Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Jerboa or Mouse

Mouse - ©WikiC

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Jerboa or Mouse

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

You will not find the name of the Jerboa in the Bible; but it is supposed to be the same animal that is called a mouse in the 17th verse of the 66th chapter of Isaiah,

They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the Lord;

and also in Leviticus, where God is telling the children of Israel what animals they may be allowed to eat, and also what they must not taste. He says,

These also shall be unclean to you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind.

Whether the Jerboa is the same animal or not, the Israelites must have been well acquainted with it, for it is found in great numbers in Syria and Egypt, and other countries mentioned in the Bible. They like to live where the soil is sandy, and make their burrows, or holes to live in, in the sides of sand-hills. These burrows are often several yards long, and the part where they sleep is made soft with grass.

The Jerboa is about as large as a rat, and its color is a tawny yellow, something like that of dried lemon-peel. Its fur is very smooth and soft; its eyes are full and round, and its head is much like that of a young rabbit. When it eats, it sits and hold its food in its fore-paws, very much as a squirrel does.

Mouse - Four-toes-jerboa

Mouse – Four-toes-jerboa

There is a very great and curious difference in the length of its legs; those in front being so short that you would hardly notice them, and those behind very long. It bounds along over the ground very rapidly; so that the greyhound, which is one of the swiftest of dogs, is often unable to overtake it. It seems, when you first look at it, to use only its hind legs in jumping, but his is not so. When it is about to take a leap, it raises its body upon the toes of its hind feet, keeping the balance by the help of its long tail. It springs and comes down on its short fore legs, but does it so very quickly that you can hardly see how it is done, and the animal seems to be upright all the time.

They appear to be very fond of each other’s company, and great numbers are usually found together. They sleep during the day, but like the hare and rabbit, go out of their burrows to eat and to play as soon as it begins to be dark.

___
See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Nave’s Topical Bible – Mouse

(Photos ©WikiC)

*

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Fox or Jackal

Fox - Blandford's Fox

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Fox or Jackal

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

It is not quite certain whether the fox mentioned in the Bible is the same animal that we now call by that name. It probably means what we now call the jackal. This animal is about as large as a common sized dog, and its color is yellow, or reddish brown. It never goes out alone to seek its food, but always in companies of forty or fifty together. Then they make strange noises, which sound very much like the crying of children.

They do not go out for their food in the daytime, but wait till it begins to be dark; and then they kill all the animals they can find that are not too strong for them. Sometimes a large animal like the lion will hear the cries that they make when they are hunting, and will come and snatch away from them whatever they have found. These foxes or jackals have been known to scratch away the earth from graves that have been lately made, and then devour the bodies of the dead. This explains a verse in the sixty-second Psalm, where David says of those who

seek his soul to destroy it,”-“They shall fall by the sword; they shall be a portion for foxes.

They eat plants of different kinds; sometimes roots, and sometimes fruits. This is one of the verses in Solomon’s Song,

Take us the foxes, the little foxes which spoil the vines; for our vines have tender grapes.

These animals are often found in great numbers around the walls and ruins of old cities; they live in holes or burrows which they dig in the ground. Our Savior says,

The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

Fox - (Vulpes macrotis mutica) with pups

Fox – (Vulpes macrotis mutica) with pups

We have read this verse so many times that we scarcely think how much it means; but was it not a wonderful thing that when Christ came from his bright throne in heaven to this poor earth, he should not find even a home here? Every animal on all the hills has its shelter and hiding-place; every little bird in all the forest has its comfortable nest; but our Savior “had not where to lay his head.” During all his life he was

a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

For whom did he suffer all this?-and when his sorrowful life was ended, for whom did he die? I need not tell you this, dear child, but I may ask you,

“Is there nothing we can do

“To prove our grateful love?”

___

See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Nave’s Topical Bible – Fox

Torrey’s Topical Textbook – Fox

(Photos ©WikiC)

*

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Goat

Nubian Goat with long ears ©WikiC

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Goat

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

There are two kinds of goat in the countries where the Bible was written; one very much like those that we sometimes see; the other differing from it in several respects, especially in the greater length of its ears. It is supposed that the prophet Amos speaks of the latter kind when he says,

As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion, two legs or a piece of an ear.

Goat with unusual horns ©WikiC

Goat with unusual horns

The ear of this kind of goat is so long that a large piece might easily be bitten off; it sometimes measures more than a foot.

Solomon says, in the Proverbs, when speaking to a man who is diligent in his work,

Thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance of thy maidens.

This seems strange to us, because we are not much used to it; but in those countries the milk of the goat is very sweet and good, and is often made into cheese.

The people there often have a great number of goats. Jacob sent a present of two hundred and twenty to his brother Esau; and a great king, mentioned in the Bible, once received seven thousand seven hundred as a gift. A man is mentioned in the first book of Samuel who owned a thousand goats: perhaps you can find the place; and if you do, you will see in the next verse what his name was, and also the name of his wife.

Long-haired Goat ©WikiC

Long-haired Goat ©WikiC

There are two kinds of hair upon the goat; one is long and coarse, the other soft and fine. Of the first kind the people make a kind of rough, coarse cloth; the other is made into very fine cloth, almost as soft as silk. A part of the curtains for the tabernacle were made of goats’ hair.

The bottles mentioned in the Bible were usually made of goat-skins: the people in those days had not learned to make glass. When they had been used a long time, they became worn, so that they would not hold what was put in them. Our Savior once said,

Neither do men put new wine into old bottles;

this was because the new wine would ferment and the leathern bottles would burst. There is a story in the Old Testament about some men who wished to deceive Joshua, and lead him to think that they lived at a very great distance from him, when they really lived very near. So it is said, (Josh. 9:4, 5)

They took old sacks upon their asses, and wine-bottles, old and rent, and bound up; and old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy

Mauritanian making a bota bag©WikiC

Mauritanian making a bota bag©WikiC

Then they said to Joshua, (verses 12 and 13)

This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold it is dry, and it is mouldy. And these bottles of wine which we filled were new, and behold they be rent; and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey.

The Israelites had a singular custom in ancient times, about which you may read in the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus. It was commanded by God, and was to be observed once in every year. On the morning of the day appointed for it, the high-priest was to wash in pure water, and clothe himself in a dress of clean white linen. Then two fair and handsome young goats were brought to him, one of which was to be killed. The priest was to cast lots, that he might know which of them it should be; then he was to kill him, sprinkle his blood upon the altar seven times, and burn the flesh. Afterwards he was to take the live goat, lay both hands upon his head, and confess over him the sins of the Israelites,

putting them upon the head of the goat.

Then the animal was given into the care of a man who led him away and let him go in the wilderness,

bearing upon him all the iniquities

of the people. This goat was a type of our Savior; that is, it represented what he afterwards did, when he came into the world and “bore our sins.”
___
See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Nave’s Topical Bible – Goat

Torrey’s Topical Textbook – Goat

(Photos ©WikiC)

*