This curriculum module is recommended reading for history students, high school grades 11 and 12, and college.
History and the Book of Job
What was the biggest carnivorous (meat eating) creature to ever walk the face of the earth? When college students are asked that question, they quickly answer, “Tyrannosaurus Rex” of Jurassic Park fame. We know today that answer is incorrect.
About ten years ago one of the most fascinating archeological discoveries of our time took place. The skeletal remains of Sarcosuchus, also called “SuperCroc,” were unearthed in a dry river bed in the Sahara Desert. A really big T Rex weighed in at seven tons. SuperCroc weighed 10 tons—and he was armor plated.
Why is this find so significant? Bible scholars for millennia have puzzled over the creature described in Job, chapter 41. Up until 10 years ago we did not know what that creature was. Today we know beyond a reasonable doubt—Job 41 is a picture-perfect description of SuperCroc.
In Job 41 the writer compares the person, Job, to the most formidable and carnivorous creature known to him. This creature lived both in the water and on the land. He is called “Leviathan” (ferocious reptile) in the Hebrew text, and is described as having a mouth ringed about with fearsome teeth, an underside like potsherds, a super-strong neck and as fire-breathing (figurative language). National Geographic (10-25-01) said SuperCroc had, “more than 100 teeth so powerful that the colossal creature probably consumed small dinosaurs as well as fish.”
SuperCroc skull compared to the skull of a modern crocodile:
Job said of Leviathan that “nothing on earth is his equal” (Job 41:33). SuperCroc not only weighed 10 tons, he was also 40 feet long. In total size he was more than 10 times larger than modern crocodiles!
Modern artist’s depiction of Super Croc:
Armor, called “scutes,” on SuperCroc’s back:
The scientific community says that SuperCroc was contemporary with dinosaurs, had them for lunch, and lived 110 million years ago. Job could not have described this awesome creature with such accuracy if those dates are accurate, obviously.
The “behemoth” (super-beast) in Job Ch. 41:15 ff. is also easy to identify. This creature is a plant-eater (herbivorous), displays great strength in his loins and belly and has a tail that sways like a cedar tree. The book of Job says this individual is the largest land-dwelling creature made by God. His bones are described as being “tubes of bronze” (figurative language like the term “fire-breathing” for Leviathan), and as living in the swamps. He is said to be so large that he is not afraid of floods, nor is he afraid of being captured by men.
There is only one large creature like this with a tail like a cedar tree, of course, and that is a dinosaur of some kind, most likely a Sauropod like Apatosaurus. No other member of God’s creation fits the description, while Apatosaurus is a perfect fit. As we saw in the last article, early people were well aware of dinosaurs. There is no reason why they wouldn’t be described in the Bible.
Roman mosaic depicting dinosaurs:
The book of Job, like all the books in the Bible, provides us with real history—history that is accurate. Christianity is based on history. It is based especially on the real life history of Jesus, the God-Man, who was born in real space and time, who lived, who died, and who rose again. Christianity is based on history in a way that no other religion is. Job indicated that he foresaw this history and testified to it when he said:
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-26)
As you can see, Job’s confession of faith is the same as that of Christians of our day.