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Thursday, May 28, 2015

LEVIATHAN and BEHEMOTH

Some Research on
LEVIATHAN and BEHEMOTH= Leviathan, Hebrew: לִוְיָתָן meaning twisted or coiled,also know as Tannin,Lotan,and Yam. Behemoth is the plural form of "behemah"="beast.You can't talk about one without the other,and I will try and start from what we know now and then pull from sources that explain the origin of these two noble creatures. "behemoth" has been taken to denote the hippopotamus; and a pair of Rabbis used the name and tried to make it correspond exactly with that animal, compared an Egyptian form, "p-ehe-mu" ( "water-ox"),This doesn't quite work,but the hippopotamus may have furnished in the main the template for the description in the bible. behemoth is the Archetypical primeval beast, the king (or Queen) of all the animals of the dry land, while leviathan is the king of all those of the water,Both Gunkel ("Schöpfung und Chaos,")And Ford (Serpent of the Two Flames) suggests that behemoth and leviathan were the two primeval monsters corresponding to Tiamat ("the abyss"; Hebr. "tehom") and Kingu ( Aramaic "'akna" = serpent") of Babylonian mythology.In Job 41 from New International Version (NIV)of the Old Testament,we have a full understanding of how the Hebrews saw the power of Leviathan

41 [a]“Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook
or tie down its tongue with a rope?
2
Can you put a cord through its nose
or pierce its jaw with a hook?
3
Will it keep begging you for mercy?
Will it speak to you with gentle words?
4
Will it make an agreement with you
for you to take it as your slave for life?
5
Can you make a pet of it like a bird
or put it on a leash for the young women in your house?
6
Will traders barter for it?
Will they divide it up among the merchants?
7
Can you fill its hide with harpoons
or its head with fishing spears?
8
If you lay a hand on it,
you will remember the struggle and never do it again!
9
Any hope of subduing it is false;
the mere sight of it is overpowering.
10
No one is fierce enough to rouse it.
Who then is able to stand against me?
11
Who has a claim against me that I must pay?
Everything under heaven belongs to me.

12
“I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs,
its strength and its graceful form.
13
Who can strip off its outer coat?
Who can penetrate its double coat of armor[b]?
14
Who dares open the doors of its mouth,
ringed about with fearsome teeth?
15
Its back has[c] rows of shields
tightly sealed together;
16
each is so close to the next
that no air can pass between.
17
They are joined fast to one another;
they cling together and cannot be parted.
18
Its snorting throws out flashes of light;
its eyes are like the rays of dawn.
19
Flames stream from its mouth;
sparks of fire shoot out.
20
Smoke pours from its nostrils
as from a boiling pot over burning reeds.
21
Its breath sets coals ablaze,
and flames dart from its mouth.
22
Strength resides in its neck;
dismay goes before it.
23
The folds of its flesh are tightly joined;
they are firm and immovable.
24
Its chest is hard as rock,
hard as a lower millstone.
25
When it rises up, the mighty are terrified;
they retreat before its thrashing.
26
The sword that reaches it has no effect,
nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.
27
Iron it treats like straw
and bronze like rotten wood.
28
Arrows do not make it flee;
slingstones are like chaff to it.
29
A club seems to it but a piece of straw;
it laughs at the rattling of the lance.
30
Its undersides are jagged potsherds,
leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge.
31
It makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron
and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.
32
It leaves a glistening wake behind it;
one would think the deep had white hair.
33
Nothing on earth is its equal—
a creature without fear.
34
It looks down on all that are haughty;
it is king over all that are proud.”
This Last passage,gives us an understanding of Leviathan as Rahab the Angel of Pride,the Torah give a much better description=
[If] God will not withdraw his anger, the proud (rahaḇ) helpers do stoop under him. (Job 9:13)
He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud (rahaḇ). (Job 26:12 )
Rahab has also been used as a name for Egypt,but that's off topic...
Anyway,According to a midrash, the leviathan was created on the fifth day (Yalḳ., Gen. 12).EL produced a male and a female leviathan, but lest in multiplying the species should destroy the world, He killed the female, reserving her flesh for the banquet that will be given to the righteous(or foolish) on the advent of the Messiah (B. B. 74a). R. Johanan, who gave us nearly all the haggadot concerning big L and B: "Once we went in a ship and saw a fish which put his head out of the water. He had horns upon which was written: 'I am one of the meanest creatures that inhabit the sea. I am three hundred miles in length, and enter this day into the jaws of the leviathan'" (B. B. l.c.). When the leviathan is hungry, he sends forth from his mouth a heat so great as to make all the waters of the deep boil, and if he would put his head into paradise no living creature could endure the odor of him, His abode is the Mediterranean Sea; and the waters of the Jordan fall into his mouth.

The body of the leviathan, especially his eyes, possesses great illuminating power. R. Eliezer,a crazy rabbi who, in the course of a voyage in company with R. Joshua, explained to the latter, when frightened by the sudden appearance of a brilliant light, that it probably proceeded from the eyes of the leviathan. He referred his companion to the words of Job xli. 18: "By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning" (B. B. l.c.).It is said that leviathan is afraid of a small worm called "kilbit" , which clings to the gills of large fishes and kills them (Shab. 77b) In Personal Ritual work with Leviathan ,I've always seen him with a child riding on his head or neck,and this child would speak for the Angel,so the Kilbit is part of Leviathan itself,just like our fears are a part of us and often lead us to greatness.There is so much more to write about these two Great beings,but I just don't have the time,I do refer you to the ENUMA ELISH THE EPIC OF CREATION for a more complete understanding of their origin.the Book of Enoch and the Epic of Ba'al also give vital information on this research.
Copyright 2015 Vincent Piazza

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