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Jeffrey Briggs, Behemoth

Animal Exploitation

24.25¨ x 23.75¨ x 1.75¨

Controlling exotic animals has always been a way to show off wealth and secure stature for us humans. From King Wen's menagerie in 1100 B.C. China to P. T. Barnum's 1850 "museum" in the U.S., animals on display—whether as show animals or in present day zoos—has been a form of exploitation. In the glorified exploits of the hunter adventurers of the 18th and 19th centuries to the story of King Kong, the more dangerous the animal the more dramatic the mastery over them. Maybe the need to see a powerful animal seized and contained placates some inner primordial need of ours.

Behemoth is a curious word for me. It is a powerful grass-eating animal with "limbs like bars if iron" (Job 40:10). I use it here to mean an enormous unidentified animal.