Bible Verses About The Strength Ofthe Unicorn
It seems quite likely that also in the Bible the phrase unicorn was being used to refer to a single-horned rhino, rather than the great mythical equines we associate the word with today. This is particularly true when you look at how unicorns are described and what they are used to represent in the Bible often strength.
The phrase from Numbers 24:8,
God brought them forth out of Egypt he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows,
could easily apply to rhinos, since they are extremely strong, powerful creatures. Clearly, Gods strength is being likened to theirs in the defense of his people.
In Isaiah 34:7, the quote
And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness,
is also indicative of a unicorns powerful and dangerous nature, as here the great creatures are being humbled by man, alongside the bulls perhaps the most feared of our agricultural animals.
Psalm 22:21 furthers the impression that unicorns are extremely powerful creatures,
Save me from the lions mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
Comparing the delicate white equines we think of today with bulls, bullocks, and lions seems a strange leap, but if the unicorn represented a rhino, or even a great horned oxen, this makes more sense.
Another Fun Example Of How Changing Language Is Reflected In Different Translations Of The Bible Comes From Genesis : 7
As soon as Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they realized they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together and created what is variously described as something to cover themselves , breeches , girdles , loincloths , coverings , loin-coverings , aprons , and things to gird about .
I dont know about you, but Ive never pictured Adam and Even wearing breeches, girdles, or aprons. An apron that says Kiss The Cook is cute, but one sewn together from fig leaves would be EPIC.
Incidentally, St. Augustine suggested Adam and Eve wore wrestling aprons like those worn by ancient Roman wrestlers. Perhaps this is the best example of how language changes. Augustine probably never envisioned the WWE star, Roman Reigns:
What do you think? Does knowing how changing language has influenced the Bible make it more manageable and meaningful to you? Does the language of the Bible get in your way? Tell me about it in the , in an , or on .
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Unicorn Biblical Symbols 3 Possible Meanings
Its possible, but there are several other explanations for the appearance of unicorns in the Bible.
- 1 The first one is that they are not meant to represent real creatures, but that unicorns are symbols, meant to show something depending on the context in which they are referenced. Given that other mythical creature, such as dragons, also appear in the Bible, this seems a logical explanation. There are two other explanations which also help to rationalize the presence of these great equines, and explain why modern translations dont include them which they could do if they were just symbols.
- 2- So, secondly it may be a case of changing semantics, and the meaning of unicorn shifting with time. According to CreationToday, the word unicorn was often used to refer to single-horned rhinos in the past. See also our article where we discuss are rhinos just fat unicorns?
The first Websters dictionary, 1828, describes a unicorn as an animal with a single horn, and specifies that this word is frequently applied to rhinos: nowhere does it raise the question of horses.
Indeed, the word unicorn seems to have commonly been used to distinguish between two-horned and one-horned rhinos in the past, while today we dont make this distinction through the name.
- 3- Thirdly, it may be a case of the translation struggling to stay true to the original.UnicornsRule suggests that in earlier texts, the creature referred to was a wild ox.
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Who Was The First Person To See A Unicorn
The first written account of this creature was written in the 4th century BCE by the Greek doctor Ctesias. The doctor heard tales of a single-horned animal while he was travelling through Persia.
He described the animal as being as large as a horse, with a red head, blue eyes, and a white body.
Ctesias described its horn as multi-coloured. According to his findings, the creature was so powerful and swift that no other animal could overtake it.
However, according to a Time Magazine article, it is likely that Ctesias never saw this unique creature himself and that he combined the descriptions that were told to him by some of his foreign friends.
Unicorns in the Bible are used to depict the mighty power of God. The single-horned horse-like creature is not only known for its horn, beauty, and purity but also for its strength and courage. Despite being extinct, it is still one of the most powerful and beautiful legendary creatures of all time.
Does The Bible Mention Unicorns Examples And Importance
When I was first was asked whether I believed unicorns were real or not, I literally laughed out loud. I was like absolutely not, there is no way. Then I was quite surprised to find out that they are mentioned in scripture. Now before you freak out on me and call me crazy, remember to always take anything anyone says and compare it to scripture.
Does the bible mention unicorns? There is a biblical reference to unicorns in the scripture found which is found in the KJV. However, there is much debate on whether it is an accurate translation of the original Hebrew of the verse. Many scholars of Hebrew, have sought out the truth behind this very controversial topic: Unicorns. They came to the conclusion that the word unicorn was either misinterpreted or incorrectly translated.
But before we dive into whether this is true or not, lets look at where in the Bible the word unicorn is mentioned.
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Are Unicorns Mentioned In The Holy Book
Irish Rovers had a hit song in 1967 called The Unicorn. The song is about Noahs Ark Noah could not persuade unicorns to get in the Ark, because they just wanted to play in the water. According to this song, there are no longer unicorns, because they didnt enter the Ark, but just kept playing. Is it just a song, or does the Bible actually have something to do with unicorns?
