God's first Creation

by peacefulpete 3 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • peacefulpete

    The first of God's works was..........Behemoth.

    Job 40:19 He is the reshit (firstling) of the ways of El; He, his Maker, can approach it with His cherev (sword).

    OK, where to start. First of all, yes the word in context does imply 'first'. But even if you apply the extended definition of "best, or greatest". the text is troublesome without appreciation of the meaning of Behemoth.

    The creation stories throughout ancient word involved the vanquishing of chaos, often represented as the restless sea or untamable beast/monster. The OT has this imagery many times and informs many narratives involving dividing water. In this section of Job the author is describing one of the Hebrew forms of this legend. Instead of a single beast there are two, one in the sea, Leviathan and one on the earth, Behemoth. Note that the ferocity of the Behemoth is such that only God can approach it with his sword. Thus demonstrating his control over his creation.


  • naturenihilist

    Perfect topic, I was just thinking about this today - especially in the context of the story of a battle of Yahweh against Leviathan that seems to survive in reference alone. I am so saddened to think of the stories we have lost to time - I think there certainly must have been a story of Yahweh's battle with Leviathan just like Marduk's battle with Tiamat, whether it was only ever oral or written, that is casually referenced in Job as if the audience is already familiar with the tale. Compared to the Enuma Elish, the creation story in Genesis 1 is much more austere, but hints at what I personally believe to be the very same chief inspiration for the Enuma Elish - the ancient fear of the sea.

  • Diogenesister
    Peaceful P. Note that the ferocity of the Behemoth is such that only God can approach it with his sword. Thus demonstrating his control over his creation.

    Interesting! The more ancient the writing/section of the Bible, the more anthropomorphic God is. Hence God literally "wielding" a sword

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze

    And if you don't like atheist fantasies, there is always the traditional Christian view by Matthew Henry:

    He that made him can make his sword to approach to him (v. 19), that is, the same hand that made him, notwithstanding his great bulk and strength, can unmake him again at pleasure and kill an elephant [or similar great beast] as easily as a worm or a fly, without any difficulty, and without the imputation either of waste or wrong. God that gave to all the creatures their being may take away the being he gave; for may he not do what he will with his own?

    And he can do it; he that has power to create with a word no doubt has power to destroy with a word, and can as easily speak the creature into nothing as at first he spoke it out of nothing. The behemoth perhaps is here intended (as well as the leviathan afterwards) to represent those proud tyrants and oppressors whom God had just now challenged Job to abase and bring down. They think themselves as well fortified against the judgments of God as the elephant with his bones of brass and iron...

    He that framed the engine, and put the parts of it together, knows how to take it in pieces. Woe to him therefore that strives with his Maker, for he that made him has therefore power to make him miserable, and will not make him happy unless he will be ruled by him.

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