Slaying the Dragon: Part 3, The Dragons and the Powers

In the last two posts I've said that the great sea dragons Leviathan and Rahab are associated with the New Testament language of principalities and powers.

This is can be seen in the Old Testament in how Rahab is a name for the great sea dragon as well as for nations hostile to the kingdom of God.

For example, in the last post we looked at the three instances in the OT where Rahab describes the great sea monster defeated by YHWH (Job 9.13, 26.12; Ps 89.11). For example:
Psalm 89.8-11
Who is like you, Lord God Almighty?
You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.

You rule over the surging sea;
when its waves mount up, you still them.

You crushed Rahab like one of the slain;
with your strong arm you scattered your enemies.

The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth;
you founded the world and all that is in it.
But Rahab is also used to describe nations hostile to God, Egypt in particular. For example:
Isaiah 30.7
Egypt's help is worthless and empty;
therefore I have called her
“Rahab who sits still.”

Psalm 87.3-4
Glorious things are said of you,
city of God:

“I will record Rahab and Babylon
among those who acknowledge me—
Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush—
and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’” 
In these texts we see the image of the dragon--Rahab--being use to describe a political entity--Egypt--that is hostile to the rule of God.

And we also see a political vision of the "slaying of the dragon" motif. The dragons are defeated in Psalm 87 when the great political powers of the world--the Leviathans and the Rahabs--are brought into submission to the kingdom of God.

Rahab and Babylon, along with other political dragons, we be among those who acknowledge God.

In Psalm 87, the City of God comes to earth when the dragons are slain. This echos Jesus' victory over the powers:
Colossians 2.15
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

This entry was posted by Richard Beck. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply