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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Behemoth (bç'he-mŏth, or be-hç'moth), the great beast; or, if it be supposed an Egyptian word, it may mean the water-ox. A mammoth animal, described in Job 40:15-24, where the explanation is added in the margin of the R. V., "that is, the hippopotamus." The identification of behemoth has puzzled critics, and the strangest conjectures have been propounded. The mammoth, or other extinct quadruped, has been thought behemoth by some; while others maintain it is the elephant; and some would take the word as having a symbolical meaning. The weight of evidence is in favor of the hippopotamus. As leviathan is most likely the crocodile, it is not unreasonable to suppose that behemoth is, like the crocodile, an inhabitant of the Nile; and that, as leviathan is amphibious, behemoth must be amphibious too, and hence the hippopotamus, a conclusion which is strengthened by the comparison of verses 15, 21, 22 with 24.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Behemoth'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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