Mole. Palestine has no true moles. The few Bible references to moles probably mean a burrowing rat that resembles a mole. “Mole rats” live underground and feed on roots and bulbs, to the distress of farmers. Their tiny ears and eyes are nearly hidden in their thick coats of fur. Because these mole rats live in darkness, the prophet Isaiah referred to them as symbols of the spiritually blind. The NEB translates “dung-beetles” (Is. 2:20). Also see Weasel.

Source: [Anon-Animals]

The Mole. I remember but two places in the Bible where this animal is mentioned. One is in Leviticus, where it is named among the unclean animals which the Israelites were forbidden to eat; and the other is this verse in the second chapter of Isaiah: “In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats.” Have you read about the first missionaries who went to the Sandwich Islands? And do you remember that although the people had always been worshippers of idols, they had cast them all away just before the missionaries came? That was a very wonderful thing to happen; and it seems as though God was making these poor people ready to hear about the Savior, when the missionaries should come. Well, this verse in Isaiah declares that the same thing will happen by and by over the whole earth. You know that there are now millions and millions of poor heathen who worship nothing but images of gold, or brass, or stone; but the day is coming when not an idol shall be seen, and no being shall be worshipped but the true God. The mole lives under ground, and the bat in gloomy, dark caves where nobody thinks of going; so when it is said that the idols shall be “Cast to the moles and to the bats,” it means that they shall be thrown away in dark and neglected places, just as we throw away old shoes, or any thing that we care nothing about. Will you try to remember this verse about the idols? Perhaps you may live to see the near approach of that day.

The mole is a very curious animal in its appearance and in its manner of living. It is almost always under ground, and we should think that the little creature could not be very happy; but its skin is as smooth and handsome as that of any animal, and it seems very well contented with its dark home. God made it to live there, and he has given it just such a body at it needs. It is covered with fine, short, silky hair, almost like soft velvet, so that the earth does not stick to it; and its legs are very short, so as not to be in the way. If its legs were long it could not get through the ground very well, you know. Its eyes are very small, because it does not need to see much, and they are almost buried too under its soft fur, which keeps out all the dust and dirt. The opening of the ear is covered in the same way, so that nothing can hurt it.

Its fore-paws are made broad like a shovel, and are very strong; each one, too, has five short fingers with which the earth can be removed. The nose is sharp and bony, and this helps the mole to work its way through the earth. They throw up the earth when they make their houses under ground, and in this way mole-hills are made. They like to work at morning and evening, and also after a shower, when the earth is damp and soft, and easily moved.

The mole is larger than a mouse, but not as large as a rat. It eats insects and worms, and sometimes the roots of plants.

[Cook, Scripture Alphabet of Animals]

See also Mole Rat and Weasel


Hyena. Hyenas were plentiful in Bible times. “Doleful creatures” (KJV) and “beasts of the field” (Is. 13:21; Jer. 12:9) may refer to hyenas. The place name Zeboim (1 Sam. 13:18; Neh. 11:34) means “hyena.” A member of the dog family, hyenas have square snouts and powerful jaws. They run down prey and may even attack human beings. The Israelites hated hyenas and considered them unclean because they are scavengers. Sometimes they would even dig up and devour dead bodies. Hyenas hunt at night. Their eerie howls sound like demented laughter. A reference by the prophet Isaiah to the hyena is also translated as jackal (Is. 13:22), (RSV). Also see Jackal.

Source: [Anon-Animals]


The Ibex or the Wild Goat

The Ibex is a kind of goat, but different from the one described at page 33 (Goat). It is sometimes called the Rock Goat, or Wild Goat; and the last is the name given it in the Bible. It resembles the common goat, but is larger, and its horns are much longer; they are sometimes considerably more than a yard in length, beautifully curved, and surrounded by many curious rings or ridges.

It lives in places where you would think no animal could get without falling and breaking its neck; you would be frightened to see it sometimes, when it climbs up rough and narrow places, or jumps from one great rock to another. But God has given it just such a kind of foot as it needs; it has a small hoof, something like those of a sheep, excepting that it is hollow underneath, and has a sort of ridge around it by which the animal can cling to the rock, and so keep from slipping. I never heard of such a thing as one of them sliding off the rocks, unless it was pursued by the hunters. Two goats once met on a high narrow path, where there was just room for one to walk. There was a high rock rising close to their shoulders on one side, and on the other was a place so steep that it would have made you dizzy to look down. They could not go back without danger of falling, and they could not pass each other; what do you think they could do, but stay there and starve? It seemed for a little while as if they were considering about it; at last one bent his knees and laid down, and the other walked safely over his back.

The ibex feeds during the night in the highest woods that grow on the mountains; but as soon as the sun rises it begins to climb, eating the grass or whatever it finds, till it has got up where it is too high for trees to grow. They go in small companies of eight or ten, and lie down in sunny places among the rocks while the sun is hot; but about three or four o’clock in the afternoon they begin to go down again towards the woods. They can climb up rather more easily than they can get down, because their fore legs are shorter than the others.

See how the ibex or wild goat is spoken of in the Bible. In the one hundred and fourth Psalm you may find the words, “The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats;” and another place where the animal is mentioned is in the twenty-fourth chapter of first Samuel: “Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats.” I should like to have you read with me the whole history of Saul and David in the Bible, so that we might talk about it, for it is very interesting; but now I can only write down what this one verse means. David had been made king over Israel by the command of God; but Saul, who was a very wicked man, was determined to kill him. So David was obliged to fly for his life, with only a few faithful friends; and month after month he hid himself in one place and another, so that Saul might not find him. At last he came to a wild, gloomy place, where nobody lived, near the Dead Sea: it was rocky, and there were many wild goats there. He thought he was safe now; but Saul heard where he was and came after him.

One night Saul and his men went into a large dark cave among the mountains, and behold David and his friends were already there; but they were hidden, so that Saul did not know it. David’s men wanted very much to kill Saul, now that he was in their power, but David would not allow them. He only cut off a small piece from the robe that Saul wore, and he was sorry afterwards that he had done even as much as this He did not hurt Saul in the least, but allowed him to go safely out of the cave, though he might have killed him as easily as not. Was not this returning good for evil?

[Cook, Scripture Alphabet of Animals]


Jackal. The prophet Isaiah spoke of jackals– wild dogs that make their dens in desolate places (Is. 34:13). As scavengers, jackals also fed on garbage in towns and villages in Bible times.

Jackals have an unpleasant smell, and they make a yapping and howling noise at night. They are also agricultural pests. Palestinian farmers put up shelters for watchmen, who guarded their cucumber fields against jackals. Some farmers heaped up whitewashed stones to frighten the jackals, just as scarecrows are used in other places.

Bible references to jackals are confusing, since jackal, fox, dragon, and wolf may be used interchangeably, depending on the translation. The “foxes” to whose tails Samson tied torches were probably jackals which, unlike foxes, travel in packs (Judg. 15:4). Also see Fox.

Source: [Anon-Animals]