Behemoth and Leviathan
Butts Set of Illustrations for the Book of Job
Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle? (Job 36:29)
Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud: And it is turned round about by his counsels (Job 37:11-12)
Behold now behemoth . . . He is the chief of the ways of God (Job 40:15, 19)
. . . he is a king over all the children of pride (Job 41: 34)
Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee (Job 40:15)
 He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.
 If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.
 But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.
 Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.
 For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof:
 Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly.
 Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle?
 Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea.
 For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance.
 With clouds he covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt.
 The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.
 Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud:
 And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth.
 He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.
 Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.
 Behold now behemoth, which I made with 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 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 of the field play.
 He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.
 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 into his mouth.
 He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.
1] Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?
 Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn?
 Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee?
 Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever?
 Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear.
 He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.
Looking at Page 15 of Blake's Illustrations of the Book of Job, we see God and Job outside of the world in which Behemoth and Leviathan are enclosed. God is pointing out to Job and his party the two monsters which are encircled in a separate space. Job had experienced the two beasts as outside of himself but the lesson God is teaching is that Job internally creates the fear that the two creatures represent to him. To deal with the fears which Job perceived externally he must change his perception internally. If his fears come from his memories of the past, of from his failure to resolve issues springing from his unconscious, he must find solutions by acknowledging his dilemma as his own and not something created by his external circumstances.
The irrational fear that we have of the mere potential for harm inhibits our growth. If we fear loss, or change, or abandonment, or pain we allow ourselves to be imprisoned by Behemoth or Leviathan instead of refusing to allow them to control us. It is true that there are external threats to our happiness but they can be managed more creatively if they are seen objectively not as monsters which could overpower us.
It is not by accident that Blake's picture of Behemoth and Leviathan follows his picture of the Sons of God singing praise. The heavenly dimension in which the chorus of angels forever sing to the music of the spheres was real to Blake; Leviathan and Behemoth were illusions created by a mind which was trapped in the dominion of Satan. Following his vision of God's true nature which had been revealed to Job, the beasts which he feared could be seen to be as ludicrous as the two caricatures which Blake drew from his imagination.
Milton Percival wrote on Page 271 of William Blake's Circle of Destiny concerning Los's work in releasing imagination from Satan's grip:
"The Spectre, watching his work fall under the blows of Los's mighty hammer saw that
...all his pyramids were grains
Of sand & his pillars: dust on the flys wing: & his starry
Heavens; a moth of gold & silver mocking his anxious grasp
His universe is that illusory empire of nothing over which Satan is king. It cannot stand before truth because it is based upon the mistaken conception of good and evil. But tremendous energy has gone into its making, and that vast outpouring of energy, Blake respects. The lines just quoted are his salute to the enemy he hopes he has vanquished."
Jerusalem, Plate 91, (E 251) "So Los cried at his Anvil in the horrible darkness weeping! The Spectre builded stupendous Works, taking the Starry Heavens Like to a curtain & folding them according to his will Repeating the Smaragdine Table of Hermes to draw Los down Into the Indefinite, refusing to believe without demonstration[.] Los reads the Stars of Albion! the Spectre reads the Voids Between the Stars; among the arches of Albions Tomb sublime Rolling the Sea in rocky paths: forming Leviathan And Behemoth: the War by Sea enormous & the War By Land astounding: erecting pillars in the deepest Hell, To reach the heavenly arches; Los beheld undaunted furious His heavd Hammer; he swung it round & at one blow, In unpitying ruin driving down the pyramids of pride Smiting the Spectre on his Anvil & the integuments of his Eye And Ear unbinding in dire pain, with many blows, Of strict severity self-subduing, & with many tears labouring. Then he sent forth the Spectre all his pyramids were grains Of sand & his pillars: dust on the flys wing: & his starry Heavens; a moth of gold & silver mocking his anxious grasp Thus Los alterd his Spectre & every Ratio of his Reason He alterd time after time, with dire pain & many tears Till he had completely divided him into a separate space."
Further light is cast on the work performed by Los and Enitharmon in Blake's Four Zoas: The Design of a Dream by Brian Wilkie and Mary Lynn Johnson: "Out of the unreal, deathly, antihuman, formlessness, Los and Enitharmon work continually to bring into full being whatever is potentially real,
alive, and human: Los's transformation of war into love is one of the many points in Night VIII where opposites collide. Before evil, error, and death can be seen as non-entities to be cast off, all that is real under their dominion must be remade. What is left after that, since it is only delusion, will disappear in the mental fires of Night IX." (Page 175)
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