Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Whale

Humpback Whale breaching ©Wikipedia

Humpback Whale breaching ©Wikipedia

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Whale

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

The whale is mentioned in the first chapter of the Bible, 21st verse.

And God created great whales.

Some suppose that large fish of every kind are here meant.

An animal called the leviathan is described in one of the last chapters of Job, which some suppose to be the whale. It certainly means a large and strong animal, as you will see by the questions asked about him:

Canst thou draw out leviathan with a hook ? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? Canst thou put a hook in his nose ? or bore his jaw through with a thorn? Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? When he raiseth himself up, the mighty are afraid. The arrow cannot make him flee; he laugheth at the shaking of a spear; he maketh the deep to boil like a pot; one would think the deep to be hoary.

This is like the whale in some things; but you will remember that it is not certain that he is meant.

Humpback whale jumping©WikiC

Humpback whale jumping©WikiC

The common whale for which so many sailors are always seeking on the great ocean, is an enormous animal. It is often found seventy feet long; and it is said that they have been found of the length of a hundred feet. If you do not know how long this would be, you will do well to ask some friend to tell you of a building or something else with which you can compare it; for it is not very likely that you will ever see the whale itself, and its size is very wonderful. It is covered with a coat of fat, sometimes more than a yard thick; and when this is cut up and put over fires in great kettles, a hundred barrels of oil are sometimes obtained from a single whale.

Perhaps you already know how they take the whale. As soon as the sailors see one, they go towards him in a boat until they get as near to him as they dare. Then they throw their harpoons at him; these are sharp-pointed irons, fastened to a very long rope, one end of which they keep in the boat. As soon as the whale is wounded, he dives down into the water, and swims away to some distance. He is usually obliged to come up again in about half an hour to breathe, for he cannot live all the while under water; and then the men throw other harpoons at him. Sometimes he comes so near as to upset the boat with a blow of his strong tail. The picture shows you a scene of this kind, where the boat was tossed into the air, the men thrown out, and one of them drowned.

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See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Nave’s Topical Bible – Whale

(Photos ©WikiC)

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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Unicorn

Herd of Addax: note how the horns of one animal at rest on the right appear to be joined as one horn.

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Unicorn

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

There is only this animal mentioned in the Bible, the name of which begins with U, and of this I cannot give you a picture, because no person now knows what sort of an animal it was. Some suppose it was a kind of wild goat; others think that it was a sort of deer; and others, that it was what we call the rhinoceros. Perhaps you have seen pictures with the name of the unicorn under them; but you must remember that those who made them only guessed it was so, and that no person can certainly tell what it was.
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See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Nave’s Topical Bible – Unicorn

Torrey’s Topical Textbook – Unicorn

(Photos ©WikiC)

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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Sheep

Matterhorn Sheep©WikiC

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Sheep

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

I suppose you think you already know as much about sheep and lambs as I can tell you, and perhaps you do. Yet I dare say you never took up your Bible to see how many times they are mentioned there, or how many beautiful things are said about them. Abel, who, as you know, was the third man that lived on the earth, was a

keeper of sheep;

and there have always been a great many shepherds in the world from that time to this. Some of the men who lived in old times had a great many sheep. Job had seven thousand, which God allowed to be taken from him; but afterwards gave him twice as many-fourteen thousand. At the time when Solomon’s beautiful temple was dedicated to God, he offered a sacrifice of a hundred and twenty thousand sheep. If you want to know how many that is, try to think of a pasture with a hundred sheep in it-then think of a hundred pastures, just like it, with just as many sheep in each-then think of those hundred pastures taken twelve times over, and you will begin to understand how many there were. It is not common with us to have persons whose whole business it is to take care of sheep, but that was always the way in Bible countries. This was not done by servants, at least not always; for a great many rich men employed their children as shepherds. Rachel, who was afterwards the wife of Jacob,

kept her father’s sheep

-so did Jacob’s twelve sons-so did Moses for his father-in-law.

