A cetaceous mammal. Several species of cetacea are found in the Mediterranean as well as in the Red Sea. In the Authorized Version of the Bible the Hebrew "tannin" is often rendered "whale"; while the Revised Version has "sea-monster" (Gen. i. 21; Job vii. 12), "dragon" (Ezek. xxxii. 12), and "jackal" (Lam. iv. 3).
The name "leviathan," which usually designates the fabulously great fish preserved for the future world, seems in certain passages of the Talmud to refer to some kind of whale; so, for instance, in Ḥul. 67b, where leviathan is said to be a clean fish, having fins and scales, and in B. B. 73b, where a fabulous description of its enormous size is given. In Shab. 7b the (meaning perhaps the porcupine) is said to be the vexer of the leviathan. See also Leviathan and Behemoth.
- Tristram, Natural History of the Bible, p. 151;
- Lewysohn, Zoologie des Talmuds, pp. 155, 324.