Unicorns?

juantoo3

....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb
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I've got a couple of translational issues I've wondered about for a while now, perhaps our esteemed Jewish friends could help me out?

It's been awhile, but I remember reading in at least two or three places in the OT the word "unicorn." Now, as an English reader I could come away thinking this means that unicorns actually existed at some time. I didn't quite get that far, but I never figured out what was actually meant. Is there any "Jewish" significance to the unicorn, or is this an Elizabethan English spin? What creature does this word actually refer to?

Along a similar vein, I seem to recall from the dietary laws (Leviticus?) a passage that goes to length to talk about rabbits by every conceivable English term I can think of: hares, coneys, etc. Are all of the terms used in this passage to describe rabbits, or are there other "critters" included for which the English translators may have been unaware?

I could probably think of more, certainly if I took a little time and went back through, especially the dietary restrictions. But I have long wondered how accurate the English translation was regarding the creatures mentioned (clean and unclean). Are there any obvious and glaring mistranslations? (besides unicorns?)

Found these 6 references:

>Num 23:22 God 0410 brought them out 03318 of Egypt 04714; he hath as it were the strength 08443 of an unicorn 07214.

>Num 24:8 God 0410 brought him forth 03318 out of Egypt 04714; he hath as it were the strength 08443 of an unicorn 07214: he shall eat up 0398 the nations 01471 his enemies 06862, and shall break 01633 their bones 06106, and pierce 04272 [them] through with his arrows 02671.

>Job 39:9 Will the unicorn 07214 be willing 014 to serve 05647 thee, or abide 03885 by thy crib 018?

>Job 39:10 Canst thou bind 07194 the unicorn 07214 with his band 05688 in the furrow 08525? or will he harrow 07702 the valleys 06010 after 0310 thee?

>Psa 29:6 He maketh them also to skip 07540 like a calf 05695; Lebanon 03844 and Sirion 08303 like a young 01121 unicorn 07214.

>Psa 92:10 But my horn 07161 shalt thou exalt 07311 like [the horn of] an unicorn 07214: I shall be anointed 01101 with fresh 07488 oil 08081.

Here is the passage in Leviticus:

Lev 11:5 And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he [is] unclean unto you.

Lev 11:6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he [is] unclean unto you.

Kinda puts a bit different spin on Easter "bunnies," considering unclean critters were not to even be touched iirc, and especially not eaten.
 
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Identification of the ancient Hebrew animal-names is always problematic, but it is believed that the word re'em (if I have that right; Bananabrain can correct me if not) which King Jim renders "unicorn" actually referred to the species Bos primigenius or "wild ox", a larger member of the cow family (the European "aurochs" was a subspecies) with long horns conjoined into a single horn by a bony ridge across the top of the head (Texas longhorns often have a similar "unibrow" kind of horn).
 
The unibrow ox makes incredible sense. I've never seen a Texas longhorn with the unibrow, it looks like it under the layer of hide which covers it though.

The rabbits, another interesting question, and looking forward to the discussion on all.
 
There never have been "rabbits" in the Middle East; there have been some kinds of hare whose range has extended there at various periods. As far as the Levitical cleanness classifications, they are down there with the rodents.
 
So, can we eat unicorns or not? I'm getting a little bored with turkey and the ever present spiral ham at the holidays.

Chris
 
Assuming the "unicorn" was a wild ox, yes, it parted the hoof and chewed the cud. A horse with one horn would not be anymore kosher than any other horse (the hoof is not parted).
 
as far as i know, "re'em" is a "wild ox", something like a buffalo or indeed an aurochs, although i didn't know the latter was known in the middle east at the time. either way, you can eat them both and good luck to you.

interestingly enough, one of the first things the recent bet-din-of-seventy-one-which-has-delusions-of-sanhedrinhood did was declare pheasant kosher, so that's on the list now as well.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
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