Make your own free website on

The Behemoth and The Leviathian
( From My Wicca and Witchcraft Group-Morgaine le Fey)


 In the popular imagination the word Behemoth has come to mean any large creature, and, indeed, the Hebrew word behemoth simply means "beasts." But both Henri Boguet (1550-1619), the French demonologist, and Madame Helena Blavatsky, the 19th century Russian mystic, saw Behemoth as a demon - a symbol, like Leviathan, of darkness and evil. Demonically, as the name suggests, he was a huge soldier of Satan, usually depicted as an elephant with a big round belly, waddling on two feet. He was the infernal watchman, and also presided over the gluttonous banquets and feasts. It is said that he also enjoyed a certain renown for his voice, being regarded as Hell's official demonic singer. The biblical description of Behemoth's habits and strength has led most zoologists to conclude that the creature is probably based on the hippopotamus (though a few opt for the elephant, a gigantic water buffalo or crocodile). The only line in Job that does not fit this identification is: "He makes his tail stiff like a cedar." English poet, visionary, and artist William Blake portrayed Behemoth (with the water monster Leviathan) in 'Illustrations of the Book of Job' (1825). He depicts the beast as a hippopotamus, with tusks, human ears, and a lion's tail. According to legend, the Behemoth was the largest animal that lived on land. Jewish tradition tells us that it was fashioned from clay on the sixth day of creation. However, the book of Job records that the Behemoth is the first of God's works. The Behemoth has bones like tubes of bronze and limbs like iron rods. Each day, the Behemoth gorges on the fodder produced by a thousand mountains. Because of this insatiable appetite, only one creature was created, thus preventing it from multiplying. "Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play. He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not; he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. He taketh it with his eyes; his nose pierceth through snares." Job 40: 15-24. At the time of the summer solstice, during the month of Tammuz, the Behemoth, its strength at its peak, rises upon its hind legs and lets out a fearful echoing roar. This loud roar is heard by all the animals in the world. Terrified, the wild predators become less ferocious and restrain themselves from preying on the flocks and herds for an entire year. The Behemoth was created solely to be served as one of the delicacies during the messianic banquet at the end of days. The other delicacies are the Leviathan and the Ziz. The Behemoth may only be killed by the sword of his maker. Some accounts have the behemoth banished to living in the abyss with its enemy, the Leviathan. In the Muslin tradition, Behemoth equates with the monstrous Bahamut, the vast monster that supports the earth in the cosmos.


A term that has come to mean any formidable, huge or monstrous creature. The word is also associated with Satan, and identified as one of his demons, put in charge of all of the maritime regions. In some accounts the creature is credited - or blamed, to be more precise - with being the serpent who seduced Eve in the Garden of Eden. The word 'Leviathan' in Hebrew means approximately 'that which gathers itself into folds' or 'that which is drawn out'. There is much confusion about the translation of the word in its biblical context, however it seems to refers to some huge animal, almost certainly linked with water. Some translators think the word might refer to a crocodile, others that it is a whale, or even a large ship. The Leviathan of the English poet William Blake (1757-1827) was a coiled sea serpent. "The arrow cannot make him flee; for him slingstones are turned to stubble. Upon earth there is not his like....he is king over all the sons of pride." Job 41: 28, 33-34. The preceding description of Leviathan as one of the forces of evil happens in one of five biblical passages that mention the monster. To the Hebrew authors of the Bible the expression Leviathan was probably only a general one, meaning any great land or sea monster. Their highly colored descriptions of this great beast may well have been founded on a variety of creatures they knew or had heard about: the sperm whale, which the Phoenicians hunted; the Egyptian crocodile, whose range at that time extended to Palestine; the African python, rumors of which had reached the biblical lands through paintings of the serpent in Egyptian temples; and the primeval dragon of Middle Eastern myth. However, in a detailed study of sea monster reports, In the Wake of the Sea-Serpents (1968), the eminent French cryptozoologist Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans advanced another theory. He claimed that certain phrases in the description of Leviathan in Job 41 - "When he raises himself up the mighty are afraid" and "His back is made of rows of shields, shut up closely as with a seal" - suggest that the monster may have been a long-necked sea serpent, of which there are many sightings reported today off New England and California. According to legend, the Leviathan was a firebreathing creature of such immense size that the sea boils when it swims on the surface. It ruthlessly and fearlessly rules over all the creatures of the sea. The Leviathan's skin is like a double coat of mail, with overlapping scales as large as shields on its back, and as sharp and hard as broken pottery on its underparts. Swords and harpoons will simply bounce off such protection. It breathes smoke from its nostrils and flames from its mouth which is rimmed with teeth. Its fins radiate a brilliant light and its eyes are like the glimmerings of dawn. There were originally two leviathans created, but when it seemed as if the pair might destroy the earth with their combined strength, God killed one of them. The "garments of skin" fashioned by God for Adam and Eve, also known as "garments of light", were made from the skin of the slain Leviathan. The Leviathan is one of the three creatures which will be served at the banquet feast at the end of time. Afterwards, its skin is to be stretched as a canopy from the walls of Jerusalem to illuminate the world.