David T. Lamb

Is the God of the Old Testament…?

Unicorns in the Bible

Do you believe in unicorns?  A student in my psalms class (Phil) pointed out to me recently that unicorns appear in the Bible.

I said, “What?”  He said, “Yep”.  I said, “Where?”  He said in Psalm 22 and other places.  “You’re kidding.”  “Nope, but only in the King James Version.”

I opened up BibleWorks 7.0, and discovered 9 references, including these two:

“His horns are like the horns of unicorns” (Deut. 33:17).
“And the unicorns shall come down with them” (Isa 34:7).

The other references are Numbers 23:22; 24:8; Job 39:9, 10; Psalms 22:21; 29:6; 92:10; Isaiah 34:7.  There aren’t elephants, rhinos or giraffes mentioned in the Bible, but there are unicorns.  At least in the KJV.

I know I’m going to anger all my 7 year-old female readers with this, but despite the fact that they appear in the KJV Bible, I don’t believe in unicorns.

If you like unicorns and the comic strip Baby Blues, check this out: http://www.babyblues.com/archive/index.php?GoToDay=2006-10-27.

I love the King James Version, but it has a few problems.  This is why it’s good to use multiple versions of the Bible when we study the text.

What other quirky things do you find in the Bible? 

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10 comments on “Unicorns in the Bible

  1. Tim Bulkeley
    March 7, 2012

    Strange Jerome (and therefore the KJV) should have rendered it Unicorn at least in your first reference the mention is of a pair of horns – I assume therefore a rare two horned unicorn was in mind ;)

  2. David Lamb
    March 7, 2012

    Tim, so is that a duacorn? Or a bicorn?

    • tim
      March 7, 2012

      As far as I can see Jerome and the KJV are talking about a Unicorn with horns plural ;) The Hebrew implies a pair only. So however the KJV translators thought of unicorns they had more than one horn.

  3. Philsthrills
    March 7, 2012

    What about the dragons? KJV has 22 mentions of dragons (34 if you count the book of Revelation).

    I am still going to go with “wild ox” for ראים, but yes, we are all breaking little girls’ hearts here. Hopefully they will not stop reading your blog over this.

    ;-P

  4. David Lamb
    March 7, 2012

    Phil, dude, slow down, I’ll blog about dragons in a couple of weeks. You can’t get to all the mytbical creatures at once. You’re going to spoil my punch line. Hey, so, how’d you get the Hebrew font?

  5. tim
    March 7, 2012

    oops, remove that reference to Jerome and the Vulgate. When I actually look up the text he has Rhinoceros ;)

  6. Philsthrills
    March 7, 2012

    First off, all apologies about the dragons. I was thinking this was a once-and-done post. For that reason, I did not want the dragons to go unmentioned. Our dragon friends need their recognition just as much as our unicorn friends.

    At the top of my MAC, there is a language button. You have to set up your language presets. I have American English, Greek, and Hebrew (very helpful for exegetical papers) as my presets. In order to change fonts, I just click on the American Flag and I can choose between the three. I have no idea if a PC has something comparable. I do know that iPads and iPhones have the same thing, though.

  7. kimwinters
    March 7, 2012

    One quick thought on the side of rainbows and fairy dust: The only thing we have determined is that unicorns (the magical kind anyway) don’t appear in the Bible – but that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t exist! : )) Just sayin’.

  8. Pingback: Unicorns, in the biblical sense – Sansblogue « David T. Lamb

  9. Joel H.
    March 8, 2012

    I’ve got a whole post about unicorns and dragons here: “Unicorns, Dragons, and Other Animals You Meet in the Bible.”

    -Joel

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This entry was posted on March 7, 2012 by in Old Testament, Zombies, Unicorns, etc. and tagged .

God Behaving Badly

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