The Unicorn

“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? Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? or wilt thou leave thy labour to him? Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn?” (God querying Job in Job 39:9-12). “Unicorn” is from the Hebrew word rieym (reym, rem), which appears nine times (Nu. 23:22; 24:8; De. 33:17; Job 39:9, 10; Ps. 22:21; 29:6; 92:10; Isa. 34:7). There is vast speculation as to what the biblical unicorn refers to. The main thing emphasized in the Bible is the unicorn’s great strength and independent, untamable spirit (Job 39:9-12). Compare Nu. 23:22; 24:8. It had one large horn, as emphasized in Psalm 92:10: “But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn.” The biblical unicorn is probably an extinct type of rhinoceros, which was much larger than living rhinos. The Elasmotherium sibericum (Siberian unicorn), for example, had a 33-inch-long skull. More than three times the size of the surviving rhinoceros, the Siberian unicorn was about 16 feet in length, 7-8 feet at the shoulder, and weighed 3.5-5 tons. The horn was three feet long or more. The 1828 edition of Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language defined “unicorn” as the rhinoceros. The Latin name of the Indian rhinoceros is Rhinoceros unicornis. The word rhinoceros is Greek and means nose horn (rhino – nose, keros – horn). From the living rhinoceros, we can see the basic untamable rhino character, which fits the biblical description perfectly. It is a fierce, unpredictable creature, and it has killed and maimed many people in Africa, India, and Nepal. In mythology, the unicorn is a magical, horse-like creature with a single horn, but this has absolutely nothing to do with the biblical unicorn.

(Friday Church News Notes, March 3, 2023,, 866-295-4143)