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unicorn in the bible
12-03-2021

Unicorns in the Bible : the proof they exist !

9 min read

Unicorns are majestic horse-like animals that have magical powers. The stories of these beings spread across the world for many centuries and there are many representations of these in various cultures.

Even in the Bible, we can find many revelations about this mysterious creature. It is mentioned nine times in some of its books and that is why this being became one of the most "mysterious" animals referred to in the Scriptures. Do you wonder what the Bible really tells about unicorns ? In this article, we are going to dig deeper in this subject because we made many researches about it. Without further ado, let us discover some marvelous facts about the unicorns in books and history.

How is the unicorn depicted in the Jewish Bible ?

biblical unicorn

Unicorns are depicted as "Re'em" in the Hebrew Bible. It is mentioned seven times in the Hebrew version. When scholars translated it into english in the King James Version, they just choose the name "unicorn". In other christian litteratures, unicorn is considered as "Oryx". Some religious books also call it "Wild Ox" or "Wild bull" depending on the translation.

In Jewish legends, the Re'em is so powerful that its height is larger that a mountain. People considered it as a divine beast that can dam the Jordan only with its dung. According to the same folklore, Noah used its horn in order to protrude the Ark during the Big Flood. He straped it to the sides of the Ark. The fathers of judaism and jews' theology also represented the unicorn in the torah as a messianic sign. They think of it as a sacred animal and a symbol of righteousness, faithful servants (reference of the leviticus tribe) and saints.

Another story tells about King David. When the latter was still a simple shepherd, he mistook the horn of a unicorn as a mountain and eventually climbed it. When the Re'em woke up, it carried David so high and up to the clouds. As pure as he is, David prayed to God and asked for help. Then, a lion came up unexpectedly and the unicorn had to bow down before the king of all animals. And as the Re'em was offering his reverences, David took this opportunity to climb off and go away quickly.

In Tractate Zebahim, the Re'em is mentioned to hold tremendious ability. It is hailed to be powerful enough to defeat any animal. This beautiful, yet mysterious animal is also called Aggada or Behemoth. Modern Jewish scholars accepted other name of the unicorn as "auroch". Some Hebrews believe that this is a heavenly animal that is against all sinful acts of men.

Bible verses about Unicorns

unicorn in the bible

There are many references of Unicorns in the Bible. We can find at least nine verses in which this wonderful creature is mentioned in the most readed book ever.

  • In Numbers 23: 22 it is said " God brought them out of Egypt ; he hath as it were the strenght of an unicorn";
  • In Numbers 24: 8, the Bible says "God brought him fourth of Egypt ; he hath as it were the strenght of an unicorn : he shall eat up the nations to his enemies and shall break their bones, and pierce them through his arrows";
  • In Deuteronomy 33 : 17 "His Glory is like the first ling 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 ten thousands of Ephrai; and they are the thousands of Manasseh";
  • In Job 39: 9-12 "Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? Canst thou bide the unicorn with his band in the furrow ? Or will he arrow the valleys after thee ? Will thou trust him because his strenght is great ? Or will thy leave thy labour to him ? Will thou believe him that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn?
  • In Psalms 22: 21 "Save me from the lion's mouth, for thou hast heard me form the horns of the unicorns"
  • In Psalms 29: 6 "He maketh them also to skip like a calf, Lebanon and Syrion like a young unicorn"
  • In Psalms 92: 10 " But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn; I shall be anointed with fresh oil;
  • In 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"

How the Bible describes unicorns ?

unicorn biblical description

    According to all these biblical verses we mentioned earlier, these refer to a strange and wonderful creature. Some of these scriptures say that a unicorn has tremendous ability in Number 23: 22. It says "the strength of a unicorn" helped the Israelites to get free from slavery in ancien Egypt. That verse shows how powerful a unicorn is. In fact, this mythical creature is capable of marvellous things.

    The verse in Psalms 92: 10, it says that a unicorn is related to new beginning. The text says "I shall be anointed with fresh oil" means that someone can be helped by a unicorn to go through difficulties and begin something new in his (her) life. That is a fantastic attribute of unicorns and the psalmists used these to prophecy. They are not just majestic creature, but they are powerful and mysterious too. There are new versions of bible in which unicorns are considered as a sign of blessings.

    Even if they are not mentioned in the new testament, they represented power during the old testament period. The reason is that contemporary christians wanted to spread the gospel and the good news of salvation instead of talking about mythical animals. Most of the new scholars agreed to not include references of unicorns told by ancient prophets in the gospels (or new covenant). All that matters to them is to work for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake. As a result, the writings about unicorns are not the center of their theological teachings to convince believers and disciples about the truth.

