Behemoth Is An Elephant
By Detective Robert Surgenor
There is no better example of how Ken Ham and the rest of the staff at Answers In Genesis omit scriptures that conflict with their Young Earth theory than the lectures they give on Job chapter 40, which they proclaim describe a dinosaur. We are going to show you in this segment how Ken Ham DELIBERATELY leaves out evidence in God’s Word that describes this creature as an elephant.
The is a problem with the law concerning evidence in the state where I served as a police officer. Prosecutors are not required to present all of the evidence they have in a criminal case. Because of this rule, evidence that a prosecutor uncovers that would help vindicate the suspect on trial is never presented to the jury. I’ll give you an example of one such case.
After a body was found shot to death in a house, some of the neighbors reported to the police that they heard what they thought were firecrackers at about 1 PM the previous day. During the questioning of other neighbors, one of the detectives interviewed an elderly man who lived across the street from the victim. Although the old man was nearly deaf and did not hear any gunshots, he told the detective that at 1 PM he did see a blue Chevy Blazer parked in the driveway of the victim’s house. He told the detective that he saw the vehicle leave the residence at 1:10 PM. His description of the vehicle led officers to the victim’s brother, who admitted he was at the residence, but at noon, not 1 PM.
The detective went back to interview the old man and asked him if he was sure about the time he saw the Chevy Blazer in the driveway. The old man pointed to the clock on the wall and told the officer he was positive of the time, because he had looked at the clock when he saw the vehicle in the driveway. The detective looked at the clock, and realized that it was one hour off! The old man had forgotten to change the clock when daylight savings time changed.
Because the detective already had a preconceived idea about the brother’s guilt, he omitted this small bit of evidence from the case. The old man testified in court about the time he observed the Chevy Blazer in the driveway, the other neighbors testified about the time of the gunshots, and the brother was convicted.
Young Earth Creationists, in an effort to convince their followers that dinosaurs existed on earth with man, practice the same form of deception when presenting their Young Earth argument to their followers. Over and over again, Ken Ham and other YEC lecturers present only the evidence that seems to substantiate their theory, and deliberately omit evidence that conflicts with their statements.
One excellent example of this practice is when the YECs point to Job chapter 40 in the Holy Bible and claim that the scripture is describing a Sauropod dinosaur. The description begins in verse 15 and concludes with verse 24. The problem is that Answers in Genesis only shows their audiences verses 15 through 19. They conveniently leave out verses 20 through 24. In the graphic shown on the right, you’ll see three video slides shown during behemoth presentations by Ken Ham, Jason Lisle, and Monty White. The versus given to the audience include Job 40 verses 15 through 19. There is absolutely no mention of verses 20 through 24, which continue the description of the creature being described.
Verses 15 through 19 read, “Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.”
Ken Ham leaves out verses 20 through 24, which just happen to cause a problem for Ken Ham’s attempt to twist the meaning of this chapter to describe a dinosaur. These verses read, “He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.”
This is a major issue with Young Earth Creationists. Almost every Young Earth follower uses this scripture to promote their theory, but they only use verses that support what they are teaching. I am going to suggest to you that YECs have formed a pre-conceived idea about this creature by listening to lecturers like Ken Ham rather than relying on God’s Word. I will point out several facts here that God’s Word makes very clear. Here is the original Hebrew text that begins the description of the creature.
The Hebrew word, “be-hay-mohth” used in this text, simply means the “largest of animals.” The remains of the Sauropod dinosaur are the largest found in the fossil record. The elephant is the largest land animal living on this earth today. The elephant also eats grass “as an ox.” So far, the Biblical description could fit both the Sauropod and the elephant.
But starting with verse 17, Young Earth Creationists begin to modify God’s Word to fit their pre-conceived idea that this animal is a dinosaur. YECs accuse Old Earth Creationists of trying to fit pre-conceived ideas based on science into the Biblical text, when in fact, they are the ones guilty of this practice.
