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Dinosaurs in Literature, Art & History--Hunting for Dinosaurs in the Bible ... Page 29

"So God created the Great Dragons" ...Genesis 1:21 The Latin Vulgate; 5th Century

"Look at the behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox. What strength he has in his loins, what power in the muscles of his belly! His tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are close-knit. His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like rods of iron.

He ranks first among the works of God..." Job 40 KJV The question is sometimes derisively asked "why doesn't the Bible mention dinosaurs, if it is inspired"? The answer is- it does!

It just doesn't call them dinosaurs, a term that was not even invented until the mid 1800's--a term that literally means "terrible lizard".

Is that any better a term for the group than is ; "great dragons", "sea monsters", "monsters", "great creatures", "monsters" or "serpents"?

These are some of the ways the word "tannim" or "tanniym" have been translated. (The Romans called this highlighted, 1st century "dinosaur" a "crocodile leopard, no doubt because it was reptilian like a crocodile, yet fast like a leopard).

If God created "dinosaurs", He did so at the same time as He created the other animals. In Genesis 1 verse 21 translators had their first opportunity to translate "tannim" a word Strong’s translates as: dragon or dinosaur; sea or river monster; serpent, or venomous snake. Yet, the KJV translated the word as "whales"?

Perhaps the KJV translators and later translators of other versions were trying to help God out; believing dragons to be mythological, they translated tannim as other animals so as to avoid embarrassment for Christians and for God. God didn't need their help.

After this excellent article about the translation of the word "tannim" in the Bible; we've produced a table which presents the verses containing the word in question. In each case, we've left the translation of the word to you. To the right of each verse are clues; along with the context of the verse, we give you as examples the way five translations translated the word in each verse. It's amazing how even the same translations often translate "tannim" inconsistently!. The question here is; what word would you choose and do you agree that the Bible did in fact mention dinosaur like animals?


Tannin and the plural tanninim occur 14 times, and in English Versions of the Bible are variously rendered "dragon," "whale," "serpent" or "sea-monster"; but Lamentations 4:3, the King James Version "sea-monster," the King James Version margin"sea calves," the Revised Version (British and American) "jackals."

Tannim occurs 12 times, and is rendered "dragons," the Revised Version (British and American) "jackals," except in Ezekiel 29:3, where the King James Version has "dragon" (the American Standard Revised Version "monster"), and in Ezekiel 32:2, where the King James Version has "whale" and the English Revised Version and the King James Version margin"dragon" (the American Standard Revised Version "monster").

Tannoth occurs once, in Malachi 1:3, where it is rendered "dragons," the Revised Version (British and American) "jackals." Drakon occurs 12 times in Revelation 12; 13; 16; and 20, where it is uniformly rendered "dragon." (Compare Arabic tinnin, the constellation, Draco.) Tannoth (Septuagint domata, "dwellings") is a feminine plural form as if from tannah, but it suits the context to give it the same meaning as tannim.

In Exodus 7:9,10,12, tannin is used of the serpents which were produced from Aaron's rod and the rods of the Egyptian magicians, whereas in Exodus 4:3 and 7:15, for the serpent produced from Aaron's rod, we find nachash, the ordinary word for serpent.

In two passages we find "whale," the Revised Version (British and American) "sea-monster"; Genesis 1:21: "And God created the great sea-monsters, and every living creature that moveth"; Job 7:12: "Am I a sea, or a sea-monster, that thou settest a watch over me?"

Other passages (the English Revised Version and the King James Version) are Deuteronomy 32:33: "Their wine is the poison of dragons (the American Standard Revised Version "serpents"), and the cruel venom of asps"; Nehemiah 2:13: "And I went out by night by the valley gate, even toward the dragon's (the American Standard Revised Version "jackal's") well" (the King James Version "dragon well");

Psalms 91:13: "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the serpent (the King James Version "dragon") shalt thou trample under foot ";

Psalms 148:7: "Praise Yahweh from the earth, ye sea-monsters (the King James Version "dragons"), and all deeps";

Jeremiah 51:34: "Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, .... like a monster" (the King James Version "dragon").

Here also two tannim passages; Ezekiel 29:3: "Thus saith the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great monster (the King James Version "dragon") that lieth in the midst of his rivers, that hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself"; and Ezekiel 32:2:

"Son of man, take up a lamentation over Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say unto him, Thou wast likened unto a young lion of the nations: yet art thou as a monster (the English Revised Version "dragon," the King James Version "whale") in the seas; and thou didst break forth with thy rivers and troubledst the waters with thy feet,(do whales have feet?) and fouledst their rivers."

The foregoing passages offer no especial difficulties in the interpretation of the word tannin. All may fairly be understood to refer to a serpent or sea-monster or some imaginary creature, without invoking any ancient myths for their elucidation.

The same may be said of the passages in Revelation. A dragon is taken as the personification of Satan, as of Pharaoh in the passages in Ezekiel. It is of course true that ancient myths may more or less distantly underlie some of these dragon and serpent references, and such myths may be demonstrated to throw additional light in certain cases, but at least the passages in question are intelligible without recourse to the myths.

This however is not equally true of all the tannin passages. In Psalms 74:12 we read: "Yet God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the sea-monsters (the King James Version "dragons") in the waters." Compare Isaiah 27:1; 51:9 f.

The three passages just cited seem to denote each some particular act, and are referred by Canon Cheyne (Encyclopedia Biblica, under the word "Dragon") to the old Babylonian myth of the conflict of Marduk and Tiamat in the Assyrian creation- legend (thus Gunkel, etc.).

Indeed he refers to that myth not only these passages, but also Jeremiah 5:24; Ezekiel 29:3-6; 32:2-8 and Job 7:12, which have been cited above.

In translating the last two passages, Canon Cheyne uses the definite article, "the dragon," instead of "a" as in the Revised Version (British and American), which makes a great difference in the meaning.

In Psalms 87:4, it is clear that Rahab is a country, i.e. Egypt. Isaiah 30:7 is to the same point. In Isaiah 51:9,10, "that didst cut Rahab in pieces" and "that didst pierce the monster" (the King James Version "dragon"), are two coordinate expressions of one idea, which is apparently the defeat of the Egyptians, as appears in the reference to the passage of the Red Sea.

In Isaiah 27:1, "leviathan the swift serpent" and "leviathan the crooked serpent" and "the monster (the King James Version and the English Revised Version "dragon") that is in the sea" have been identified with Babylon, Persia and Egypt (Encyclopedia Biblica, under the word "Dragon," 4).

It is more probable that the first two expressions are coordinate, and amount to "leviathan the swift and crooked serpent," and that the verse may therefore refer to Babylonia and Egypt.

Psalms 74:12-15 is more in line with the idea of the article in EB, but it is nevertheless susceptible of an explanation similar to that of the other two passages.

Tannim, "dragons" (the Revised Version (British and American) "jackals") occurs in Job 30:29; Psalms 44:19; Isaiah 13:22; 34:13; 35:7; 43:20; Jeremiah 9:11; 10:22; 14:6; 49:33; 51:37; tannoth, "dragons" (the Revised Version (British and American) "jackals") is found in Malachi 1:3. In all these passages, "jackal" suits the context better than "dragon," "sea-monster" or "serpent."

An exception to the rendering of "dragon" or "serpent" or "sea-monster" for tannin is found in Lamentations 4:3: "Even the jackals draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones."

The King James Version has "seamonster," the King James Version margin "sea calves."

A mammal is indicated, and the Revised Version (British and American) apparently assumes that tannin is an error for tannim. Two other exceptions are in Ezekiel 29:3 and Ezekiel 32:2, where English Versions of the Bible renders tannim by "dragon," since in these two passages "jackal" obviously will not suit.

Alfred Ely Day

Copyright Statement

These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available from Crosswire Software.

Results for tanniyn (Strong's 08577)

Hebrew for 08577

Pronunciation Guide

Tanniyn {tan-neen'} or tanniym (Ezek 29:3) {tan-neem'}




Contemporary Standard


King James Version

intensive from the same as 08565

Young’s Literal Translation


New American Standard


New International Version







1) dragon, serpent, sea monster


a) dragon or dinosaur


b) sea or river monster


c) serpent, venomous snake




Strong's Number 08577 matches the Hebrew tanniyn

tanniyn (Strong's 08577)tanniyn (Strong's 08577)tanniyn (Strong's 08577)tanniyn (Strong's 08577)

tanniyn (Strong's 08577) occurs 28 times in 28 verses: Page 1, verses 1 - 25


Gen 1:21 And God 0430 created 01254 great 01419 -------------------?08577, and every living 02416 creature 05315 that moveth 07430 , which the waters 04325 brought forth abundantly 08317 , after their kind 04327, and every winged 03671 fowl 05775 after his kind 04327: and God 0430 saw 07200 that [it was] good 02896.

CSE: giant sea monsters; KJV:great whales;YLT: great monsters;NASB; great sea monsters; NIV: great creatures of the sea



Exd 7:9 When Pharaoh 06547 shall speak 01696 unto you, saying 0559 , Shew 05414 a miracle 04159 for you: then thou shalt say 0559 unto Aaron 0175, Take 03947 thy rod 04294, and cast 07993 [it] before 06440 Pharaoh 06547, [and] it shall become a  -------------------?08577

CSE: snake; KJV:serpent;YLT: monster; NASB;snake; NIV: serpent



Exd 7:10 And Moses 04872 and Aaron 0175 went in 0935 unto Pharaoh 06547, and they did 06213 so as the LORD 03068 had commanded 06680 : and Aaron 0175 cast down 07993 his rod 04294 before 06440 Pharaoh 06547, and before 06440 his servants 05650, and it became a   -------------------?08577.