    In the Basilica of San Giovanni Evangelista, in the city of Ravenna, there is a mosaic that shows a strange animal with a unique horn. This representation dated from the year 1213. According to experts of ancient arts, the artist who made it tried to show a unicorn. This animal is more like a hybrid of a horse and a deer. It has a unique horn, although there can be sceptic people who refuse to believe this is a unicorn representation. They consider it as as an ox.

    Unicorns in history and books

    unicorn depicted in the bible

    As you may already know, unicorns are not only depicted in the Bible, but these are also present in other cultures. For example, in the Ancient China, the Quilin is the asiatic version of unicorns. These animals are considered to be gracious and powerful at the same time. They were really appreciated and those who can come near to these were the lucky ones. Yes, unicorns do not approach normal individuals by curiosity. They only come close to someone special and their presence is enough to shift an ordinary atmosphere into a marvellous place.

    During the middle ages and renaissance period, this fabulous animal was hailed for having healing powers. Indeed, people back then believed that such an animal can cure any disease. They even offered worship to this mythical being as a divine beast. It can eventually bring someone's life energy if the latter is on the verge of the death. Some stories even say that  a unicorn can grant the power to fly to anone who comes close to it. For your information, the power of a unicorn resides in his horn.

    In the Orthodox world, unicorns are depicted as pure being whose blood is life-giving. This is a parallel of Jesus himself who offered his life as a sacrifice to save humanity. The believers and priests found in some passages in their version of Bible like in Psalms 77: 69 " And he built his sanctuary as of unicorns, in the land which he founded forever". This verse in the old testament shows that unicorns are a symbol of resurrection of churches. Even if christianity doctrine is not centered on unicorns, there are many references about these creatures in the teachings.

    In the Harry Potter world created by J.K Rowling, only the brave hero like Harry Potter himself or his friends Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy can come close to a unicorn. In the story, they were charged to find a unicorn in the Forbidden Forest because unicorn can enhance magical abilities. As they were heading into the woods, they finally found the animal and brought it to their professors.

    How does a unicorn look like ?

    unicorn-wedding-dress-buy-button

    In many movies, we often see that a unicorn is a horse-like creature. The name of this mysterious animal litteraly comes from the combinaison of two words, which are "uni" and "horn". It is indeed depicted as a beautiful being with a horn in its forehead. As the unicorn grows up, its corn tend to become sharped and spiral.

    Unicorns are seen with a colorful mane and tail. That is why, in many childish animations, thes creatures remain beautiful and colorful. Because of that, they are always related to rainbows. Some legends even state that a unicorn can ride on the rainbow and takes pleasure to eat it sometimes. For them, it is a succulent dish that they really enjoy.

    We can also see Unicorn Pictures that represent a beautiful horse with horn and wings. Although some people consider that these are a representation of fantaisist animal, unicorn with wings are called "Alicorn". This is like a different species of unicorns. Only the gods of the ancient times can handle and tame these creatures. Odin, the powerful nordic god was often represented riding a horse.

    Nowadays, there many people who think that unicorns have horn, but those with wings are really rare. An ordinary person can never handle to ride on these majestic being. The infamous hero Hercule was one of the few how can ride on the back of a winged unicorn. This one is Pegasus.

    What do unicorns really represent ?

    unicorn representation

    For many centuries, unicorns have been used as a representation of purity and innocence. Some stories state that only a  beautiful virgin woman can come close to a unicorn. The woman will have to stay alone near a tree in the forest and her purity will attract the creature. That is the only way to have a chance see a unicorn. There can be real sightings of unicorns although many refute these claims because they did not have proof of what they were saying.

    Legends across the world tell about the unicorn as the perfect personification of joy, pride and boldness. As majestic as they are, humans always wanted to resemble to these, not physically, but having all their virtues. Plus, they represent nurturing power, positivity, intelligence and hope. Anyone who get a chance to encounter a unicorn will be rich and wealthy, according to some medieval beliefs.

    People nowadays think that a unicorn is able to transcend any boundaries and pass easily between the seen and unseen world. Thus, they can travel really fast and have the power to out speed any animal alive. Because of these abilities, unicorns could disappear from sight within seconds and go to another place almost instantly.

    These creatures are vibrant and colorful. They enjoy going over the rainbow and it is not a coincidence. People is used to considering that unicorns have a mane and colorful shades. This kind of representation is often seen in kids show or animation. They are hailed as the only living creatures capable of reaching the end of the rainbow.

    Do you know that you can become an unicorn yourself ?

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