Cryptozoology The Biblical Bestiary

Dragons in the Bible

            Dragons lurk in our marketplace, our entertainment, and many other areas of our lives.  There are several games like The Dragon’s Trove, Dragon Storm, Dragon’s Lair, and Dungeons and Dragons, movies including Red Dragon, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and children’s shows like Dragon Tales.  You can fly Dragonair, buy books from Double Dragon Publishing, listen to Dragon Records, and wear Dragon Optical Sunglasses.  People devote their entire homes, and some, their entire lives to dragon themes, there are several thousand books on dragons currently in print, and googling the word dragon results in 23 million hits.     
       The concept of flying, fire-breathing reptiles is, to most, only the stuff of fairy tales.  There is, however, so much cross-culture evidence, from civilizations having no known interaction it defies the laws of chance that all are mythical accounts.  There are also several historical accounts relating eyewitness testimony of dragon encounters.  Dragons have appeared in such widely separated cultures as China, Europe, Iceland, Hawaii, and Vietnam.  St. George, the most famous of the dragon slayers, earned his place in dragon lore as a soldier in the Roman army by ridding the city of Silene in Libya of a dragon that had been terrorizing the town, devouring its sheep, as well as its children.  England is rife with historical references with actual differences in dragon types reported in several areas.
            From a foreword to a book he was writing, “Dragons: Our Fiery Friends”, one of the few experts in Dracotology, the study of dragons, Volodimir Kapusianyk, Ph.D. wrote the following: “Relegated to myth by many cultures, dragons did, in fact, exist but now, alas, are extinct, the last having died in captivity in 1911 in a small traveling zoo in Nebraska, where, as a teenager, I saw it. It was (a) pitiful creature, scrawny, barely 8 feet long, not a wisp of smoke coming from it, and, greatest indignity of all, mistakenly labeled a “Rare Winged Garter Snake.” But I knew better, and on that fateful day chose to devote my life to the study of these magnificent creatures.”
             The references to dragons in the Bible have been dismissed as everything from overactive imaginations, to hippos, to metaphor.  Satan is referred to as a dragon, but the several Old Testament references to dragons are anything but metaphor.  Simple observation reveals that they are described in context with well known living creatures.  Here are the references to dragons in the Bible:  

Leviathan: A Fire-Breathing, Smoke-Snorting, Stone-Hearted Sea Monster 
Though not specifically called a dragon, this beast certainly qualifies in most of the categories identifying dragon characteristics. 
Job 41:1 
Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? 2 Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn? 3Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee? 4 Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever? 5 Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens? 6 Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants? Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears? 8 Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more. Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him? 10 None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me? 11 Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine. 12 I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion. 13 Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can come to him with his double bridle? 14 Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about. 15 His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal. 16 One is so near to another, that no air can come between them. 17 They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered. 18 By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. 19 Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. 20 Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. 21 His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth. 22 In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him. 23 The flakes of his flesh are joined together: they are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved. 24 His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone. 25 When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves. 26 The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon. 27 He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood. 28 The arrow cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble. 29Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear. 30 Sharp stones are under him: he spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire. 31 He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment. 32 He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary. 33 Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear. 34 He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride. 
Deuteronomy 32:23 Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.

Nehemiah 2:13 And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.

Job 30:29 I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.

Psalms 44:19 Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.

Psalms 74:13 Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters.

Psalms 91:3 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

Psalms 148:7 Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:

Isaiah 13:22 And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.

Isaiah 27:1 IIn that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.

Isaiah 34:13 And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls.

Isaiah 35:7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

Isaiah 43:20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.

Jeremiah 9:11And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.

Jeremiah 10:22 Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons.

Jeremiah 14:6 And the wild asses did stand in the high places, they snuffed up the wind like dragons; their eyes did fail, because there was no grass.

Jeremiah 49:33 And Hazor shall be a dwelling for dragons, and a desolation for ever: there shall no man abide there, nor any son of man dwell in it.

Jeremiah 51:34 Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.

Jeremiah 51:37 And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwellingplace for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.

Ezekiel 23:3 Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself.

Micah 1:8 Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.

Malachi 1:3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.

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