CSE: snake; KJV:serpent;YLT: monster; NASB;snake; NIV: serpent



Exd 7:12 For they cast down 07993 every man 0376 his rod 04294, and they became   -------------------?08577: but Aaron's 0175 rod 04294 swallowed up 01104 their rods 04294.

CSE: snake; KJV:serpent;YLT: monster; NASB;snake; NIV: serpent



Deu 32:33 Their wine 03196 [is] the poison 02534 of    -------------------?08577, and the cruel 0393 venom 07219 of asps 06620.

CSE:cobra; KJV:dragons;YLT: dragons; NASB;serpents; NIV: serpents



Neh 2:13 And I went out 03318 by night 03915 by the gate 08179 of the valley 01516, even before 06440 the     -------------------?08577 well 05869 05886, and to the dung 0830 port 08179, and viewed 07663 07665 the walls 02346 of Jerusalem 03389, which were broken down 06555 , and the gates 08179 thereof were consumed 0398 with fire 0784.

CSE: dragons; KJV:dragons;YLT: dragons; NASB; dragons; NIV: jackals



Job 7:12 [Am] I a sea 03220, or a     -------------------?08577, that thou settest 07760 a watch 04929 over me?

CSE: sea monster; KJV:whale;YLT: [monster] dragon; NASB; sea monster; NIV: monster



Job 30:29 I am a brother 0251 to     -------------------?08577, and a companion 07453 to owls 01323 03284.

CSE: jackals; KJV: dragons;YLT: dragons; NASB; jackals; NIV: jackals



Psa 44:19 Though thou hast sore broken 01794 us in the place 04725 of     -------------------?08577, and covered 03680 us with the shadow of death 06757.

CSE: wild animals; KJV: dragons;YLT: dragons; NASB; jackals; NIV: jackals



Psa 74:13 Thou didst divide 06565 the sea 03220 by thy strength 05797: thou brakest 07665 the heads 07218 of the     -------------------?08577 in the waters 04325.

CSE: sea monsters; KJV: dragons;YLT: dragons; NASB; sea monsters; NIV: monsters



Psa 91:13 Thou shalt tread 01869 upon the lion 07826 and adder 06620: the young lion 03715 and the     -------------------?08577shalt thou trample under feet 07429 .

CSE: deadly snakes; KJV: dragons;YLT: dragons; NASB; serpent; NIV: serpent



Psa 148:7 Praise 01984 the LORD 03068 from the earth 0776, ye     -------------------?08577, and all deeps 08415:

CSE: creatures; KJV: dragons; YLT: dragons; NASB; sea monsters; NIV: sea creatures



Isa 13:22 And the wild beasts of the islands 0338 shall cry 06030 in their desolate houses 0490, and     -------------------?08577in [their] pleasant 06027 palaces 01964: and her time 06256 [is] near 07138 to come 0935 , and her days 03117 shall not be prolonged 04900 .

CSE: Hyenas and wolves; KJV: dragons; YLT: dragons; NASB;   jackals;  NIV:   jackals



Isa 27:1 In that day 03117 the LORD 03068 with his sore 07186 and great 01419 and strong 02389 sword 02719 shall punish 06485 leviathan 03882 the piercing 01281 serpent 05175, even leviathan 03882 that crooked 06129 serpent 05175; and he shall slay 02026 the     -------------------?08577 that [is] in the sea 03220.

CSE: sea monster; KJV: dragons; YLT: dragons; NASB;   jackals;  NIV:  monster



Isa 34:13 And thorns 05518 shall come up 05927 in her palaces 0759, nettles 07057 and brambles 02336 in the fortresses 04013 thereof: and it shall be an habitation 05116 of     -------------------?08577, [and] a court 02681 for owls 01323 03284.

CSE: wolves; KJV: dragons; YLT: dragons; NASB;   jackals;  NIV:   jackals



Isa 35:7 And the parched ground 08273 shall become a pool 098, and the thirsty land 06774 springs 04002 of water 04325: in the habitation 05116 of     -------------------?08577, where each lay 07258, [shall be] grass 02682 with reeds 07070 and rushes 01573.

CSE: wild dogs; KJV: dragons; YLT: dragons; NASB;   jackals;  NIV:   jackals



Isa 43:20 The beast 02416 of the field 07704 shall honour 03513 me, the     -------------------?08577 and the owls 01323 03284: because I give 05414 waters 04325 in the wilderness 04057, [and] rivers 05104 in the desert 03452, to give drink 08248 to my people 05971, my chosen 0972.

