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st of bestion as toen as muce elephant
strong; the conies are but a feeble folk. It was very natural that the oppressed Israelites should compare their great enemy with the terrible crocodile; and so in Ezekiel (xxix. 3) Pharaoh, King of Egypt, is called the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers.'
The question as to the animal denoted by the behemoth of the Book of Job has been as much discussed as the former word. Some critics have suggested the elephant ; others, as Mason Good, have thought that the behemoth was some extinct mastodon or mammoth. (!) There can be no doubt, however, that the hippopotamus is the behemoth of Scripture. The expressions, he eateth grass as an ox'- he lieth under the shady trees in the covert of the reeds and fens '-' he moveth his tail like a cedar' -clearly point to the hippopotamus. Though he passes much of his time in the water, yet he takes not his food from thence, like his associate the crocodile; he eats grass like cattle ; the hill-sides bring him forth food. Again, according to the opinion of many Oriental scholars, as Bochart, Gesenius, Fürst, Jablonski, and others, the Hebrew behemoth is equivalent to the Coptic pehemou or pehemout, i. e. Bos marinus. But let the reader peruse the whole passage of Job xl. (15-24) and say whether every particular does not suit the hippopotamus?
*The Talmudists represent behemoth as a huge land-quadruped which each day devours the grass of a thousand hills; hence he is called the “bull of the high mountains.” He is at some future period to have a battle with leviathan.' • The Fathers for the most part,' as Carey observes, surrounded the subject with an awe equally dreadful; and in the behemoth and the leviathan saw nothing but mystical representations of the devil,... but these wild imaginations are surpassed by that of Bolducius, who in the behemoth actually beholds Christ. *
There is abundant evidence to show that the hippopotamus formerly existed in other regions than those to which it is now confined; it has entirely disappeared from Lower Egypt, but in 1600 it was found in the Delta of the Nile, for the traveller Zereughi killed two individuals near Damietta. Bones of the modern species (H. amphibius, Lin.) have been found in the river Chelif in Algeria. There can be no doubt that the hippopotami which were introduced into the Roman shows were derived from Lower Egypt and North Africa; and doubtless the behemoth of the Book of Job refers to an animal of the same locality.
But if the behemoth and the leviathan have each of them
* • Dictionary of the Bible,' art. Behemoth, App. A.
received a very large share of discussion, perhaps both are surpassed in this respect by the claims of the unicorn. Pages upon pages have been written on this subject. Some have said it must have been the antelope (Oryx leucoryx) of North Africa, Syria, &c., that the horns seen in profile appear as one, and hence the mistake of regarding the animal as possessing a single horn; others have no hesitation in referring the unicorn to the one-horned rhinoceros (R. unicornis) of Asia. This is the opinion generally entertained at this day.* But all attempts to discover a one-horned animal that shall represent the unicorn of our English Bible are beyond the mark entirely, and for this simple reason, the so-called unicorn is no unicorn at all: the Hebrew word riêm denotes a two-horned animal beyond a shadow of doubt. The 'unicorn' of our authorised version owes its origin to the movoképws of the LXX. That the r’êm possessed two horns is evident, as observed by Schultens in 1737, from the 17th verse of Deut. xxxii., where of Joseph it is said, “His horns are like the horns of a r’êm. Our translators, seeing the contradiction involved in the expression
horns of the unicorn,' have rendered the Hebrew singular noun as if it were a plural form. In the margin, however, they give the correct translation. The two horns of the riêm are the ten thousands of Ephraim and the thousands of Manasseh, and represent the two tribes which sprang from one (viz. Joseph), just as two horns spring from one head. We may dismiss the idea, therefore, that a unicorn is spoken of anywhere in the Bible. The r’êm is a two-horned animal, and almost certainly denotes some kind of wild ox,' as appears from a comparison of the different passages where the word occurs in Holy Scripture. The riêm is almost always mentioned with bovine animals: it is said to push with its horns: it must have been frequently seen by the ancient Hebrews roaming on the hills of Palestine and in the woods of the Jordan valley, as is evident from the numerous allusions to it. It is true there is no “wild ox’ at present known to exist in Palestine, but this is no reason why in early times some mighty species, allied perhaps to the urus of the Hercynian Forest, of which Cæsar speaks, should not have existed in that country. Lions were certainly not uncommon in Palestine and Syria in Biblical times, as is clear from the numerous allusions to them in Holy Writ; and it is interesting to note, in verification of the Scriptures, that the late Dr. Roth discovered bores of the lion in gravel on the banks of the Jordan, near the Sea of Galilee. It is, therefore, quite probable that future investigations
* See · Aupals and Magazine of Natural History,' No. lix., Nov. 1862.
in Palestine may result in the discovery of the bones of Bos primigenius, or Bison priscus, or some other species of once formidable ox. Our readers will remember the beautiful passage about the r’êm in the Book of Job. Now, let us compare with it the account Cæsar gives of the fierce urus, which in his time was to be seen in the great Hercynian Forest :
These uri are scarcely less than elephants in size, but in their nature, colour, and form are bulls. Great is their strength, and great their speed ; they spare neither man nor beast when once they have caught sight of them. The hunters are most careful to kill those which they take in pitfalls, while the young men exercise themselves by this sort of hunting and grow hardened by the toil; those who kill most receive great praise when they exhibit in public the horns as trophies of their success. These uri, however, even when young cannot be habituated to man or made tractable.* The size and shape of their horns are very different from those of our oxen.'—Bell. Gal., iv. 29. The indomitable nature ascribed to these wild uri exactly agrees with the description of the riêm, as given in the 39th chapter of Job, Will the r’ém be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib?' and the implied contrast between the domestic ox and the intractable r’êm finds an analogue in the above extract from Cæsar.
