Biblical sea monster / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Leviathan (/lɪˈvaɪ.əθən/ liv-EYE-ə-thən; Hebrew: לִוְיָתָן, romanized: Līvyāṯān) is a sea serpent noted in theology and mythology. It is referenced in several books of the Hebrew Bible, including Psalms, the Book of Job, the Book of Isaiah, the Book of Amos, and, according to some translations, in the Book of Jonah; it is also mentioned in the Book of Enoch. The Leviathan is often an embodiment of chaos and threatening to eat the damned after their life. In the end, it is annihilated. Christian theologians identified Leviathan with the demon of the deadly sin envy. According to Ophite diagrams, the Leviathan encapsulates the space of the material world.
The Leviathan of the Book of Job is a reflection of the older Canaanite Lotan, a primeval monster defeated by the god Baal Hadad. Parallels to the role of Mesopotamian Tiamat defeated by Marduk have long been drawn in comparative mythology, as have been wider comparisons to dragon and world serpent narratives such as Indra slaying Vrtra or Thor slaying Jörmungandr. Leviathan also figures in the Hebrew Bible as a metaphor for a powerful enemy, notably Babylon (Isaiah 27:1). Some 19th-century scholars pragmatically interpreted it as referring to large aquatic creatures, such as the crocodile. The word later came to be used as a term for great whale and for sea monsters in general.