CSE: jackals; KJV: dragons; YLT: dragons; NASB;   jackals;  NIV:   jackals



Isa 51:9 Awake 05782 , awake 05782 , put on 03847 strength 05797, O arm 02220 of the LORD 03068; awake 05782 , as in the ancient 06924 days 03117, in the generations 01755 of old 05769. [Art] thou not it that hath cut 02672

Rahab 07294, [and] wounded 02490 the     -------------------?08577

CSE: monster; KJV: dragons; YLT: dragons; NASB;   dragons;  NIV:   monster



Jer 9:11 And I will make 05414 Jerusalem 03389 heaps 01530, [and] a den 04583 of     -------------------?08577; and I will make 05414 the cities 05892 of Judah 03063 desolate 08077, without an inhabitant 03427 .

CSE: jackals; KJV: dragons; YLT: dragons; NASB;   jackals;  NIV:   jackals



Jer 10:22 Behold, the noise 06963 of the bruit 08052 is come 0935 , and a great 01419 commotion 07494 out of the north 06828 country 0776, to make 07760 the cities 05892 of Judah 03063 desolate 08077, [and] a den 04583 of     -------------------?08577.

CSE: jackals; KJV: dragons; YLT: dragons; NASB;   jackals;  NIV:   jackals



Jer 14:6 And the wild asses 06501 did stand 05975 in the high places 08205, they snuffed up 07602 the wind 07307 like     -------------------?08577; their eyes 05869 did fail 03615 , because [there was] no grass 06212.

CSE: ; KJV: dragons; YLT: dragons; NASB;   jackals;  NIV:   jackals



Jer 49:33 And Hazor 02674 shall be a dwelling 04583 for     -------------------?08577, [and] a desolation 08077 for 05704 ever 05769: there shall no man 0376 abide 03427 there, nor [any] son 01121 of man 0120 dwell 01481 in it.

CSE: jackals ; KJV: dragons; YLT: dragons; NASB;   jackals;  NIV:   jackals



Jer 51:34 Nebuchadrezzar 05019 the king 04428 of Babylon 0894 hath devoured 0398 me, he hath crushed 02000 me, he hath made 03322 me an empty 07385 vessel 03627, he hath swallowed me up 01104 like a     -------------------?08577, he hath filled 04390 his belly 03770 with my delicates 05730, he hath cast me out 01740 .

CSE: monster ; KJV: dragons; YLT: dragons; NASB;   monster;  NIV:   serpent



Jer 51:37 And Babylon 0894 shall become heaps 01530, a dwellingplace 04583 for     -------------------?08577, an astonishment 08047, and an hissing 08322, without an inhabitant 03427 .

CSE: jackals ; KJV: dragons; YLT: dragons; NASB;   jackals;  NIV:   jackals



Lam 4:3 Even the     -------------------?08577 draw out 02502 the breast 07699, they give suck 03243 to their young ones 01482: the daughter 01323 of my people 05971 [is become] cruel 0393, like the ostriches 03283 in the wilderness 04057.

CSE: jackals ; KJV: sea monsters; YLT: dragons; NASB;   jackals;  NIV:   jackals



Eze 29:3 Speak 01696 , and say 0559 , Thus saith 0559 the Lord 0136 GOD 03069; Behold, I [am] against thee, Pharaoh 06547 king 04428 of Egypt 04714, the great 01419     -------------------?08577 that lieth 07257 in the midst 08432 of his rivers 02975, which hath said 0559 , My river 02975 [is] mine own, and I have made 06213 [it] for myself.

CSE: crocodile ; KJV: dragon; YLT: dragon; NASB;   monster;  NIV:   monster



Eze 32:2 Son 01121 of man 0120, take up 05375 a lamentation 07015 for Pharaoh 06547 king 04428 of Egypt 04714, and say 0559 unto him, Thou art like 01819 a young lion 03715 of the nations 01471, and thou [art] as a    -------------------?08577 08565 in the seas 03220: and thou camest forth 01518 with thy rivers 05104, and troubledst 01804 the waters 04325 with thy feet 07272, and fouledst 07515 their rivers 05104.

CSE: crocodile ; KJV: crocodile; YLT: dragon; NASB;   monster;  NIV:   monster

Mic 1:8 Therefore I will wail 05594 and howl 03213 , I will go 03212 stripped 07758 07758 and naked 06174: I will make 06213 a wailing 04553 like the     -------------------?08577, and mourning 060 as the owls 01323 03284.

CSE: wolves ; KJV: dragons; YLT: dragon; NASB;   jackals;  NIV:   jackals





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