7 occurrences in 7 dictionaries

Reference: Dragon


Answers, in the English Bible, the Hebrew word signifying a sea-monster, huge serpent, etc. Thus in De 32:33; Jer 51:34; Re 12, it evidently implies a huge serpent; in Isa 27:1; 51:9; Eze 29:3, it may mean the crocodile, or any large sea-monster; while in Job 30:29; La 4:3; Mic 1:8, it seems to refer to some wild animal of the desert, most probably the jackal. The animal known to modern naturalists under the name of dragon, is a harmless species of lizard, found in Asia and Africa.

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(1.) Heb tannim, plural of tan. The name of some unknown creature inhabiting desert places and ruins (Job 30:29; Ps 44:19; Isa 13:22; 34:13; 43:20; Jer 10:22; Mic 1:8; Mal 1:3); probably, as translated in the Revised Version, the jackal (q.v.).

(2.) Heb tannin. Some great sea monster (Jer 51:34 it may denote the crocodile. In Ge 1:21 (Heb plural tanninim) the Authorized Version renders "whales," and the Revised Version "sea monsters." It is rendered "serpent" in Ex 7:9. It is used figuratively in Ps 74:13; Eze 29:3.

In the New Testament the word "dragon" is found only in Re 12:3-4,7,9,16-17, etc., and is there used metaphorically of "Satan." (See Whale.)

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Tannin, tan. Tan in Jer 14:6, "dragons" "snuffing up the wind" is translated by Henderson jackals; rather the great boas and python serpents are meant, which raise their body vertically ten or twelve feet high, surveying the neighborhood above the bushes, while with open jaws they drink in the air. They were made types of the deluge and all destructive agencies; hence the dragon temples are placed near water in Asia, Africa, and Britain, e.g. that of Abury in Wiltshire. The ark is often associated with it, as the preserver from the waters. The dragon temples are serpentine in form; dragon standards were used in Egypt and Babylon, and among the widely-scattered Celts.

Apollo's slaying Python is the Greek legend implying the triumph of light over darkness and evil. The tannin are any great monsters, whether of land or sea, trans. Ge 1:21 "great sea monsters." So (La 4:3) "even sea monsters (tannin) draw out the breast," alluding to the mammalia which sometimes visit the Mediterranean, or the halichore cow whale of the Red Sea. Large whales do not often frequent the Mediterranean, which was the sea that the Israelites knew; they apply "sea" to the Nile and Euphrates, and so apply "tannin" to the crocodile, their horror in Egypt, as also to the large serpents which they saw in the desert. "The dragon in the sea," which Jehovah shall punish in the day of Israel's deliverance, is Antichrist, the antitype to Babylon on the Euphrates' waters (Isa 27:1).

In Ps 74:13, "Thou brokest the heads of the dragons in the waters," Egypt's princes and Pharaoh are poetically represented hereby, just as crocodiles are the monarchs of the Nile waters. So (Isa 51:9-10) the crocodile is the emblem of Egypt and its king on coins of Augustus struck after the conquest of Egypt. "A habitation of dragons" expresses utter desolation, as venomous snakes abound in ruins of ancient cities (De 32:33; Jer 49:33; Isa 34:13). In the New Testament it symbolizes Satan the old serpent (Genesis 3), combining gigantic strength with craft, malignity, and venom (Re 12:3). The dragon's color, "red," fiery red, implies that he was a murderer from the beginning.

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(1) tann

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tannin, ??????. It may signify any great serpent or sea monster, symbolical of a huge destructive creature. Nations doomed to destruction and desolation, including Jerusalem, are said to become habitations of dragons. Isa 34:13; 35:7; Jer 9:11; 10:22; 51:37. Pharaoh, king of Egypt, is called the great dragon. Eze 29:3. As one of God's creatures the dragon is called upon to praise Jehovah. Ps 148:7. In the N.T. the dragon is a type of Satan and those energised by him. In Re 12:3 the "great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns," is symbolical of Satan's power in the form of the Roman empire: it endeavoured, in the person of Herod, to destroy Christ when born. In Re 13:2,4 it is Satan who gives the resuscitated Roman empire in a future day its throne and great authority. In Re 13:11 the Antichrist, who has two horns like a lamb, speaks as a dragon. In Re 16:13 it is Satan, and in Re 20:2 he is described as "that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan."

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The translators of the Authorized Version, apparently following the Vulgate, have rendered by the same word "dragon" the two Hebrew words tan and tannin, which appear to be quite distinct in meaning.

1. The former is used, always in the plural, in

Job 30:29; Ps 44:19; Isa 34:13; 43:20; Jer 9:11

It is always applied to some creatures inhabiting the desert, and we should conclude from this that it refers rather to some wild beast than to a serpent. The syriac renders it by a word which, according to Pococke, means a "jackal."

2. The word tannin seems to refer to any great monster, whether of the land or the sea, being indeed more usually applied to some kind of serpent or reptile, but not exclusively restricted to that sense.

Ex 7:9-10,12; De 32:33; Ps 91:13

In the New Testament it is found only in the Apocalypse,

Re 12:3-4,7,9,16-17

etc., as applied metaphorically to "the old serpent, called the devil, and Satan."

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DRAGON. This word is frequently to be met with in our English translation of the Bible. It answers generally to the Hebrew ??, ????, ????; and these words are variously rendered dragons, serpents, sea- monsters, and whales. The Rev. James Hurdis, in a dissertation relative to this subject, observes, that the word translated "whales," in Ge 1:21, occurs twenty-seven times in Scripture; and he attempts, with much ingenuity, to prove that it every where signifies the crocodile. That it sometimes has this meaning, he thinks is clear from Eze 29:3: "Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers." For, to what could a king of Egypt be more properly compared than the crocodile? The same argument he draws from Isa 51:9: "Art thou not he that hath cut Rahab, [Egypt,] and wounded the dragon?" Among the ancients the crocodile was the symbol of Egypt, and appears so on Roman coins. Some however have thought the hippopotamus intended; others, one of the larger species of serpents.

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Basic English, produced by Mr C. K. Ogden of the Orthological Institute - public domain