Wolf

Wolf.

Wolves were a menace to the sheep farmers of Palestine. Man’s first dogs were probably tamed wolf pups. Perhaps this kinship enabled wolves to lurk near sheepfolds and gain their reputation for treachery.

Of his youngest son, the patriarch Jacob said: “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf” (Gen. 49:27). The Hebrew word translated ravenous means “to rip and tear,” indicating the bloodthirsty nature of the wolf. Wolves seem particularly cruel because they seek out the weak, old, and defenseless as victims. The flow of blood incites them to rip and tear even more with their powerful jaws.

In many Bible references, wolves represent ruthless enemies. Jesus warned of false prophets “who come… in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly… are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15).

Source: [Anon-Animals]

The Wolf

The wolf is rather larger than our largest dogs, and looks somewhat like them; but he seems more wild, savage and cruel. The wolves go in large companies, making a terrible howling noise; and though they are in general cowardly, yet when they are very hungry they attack large animals, and even men. They almost always go out by night, and the Bible refers to this when it says, “Their horses are more fierce than the evening wolves.” Jacob, just before his death, said of one of his sons, “Benjamin shall raven as a wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at evening he shall divide the spoil.”

There were once a great many wolves in New England and in other parts of the United States, and some are left yet, although many have been killed or driven away. There are still great numbers of them in some countries. In England the month of January used to be called Wolf- monat, or wolf-month; “because,” as an old book says, “people are wont in that moneth to be more in danger to be devoured of wolves than in any season els of the yeare, for that through the extremity of cold and snow those ravenous creatures could not find other beasts sufficient to feed upon.”

A sad story is told of something that happened in Russia a few years since. A woman was one day riding on a sledge with her three children over a lonely road, when suddenly she heard the noise of wolves behind her. She was not very far from home, and tried to urge her horse on, to get out of their reach; but they gained upon her every moment, and were just on the point of rushing on the sledge, when the poor woman, to save the lives of the rest, caught up one of the children and threw it to the wolves. This stopped them but a short time; they devoured it at once and again ran howling after the sledge. The mother threw out a second child, hoping to escape with the other; but in vain. Again the cruel animals were close behind her, and to save her own life, hardly knowing what she did, she threw over her only remaining child. She succeeded in reaching home herself, in safety, but where were her children? She told the terrible story; but while she was endeavoring to excuse herself by telling of her exceeding fright and danger, a man who stood by struck her on the head with an axe and killed her at one blow-saying that a woman who would thus give up her children to save her life, was not fit to live.

The Bible tells us of a time yet to come, when “The wolf shall feed with the lamb.” Perhaps this will be exactly true of the animals in those days, though it now seems so unlikely; but I suppose it means also that wicked and cruel men shall become holy and Christ-like. Then all will be peace on earth, and “none shall hurt or destroy in all” God’s “holy mountain.”

[Cook, Scripture Alphabet of Animals]

Jackal

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]

Hyena

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]

Fox

Fox. Foxes were common predators in Bible times. Since they fed on small rodents like rats and mice, they helped to protect the grain crops. But their fondness for grapes caused farmers much grief. Sometimes they even tunneled under protective walls to feast on grapevines (Song 2:15). Foxes also settle in holes and burrows, often those abandoned by other animals. Jesus pointed out that foxes have holes, but the Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head (Matt. 8:20).

Foxes have a keen sense of sight, smell, and hearing. They are also clever enough to lie in wait for prey. They may even play dead to attract a bird within striking range. When hunted, they are cunning and devious, misleading their pursuers. Jesus compared Herod, the Roman tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, to a fox, because of his crafty, devious nature (Luke 13:32).

“The land of Shual” (1 Sam. 13:17) may have been fox country, for shual means “fox” or “jackal.” Also see Jackal.

Source: [Anon-Animals]

The Fox or Jackal. It is not quite certain whether the fox mentioned in the Bible is the same animal that we now call by that name. It probably means what we now call the jackal. This animal is about as large as a common sized dog, and its color is yellow, or reddish brown. It never goes out alone to seek its food, but always in companies of forty or fifty together. Then they make strange noises, which sound very much like the crying of children.

They do not go out for their food in the daytime, but wait till it begins to be dark; and then they kill all the animals they can find that are not too strong for them. Sometimes a large animal like the lion will hear the cries that they make when they are hunting, and will come and snatch away from them whatever they have found. These foxes or jackals have been known to scratch away the earth from graves that have been lately made, and then devour the bodies of the dead. This explains a verse in the sixty-second Psalm, where David says of those who “seek his soul to destroy it,”-“They shall fall by the sword; they shall be a portion for foxes.”

They eat plants of different kinds; sometimes roots, and sometimes fruits. This is one of the verses in Solomon’s Song, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes which spoil the vines; for our vines have tender grapes.”

These animals are often found in great numbers around the walls and ruins of old cities; they live in holes or burrows which they dig in the ground. Our Savior says, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” We have read this verse so many times that we scarcely think how much it means; but was it not a wonderful thing that when Christ came from his bright throne in heaven to this poor earth, he should not find even a home here? Every animal on all the hills has its shelter and hiding-place; every little bird in all the forest has its comfortable nest; but our Savior “had not where to lay his head.” During all his life he was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” For whom did he suffer all this?-and when his sorrowful life was ended, for whom did he die? I need not tell you this, dear child, but I may ask you,

“Is there nothing we can do
“To prove our grateful love?”

[Cook, Scripture Alphabet of Animals]