The Bible says a lot of odd things. I have been fascinated by these odd things ever since I was a child. Partly for my own edification, partly out of curiosity, and partly out of humor I am going to post a short series of entries exploring some strange things that the Bible says. I will use the following format in all posts:
- SAY WHAT?!? – the odd thing that the Bible says and where it says it.
- What? – Ideas for what it means and how it has been interpreted
- Now What? – What might we do with this passage as believers today?
I pray this little experiment in humor and holy scripture is a blessing to you. May you laugh and love more because of it. Amen.
God brought him 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. (Numbers 22:21 KJV)
God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. (Numbers 23:22 KJV)
His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh. (Deuteronomy 33:17 KJV)
Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee? (Job 39:9-10 KJV)
Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. (Psalm 22:21 KJV)
He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn. (Psalm 29:6 KJV)
But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil. (Psalm 92:10 KJV)
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. (Isaiah 34:7 KJV)
Yup. That’s right people! Unicorns are biblical!! ( Relax! I’m Just kidding!)
9 times the King James Version makes mention of unicorns. The Hebrew behind it is, unfortunately, referring not to the mythical creature of 12 year old girls’ bedrooms, but probably to a wild ox. I know it’s not as cool as a unicorn, but hear me out.
People have thought this creature is a rhino, antelope, or a wild buffalo or a goat of some kind. Truth is, we are not 100% certain what it is.Now What?
The best guess is that this creature was not a unicorn, but a wild ox. Regardless of what the creature is do you see how strong and fierce this creature is portrayed in scripture?
God delights in creating mighty creatures. This creature (whatever the heck it is!) is strong enough to be portrayed as a figurative image of God’s own strength to deliver Israel from Egypt.
When we see strong and amazing creatures in our own daily world (cows, dogs, deer, snakes, etc.) or at a local zoo (elephants, lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!) or watch nature documentaries about strong creatures we should praise God for his awesome and mighty creatures. He made some powerful and at times crazy creatures – some of which don’t even walk the earth anymore! We praise him because no matter how mighty the beasts of this world are, He is far mightier!
May we be moved to wonder as we contemplate the greatness of a God who could make such magnificent and horrifying creatures. Amen.
- My wife and I really enjoy the show “Animal” on Netflix. You might also enjoy it and be moved to wonder.
- Consider supporting your local Zoo by visiting them and marveling at the wonderful creatures God has made.
- Consider making a spiritual practice of noticing and reflecting on the greatness of creatures you might see on your ride to work each day.
- To learn more about the fascinating story behind the painting depicted in this post read here.