Monday, August 18, 2014


Hi everyone!

How are all you fine people out there? I am well, enjoying all the rain we are having for this monsoon season. I think I like the stormy and overcast skies as much as I like the thunder and rain because cloudy skies are more like an anomaly rather than the norm here where I live. 

And that is what I want to share with you this week and probably for a few more weeks too. Bible anomalies. We have already gone over a few, in particular UFO’s and giants. But there is at least one more….unicorns!
Notice the cloven hooves and beard

Many people don’t even have a clue that unicorns are written about in the Holy Scriptures, but believe it or not, they are. So lets not just put our heads into a hole or look the other way! Let’s grab the bull by the horns and delve into this. After all, it must be important since God wrote about it.

What picture comes to your mind at the mention of unicorns? Is it the goatish horse like creature with a beard and mane and long fur on its legs? Or is it the majestic white stallion with flowing mane and tale and a single spiral spike growing from its forehead. That, of course is my favorite since I am a horse lover. But let’s see what scripture tells us unicorns really are.

The unicorn is mentioned nine times in the Bible. Numbers 23:22 (God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.) and again in Numbers 24:8 (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.) Deuteronomy 33:17 (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.) Job 39:9 and 10 (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?) Psalms 22:21 (Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.) Psalms 29:6 (He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.) Psalms 92:10 (But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.) And Isaiah 34:7 (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.)

Now let’s put together what the Bible means. First we can deduct unicorns are very strong and that they are fierce. Then we see that the unicorn is not likely to be tamed, at least to pull a plow. Horses are domestic animals that train well (so scratch the beautiful, white, unicorn-horsey creature). It also seems this animal is fairly large. And lastly the Bible lets us know that it is a real animal, not a fairytale. Many commentators think it was the giant wild ox, or aurochs. Psalms 92:10 indicates, however, that it did have a “horn”, not two that may have looked like one horn from a distance. But Deuteronomy 33:17 speaks of the “horns of unicorns,” which could mean several one-horned animals or two-horned animals. 

pictograph from a cave painting
We can thus safely reason that the unicorns mentioned in the Bible were real animals, not an imaginary horse-like creature. Also all of the verses in scripture that refer to unicorns do so in the context of familiar animals—peacocks and eagles, lambs and lions, bullocks and goats, donkeys and horses, dogs and calves. In addition, the biblical unicorns behave like ordinary animals—skipping like calves (Psalm 29:6) and bleeding when they die (Isaiah 34:7). 

Then the question becomes...exactly what is a unicorn?

So does the Bible contain the only documentation of this unique animal? Let’s look into other historical resources. The famous

explorer Marco Polo traveled into the far east in the 12th century. In his travels to Sumatra, he encountered an animal with one horn. However his description of unicorns in Sumatra sounds like a rhinoceros: “They have wild elephants and plenty of unicorns, which are scarcely smaller than elephants. They have the hair of a buffalo and feet like an elephant’s. They have a single large black horn in the middle of the forehead . . . They are very ugly brutes to look at. They are not at all such as we describe them when we relate that they let themselves be captured by virgins, but clean contrary to our notions.”

It could be that Marco Polo had stumbled upon the elasmotherium, an extinct giant rhinoceros. “The elasmotherium’s 33-inch-long skull has a huge bony protuberance on the frontal bone consistent with the support structure for a massive horn. In fact, archaeologist Austen Henry Layard, in his 1849 book Nineveh and Its Remains, sketched a single-horned creature from an obelisk in company with two-horned bovine animals; he identified the single-horned animal as an Indian rhinoceros. The biblical unicorn could have been the elasmotherium.”1

Fossil of an elasmotherium

“Eighteenth century reports from southern Africa described rock drawings and eyewitness accounts of fierce, single-horned, equine-like animals. One such report describes “a single horn, directly in front, about as long as one’s arm, and at the base about as thick . . . . [It] had a sharp point; it was not attached to the bone of the forehead, but fixed only in the skin.”2

“Assyrian archaeology provides one other possible solution to the unicorn identity crisis. The biblical unicorn could have been an aurochs (a kind of wild ox known to the Assyrians as rimu). The aurochs’s horns were very symmetrical and often appeared as one in profile, as can be seen on Ashurnasirpal II’s palace relief and Esarhaddon’s stone prism. Fighting rimu (the Hebrew name) was a popular sport

for Assyrian kings. On a broken obelisk, for instance, Tiglath-Pileser I boasted of slaying them in the Lebanon mountains. Extinct since about 1627, aurochs, Bos primigenius, were huge bovine creatures. Julius Caesar described them in his Gallic Wars as: ‘a little below the elephant in size, and of the appearance, color, and shape of a bull. Their strength and speed are extraordinary; they spare neither man nor wild beast which they have espied . . . . Not even when taken very young can they be rendered familiar to men and tamed. The size, shape, and appearance of their horns differ much from the horns of our oxen. These they anxiously seek after, and bind at the tips with silver, and use as cups at their most sumptuous entertainments.’”

Egyptian carvings, and cave painting also depict animals with one horn or if the beast turned its head slightly, could look like one horn.

Some scientist have even suggested that the unicorn could be a type of dinosaur! We will continue next week… 

Until then, take care and God bless!
Willow Dressel

This week in the night skies for the northern latitudes “Saturday, August 23, August is prime Milky Way time. After dark, the Milky Way runs from Sagittarius and Scorpius in the south-southwest, up and left across Aquila and through the big Summer Triangle very high in the southeast and east, and on down through Cassiopeia to Perseus rising low in the north-northeast.”5

For the southern latitudes… “Evening sky on Thursday August 21 looking north-west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 (10:00 pm) ACST in South Australia. Mars and Saturn are close together under the head of  Scorpius. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time.”6


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