3.21 Leviatthan as the Slayer of Younglings

Job 3:8 provides a provocative clue for Leviathan that matches another important element of the Lilith legend, namely that she is a danger to women and their children during birth.  Job implies Leviathan was uniquely suited for instigating the abortion of fetuses. 

In chapter 3 Job laments that he was ever born.  He cries out that the day of his birth should have never happened.  In the middle of Job’s lament in verse 8, the name Leviathan appears in a very peculiar usage.  The use of Leviathan is so odd, the KJV does not even translate the word as the proper name Leviathan.  Instead, it inexplicably renders Leviathan as “their mourning.” 

Job 3:8 – 11 (KJV)
8  Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning.
9  Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day:
10  Because it shut not up the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes.

11 Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?

My literal translation of verse 8 is given below.  The word-by-word breakdown is given in Table 3‑16.  I correctly render Ntywl as the proper name Leviathan.  The YLT (Young’s Literal Translation), ASV (American Standard Version), ILB (Inter Linear Bible), and other translations make the same correction.  Another correction I make is not to follow the KJV and translate rre as an unusual variant of uwr (rwe – Strongs 05782), which means “to rouse oneself” or “awake.”  Rather, I take the straightforward translation of rre as arar (rre – Strongs 6209), which means “to make bare”, especially as in to level a construction.  Thus, the last half of the verse says, “Let Leviathan make bear the preparations.”  By this Job is imploring that Leviathan should make bear or break the preparations of his birth.  This means that Job is calling for Leviathan to kill his fetus.  Rashi agrees with this interpretation.  He explains that rde in the passage means to be childless.  In which case the passage could be said to say, “Let Leviathan make childless the preparations.”  Either way, it is implied here that Leviathan is well suited as an instigator of abortions.  This matches an important feature of Lilith’s legend, namely that she is a danger to unborn children. 

Job 3:8 (My Literal)

Let cursers of day curse it.  Let Leviathan make naked the preparations.

rre [1]
wh:bqy 8
make naked / make childless
the preparations
of day
curse it

Table 3‑16: A Transliteration of Job 3:8

That Lilith is a slayer of younglings is also established in Isaiah 34, which we discussed in detail in section 3.17.  There she apparently slays a young kid goat.  For now, we have also established that Leviathan is well suited to the abortion of younglings, and that its nature is consistent with the Lilith legend. 

[1] The word translated by the KJV “those who are ready” is ha’athiydim.  It is the root athiyd (dyte – Strongs 6264), plus a heh (h) article prefix meaning ‘the’ and a plural masculine suffix of My.  The athiyd root means ‘ready’ or ‘preparation’.  Thus, ha’athiydim literally means “the preparations.”