All YEC lecturers state that the animal has a “long neck.” I have dissected the original Hebrew text that describes this animal, and there is not one reference in scripture about the animal’s neck! There are references to it’s loins, belly, tail, bones, mouth, and nose. There is absolutely no reference to the animal’s neck. This omission in the Bible is probably because there is nothing that stands out about an elephant’s neck. In fact, it hardly has one! Yet the YEC movement continues to claim the animal has a “long neck.” This claim is totally unsubstantiated in scripture.
I have seen numerous lectures given by members of Answers In Genesis, and the same talking points are used when describing the tail of the animal. It is always described as a “huge tail,” that “looks like a cedar tree.” Whether it is Ken Ham, Dr Jason Lisle, or any of the other AIG speakers, the exact same words are used. This is where I have a major problem with the YEC movement. The Bible says NOTHING about a huge tail!
Ken Ham shows cartoons of an elephant and a Hippo with extremely long tapered tails, implying that the description of the tail in the Bible doesn’t fit an elephant or hippopotamus.
The Bible CLEARLY does not describe the tail of this creature as “huge,” as Ken Ham describes it in his lectures. The scripture also does NOT say that the tail “looks like a cedar tree.” This is a blatant misrepresentation of what God says in His Word.
The original Hebrew text that describes the creature’s tail is as follows…
The verse states “He moveth his tail like a cedar.” The original Hebrew text CLEARLY uses the action verb Upx or khaw-fates (moveth), not a descriptive adjective when addressing what the tail does. This Hebrew word actually means “to bend.” In order to better understand this description, we have to better understand what kind of tree we are talking about. This is not a large American cedar tree (which Ken Ham has mistakenly assumed). Job is describing a Lebanese cedar tree, the kind of cedar tree that is common in the Middle East and was common during Job’s day. The Lebanese cedar tree consists of a long wiry trunk with a clump of branches at the top. The wood consists of a flexible fiber causing the tree to sway in the slightest breeze, much more than any other tree in that area.
An adult elephant’s tail is, on an average, about 6 to 8 feet long and weighs between 20 and 30 pounds. When the elephant walks, the tail sways back and forth, strikingly similar to the movement of a Lebanese cedar tree swaying in the wind. The tail “bends,” as shown in the video below.
Ken Ham has taken his own “preconceived idea” about what Job is describing, and tries to modify God’s Word to fit his ideas, the same thing he accuses Old Earthers of doing! But let’s say Ken Ham’s interpretation of the description of the tail is correct. A Sauropod tail doesn’t look ANYTHING like a cedar tree! In fact, put an elephant’s tail next to a Lebanese cedar tree, and you’ll see more of a similarity between these two than what Ken Ham is proposing.
One of the most interesting facts I discovered during my exhaustive research into this animal, is that God’s Word describes something that modern day science has just recently discovered. This fact blows my mind, because when Job wrote these words, he probably didn’t fully understand them himself!
Elephant bones are unique because of the size of their bodies. Normal bones would break under the weight of the massive bodies of these animals. So God designed the bones with two distinct properties, strength, and flexibility. The bones need to be strong enough to support the weight, but flexible enough not to break when the animal is moving or running. Dr. John Hutchinson, a biomechanics expert, just recently discovered these properties during an autopsy of a dead elephant. The bone structure has two very distinct elements. The bone is rigid enough to support the animal standing upright, but is also pliable in order to keep the bones in the legs and feet from breaking under the weight of the animal, especially when the elephant is running.
In Job chapter 40 and verse 18, we read this description. “His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.” Here is a description of two very different metals. Iron is always referred to in Scripture as a symbol of rigid strength. Brass is referred to as a pliable metal that bends but doesn’t break. I have always wondered why God describes two types of metals in this verse. Now I know why. He is describing an elephant’s bone structure.
The text continues, “The shady trees cover him with their shadow.” The average height of a Sauropod is 70 to 90 feet tall (according to the fossils uncovered of this animal). The average “shady tree” in the Bible is about 30 feet tall. It is doubtful that a Sauropod could stand under a tree and be covered by the tree’s shadow.