Unicorns can indeed be found in the Bible. Unicorns are mentioned 9 times in the King James Version of the Bible. The original Hebrew word used is reem, which could mean a unicorn, a rhinoceros, or a wild ox. The wild ox is the preferred translation in the modern translations of the Bible. However, unicorn is the word that was used in the King James Bible.
So, what does the King James Version of the Bible say about unicorns? These are the 9 unicorn quotes:
Again, these quotes are only found in the King James Version of the Bible. The word unicorn is not mentioned in the new versions of the Bible.
How Did The King James Version Come To Include Unicorns
Its all about Bible history not the history contained in the Bible, but the history of the Bible itself and the on-going development of language.
The Old Testament was originally composed in Hebrew. About three hundred years before Jesus, the king of Egypt tasked 72 elders with the responsibility of translating the sacred Hebrew texts into Greek. That Greek translation is called the .
The Septuagint translates the Hebrew word reem to monoceros. English biblical translators in the early 13th century working from the Septuagint translated monoceros to uni-cornus .
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Why Are Unicorns Mentioned In The Kj Bible 9 Times
Maybe you’ve seen for yourself that the Bible specifically the King James mentions UNICORNS 9 times!! So what are these supposedly mythical creatures doing in scripture? Does this mean Unicorns might have truly existed at one time? Or Is it just more proof that the Bible can’t be taken literally? Or worse is it proof that believing in the God of the Bible is obviously disproven by scriptures like these.
|Unicorn Public Domain Image|
Fortunately there’s a simple, easily understood answer to these questions and today’s video reveals what it is! : )
So What Do We Know About Unicorns In The Bible Verses
While the appearance of the unicorn isnt described in the Bible, it does provide some clues to the nature of this mysterious beast.
- In Numbers 23:22 and 24:8, the Bible speaks of the strength of a unicorn.
- Deuteronomy 33:17, Psalms 22: 21 and Psalms 92:10 speak of the unicorns horn.
- Job 39:10 and 39:10 both speak of the unicorn not tilling the earth.
- In Psalms 29:6, the unicorn is likened to a young calf skipping, while Isiah 34:7 mentions unicorns in the same context as bulls and bullocks.
From the context of the word unicorn in the Bible, we can conclude that the unicorn was an animal of great strength, similar to bulls and bullocks, with a notable horn. We can also conclude that it was not a domesticated animal used to till the fields.
The answer to the question Are there unicorns in the Bible? is yes, but no one knows for sure what the Biblical unicorn really looked like. Most scholars agree the unicorns mentioned in the Bible were either a type of wild ox as the Hebrew name suggests or a one-horned rhinoceros as the Greek suggests. Nearly everyone agrees that the Biblical unicorn is unlikely to match our image of the mythical unicorn.
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Why Did The Kjv Use Unicorn
To fully understand the translation of the word unicorn, we must go back to its original roots in Hebrew. I know, kind of boring, but hang with me here.
The word that is actually used in the Hebrew Bible that is translated in the King James Version for unicorn is . The word rm refers to an aurochs, a kind of wild ox that was common in the ancient world but went extinct in the early seventeenth century.
So if unicorns are not mentioned in the original Hebrew of the Bible, why are they mentioned in the Old Testament of the King James Version?
To answer this question we also have to look at the Greek translation. The translators of the Septuagint consistently translated the Hebrew word rm with the Greek word , meaning unicorn. The Septuagint translators were unfamiliar with the original meaning of the Hebrew word, so they substituted it with a more familiar Greek word, , meaning unicorn. In some passages, the Latin word unicorns are translated as rhinoceros, meaning rhinoceros.
And that ladies and gentlemen, is how the word unicorn was mistranslated. This is also how only the KJV translation ended up with this translation.
What Is A Unicorn
Unicorn means “one horn.” Most often, a unicorn is depicted as a white, horse-like creature with a single horn growing from its forehead. Sometimes, a unicorn is seen as a deer, donkey, or goat with a single horn. The horn is often long and straight, marked with spiral striations along its length.
Moreover, unicorns are typically depicted as having cloven hooves like cattle, deer, or goats, which is dissimilar to the single-toed hooves of horses. But unicorns often are seen sporting similar coat colors to horses, with white being the most common color.
Unicorns supposedly have been endowed with many magical qualities. For instance, unicorn tears and blood are said to be healing, and powdered unicorn horn is said to be an antidote to poison. Furthermore, unicorns are apparently difficult to catchnot unlike some horses who dont like to be caughtand in many mythologies only young maidens can tame them. They are a symbol of ferociousness, freedom, power, and speed, and they appear on many coats of arms and emblems.
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Are There Really Unicorns In The King James Bible
What? Unicorns in the Bible? Yes, they are mentioned nine times.
Could it be unicorns really existed?
