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On Dragons and Owls of Scripture

Author Stephen Pidgeon - Thursday, October 31, 2019 at 12:00 PM

 

One of the great mistranslations found in common English interpretations of scripture includes the setting forth of the Ivriyt word tanniyn (תַּנִּין) (Strong’s H8577) or tannîym (תַּנִּים); (Eze 29:3), intensive from the same as H8565; meaning a marine or land monster, i.e. sea-serpent or jackal:—a dragon, sea-monster, serpent, whale.

Of course, as we discuss the common interpretation as found in the English, we often see alternatives used to describe the word tanniyn.  Let’s look.

Bere’shiyth (Genesis) 1:21
And Elohiym created את eth-great sea monsters (dragons), and את eth every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and את eth every winged fowl after his kind: and Elohiym saw that it was good.

This is an explicit statement that the tanniyn were great dragons. Sea monsters is not the appropriate discussion term, in my opinion.

Some may say: Oh, that is another discussion of Leviathan, the great sea monster. But is it?

Yesha`yahu (Isaiah) 27:1
IN that day Yahuah with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish Leviathan the piercing serpent, even Leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay את eth-the dragon that is in the sea.

We appear to have a separate entity; we have Leviathan, the piercing and crooked serpent and also the dragon. Have we seen either such entity? There are no credible sightings in modernity. We must therefore conclude that either such entities never existed and were merely mythical creatures of Mosheh’s imagination (and Yesha`yahu’s, and Yechezq’el’s), or such creatures did exist and simply do not anymore (although at least Leviathan is prophesied to return).

In the next two passages, we see that again the common English translations misconstrue the word to equate the tanniyn with the serpent:

Shemoth (Exodus) 7:8-9
And Yahuah spoke unto El-Mosheh and unto El-Aharon, saying, 9 When Phar`oh shall speak unto you, saying, Show a miracle for you: then you shall say unto El-Aharon, Take את eth-your rod, and cast it before Phar`oh, and it shall become a serpent (tanniyn).

Shemoth (Exodus) 7:11-13
Then Phar`oh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Mitsrayim, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. 12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents (dragons): but Aharon's rod swallowed up את eth-their rods. 13 And he hardened Phar`oh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as Yahuah had said.

Before we continue with this discussion, let us first consider that initially, Yahuah gave Mosheh a rod that became a serpent, not a dragon!

Shemoth (Exodus) 4:1-5
AND Mosheh answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, Yahuah has not appeared unto you. 2 And Yahuah said unto him, What is that in your hand? And he said, A rod. 3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent (nachash); and Mosheh fled from before it. 4 And Yahuah said unto Mosheh, Put forth your hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: 5 That they may believe that Yahuah Elohai of their fathers, the Elohai of Avraham, the Elohai of Yitschaq, and the Elohai of Ya`aqov, has appeared unto you.

As we further consider the use of the word tanniyn, we do see the arrival of the word dragon in its interpretation.

Devariym (Deuteronomy) 32:33
Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.

Not only can we now determine that dragons do in fact appear in scripture, but also that they carried with them poison.

Consider this animal which is called a dragon:

Komodo dragons eat smaller members of their own species and sometimes even other adults. They can run swiftly and occasionally attack and kill human beings. Carrion, however, is their main diet item, although they commonly wait along game trails to ambush pigs, deer, and cattle. They seldom need to capture live prey directly, since their venomous bite delivers toxins that inhibit blood clotting. It is thought that their victims go into shock from rapid blood loss. Some herpetologists note that the physical trauma of the bite and the introduction of bacteria from the Komodo dragon’s mouth to the wound also play roles in slowing killing prey. Komodo dragons often find their prey in the process of dying or shortly after death.

Encyclopaedia Britannica, update October 3, 2019

https://www.britannica.com/animal/Komodo-dragon

However, we often see animification, where animals or species are used as metaphors for political things. For instance, we may be discussing political powers; that is, those whose powers who would symbolize themselves as dragons.

When discussing the dragon, are they metaphorically describing a political class? If so, are there political houses which have traditionally denoted themselves under the symbol of the dragon? 

Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 13:19-22
And Babel, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Kasdiym's excellency, shall be as when Elohiym overthrew את eth-Cedom and את eth-Amorah. 20 It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Araviy pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. 21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. 22 And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.

We see here something that may infer political powers, even nations or kingdoms.

For instance, when we are talking about wild beasts here, we might find the phrase in the Ivriyt as (אֶת־חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה) (eth chay’oth h’sadeh), meaning wildlife.  See Vayiqra (Leviticus) 26:22. What we find instead in this passage in Yesha`yahu is this word tzee (צִיִּי), which actually means nomad or desert dweller but is translated here as the wild beasts of the islands.  

