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Biblical Definitions ANIMALS

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ANIMALS Since the Israelites were mainly an agricultural people, animals played a large part in their lives. Israelites raised cattle, sheep and goats extensively throughout their land, and these provided them with food products and materials for clothing

Biblical Definitions

ANIMALS

 

Since the Israelites were mainly an agricultural people, animals played a large part in their lives. Israelites raised cattle, sheep and goats extensively throughout their land, and these provided them with food products and materials for clothing (Num 32:1; 2 Chron 26:10; Prov 27:26-27). They used oxen to pull carts, plough fields and thresh grain (Num 7:6-8; 1 Kings 19:19; Amos 2:13; 1 Cor 9:9). They were to treat their working animals kindly and give them proper food and rest (Deut 5:14; 22:10; 25:4). 

 

Israelites did not keep pigs, considering them to be unclean animals whose meat was not fit to be eaten (Lev 11:7; Prov 11:22). However, there were pig farmers among non-Israelites who lived in the region (Luke 8:26,32; 15:15). Another animal that the Israelites loathed was the dog, for most dogs in those days were savage, disease-ridden animals that roamed the streets and fed on filth (2 Sam 16:9; 2 Kings 9:33-36; Ps 22:16; 59:6; Matt 7:6; Luke 16:21; 2 Peter 2:22).

 

For transport people in Bible times used asses (Josh 9:4; 1 Sam 9:3; 25:20; Matt 21:2-5), camels (Gen 24:10; 30:43; 31:17; 37:25; Isa 30:6) and horses (Isa 28:28), though the latter were kept mainly for warfare (Josh 11:4; 1 Kings 10:28-29; Isa 30:16; 36:8). Mules, which combined the strength of the horse with the endurance of the ass, sometimes played an important part in Israel’s communications (1 Kings 18:5; Ezra 2:66).

 

Many different animals lived in the forest and semi-desert regions of Palestine: lions (1 Sam 17:34; Ps 7:2; Isa 31:4; Jer 5:6; Nahum 2:11-12), bears (1 Sam 17:34; 2 Kings 2:24; Amos 5:19), foxes (Judg 15:4; Matt 8:20), wolves (Jer 5:6; John 10:12), hyenas (Isa 13:22), jackals (Isa 34:13; 43:20), wild asses (Job 39:5-8; Jer 14:6), wild oxen (Job 39:9; Ps 22:21), wild boars (Ps 80:13), and deadly snakes (Num 21:6; Isa 30:6). The Israelites did not hunt for sport, but on occasions had to kill wild animals to defend themselves (Exod 23:29; Judg 16:5; 1 Sam 17:34-36; 2 Kings 17:26).

 

There were many other animals which, though wild, were not fierce, such as the hart, gazelle, roebuck, wild goat, ibex, antelope, rock badger, rabbit, hare and porcupine. The Israelites hunted some of these for food, but there were others that they were forbidden to eat (Lev 11:1-8; Deut 14:3-8; Isa 14:23; 34:11). Hunters used bows and arrows, slingstones, and traps of various kinds such as nets and pits (Gen 21:20; 27:3; 1 Sam 17:40; Ps 57:6; 124:7; Ezek 19:8).

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