Unicorn Blog

Unicorn bible

by Maxime Blanchemin on Aug 27, 2019

A Bible and a Unicorn

The unicorn is present in the bible several times. This legendary horned animal is mentioned differently in the time between the Old Testament and the Bible.

We hear that the unicorns are mentioned in the bible. We imagine the mythical white unicorn with a mane beautiful and a sparkling horn. But, this image of the magical unicorn is not close to biblical reality. In fact, unicorns are well mentioned in the Bible. They are done nine times. But, before you rush to check it out for yourself, you should know that the word unicorn only appears in the King James version. (Bible of King James) authorized from the Bible. If you have a modern Bible, another word has probably been substituted for unicorn. We will be able to see, below, the unicorns mentioned in the Bible over time.

picture of drawing of a unicorn in the bible 


In the history of the bible, translations of unicorns have evolved

The unicorns in the Bible are therefore not really legendary unicorns. The truth is, nobody really knows, but there are some historical clues that shed light on the matter. Since theOld Testament was written in Hebrew and then translated into other languages, it is easy to change the meaning of words over time. This is exactly what many religious scholars think of with the word "unicorn".
Around 250 BC a group of Greek scholars took it upon themselves to translate the original biblical text from Hebrew to Greek to make it accessible to the public. When these scholars encountered the Hebrew word re'em, they were surprised. It was probably a wild ox with a horn. But since he did not know it, the Greeks did not have a word for the name of the animal. They did what a good scholar would do and translated it to the closest word they knew. They used the word monokeros, which means a horn to describe the biblical unicorn.

unicorn earrings

Later, when Saint Jerome translated the Bible in Latin, he encountered the word monokeros and did the same. He used the Latin word unicornis, which also meant a horny. In 1611, when a group of scholars translated the Bible into English, there was no English equivalent for the word unicornis. So they invented the new English word unicorn.

a black unicorn animal in the bible testament


The Monokeros and the Unicorn

Interestingly, the Greek word monoceros (monokeros) gives us more clues as to the identity of the biblical unicorn. Many authors cite the 1828 version of the Webster Dictionary as evidence that monokeros refers to the mythical unicorn and not a wild ox or rhino. It is true that the Webster dictionary defines a monoceros as a unicorn. The 1828 dictionary provides more details in its definition of the unicorn: An animal with a horn. In fact, this name is often applied to the rhino. Clearly the word monceros refers to a unicorn, but it's more of a one-horned rhino than a mythical unicorn dancing between rainbows. 


How do you find unicorns in the Bible?

Although the appearance of the unicorn is not described in the Bible, it does provide some clues as 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 unicorn horn.
  • Job 39: 9 and 39:10 both speak of a unicorn that does not plow the land.
  • In Psalm 29: 6, the unicorn is compared to a jumping young calf, while Isiah 34: 7 mentions unicorns in the same context as bulls and oxen.

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, buffaloes, and oxen, with a remarkable horn. We can also conclude that it was not a domestic animal used to cultivate the fields.

The answer to the question "Are there unicorns in the Bible?Is yes, but no one really knows what the biblical unicorn actually looked like. Most scholars agree that the unicorns mentioned in the Bible were either a type of wild ox - as the Hebrew name suggests - or a one-horned rhino as the Greek suggests. Almost everyone agrees that the biblical unicorn is unlikely to match our image of the mythical unicorn.


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