Sheep Fold©WikiC

Sheep Fold©WikiC

When God was about to make David king, he sent Samuel the prophet to do it by anointing him, or putting oil upon his head. David had six brothers, and Samuel did not know which of all the sons was to be king; but both he and their father Jesse supposed it would be one of the older ones, and nobody remembered even to call little David, who had been left with the sheep, until they found that he was the one whom God had chosen. David often spoke of his shepherd-life after he became a king, and even when he was an old man. You remember that most beautiful psalm of his, the twenty-third,

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want: he maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.

That is the way they are accustomed to do in those countries: the shepherd walks on, and the sheep follow where he wishes them to go. So Christ says,

And when he (the shepherd) putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

The sheep in many countries are in danger from wolves, which prowl about and try to carry them off; so it is necessary to watch them by night as well as by day. You remember the shepherds were watching their flocks by night when the bright angels appeared to tell the glad tidings that A SAVIOR had come; and they were the first to hear that sweet song in the stillness of the night, when all around were hushed in sleep.

Good Shepherd

Good Shepherd

The sheep is so timid and gentle that it needs the protection of man, and without the care of the shepherd would often stray away and be lost, or devoured by other animals. David says,

I have gone astray like a lost sheep;

and in Isaiah we read,

All we like sheep have gone astray.

Is not this true of us-that we have gone away, far away, from Jesus our good shepherd? Perhaps, dear child, you are wandering still; but why should you thus go on, alone, and every hour in danger? Why should you, when he calls you back with his voice of kindness, and is ready to

gather you with his arms, and carry you in his bosom.

as the shepherd does his tender lambs?

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See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Nave’s Topical Bible – Sheep

Torrey’s Topical Textbook – Sheep

(Photos ©WikiC)

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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Scorpion

Bark Scorpion©WikiC

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Scorpion

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

This frightful creature is several times mentioned in the Bible. It is the largest among insects, and more dangerous than any of them. It is sometimes found in Europe, and is there about four inches long; but those of hot countries are sometimes more than a foot in length.

The scorpion is very easily made angry, and then its sting is terrible; it very often causes death, but not always. In Revelation, 9:5, 6, we read,

And their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when he striketh a man; and in those days shall men seek death and shall not find it: and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

Barb of an AZ Bark Scorpion©Wikipedia

Barb of an AZ Bark Scorpion©Wikipedia

This shows that the pain caused by their sting is very great. When a person has been stung by a scorpion, the part around the wound swells and becomes very painful, the hands and feet become cold, the skin is pale, and there is a feeling as though there were needles in every part of it. This pain often increases and rages until the person dies in great suffering.

It is well for man that scorpions destroy each other as readily as they do animals of a different kind. It is said that a hundred were once put together under a glass, where they immediately began to attack and kill each other; so that in a few days only fourteen were left alive. I have heard that if a circle of alcohol or spirit of any sort, is set on fire, and a scorpion placed within it so that he cannot get out on any side, he will sting himself so as to cause his death. I am not certain that this is true, and it would be a very cruel thing to try it even upon so dangerous an animal as the scorpion.

It seems that this creature was sometimes seen in the wilderness through which the children of Israel passed. When they had nearly reached the end of their journey, Moses reminded them to praise God for having kept them safely in so many dangers, while passing through

that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions and drought; where there was no water.

Our Savior asks,

If a son shall ask of his father an egg, will he give him a scorpion?

Scorpion - (Centruroides vittatus)©WikiC

Scorpion – (Centruroides vittatus)©WikiC

The scorpions in that country are about as large as an egg, and when rolled up look a little like one. Yet no father would be so wicked as to give one to his child instead of the egg which he needed for food.

Christ once said to his disciples, when they were going out to preach and to heal the diseases of the people,

Behold I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

This was a very wonderful power; and whoever should see one of those disciples tread on the terrible scorpion without being hurt, would know that Christ was surely with him to take care of him.