A 1967 hit song by the Irish Rovers tells a fanciful story of how Noah couldnt persuade any silly unicorns to get on board the Ark since they wanted to play in the rain.
But, what does the Bible say? Were there really unicorns in ancient times?
The word unicorn appears in the King James Version nine times in Numbers 23:22 and 24:8, Deuteronomy 33:17, Job 39:9,10, Psalms 22:21, 29:6 and 92:10 and in Isaiah 34:7.
What was this biblical unicorn? And why dont later translations of the Bible contain the word?
Numbers 23:22 in the King James Version reads: God brought them out of Egypt he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.
However, the New International Version says: God brought them out of Egypt they have the strength of a wild ox.
And the Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible says: God hath brought him out of Egypt, whose strength is like to the rhinoceros.
Well, which is it? Unicorn? Ox? Or rhino?
The original Hebrew is the word reem. What was a reem? Scholars cannot agree. In the late Jewish author and skeptic Isaac Asimovs Guide to the Bible, he offers this:
Biblical scholar Bert Thompson, Ph.D., agrees. When the first Greek translation of the Bible was prepared about 250 B.C., the reem was already rare in the long-settled areas of the Near East. The Greeks, who had no direct experience with it, had no word for it.
What kind of animal was it?
The Wild Ox Called Unicorn In The Bible
Though the unicorn today is mythical, the wild ox that is used in the scriptures above is not a mythical animal. It is a real, undomesticated ox. The note from the ESV translators mentioned above on Psalms 92:10 is quite insightful.
The wild ox is the aurochs, which is the ancestor of domestic cattle but is now extinct. The animal was known for its strength, and its horns were effective for goring
The animal, called the unicorn in the KJV, is no longer alive today. It is now extinct but probably looked similar to the wild ox we know today.
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Why Unicorns Are In The Bible
The unicorn you may be thinking of that is a horse with a single horn that you read about in fairy tales is not the unicorn found in the Bible. The Bible is all about truth. We as Latter-day Saints also believe that the Bible is the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.
The word unicorn is mentioned in the King James Bible, but that is a mistranslation the animal referred to is actually some kind of wild ox or other form of Bovidae. Unicorns, Soul Mates, and Other Mythical Creatures By David A. Edwards and David Dickson LDS Church Magazines
Unicorns are a mythical beast, no more real than dragons, which incidentally are also mentioned in the Bible . But what are we to make of this? With so many references to the creature, could the unicorn actually have existed?
Most experts say no, and they also say that the original manuscripts shouldnt lead us to believe they did. The source text for each of these references gives us the Hebrew reem, which the Jewish Encyclopedia describes as a wild, untamable animal of great strength and agility, with mighty horns. If this sounds less like a unicorn and more like a rhinoceros, thats because many scholars believe these verses likely refer to the African mammal.
Other translations sometimes designate the reem as a type of antelope, while still other scholars believe it refers to a one-horned ox 8 Times Unicorns Were Mentioned in the Bible
Why Are Unicorns Mentioned In The Bible
The discussion about the unicorn and the Bible most often focuses on just arguing, whether the unicorns in the Bible are actual unicorns, or rhinos, or something else.
Now that we know unicorns are mentioned in the Bible, though, I think a more interesting question is, why are the unicorns mentioned in the Bible? What do they symbolize?
Physiologus, an ancient Christian bestiary, describes the unicorn as a strong animal only a virgin can catch. A unicorn sees a virgin and lays its head on her lap, and falls asleep. The unicorn has been interpreted as Christ, the virgin being Virgin Mary.
In the Bible, unicorns are also described as strong animals. Even God is compared to a unicorn: His horns are like the horns of unicorns. So, the unicorns might also refer to Gods power.
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Why Unicorns Serve As A Stumbling Block In The Bible
Most of the time when someone points out that the KJV mentions unicorns, they don’t do it because, “Wow, that’s so neat!” or “My favorite animal made it into the Bible!” No, most of the time skeptics bring this up to prove how ridiculous the Bible is. “Look, how can you believe in a book that says that unicorns are real?” They often will say.
In fact, I hadn’t even realized that the Bible mentions unicorns until I stumbled across a similar post from a skeptic who also claims the Bible talks about dragons and cockatricesnonexistent creaturesand therefore, how in the world could we take anything at face value in the Bible?
Never mind that the said dragon is literally a symbol for Satan, and the cockatrice likely refers to a crocodile of sortspeople will always attempt to show that science and the Bible stand at odds with one another. Of course, they don’t. But when someone spots the word unicorn in the KJV, they assume that people who read the Bible believe in fairytales and myths.
Was it a mistranslation or poor interpretation of an animal who had long gone extinct since the time of the translation? Probably. But when we go to defend our faith, we do need to know everything the enemy will launch against us. That means knowing the content of translations not all of us may read. I know we do have several readers who are probably KJV-only, but also several people reading this article likely have a preferred translation such as the NIV, ESV, etc.