Consider the Picts.  Contrary to the common understanding, the Picts were not Gaelic or Celtic people. To the Gaelic speakers who had arrived in Ireland, the Picts of what they called Alba (Scotland) were known as the Cruithne, which translates into English as ‘wheat growers’, and that name too was to be found in use in Ireland at that time to describe the non-Gaels. Their land was known as Cruithentuath. The Cruithne had populated Ireland before the arrival in Hibernia of the Gaels from Iberia.

In the Irish chronicle, the Book of Lecain, it is written that from Noah came Japheth and then father after son, Fathecht, Mais, Buain, Agnoin, Partilan, Luchtai, Cinge, and Cruithne - who himself produced the seven sons, Cait, Ce, Cirig, Fib, Fidach, Fotla, and Fortrem, each of whom were Kings of the seven provinces, or Kingdoms, of Cruithentuath

Accounts in the Book of Lecain and Told by Strabo

According to this source, the ancient Picts were of Yaphethiy (Japheth) origin – the northern tribes. In fact, the Greek historian Strabo, writing in the first century AD, asserted that the Picts or Kaltis had been displaced to Scotland from the Celtic lands of Gaul, which he called ‘Galati’,* by the Samaritans, whose soldiers had invaded from beyond the river Rhine and from the mountains that are now part of Switzerland. In fact, he tells the reader that they had arrived in ‘Celtae Galatea’ from Asia Minor, where they had been known as the Kaldees or Galat from Galatia, the area that was formally the lands upon which the Hittites had built their capital of Hattusa.

The Kaldees, often referred to in common English scriptures as the Chaldeans, are identified in the Eth Cepher as Kasdiym.

Kasdiy (כַּשְׂדִּי)(Strong's H3778).  (occasionally with enclitic) כַּשְׂדִּימָה Kasdîymâh; towards the Kasdites into Chaldea), patronymically from H3777 (only in the plural); a Kasdite, or descendant of Kesed; by implication, a Chaldaean (as if so descended); also an astrologer (as if proverbial of that people:—Chaldeans, Chaldees, inhabitants of Chaldea).

These astrologers would come to have a great effect throughout the ancient world, and would become the progenitors of the magi, whose intellectual leaders may have been responsible for the founding of both Taoism and Buddhism.

However, our research points the origin of these people as the family of Avram who did not leave the land of Ur and the place of Haran.

Bere’shiyth (Genesis) 11:27-32 
Now these are the generations of Terach: Terach begat את eth-Avram, את eth-Nachor, and את eth-Haran; and Haran begat את eth-Lot. 28 And Haran died before his father Terach in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Kasdiym. 29 And Avram and Nachor took them women: the name of Avram’s woman was Sarai; and the name of Nachor's woman, Milkah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milkah, and the father of Yickah. 30 But Sarai was barren; she had no child. 31 And Terach took את eth-Avram his son, and את eth-Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and את eth-Sarai his daughter in law, his son Avram’s woman; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Kasdiym, to go into the land of Kena`an; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. 32 And the days of Terach were two hundred and five years: and Terach died in Haran.

As we consider the lineage of the Kasdiym (Chaldeans), let’s take a further look at Nachor, the brother of Avram, both sons of Terach:

Bere’shiyth (Genesis) 22:20-24 
And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Avraham, saying, Be-hold, Milkah, she has also born children unto your brother Nachor; 21 את eth-Huz his firstborn, and את eth-Buz his brother, and את eth-Qemu’el the father of Aram, 22 And את eth-Kesed, and את eth-Chazo, and את eth-Pildash, and את eth-Yidlaph, and את eth Bethu’el. 23 And Bethu’el begat את eth-Rivqah: these eight Milkah did bear to Nachor, Avraham’s brother. 24 And his concubine, whose name was Re’umah, she bore also את eth-Tevah, and את eth-Gaham, and את eth-Thahash, and את eth-Ma`akah.

Now, let’s look at that lineage from which come the Kasdiym (Chaldeans):

As we look at this lineage, first we see one of the sons of Nachor and Milkah being Kesed, the identified father of the Kasdiym (Kesediym). We also see one of the sons of Nachor and his concubine Re’umah being Ma’akah. Is this the father of the Ma’akabiym (Maccabees)?

Nonetheless, we have a strong link here between the descendants of Nachor – whose son Bethu’el would father a daughter named Rivqah (Rebekah) who would marry Yitschaq, and be a mother to both Esau and Ya`aqov, favoring Ya`aqov over Esau – Ya`aqov would then go on to father twelve patriarchs of the tribes of Yashar’el.

