Are Dragons Ever Mentioned In The Bible?

With the Bible having its origins in oral traditions that were first written down centuries later and further modified by unknown writers and editors in its thousands of years of existence (via All That's Interesting), it's easy to understand how some random ideas may have found their way into the Bible. Take, for instance, unicorns. Depending on which translation you use, even the mythical one-horned horse can be found within the Good Book. In the King James Bible, the Book of Numbers (23:22) includes these words: "God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn." But perhaps one of the most interesting things found in the Bible? Dragons.

According to Bible Study Tools, the word "dragon" appears 21 times in the King James version of the Old Testament. In fact, the word "dragon" appears in chapters 12, 13, 16 and 20 of the New Testament Book of Revelation alone (via Got Questions). While definitions of what the word "dragon" actually symbolize has some controversy, references to dragons in the Bible generally fall into two categories: In the Old Testament, the use of the word "dragon" refers to Leviathan, and in the New Testament, specifically the Book of Revelation, the use of the word "dragon" most often is referring to Satan (via Never Thirsty).

Fear the dragon found in the Bible

In the Old Testament, it's the prophet Isaiah who actually identifies Leviathan as a dragon. The Book of Isaiah (27:1) tells the tale of a sea serpent: "In that day the Lord with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea," with that dragon, according to some scholars, representing the enemies of Israel. According to Britannica, the multi-headed Leviathan appears in Psalms 74:14, where the beast was killed by God and given to the Israelites as food.

Dragons appear in the New Testament as well. The Book of Revelation (12:23) describes the creature thusly: "There was a great fiery red dragon having seven heads and 10 horns, and on his heads were seven diadems (a crown made of jewels)." According to Never Thirsty, the red dragon is actually Satan in disguise, who's just outside of Israel, waiting for Mary to give birth to Jesus. As the rest of the verse from Revelation (12:4) tells of the red beast: "The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born." But, before the devil, taking the form of the red dragon, could get to Mary's child, the boy was taken up to God. The red dragon would go on to be defeated by God's angels, led by the archangel Michael (Revelation 12:7).