Yet you can find elephants, averaging about 12 feet tall, standing under trees all the time. It is a common habit of elephants to shade themselves from the hot sun.
It is in this part of the scriptures that the deliberate deception occurs. We’ve discussed how In EVERY such presentation, the lecturer ends the description of the animal with verse 19. Why is this? The description continues through verse 24! The reason the YEC presentation only includes the first five verses describing this creature is because the following verses cast serious doubt on the YEC theory that the animal is a dinosaur and not an elephant. I don’t believe the last five verses are left out by accident.
I have challenged Young Earthers about the remaining verses that seem to be describing an elephant. Many YECs are unaware that there are more verses than those cited in the presentations they have seen. One YEC, when shown the additional verses, told me, “I didn’t know those were there!” That is because most YECs listen to the lecturers but fail to search the scriptures to confirm that what they are being taught is the truth!
For those YECs who are aware of the remaining verses, a feeble attempt is made to explain them away. The King James translation of verse 23 reads, “Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.” I was told by one young-earther that this verse is describing the river Jordan at flood stage, and that the animal is large enough to stand in the middle of the flooded river with it’s head above water. The original Hebrew text does refer to the Jordan being “brought up,” but not in the way the YECs imply.
I have interviewed Hebrew scholars who tell me that the original text does not convey the thought of a “flood” when it describes the river Jordan. The original Hebrew is referring to an action the animal is taking with the water. The text implies that it is not the river that is moving “up,” but the animal picking the river “up.” That is why the King James version describes the animal drawing up the water into it’s mouth.
The original Hebrew text hints that the animal does that with the use of A TOOL, not just drinking the water into it’s mouth. An elephant does that with his trunk. Again, we have a description that better fits an elephant than a Sauropod.
Verse 24 is always left out of the YEC’s presentation, because it perfectly describes an elephant and eliminates any possibility that the Bible is describing a Sauropod. The original Hebrew text is very specific in it’s meaning.
Verse 24 states, “his nose pierceth through snares.” The Hebrew word for “nose,” is “apf,” meaning nostrils. The Hebrew word for “pierceth,” is “naqab,” meaning to pierce, perforate, to puncture, or to bore. The word “snares” means “a trap or a cage.” There are two reasons this is describing an elephant. First, elephants were captured during Job’s day and used as work animals. They would have been placed in cages when captured, and I’m sure their trunks were seen sticking out from the bars of the cage. A Sauropod dinosaur was so large it could have never been captured and caged. Second, the nose of a Sauropod dinosaur was stubby and would never “pierce” the bars of a cage even if they could have been captured, unlike the elephant’s trunk. If you compare the nose of a Sauropod with the nose of an elephant, I think you’ll agree which one fits this description best. Is there any wonder Ken Ham leaves this verse out of his presentation? I have seen several different lectures by Ken Ham about Job 40, and he always stops at verse 19.
The reason why most Bible notes list an elephant as the creature described in Job 40 is because, until the Young Earth lecturers began changing scripture, most Bible scholars agreed that the animal was an elephant. Until the YECs came along and began “modifying” the very Word of God, no one ever considered that Job 40 was describing a Sauropod. I believe that Ken Ham took his preconceived idea, and blatantly modified and omitted scripture so his verses fit the description of a dinosaur. Come on, folks! Do you mean to tell me that Ken Ham is unaware of verses 20 through 24?
The elephant is the world’s largest land animal. The scripture describing the bones are specifically describing elephant bones! There is no “long neck,” and there is no “huge tail” that “looks like a cedar tree.” The elephant’s tail “moves” or bends like the flexible cedar tree. A Sauropod can’t fit under a tree like an elephant. The last two verses describing the animal “drawing up” water into it’s mouth and it’s nose piercing small openings are deliberately left out of Young Earth lectures.
I am basing all of my conclusions on the Word of God, not an idea conjured up by someone who believes that dinosaurs lived with man and who wants scripture to fit into their preconceived idea.
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