Behemoth in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

(Job 40:15-24.) The Egyptian, Coptic, pehemout, "the water ox," Hebraized; our "river horse", hippopotamus. "Behold I made him with thee." Yet how great the difference! "He eateth grass as an ox;" a marvel in an animal so much in the water, and that such a monster is not carnivorous. "His force is in the navel (rather muscles) of his belly"; the elephant's skin there is thin, but the hippopotamus' skin thick. "He moveth his tail like a cedar," short indeed, but straight and rigid as the cedar. "The sinews of his thighs are twisted together," like a thick rope. "His bones are as strong tubes of copper .... his spine like bars of iron." He that made him hath furnished him with his sword" (his sickle-like teeth). Though so armed, he lets "all the beasts of the field play" near him, for he is herbivorous. "He lieth under the lotus bushes," in the covert of the reed and fens (being amphibious). "The lotus bushes cover him with their shadow." "Behold (though) a river be overwhelming, he is not in hasty panic (for he can live in water as well as land); he is secure, though a Jordan swell up to his mouth." Job cannot have been a Hebrew, or he would not adduce Jordan, where there were no river horses. He alludes to it as a name known only by hearsay, and representing any river. "Before his eyes (i.e. openly) will any take him, or pierce his nose with cords?" Nay, he can only be taken by guile. Jehovah's first discourse (Job 38- 39) was limited to land animals and birds; this second discourse requires therefore the animal classed with the crocodile to be amphibious, as the river horse.

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