What you know about the Unicorn may need to be corrected. What if I tell you Unicorn is or was a real animal as described in the Bible?
Like many other world religions and mythologies, the Bible contains stories of extraordinary creatures.
In the Old Testament, we find mentions of beings such as Unicorns, the Behemoth, the Leviathan, the Nephilim, and Giants.
These creatures have captured people’s imaginations for centuries, and their potential origins are as unbelievable as their descriptions.
One of the creatures found in the Old Testament is the Unicorn.
What really is a Unicorn?
Surprisingly, it is mentioned quite a few times in the Bible.
In the Book of Numbers, the Bible describes God as a unicorn, stating:
“God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.”
– Numbers 23:22
“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.”
– Numbers 24:8
“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.”
– Deuteronomy 33:17
In the Book of Job, God rhetorically asks
“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?”
– Job 39:9-10
“Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.”
– Psalm 22:21
“He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.”
– Psalm 29:6
“But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.”
– Psalm 92:10
However, in the original Hebrew Bible, the creature is not called a unicorn but “Re-em.”
But what is a Re-em?
When the Greeks began translating the Bible, they translated the Hebrew word “Re-em” to “Monokeros,” Mono (single) Keros (Horn), which means one horn.
Similarly, the Latin speakers translated the word “Unicornis,” from which we get our word unicorn.
However, the Greeks and Romans did not feature unicorns in their mythologies.
Instead, they are featured in ancient Greco-Roman natural encyclopedias.
These ancient nature textbooks did not think unicorns were mythical beasts but real-life creatures as natural as a cow, lion, or horse.
Some scholars believe it is a case of mistaken identity, and the one-horned creature is a Rhino.
When early travelers went to faraway lands, they spoke of strange creatures they saw on their way.
For example, the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder describes a creature as fierce animal called the Unicorn, which is the head of a stag, the feet of an elephant, and the tail of a bull, while the rest of the body is like a horse.
Scholars believe Pliny offers an imperfect and simplistic description of a rhino.
He likely heard a second or third-hand description of one and is recounting it in his book.
The definition of the unknown creature became distorted, with each telling a bit like a game of telephone.
Another possibility for the Unicorn’s identity?
The original description of a rhino may have been distorted when it first got translated.
Another explanation for the unicorn’s identity is that the Hebrew word for the unicorn, “Re-em,” actually means a creature similar to the “Rimu” animal that the nearby Acadians called the “Aurochs,” an ancient ancestor of modern-day Cattle.
Therefore, when the Bible talks about unicorns, it may refer to an ancient Bull type.
If initially, the Bible described the Unicorn as a Bull or a Rhino, I’ll let you decide.