There is a Islamic account of a giant fish/whale that carries the earth on its back and resides in a vast ocean. It is a authentic narration but is said its a Israiliyat account - meaning fables stories from Jews and Christians so it is not reliable.

I would like to know is there any such narrative found in Jewish traditions like Talmud Torah etc?! The only thing that comes close to it is the story of a mythical giant fish called Bahamut/ehemoth or Lutīyā. Sources linked below. Thank you.



  • Beheimot sounds like a Hebrew word for "beasts" (which lent itself to behemoth)
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    Dec 21, 2017 at 14:34
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1 Answer 1


The legend of a "giant fish/whale" which "resides in a vast ocean" can be identified in original rabbinic literature, e.g. the Babylonian Talmud (B.B. 74b) among other sources. Elsewhere in the rabbinic lit., Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer (Ch. 9) another detail is described:

On the fifth day He brought forth from the water the Leviathan, the flying serpent, and its dwelling is in the the lowest waters; and between its fins rests the middle bar of the earth.

In non-rabbinic, apocalyptic literature there is a statement in the Apocalypse of Abraham (21:4; trans. by G. H. Box):

And I saw there the sea and its islands, and its cattle and its fish, and Leviathan and his realm and his bed and his lairs, and the world which lay upon him,

  • 1
    Why go only that far back? Leviathan is discussed in Job 40:25ff. However, this fish doesn’t support the world, per se; it’s just a massive fish.
    – DonielF
    Dec 21, 2017 at 17:47
  • (And the Behemoth in Job 40:15.)
    – user15842
    Dec 21, 2017 at 17:50
  • @DonielF Thanks, I had that in mind but totally escaped me when posting. Upon a closer reading of the text it appears to me that Leviathan isn't explicitly described as a sea-monster; OTOH Behemoth is portrayed as a land-monster.
    – Oliver
    Dec 21, 2017 at 18:04
  • @Oliver Yet it repeatedly refers to using fishhooks and fish-spears against him. (And failing miserably, but that’s beside the point.)
    – DonielF
    Dec 21, 2017 at 18:06
  • @DonielF Agree, but nevertheless still doesn't explicitly speak of its natural habitat, contradistinctive of the allegorical lit.
    – Oliver
    Dec 21, 2017 at 18:18

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