antelope

Antelope.

Antelope are cud-chewing, hollow horned animals related to goats. Early European Bible translators were not acquainted with antelope, which roam the grassy plains and forests of Asia and Africa; so they called the antelope deer instead. Antelope are listed among clean wild game (Deut. 14:5), and among King Solomon’s table provisions (1 Kin. 4:23).

When threatened, antelope flee in breathtaking leaps. So speedy were they that hunters in Bible times sometimes needed nets to catch them (Is. 51:20). Sometimes a grazing herd of antelope is joined by other animals that profit from their ability to spot an enemy or smell water at a great distance.

Various Bible translations mention three types of antelopes. The addax is a large, light-colored antelope with spiral horns. The oryx is a large African antelope, whose long horns are nearly straight. Most familiar to Bible writers was the gazelle, which stands less than a yard (approximately one meter) high at the shoulders.

The word gazelle is Arabic for “affectionate.” Young gazelles were taken as pets. Poets made much of their dark, liquid eyes and delicate beauty. King David’s soldier, Asahel, gifted with both speed and endurance, was “as fleet of foot as a wild gazelle” (2 Sam. 2:18). The woman of good works whom Peter raised to life was called Tabitha (Hebrew for gazelle), or Dorcas (Acts 9:36). The dorcas gazelle, once common, almost became extinct. Protected by the modern nation of Israel, it is now an agricultural nuisance.

Source: Anon-Animals

Antelope.

Antelope are cud-chewing, hollow horned animals related to goats. Early European Bible translators were not acquainted with antelope, which roam the grassy plains and forests of Asia and Africa; so they called the antelope deer instead. Antelope are listed among clean wild game (Deut. 14:5), and among King Solomon’s table provisions (1 Kin. 4:23).

When threatened, antelope flee in breathtaking leaps. So speedy were they that hunters in Bible times sometimes needed nets to catch them (Is. 51:20). Sometimes a grazing herd of antelope is joined by other animals that profit from their ability to spot an enemy or smell water at a great distance.

Various Bible translations mention three types of antelopes. The addax is a large, light-colored antelope with spiral horns. The oryx is a large African antelope, whose long horns are nearly straight. Most familiar to Bible writers was the gazelle, which stands less than a yard (approximately one meter) high at the shoulders.

The word gazelle is Arabic for “affectionate.” Young gazelles were taken as pets. Poets made much of their dark, liquid eyes and delicate beauty. King David’s soldier, Asahel, gifted with both speed and endurance, was “as fleet of foot as a wild gazelle” (2 Sam. 2:18). The woman of good works whom Peter raised to life was called Tabitha (Hebrew for gazelle), or Dorcas (Acts 9:36). The dorcas gazelle, once common, almost became extinct. Protected by the modern nation of Israel, it is now an agricultural nuisance.

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The Roe or Gazelle

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.

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.” 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.”

[Cook, Scripture Alphabet of Animals]