The bible is perhaps the most influential book of all time. Clearly there is great wisdom to be found in it but also great mystery. Many monstrous creatures and mythical beings are described in the bible – some stranger than others. It says something that unicorns are among the least interesting. The other creatures we will today look at are much more bizarre. I normally make more jokes at the beginning of my content but I think I’ve offended enough religions so today it’s all seriousness. Here are the ten greatest biblical monsters of all.
10: The Behemoth
In the old testament is mentioned a monstrous beast. Known as the Behemoth, it was so powerful only god could kill it. It’s bones are described as tubes of bronze and it’s limbs are like bars of iron. There is nothing the Behemoth fears and humans cannot hope to tame it some historians argue the monster was simply a hippo or elephant. But as it is said to have a large tail, comparable to an entire tree, this can’t be the case. Others believe it may be a dinosaur or a yet to be identified species of animal. Either way, it’s thought the name Behemoth comes from an old Egyptian term for hippo.
Though only briefly mentioned in the bible, the Cockatrice became one of the most feared biblical monsters in medieval times. According to European folklore it was like a cross between a rooster and a dragon. A Cockatrice is born when a chickens egg is raised by a snake, resulting in a terrible hybrid creature. Large and violent, all are advised to avoid them. It’s breath is poisonous and staring into it’s eyes for too long can turn a person to stone. If that fails their razor sharp claws will cut you to ribbons. Many have stumbled into a Cockatrice den by mistake… none have survived. All of this proves what I’ve been saying for years – chickens are evil and not to be trusted.
Alongside god, several other kinds of supernatural beings are said to reside in heaven, the most scary of which are known as Cherubim. Unearthly hybrid beings, they are depicted in various ways, sually having elements of multiple species. Some are broadly humanoid but with two sets of wings and four heads: that of a human, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. Cherubim look different every time they are seen by humans but are always large and dangerous. They are the guardians of heaven, ensuring nobody unwanted can ever reach god. In fact, the two winged creatures atop the ark of the covenant are cherubim.
Mentioned in the bible are a class of demon referred to only as he-goats. Little detail is given but they came to be seen as something similar to Jinn, powerful beings who reside in remote desert areas. He-goats could only be encountered deep in the wilderness – which is probably a good thing because demons are never trustworthy. The term he-goat may originally have meant hyena, but it could just of easily been borrowed from another religion of the day. For now it’s just another mystery of the bible.
6: The First Beast
In the book of revelation two great biblical monsters are described. the first beast has 7 heads, 10 horns and a crown atop each horn. It’s feet are like the paws of a bear and it’s mouth is that of a lion. It rises from the ocean and is able to regenerate it’s health like a video game character. The beast has great power and authority, to the point where humans are in danger of worshipping his instead of god.
5: The Second Beast
The second beast of revelation rises from the earth. It’s only description given is that it has 2 horns and speaks like a dragon. Having arisen from the earth, it encourages humans to worship the first beast, declaring that all who disobey will be killed. He is a false prophet, and the first beast a false god. Many were won over and were given the mark of the beast on their hand or forehead – which in early versions of revelation was the number 616.
The bible makes numerous references to giants, the most famous being Goliath, who was killed by a young shepherd with a sling. Which I think is a pretty embarrassing way for a giant to die but I try not to judge. He was just one of an entire race of biblical monsters, who according to legend were born to human mothers and angel fathers. According to the book of Enoch their height stood at 300 cubits. That’s around 450 feet tall. In the 1700s, when dinosaur fossils were regularly discovered, many believed it was evidence of the giants mentioned in the bible.
3: Abaddon’s Locusts
One of the most mysterious characters from the bible is Abaddon. The archangel of death, he resides in a vast bottomless pit, a pit none can escape. His name means doom, and he is king of an army of locusts. But Abaddon’s locusts are highly unusual, monstrously large and will the stinger of a scorpion. They have human like faces and a body hard as iron. Emerging from the pit at Abaddon’s will, the locusts torment humanity for 5 months at a time. So I think we should find that pit and fill it with dynamite.
2: Daniel’s Four Biblical Monsters
The book of Daniel features four bizarre monsters. Appearing before Daniel during a vision he was experiencing, the four beasts emerged from the sea. One is a bear like creature who constantly feasts on flesh. Another is a lion with large wings. The third is a leopard with four heads and two sets of wings. Worst of all it a dragon with teeth made of iron; this one has the power to destroy the entire world. According to tradition, they each represent one of the 4 great kingdoms of the ancient world. Quite what those kingdoms are has long been debated, but on the bright side none of them destroyed the world.
Of all the biblical monsters and beings, none are more notorious than the Leviathan. A gigantic creature, it lives deep in the ocean, rarely being seen by humans. As it swims massive waves are left in it’s waves, destroying any ship nearby. It is a colossal sea dragon, with fire in it’s mouth and smoke flowing from it’s nose. No earth creature could survive a Leviathan attack, and no weapon is able to penetrate it’s stone like flesh. Some say the Leviathan is a metaphor for Babylon, a great power of the ancient world and enemy of the Israelites.