Unicorns in the Bible

501px-Flag_of_the_Unicorn_Pursuivant_of_Arms.svgThe King JamesVersion of the Bible translated ra’am as unicorn all nine times the word is used. [Num. 23:22; 24:8; Deut. 33:17; Job 39:9,10; Psa. 22:21; 29:6; 92:10; and Isa. 34:7]

FYI: The King James Version a.k.a. KJV a.k.a. King James Bible a.k.a. the Holy Bible a.k.a. The Authorized Version a.k.a.  AV are all the same book.

Those who defend the KJV are adamant that this word is a rhinoceros, which in 1611 English would be a unicorn.  See Also: Is the word “unicorn” wrong in the King James Bible?  

However this does not stand up to close inspection of Hebrew grammar. In Hebrew there is the singular, the dual, and then the plural, so the plural is more than three. In the nine times ra’am is used there are only two that mention the horns, where the animal is in the singular, and both times the horns are in the dual.

God brings them out of Egypt; they have as it were the horns of the wild ox. Num. 23:22 Plural horns on plural animals

God brings him out of Egypt; he has as it were the horns of the wild ox, he shall eat up the nations his adversaries, and shall break their bones in pieces, and pierce them through with his arrows. Num. 24:8 No horns mentioned

His firstling bull has majesty, and his horns are the horns of a wild ox; with them he shall push the peoples, all of them, to the ends of the earth; such are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and such are the thousands of Manasseh.” Deut. 33:17 Dual horns

“Is the wild ox willing to serve you? Will he spend the night at your crib? Can you bind him in the furrow with ropes, or will he harrow the valleys after you? Job 39:9 -10 No horns mentioned

Save me from the mouth of the lion, my afflicted soul from the horns of the wild oxen! Psa. 22:21 Dual horns

He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. Psa. 29:6 No horns mentioned

But thou hast exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; thou hast poured over me fresh oil. Psa. 92:10 One horn, but the horn is not the animal’s but is a symbolic reference to the man’s strength

Wild oxen shall fall with them, and young steers with the mighty bulls. Their land shall be soaked with blood, and their soil made rich with fat. Is. 34:7 No horns mentioned 

No one is truly sure of what animal ra’am is meant to be. Modern translators have put in wild ox instead. For two reasons.

  • This animal’s horns are in the dual meaning two horns Deut. 33:17, Psa. 22:21.
  • This animal is listed with other bovines in Is. 34:7.

The odd verse here is the first one Num 23:22 where the animals are plural and the horns are plural however it is not the normal word for horn. In all the other verses the word for horn is keren however here it is to’afah which means a tower, or peak. [c.f. Job 22:25; Psa. 95.4]

So more than likely this is some untamed wild bovine. There are few animals that were as dangerous as wild bovine or Aurochs. They were the cattle our ancestors breed into all the useful cattle breads we have today. It is these animals that seem to be what the Bible is referring to and not a rhinoceros/unicorn. [See Also: Breeding Ancient Cattle Back from Extinction]

Because the King James Only people are so caught up in defending the KJV ad nauseam, they have missed that in Ps 22:21 the unicorn is a reference to the children of Israel and that it is they that are afflicting the soul of Messiah. [See Also: Psalm 22:20-21]

3 thoughts on “Unicorns in the Bible

  1. Pingback: Psalm 22:20-21 | Israel & The Church in the Last Days

  2. Pingback: Satyrs in the Bible – The Song of Songs

  3. Pingback: Which Bible Translation? – From the Congregation of Biet Sepher

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