AS THE FISH were formed out of water, and the birds out of boggy earth well mixed with water, so the mammals were formed our of solid earth [on the sixth day]. As leviathan is the most notable representative of the fish kind, and Ziz of the bird kind, so behemot is the most notable representative of the mammal kind. behemot matches leviathan in strength, and he had to be prevented, like leviathan, from multiplying and increasing, else the world could not have continued to exist; after God had created him male and female, He at once deprived him of the desire to propagate his kind.

Behemot is so monstrous that he requires the produce of a thousand mountains for his daily food. All the water that flows through the bed of the Jordan in a year suffices him exactly for one gulp. It therefore was necessary to give him one stream entirely for his own use, a stream flowing forth from Paradise, called Yubal.

Behemot, too, is destined to he served to the pious as an appetizing dainty, but before they enjoy his flesh, they will be permitted to view the mortal combat between leviathan and behemot, as a reward for having denied themselves the pleasures of the circus and its gladiatorial contests.

See also:
Fantastic creatures in ancient biblical legend, introduction by Shalom Spiegel
Leviathan, king of the fishes
Ziz, king of the birds
The phoenix, most marvelous of birds
The salamander and the shamir, most marvelous of reptiles





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