Leviathan summary, short history, and biblical verses.
Part of a series of posts on dragon Bible verses.
This version published 20 Feb 2018. Last updated 8 Sept 2020.
SUMMARY OF LEVIATHAN
Leviathan, the great sea monster, was said to have existed from the fifth day of creation, and to represent the forces of chaos subordinated by Yahweh.
According to later Hebrew traditions, Leviathan will be vanquished in a great final battle with the archangel Gabriel, and the banquet celebrating the eventual arrival of the Messiah will take place in a tent made from the monster’s skin.
There are seven references to Leviathan in the Bible, New Revised Standard Version.
WAS LEVIATHAN A REAL DRAGON?
A writer at Truth in Genesis puts forth the following perspective:
There are hundreds of legends about fire breathing dragons. Why do so many countries have legends about fire breathing dragons? Maybe it’s because they really had fire breathing dragons. If these people were just making this stuff up, why don’t we ever hear a story about a fire breathing hamster or some other kind of animal? It is always a dragon.
With a greater number of improved scientific methods of investigation, there is growing evidence that sea creatures and monsters were more than just a product of sailors’ imaginations.
While many scholars identified Leviathan as a crocodile, there are several problems with this idea. While some crocodiles do venture into coastal regions and are able to swim out to sea, the deep ocean is not their normal place of dwelling.
They are found primarily in inland waters, where they exist in lakes, rivers, estuaries and swamps. They breed on the shores. Therefore they would not be described as great beasts of the sea (Psalm 104:25–26).
Neither are crocodiles so terrifying that no man dares to tackle them—crocodiles are routinely trapped and killed by native tribes without any kind of advanced technology.
Reference: Answers in Genesis
Job 3:8 Tell the sorcerers to curse [the day Job was born], those who know how to control Leviathan.
Job 41: 1-34 [adapted]
- His armour could not be pierced
- His back is made of shields fastened tightly together
- Light flashes when he sneezes
- His eyes glow like the sun
- He’s fire-breathing
- For him, iron is as flimsy as straw
- He churns up the sea like boiling water
- He is king of all wild beasts
Job 41: 19-21 (New American Standard Bible)
Out of his mouth go burning torches;
Sparks of fire leap forth.
Out of his nostrils smoke goes forth
As from a boiling pot and burning rushes.
His breath kindles coals,
And a flame goes forth from his mouth.
Psalm 74:14 You crushed the heads of the monster Leviathan and fed his body to desert animals.
Psalm 104:26 The ships sail on it, and in it plays Leviathan, that sea monster which you made.
Isaiah 27:1 On that day the Lord will use his powerful and deadly sword to punish Leviathan, that wriggling, twisting dragon, and to kill the monster that lives in the sea.
2 Esdras 6:49 Then you singled out two of the living creatures; you named one of them Behemoth and the other Leviathan
2 Esdras 6:52 You let Leviathan live in the sea. You kept them both alive, so that your chosen people may feast on them at the time you choose.
Jess Chua has been webmistress of Dragonsinn since 1999.
She works in the online writing/editing field. She enjoys yoga, reading, and sketching.
Her debut poetry chapbook was published in 2023. Her writing website is jesschua.com