Oxford Dictionary of the Bible

by W.R.F. Browning (NY: Oxford University Press, 1996)

dragon An apocalyptic monster identified with Satan in Rev. 12:9.

Young People's Bible Dictionary

by Barbara Smith (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1965)

dragon. Large sea animal. Ps. 73:13; Isa. 27:1. The description in Ezek. 29:3-5 seems to fit the crocodile. In the book of The Revelation, "dragon" is a symbol of the power of evil at war with God. Rev. 12:9.

Harperís Bible Dictionary

edited by Paul J. Achtemier (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1985)

dragon, a reptilian monster well known in the mythology and iconography of the ancient Near East. In the Babylonian creation myth, Enuma elish, the dragon Tiamat is slain by the god Marduk and her supporters taken captive. In a Hattic myth, the dragon Illuyankas defeated the storm god and later was slain by him. The Ugaritic myths from Ras-Shamra refer to various monsters defeated by the storm god Baal or his sister Anat. In the Bible the dragon appears as the primeval enemy of God, killed or subjected in conjunction with creation (Pss. 74:13-14; 89:10; Isa. 51:9; Job 26:12-13), but appearing again at the end of the world, when God will finally dispose of it (Isa. 27:1, using traditional language attested in the Baal myths of Ras-Shamra). The book of Revelation takes up the latter theme. The dragon (identified now with the Devil) and its agents campaign against God and his forces but are finally defeated (Rev. 12-13; 16:13-14; 20:2-3, 7-10). For now, however, it is kept under guard (Job 7:12), its supporters lying prostrate beneath God (Job 9:13). Referred to variously as Tannin, Rahab, or Leviathan, it is usually conceived of as a sea monster, as in the Enuma elish and sometimes at Ras-Shamra. As a great opponent of Godís people, Egypt was known as Rahab. The oracle of Isa. 30:7 gives Egypt the name ĎRahab [is] put down,í alluding to the dragonís defeat by God, and Ps. 87:4 simply assumes Rahab as an accepted name for Egypt. The king of Egypt was portrayed as a sea monster lurking in the Nile, whom God would catch and kill (Ezek. 29:3; 32:2). There may be no mythological allusion here, and there is certainly none when the words tannin and leviathan are used to refer to the monsters of the deep created by God (Gen. 1:21; Ps. 104:26), summoned to praise God (Ps. 148:7), and beyond human capture (Job 41:1). The apocryphal Bel and the Dragon (23-27) relates Danielís unorthodox disposal of a dragon worshipped by the Babylonians.

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