If you don't spend much time perusing the New & Old Testaments, you might be shocked by the number of biblical monsters haunting those double-columned pages. Regardless of whether monsters found in the Bible ever actually existed, they offer a compelling insight into the fears and superstitions of those who lived in biblical times. What's more, many of these Bible monsters are impacting nightmares and entertainment 20 centuries later. For example, it's likely HP Lovecraft was inspired by the biblical Leviathan in his weird fiction, and millions of people cheer weekly for Daenerys Targaryen's dragons in Game of Thrones (to make no mention of blackened death metal favorites Behemoth).
Mythical creatures in the Bible are often hybrids of other creatures or real animals. Taken all together, the monsters form something of a literary version of the monster warehouse in Cabin in the Woods. It's possible the Bible contains the scariest monster stories of all time.
"In that day the Lord will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, With His fierce and great and mighty sword, Even Leviathan the twisted serpent; And He will kill the dragon who lives in the sea." - Isaiah 27:1
The Leviathan was a fierce, serpentine sea monster with multiple heads that ran amok in the Old Testament; a sea monster mentioned in Revelations may be a permutation of it. The monster's defeat at the hands of God preceded creation, making it a beast of chaos.
The creature is a prime early example of sea creatures that became increasingly prevalent as mankind took to the high seas, sailing to far away destinations. Centuries later, Sir Humphrey Gilbert would detail seeing a creature in the sea that resembled a lion.
"And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze." - 1 Samuel 17:1-58
There are giants all over the Bible, the most famous of which is Goliath, who fell to David. The Amorites, a race of giants, are mentioned more than 80 times, including this tasty quote from Amos 2:9–10:
"Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was as strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit above and his roots beneath. Also it was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you forty years through the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite."
Biblical scholars estimate the height of these monsters at anywhere from six to 30 feet. If the Amorites were really as tall as cedars, it's possible they stood 50 to 100 feet tall. Another example of giants in the bible, from Deuteronomy 2:10–11:
"The Emim had dwelt there in times past, a people as great and numerous and tall as the Anakim. They were also regarded as giants [Hebrew rephaim], like the Anakim, but the Moabites call them Emim"
“Behold, Behemoth, which I made as I made you; he eats grass like an ox. Behold, his strength in his loins, and his power in the muscles of his belly. He makes his tail stiff like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are knit together. His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron." - Job 40:15-24
According to Job, the Behemoth was the first creation of God, an enormous creature of tremendous power. It has also been described as a "primeval monster of chaos, defeated by Yahweh at the beginning of the process of creation," much like the Leviathan. Historians believe the Behemoth could have been modeled on, or even be a hyperbolic description of, an elephant or hippopotamus.
"There are those whose teeth are swords, whose fangs are knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, the needy from among mankind." - Proverbs 30:14
Are vampires really in the Bible? According to Bible resource Open Bible, there are at least 50 verses with vampiric imagery or content. The topic is very contentious; many claim these passages have absolutely nothing to do with these nocturnal bloodsuckers, and can be explained easily by anyone with a cursory knowledge of biblical metaphors and the culture of biblical times. As Faith in the News explains re: the above quote:
"The context of that has nothing to do with vampires; rather, people actually devour the people’s wealth and create poor among the people. They are not feeding on the people but on the people’s wealth. The fact is that drinking blood of any creature, man or beast, is sin (Lev 17:10-14) because the blood represents life, and in the Old Testament, this was punishable by death."
However, there are theologians who believe the connections between Satan, drinking blood, and sinning are made clear in the Bible. To be clear, the word "vampire" never appears in the Bible. However, modern vampire mythology didn't begin to appear until around the 12th century. Meanwhile, mythological beings that were believed to be blood drinkers trace their origin all the way back to ancient Egypt. It's possible these creatures are basically the same as vampires, just not called such.
Do Bible verses such as "And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus" (Revelation 17:6) indicate vampirism? It's impossible to know, but numerous mentions of blood and blood drinking do appear in the Bible.