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The Behemoth August 25, 2015

Posted by anagasto in Bible, poetry.
12 comments

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Lots of thought has been given to the riddle of his real identity, since he cannot have been just a common crocodile or a hippopotamus. —

He seems to be the king of all nature, and no man could subdue him, can’t even get near him.

small Angus-Library-Hippo

All the animals come down from the surrounding hills to bring him food, and the trees on the riverside offer him their shade.

And as Behemoth was not always visible, he became a poet’s  symbol for hidden truth, especially if that truth were of a somber kind.

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It  says that his heart was as tough as the lower millstone.

In the past, to make flour from wheat, they used two stones, one on top of the other. The lower stone was stationary and is called the  bedstone, while the upper stone or runner was made to go round and round manually or with the help of a donkey.

It was a very slow and difficult way to get bread.

As the lower millstone had to take most of the wear, it had to be especially resistant, and that is Behemoth’s heart.

The millstone of the photo is from this American website on Appalachian technology. August 26 2015 not available

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The Behemoth appears  in the Book of Job where the Creator is speaking about his work:

Look at the Behemoth!
I made him along with you
and he feeds on grass like an ox.

For more than a thousand years these things were studied and known mainly in Latin,

Ecce behemoth quem feci tecum,
fœnum quasi bos comedet.

but long before that they existed in Hebrew or in some other language of the Middle East.

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The author´s name is not known but he was one of the greatest poets of all time.  He was not Jewish.

mesopotamia 2

The story is very old, 3000 years old or older, as maybe it can be traced back to Sumer.

The map is from Putzger, an old atlas of history at http://www.maproom.org/

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Another possibility is that the author lived in the Kingdom of Edom, the yellow patch on the map below:

Link to source text in English, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/poly/job040.htm

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The story  traveled around in Latin as part of the Bible for 1000 years or more, though later also in English and in all the other great languages. It is about the meaning of pain.

Byzantine2-Vatican

Job lost everything, his children, his possessions and his health and he asked God what the meaning of it was.

So it can’t be read like yesterday’s news.

the Bird

It is more like one of those old drawings on vases from the Middle East.

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lotus_flower224_sm

The Behemoth lived in the river and rested under the lotus flower.
Lotus has been legendary and sacred in many places, surely the world’s most storied flower.
It looks like a water lily, the white lily called Nenuphar.

The picture is from a collection of flower photos at http://www.edupic.net/flowers.htm

There are more pictures and a lucid interpretation at http://www.fpcep.org/multimedia-archive/book-of-job-the-monsters-and-the-critics-behemoth/

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