Psalm 104:26

Hebrew Bible

24 How many living things you have made, O Lord! You have exhibited great skill in making all of them; the earth is full of the living things you have made. 25 Over here is the deep, wide sea, which teems with innumerable swimming creatures, living things both small and large. 26 The ships travel there, and over here swims Leviathan35 you made to play in it. 27 All your creatures wait for you to provide them with food on a regular basis. 28 You give food to them and they receive it; you open your hand and they are filled with food.

Isaiah 27:1

Hebrew Bible

1 At that time the Lord will punish with his destructive, great, and powerful sword Leviathan the fast-moving serpent, Leviathan the squirming serpent; he will kill the sea monster. 2 When that time comes, sing about a delightful vineyard! 3 “I, the Lord, protect it; I water it regularly. I guard it night and day, so no one can harm it.

 Notes and References

"... just as these cosmic enemies are mentioned as Baal’s or Anat’s old enemies, they are known in Israelite tradition as enemies of Yahweh, the warrior god. Three of these enemies appear in Psalm 74:12–17 ... Here the cosmic enemies’ defeat serves as prelude to creation. In contrast, Isaiah 27:1 presents Leviathan’s defeat as a sign of the end-times. Isaiah 25:8 likewise proclaims a reversal of the power of the cosmic enemy, Death. The image of God there swallowing up Death reverses the comparable image of Death’s demanding to swallow Baal in Ugaritic (CAT 1.5 I 6–8, II 2–6). Third, biblical texts attest to the cosmic forces as the chief-god’s domesticated beasts. The book of Job knows these cosmic enemies both as human foes and divine playthings. So Job himself expresses the understanding of these figures as hostile powers, when he complains against God: “Am I Sea or Tannin that You set a watch over me?” (Job 7:12; see the reference to Leviathan in Job 3:8 and the mention of the Sea and the serpent in 26:13). Yet the book of Job later declaws these enemies by rendering them not as Yahweh’s enemies but as objects of divine domestication. So God responds to Job that he treated Sea at creation not as an enemy but as a new-born babe (Job 38:8–11). Leviathan is the sea creature caught by God’s “fishhook” (40:25), drawn by a rope and nose-ring. God asks Job: “Will you play with him like a bird ... ?” (40:29). Psalm 104:26 similarly identifies this figure as a creature made for play: “Leviathan whom you formed to sport with.” This view of Leviathan as a tamed pet may counter the expectation of an Israelite audience, which knows Leviathan primarily as a monstrous enemy ..."

Smith, Mark S. The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel’s Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts (pp. 36-37) Oxford University Press, 2001

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