Yesha`yahu (Isaiah) 13:19-22
And Babel, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Kasdiym's excellency, shall be as when Elohiym overthrew את eth-Cedom and את eth-Amorah. 20 It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Araviy pitch tent there; neither shall the shep­herds make their fold there. 21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. 22 And the wild beasts (nomads) of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.

We have some choices when it comes to the “islands”: of course, there are the islands of Greece:

However, it is also possible that this discussion concerns another group of islands where the wild beasts (nomads) might be found:

Yesha`yahu (Isaiah) 13:19-22
And Babel, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Kasdiym's excellency, shall be as when Elohiym overthrew את eth-Cedom and את eth-Amorah. 20 It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Araviy pitch tent there; neither shall the shep­herds make their fold there. 21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. 22 And the wild beasts (nomads) of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.

Now we see in this same passage a discussion of the “dragons in their pleasant palaces” which carries with it its own connotations. If these are political powers and not just merely “wild beasts” and “dragons” and they are “of the islands” then theses are the ones crying in their desolate houses over the destruction of Babel, an interesting prophecy.

Is there a second witness which may lend credence to the idea that the word “dragon” may be a reference to a political power and not just an animal?

Yechezq’el (Ezekiel) 29:3
Speak, and say, Thus says Adonai Yahuah; Behold, I am against you, Phar`oh king of Mitsrayim, the great dragon that lies in the midst of his rivers, which has said, My river is my own, and I have made it for myself.

To gain clarity on the meaning of this verse, we find the following second witness in the Cepher Yashar (Book of Jasher);

Yashar (Jasher) 79:51
And the anger of the king was kindled at their words, and he said to them, But who amongst all the elohiym of nations can do this? my river is my own, and I have made it for myself.

We see therefore that the wild beasts may mean nomads or desert dwelling tribes, and dragons may mean kings.

Let’s replace the Ivriyt in the passage in Yesha`yahu and see what may be revealed:

Yesha`yahu (Isaiah) 13:22
And the nomads (איים) of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and kings (תַּנִּין) in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.

Now, enter the owl:

Iyov (Job) 30:29
I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.

This will not be the last time we see the dragon and the owl joined in the same idea. It is worthy of exploring.

The owl is discussed in a two-word moniker: (בְנוֹת יַעֲנָה) (ben’oth ya’anah). Although Strong’s does not allocate the two words together to describe owls, in all six places where the word “owl” is found in the Tanakh, we find the combination (בְנוֹת יַעֲנָה): Iyov 30:29; Yesha`yahu 13:21; 34:13; 43:20; Yirmeyahu 50:39; and Miykah 1:8. Let’s explore.

Ya’anah (יַעֲנָה) (Strong's H3284) is the feminine of (יָעֵן) yâʻên and meaning owl. 

Ben’oth is derived from the primitive root Banah (בָּנָה) (Strong's H1129), which means to build (literally and figuratively): begin to build, obtain children, make, repair, or set up, and is its plural.

Simply understood, the ben’oth ya’anah are the sons of owls. Let’s see how this plays out:

Yesha`yahu (Isaiah) 34:11-13 
But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness. 12 They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there, and all her princes shall be nothing. 13 And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be a habitation of dragons, and a court for owls.

If we can conclude that the wild beasts are nomads, and the dragons are kings, then who are the sons of owls? Yesha’yahu tells us they are a those who are rightfully found in courts. Can we conclude that these are judges or judiciary?

Let us now look to this prophecy found in Yesha`yahu:

Yesha`yahu (Isaiah) 35:3-10 
Strengthen ye the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees. 4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart: Be strong, fear not: behold, your Elohiym will come with vengeance, even Elohiym with a recompence; he will come and save you. 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. 7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. 8 And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called: The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. 9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: 10 And the ransomed of Yahuah shall return, and come to Tsiyon with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Yesha`yahu (Isaiah) 43:18-21
Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. 20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. 21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.

Yesha`yahu (Isaiah) 51:9-16 
Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of Yahuah; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Are you not it that has cut Rachav, and wounded the dragon? 10 Are you not it which has dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that has made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over? 11 Therefore the redeemed of Yahuah shall return and come with singing unto Tsiyon; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. 12 I, even I, am he that comforts you: who are you, that you should be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of A’dam which shall be made as grass; 13 And forget Yahuah Oseka, that has stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and have feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? And where is the fury of the oppressor? 14 The captive exile hastens that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail. 15 But I am Yahuah Elohayka, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: Yahuah Tseva’oth is his name. 16 And I have put my words in your mouth, and I have covered you in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Tsiyon, You are my people.

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