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Behold now Behemoth which I made with thee: Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Here, God explains the mystery of the incessant warfare in the human world. He reaches down through the cloud-barrier with his left hand to indicate Behemoth and Leviathan. These two creatures exist in man himself; God proclaims to Job "Behold now Behemoth which I made with thee." (Job xl: 15-24; lxi: 1-34). The cloud-barrier of Job's world includes the sphere in which they exist; it is a picture of the subconscious, the unredeemed portion of psyche, which the bulrushes identify as Egypt-the unredeemed portion of mankind. These are the terrible forces within man, against which he seems helpless: "the War by Sea enormous and the War by Land astounding, erecting pillars in the deepest Hell to reach the heavenly arches" (Blake, Jerusalem, 91: 39-42). They also function as a means of God's providence.Behemoth is "the chief ways of God": warfare of the spirit is one of the chief joys of Eternity, though when materialized on earth it is rendered deadly (Milton 34: 50-52; 35: 2-3). Leviathan is King over all the Children of Pride-that is, over all unredeemed mankind. His name means "coiled," and therefore he is depicted as having a huge spiral, representing the everlasting repetitions in the round of nature.At the upper corners, angels write the laws of the universe; at the lower corners are the eagles which Urizen sends forth in his work of creation (The Four Zoas ii: 150). Below are the emptied shells of the mortal bodies which are grown by man's spirit and then abandoned on the margin of the Sea of Time and Space.
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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: March 10, 2009