Isaiah 27: Leviathan

We get to meet leviathan again in Isaiah 27, and I think this is an interesting passage that has probably sparked quite a bit of debate among Bible scholars.

Isa 27:1  In 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.

There isn’t much to go on here, but we know that God is going to deal with leviathan. On one hand, it seems hard to think that leviathan is any type of whale or crocodile here. Why would any type of animal be so bad that it would get this kind of designation? Is not like the Bible points out that God is going to go punish mosquitoes specifically even though they might be among the most annoying creatures on earth. It seems like this is something more than that.

We do have a prophecy about serpent that is going to be crushed, and the context could perhaps be a similar parallel.

Gen 3:14  And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

Gen 3:15  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

In the Garden of Eden, Satan did literally take on the form of a serpent. However, as we all know, Genesis 3:15 is not referring to just an animal. This is the first prophecy as far as I know that points towards Jesus. Jesus is going to crush Satan. Yes, the passage is speaking literally because that also happens between natural serpents and humans, but the words could be taken to be referring to not only literal snakes but also to Satan and Jesus.

In the same way, perhaps leviathan was/is a real creature. After all, Job talks about catching one with a hook. That seems to point toward some kind of creature since it would seem odd to use that imagery about a demon or Satan. Maybe this is a similar thing to what we saw in Genesis.

Certainly, leviathan seems like something that is much more than an average animal just like the serpent in the Garden was. It seems like a decent parallel for how we are supposed to understand this creature. There can be layers of meaning.

About Zak Schmoll

Zak Schmoll is the founder of Entering the Public Square, and Managing Editor of An Unexpected Journal. He earned his MA in Apologetics at Houston Baptist University and is currently a PhD student in Humanities at Faulkner University. His work has been featured on several websites including The Federalist, Public Discourse and the Fourth World Journal.

Posted on June 28, 2014, in Isaiah and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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