Beth saw a headline on
AOL this morning: Behemoth Storm Pummels Northeast. She asked what a behemoth is. It’s a large,
powerful animal, but there is disagreement over precisely which one. A water
buffalo would qualify, but so would a hippopotamus.
The word is used in the
Book of Job, chapter 40, verses 15 to 24.
15] Behold now behemoth, which I made with
thee; he eateth grass as an ox.
16] Lo now, his strength is in his loins,
and his force is in the navel of his belly.
17] He moveth his tail like a cedar: the
sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
18] His bones are as strong pieces of
brass; his bones are like bars of iron.
19] He is the chief of the ways of God: he
that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.
20] Surely the mountains bring him forth
food, where all the beasts of the field play.
21] He lieth under the shady trees, in the
covert of the reed, and fens
22] The shady trees cover him with their
shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.
23] Behold, he drinketh up a river, and
hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.
24] He taketh it with his eyes: his nose
pierceth through snares.
Experts seem to think
that it started as the Egyptian word p-ehe-mau, a water ox, which was then
assimilated into Hebrew as b'hēmōth, a monstrous beast. By extension, it came
to mean anything of great size or power. In 1593, Gabriel Harvey used it this
way: “Will soone finde the huge Behemoth of Conceit, to be the sprat of a
pickle herring.” [Pierces supererogation, or; A new prayse of the old asse]
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