40:15 Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.
40:16 Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.
40:17 He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
40:18 His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.
40:19 He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.
40:20 Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field
40:21 He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.
40:22 The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.
40:23 Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.
40:24 He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.
Now, I had previously read about this and it already appeared that the passage and following passage regarding the leviathan were pretty clearly just imaginings, not unlike faeries or the loch ness monster. Nonetheless, when dealing with fundamentalists it takes significant evidence to persuade them of the silliness of their position. For this reason, I began investigating the matter in detail, and, to my suprise revealed another example of propoganda and coverup which exemplifies the sickening intellectual dishonesty engaged in by the christian agenda.
It was no suprise to me that ancient Jewish legend does tell of three mythical beasts, the Behemoth of the earth, the Leviathan of the Sea and a third entity not mentioned in Job, Ziz, a sky creature of incredible power. The ancient Jewish mystic tradition (Haggi) these three beings would battle against each other at the end of the world.
Some readers consider the behemoth could be put down to some of the massive african fauna such as elephants or hippopotamus, however, this is usually discounted by the description in Job 40:16 that the behemoth has a tail "like a cedar tree". The counter argument to this was that an elephants trunk could be confused for a tail, which makes some sense in that the behemoth is said to never allow humans to get close "it can only be destroyed by its creator". Alternatively, it is noted that the skin of an elephant (or hippo for that matter) has the same texture as a cedar tree and this may be the detail referred to in the passage. Another interpretation is that the "tail" is a miscontruction of the word in Jewish which is more often used to describe a large male genetalia - of which elephants are well blessed.
Creationists, of course, consider the passage, in particular the reference to the tail, describes a large sauropod like apatosaurus or brachiasaurus, of which there are numerous fossilised examples. This is where the scholarship of christians comes into question. The passage above is from the King James Translation of the Bible, whereas newer translations state at 40:16:-
Behold now, his strength in his loins and his power in the muscles of his belly
So why would christians replace "his power in the navel of his belly" with "his power in the muscles of his belly"? The reason is simple, dinosaurs were birthed in eggs - that is, they do not have umbilical cords like humans. Accordingly, the behemoth - if a dinosaur - would not have a navel. This proves that behemoth was not a dinosaur and more likely a figment of imagination or forgotten description of an existing species of animal.
But, that alone is not the final word, it mentions that the behemoth eats grass. Yet, fossil records of dinosaurs show they had spoon like teeth and not molar teeth which are required to eat grass or chew cud "like an ox".
Furthermore, in the earlier translations, there is reference to behemoth lying below a lotus tree in Job 40: 21:-
He lies under the lotus trees, In a covert of reeds and marsh. The lotus
trees cover him with their shade; The willows by the brook surround him
It is perhaps ironic that of the lotus species, none of the plants grow to more than two meters high. Were these pygmy dinosaurs?
This highlights two points, firstly, the Bible does not describe humans and dinosaurs side by side. Secondly, christians (who are no doubt aware of these facts) are prepared to change their "interpretation" of their own holy text in order to preserve their point of view.