Dragon in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Tannin, tan. Tan in Jeremiah 14:6, "dragons" "snuffing up the wind" is translated by Henderson jackals; rather the great boas and python serpents are meant, which raise their body vertically ten or twelve feet high, surveying the neighborhood above the bushes, while with open jaws they drink in the air. They were made types of the deluge and all destructive agencies; hence the dragon temples are placed near water in Asia, Africa, and Britain, e.g. that of Abury in Wiltshire. The ark is often associated with it, as the preserver from the waters. The dragon temples are serpentine in form; dragon standards were used in Egypt and Babylon, and among the widely-scattered Celts. Apollo's slaying Python is the Greek legend implying the triumph of light over darkness and evil. The tannin are any great monsters, whether of land or sea, trans. Genesis 1:21 "great sea monsters." So (Lamentations 4:3) "even sea monsters (tannin) draw out the breast," alluding to the mammalia which sometimes visit the Mediterranean, or the halichore cow whale of the Red Sea. Large whales do not often frequent the Mediterranean, which was the sea that the Israelites knew; they apply "sea" to the Nile and Euphrates, and so apply "tannin" to the crocodile, their horror in Egypt, as also to the large serpents which they saw in the desert. "The dragon in the sea," which Jehovah shall punish in the day of Israel's deliverance, is Antichrist, the antitype to Babylon on the Euphrates' waters (Isaiah 27:1). In Psalm 74:13, "Thou brokest the heads of the dragons in the waters," Egypt's princes and Pharaoh are poetically represented hereby, just as crocodiles are the monarchs of the Nile waters. So (Isaiah 51:9-10) the crocodile is the emblem of Egypt and its king on coins of Augustus struck after the conquest of Egypt. "A habitation of dragons" expresses utter desolation, as venomous snakes abound in ruins of ancient cities (Deuteronomy 32:33; Jeremiah 49:33; Isaiah 34:13). In the New Testament it symbolizes Satan the old serpent (Genesis 3), combining gigantic strength with craft, malignity, and venom (Revelation 12:3). The dragon's color, "red," fiery red, implies that he was a murderer from the beginning.

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