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English Bible Dictionary

Leviathan

 

(jointed monster) occurs five times in the text of the Authorized Version, and once in the margin of (Job 3:8) where the text has "mourning." In the Hebrew Bible the word livyathan, which is, with the foregoing exception, always left untranslated in the Authorized Version, is found only in the following passages: (Job 3:8; 41:1; Psalms 74:14; 104:26; Isaiah 27:1) In the margin of (Job 3:8) and text of (Job 41:1) the crocodile is most clearly the animal denoted by the Hebrew word. (Psalms 74:14) also clearly points to this same saurian. The context of (Psalms 104:26) seems to show that in this passage the name represents some animal of the whale tribe, which is common in the Mediterranean; but it is somewhat uncertain what animal is denoted in (Isaiah 27:1) As the term leviathan is evidently used in no limited sense, it is not improbable that the "leviathan the piercing serpent," or "leviathan the crooked serpent," may denote some species of the great rock-snakes which are common in south and west Africa.

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