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See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Nave’s Topical Bible – Scorpion

Torrey’s Topical Textbook – Scorpion

(Photos ©WikiC)

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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Vulture

White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) by Africaddict

White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) by Africaddict

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Vulture

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

The vulture is called a bird of prey, because it lives on flesh; but it has not such strong claws as the eagle, to seize and tear its food. It does not often kill other animals; but preys upon those that have been killed in some other way, or have died of themselves. It is a disagreeable bird, and one that you would not like very well to see; no wonder the Israelites were forbidden to eat it. It is about a yard long from the top of its head, and it sometimes measures two yards across the wings.

Black Vultures at Saddle Creek by Lee

Black Vultures at Saddle Creek by Lee

It lives only in warm or hot climates, and there it is very useful, though you might at first be puzzled to think how this can be. It is because it lives upon such things as would be very injurious to man if they were left to decay in the open air. It not only consumes the dead bodies of animals, but takes away many things from the streets of the cities which the inhabitants are too indolent to remove. It is for this reason that in the city of Cairo, in Egypt, there is a law forbidding any person to kill a vulture. These birds sometimes follow an army, and prey upon the bodies of those poor soldiers who have been killed in battle. Ah ! it is a sad thing to go to war; almost every thing about it is sad.

The vulture has a very keen eye, and, like the eagle, can see what is on the ground, even when it is very high in the air. This is referred to in the book of Job.

There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen.

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) by Nikhil

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) by Nikhil

It often happens in those countries that almost as soon as an ox, or a horse, or any other large animal has been killed, great multitudes of vultures will gather around, though not one could be seen in the sky before. they seem to fly down from every part of the heavens, and being to pull and struggle for the flesh of the animal; until in the course of a few hours nothing is left but the bones. We read in Isaiah,

There shall the vultures be gathered, every one with her mate.

This must have been written by one who had seen these birds coming together, as they do in great flocks or companies.

(Blog formatted by Lee)

See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Birds of the Bible

Birds of the Bible – Vulture

Accipitridae – Kites, Hawks & Eagles

Nave’s Topical Bible – Vulture

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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Roe or Gazelle

Thomson's Gazelles©WikiC

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Roe or Gazelle

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

The roe belongs to the class of antelopes-animals very much resembling the deer; they are equally innocent and beautiful, and are often mentioned together in the Bible. The form of the antelope is, if possible, still more graceful than that of the deer, and its limbs still more delicate; but the principal difference between them is in the horns. Those of the deer grow from the bone of the forehead, and are at first small; but they are renewed every spring-the old horns falling off, and being succeeded by larger ones which grow in their place. They are at first covered with a soft, downy substance, called “the velvet;” but this soon comes off in fragments, leaving the horn white and smooth. The antelope never sheds its horns.

Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)©WikiC

Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)©WikiC

The roe or gazelle is the smallest animal of the antelope kind; it is only about two feet in height, and not more than half the size of the fallow-deer. Its eyes are remarkably soft and expressive; so that the people of those countries sometimes say of a beautiful woman,

She has the eyes of a gazelle.

Like the hart and hind, it is noted for its swiftness: so we read, in 1st Chronicles, 12 : 8, of men who were

as swift as the roes upon the mountains.

In 2d Samuel, 2 : 18, it is said,

And Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe;

and in the Song of Solomon,

The voice of my beloved ! behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills: my beloved is like a roe or a young hart.

The gazelle is often pursued in the chase; so Solomon says,

Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter.

Thomson's Gazelle at Masai Mara, Kenya©WikiC

Thomson’s Gazelle at Masai Mara, Kenya©WikiC

They go in very large companies, sometimes as many as two or three thousand; and they are still found in great numbers on the hills of Judea, the land where our Savior lived and died.

“The wild gazelle o’er Judah’s hills
‘Exulting, still may bound,
“And drink from all the living rills
“That gush on holy ground.”
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See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Nave’s Topical Bible – Roe

Torrey’s Topical Textbook – Roe

(Photos ©WikiC)

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