In the bible the Behemoth is written as the largest of all beings on earth who was created with clay on the sixth day by God. It was described as having bones like that of bronze tubes and limbs like iron rods. Its sole purpose was to be served as one of the three delicacies at the great banquet on Judgement Day.
(Passage from Job 40 v. 15-24)
Most scholers believe that the above passage is talking about the Hippopotamus or an Elephant.
Behold now behemoth, which I made 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 as 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 in the field play. He lieth under the shady trees, in the cover of the reed, and ferns. 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 in his mouth. He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through the snares.
The behemoth was often linked with another beast described in the very next chapter of Job: the Leviathan.
In the apocryphal book of Enoch the two creatures are described as follows:
The word behemoth I guess can be given to any large, heavy, and otherwise unknown animal. The word behemoth comes from the plural of the Hebrew b'hemah, meaning 'beast'.
"And in that day will two monsters be separated, a female named Leviathan to dwell in the abyss over the fountains of waters. But the male is called Behemoth which occupies with his breasts an immeasurable desert named Dendain."
The behemoth is said to be one of the delicacies served at the messianic banquet at the end of days. The other delicacies are the Ziz and the Leviathan, again reinforcing the link between the two creatures.
- In other legends, the two are supposed to be deadly enemies who battle at the beginning of time, and must be destroyed by the Lord before they destroy his creation.
- In other stories these two battled on the Day of Judgment.
- In the Middle Ages, the name behemoth was given to a dæmon and in Medieval theology Behemoth came to be known as the headwaiter of Hell. He also came to be known as the personification of gluttony and pleasures of the belly.
- In other accounts, Behemoth is identified with Bahamut.