But of all the animals of which mention is made in the Bible, the greatest stumbling-block to critics is found in the fish that swallowed Jonah. It is generally supposed that no animal exists with a gullet sufficiently wide to allow of the passage of a man to the stomach. This, however, is an error. The white shark, that terrible foe to sailors, is quite able to swallow a man whole. A well-known ichthyologist thus speaks of this shark's capabilities in this respect. White sharks
usually cut asunder any object of considerable size and thus swallow it; but if they find a difficulty in doing this, there is no hesitation in passing into the stomach even what is of enormous bulk ; and the formation of the jaws and throat renders this a matter of but little difficulty. Ruysch says that the whole body of a man in armour (loricatus) has been found in the stomach of a white shark; and Captain King, in his “Survey of Australia," says he had caught one which could have swallowed a man with the greatest ease. Blumenbach says a whole horse has been found in it; and Captain Basil Hall
* It appears, however, that the ancient lake-dwellers of Switzerland did succeed in taming the urus, towards the close of the stone and the beginning of the bronze period. 'Io a tame state its boues were somewhat less massive and heavy, and its horns were somewhat smaller than in wild individuals. Still in its domesticated form it rivalled in dimensions the largest living cattle, those of Friesland in North Holland, for example.'-Lyell's ' Antiquity of Man,' p. 24.
reports reports the taking of one, in which besides other things he found the whole skin of a buffalo, which a short time before had been thrown overboard from his ship.' * It is true that in the New Testament the fish is called a "whale ;' but the Greek antos is not to be restricted to such a meaning : it is used in classical authors in a wide sense to denote either a
seal,' or a “tunny,' or a "whale;' in fact, almost any large marine monster. But even if it were necessary to suppose some Cetacean was signified, there is, so far as ability to swallow is involved in the question, nothing opposed to zoological fact. The spermaceti whale (Catodon macrocephalus) has a very capacious throat, quite wide enough to admit the body of a man: it might occasionally find its way from the Northern Seas into the Mediterranean—the scene, doubtless, of the transaction recorded in the Book of Jonah-but the ordinary food of whales consists of comparatively small animals, Crustacea, Medusa, &c. Dr. Harris observes,
that the fame of the prophet's miraculous preservation was so widely propagated as to reach even Greece; whence was, no doubt, derived the story of Hercules escaping alive out of a fish's belly, alluded to by Lycophron.' How a man could be preserved alive until the third day in the belly of a whale or a shark, is quite another matter; nor is the solution of the question to be sought for in the field of physical science, Jonah's preservation, if the account is to be understood literally, was unquestionably miraculous.
In no Book in the Bible are so many and such full descriptions of animals as in the Book of Job. The whole of the 39th chapter consists of beautiful pictures, drawn from nature-the allusions to the habits of wild asses, for instance:
"Who hath sent out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass ?
* Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the salt places his dwellings.
He scorneth the multitude of the city, neither regardeth the crying of the driver.
The range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searcheth after every green thing.' The species here referred to is probably the Asinus hemippus, which inhabits the deserts of Syria, Mesopotamia, and the northern parts of Arabia. Mr. Layard, as he was riding through the desert to Tel Afer, saw a troop of these wild asses, which at first he mistook for a body of horse, with the Bedouin riders concealed. “The reader will remember,' he adds, that Xenophon mentions
*'Fishes of the British Islands,' vol. i. p. 27: Jonathan Couch, London, 1862.
these beautiful animals, which he must have seen during his march over these very plains. The country,' says he, was a plain throughout, as even as the sea, and full of wormwood. ... The asses, when they were pursued, having gained ground on the horses, stood still (for they exceeded them much in speed), and when these came up with them, they did the same thing again. The flesh of those that were taken was like red deer, but more tender' (Strabo, i. § 5). “In fleetness, continues Mr. Layard, they equal the gazelle, and to overtake them is a feat which only one or two of the most celebrated mares have been known to accomplish.' The Asinus vulgaris of North-East Africa, and perhaps also the A. onager, or koulan, of Persia and West India, were probably known to, though not discriminated by, the ancient Hebrews.
It is beyond question that the Biblical notices of animals are not always in strict harmony with zoological facts; we give as an illustration of the truth of this remark the following quotation from the Book of Job (xxxix. 13-18), from which it will be seen that the ancient Orientals regarded the ostrich as a stupid bird, and without natural affection for her young. The passage may be translated thus :
The wing of the ostrich moving joyously; * is it indeed a pious pinion and feather ?
• She leaveth her eggs to the earth and warmeth them upon the dust,
· And forgetteth that a foot may crush them, and that the beast of the field may trample on them.
‘She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not her own; in vain she labours without solicitude.
' For God hath made her forget wisdom and hath imparted unto her no share of understanding.
What time she raiseth herself on high, she scorneth the horse and his rider.' Now, so far from the ostrich being devoid of natural affection towards her brood, she is remarkable for quite the opposite character. It is not an uncommon thing, for instance, to discover a dead fox or jackal, or other small carnivorous enemy, close to the ostrich's nest, the hungry marauder having been killed by the kicks of the male bird. Again, the eggs which a 'foot may crush' are an additional evidence of the bird's provident care for her young. They are not the eggs destined for hatching - for these
* Gesenius aptly compares the idea conveyed by the Hebrew verb with that expressed by the ayantóueval attepúyeooi of Homer (II. ii. 462). Shaw, speaking of the actions and bebaviour' of ostriches, says (Suppl., p. 71), “They would be perpetually fanning and priding themselves with their quivering-expanded wings.'