as in Song of Solomon 7:2:

"Your navel is like a round goblet. Which never lacks mixed wine; Your belly is like a heap of wheat. Fenced about with lilies." - Song_of_Solomon 7:2 (NASB)

  • שר shor (umbilical cord, navel, navel-string)[6], as in Proverbs 3:8:

"It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones." - Provers 3:8 (NASB)

4. Another part of the passage mentions Behemoth to "eat grass like an ox." Sauropod dinosaurs, such as Brachiosaurus were totally incapable of eating grass like an ox. They feed on vegetation by ripping it off with their teeth and swallowing it, which was then "chewed" by having gastroliths (stones swallowed to aid in digestion) grind up the vegetation through peristalic movement. This was a method totally unlike the rumination of oxen. Also, grass plants appeared during the late Cretaceous, long after most of the sauropods had died out. Titanosaurs, the only extant group of Late Cretaceous sauropods, are now known to eat grass thanks to a recent find of what are presumed to be titanosaur coprolites that contained silicates diagnostic of grass. Nevertheless, it should not be used as a justification of the YE myth about the passage referring to a sauropod because all sauropods, even Titanosaurs, completely lack chewing teeth in their jaws.

EvoWiki over-analyses the passage. Yes, Behemoth is said to eat grass like an ox. But it is not mentioned how the grass is digested. Also, in mentioning that in the evolutionary hypothesis grass hadn't evolved by then, EvoWiki is using the fallacious argument that your theory does not work under my theory, so your theory must be wrong.

5. Behemoth in the passage is also portrayed as an amphibious animal in high contrast to the sauropods who are all terrestrial animals. In the traditional view, this passage closely describes the hippopotamus, a dangerous vegetarian animal that lives an amphibious life in swamps, lakes, and rivers of Africa.

As shown above, Behemoth's tail was said to be large. A hippo's tail is extremely small. The passage in Job refers to behemoth spending time in a marsh. It does not say that it lives part of its life in the water. In fact, verse 20 says Behemoth gets food from the mountains, where the beasts of the field play. Hippos don't go the mountains to get their food. They have very sensitive skin that can dry out and get sunburned, so they tend to avoid direct sunlight by lying in water during the day and feeding at night [7].

See Also

Related References