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Behemoth


The Behemoth is a creature as old as time itself, and incredibly strong.


In his book "Behemoth: A Legend of the Mound−Builders" Cornelius Mathew describes how the beast comes to confront the humans for the first time after the creation was completed:


"The middle watch of the night had come. The air was dark and still. Not a breath nor voice broke the universal quiet: when, clear and sharp, there fell upon the ears of the sleeping populace, a sound like the crash of sudden thunder. The earth shook as if trodden by heavy footsteps, and through the air came a noise like the rushing of some mighty bulk in violence and haste. Ponderous hoofs trampled the earth and drew nigh. It was the brute Behemoth and before his irresistible force fell whatever strove to gainsay his advance. The whole region trembled as when a vast body of waters bursts its way and rolls over the earth, ocean−like, wave shouting to wave, and all crowding onward with thunderous tumult. In vain was the solid breast−work; the piled wall was in vain; in vain the armed and watchful sentry. Like some stupendous engine of war, he bore down on them, rendering human strength a mockery and human defenses worse than useless, for as wall, bastion and tower fell, they redoubled death and ruin on their builders."


Ancient records also mention that the Behemoth bones are made out of brass, and made this beast the mate of the Leviathan. The Behemoth is described as larger than the Dendain desert, and it was said that it could swallow the Jordan River whole in one gulp.


According to the Christian tradition it looks like an gigantic elephant, and tempts mortals to greed and gluttony. On the Day of Judgement the Messiah will do battle with and kill both Behemoth and Leviathan and feed the righteous with their flesh.


The Muslims know him as Bahamut, the creature that holds the earth on its back. The Arabian type of Behemoth, the Bahamut, is so large that no mortal can conceive of its true size. It looks like a gigantic, shining fish with the head of a hippo or elephant. He carries on his back the bull on whose forehead or back sits the vessel carrying the entire world.


References

-Matthews, John & Caitlin. The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures. Barnes & Noble Publishing, Inc.: New York, 2005.

-Rose, Carol. Giants, Monsters & Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth. W. W. Norton & Company: New York, 2000.

-W. W. Norton & Company: New York, 1996. Sedgwick, Paulita. Mythological Creatures: A Pictoral Dictionary. Holt, Rinehart and Winston: New York, 1974.

-Matthews, John & Caitlin. The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures. Barnes & Noble Publishing, Inc.: New York, 2005.

-Swartz, Michael D. "Ritual about Myth about Ritual: Towards an Understanding of the Avodah in the Rabbinic Period." The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 6, no. 1 (1997): 135-155


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