Dog

Dog. In ancient Israel, the dog was not “man’s best friend.” In fact, calling someone a dog was one of the most offensive ways of insulting that person. The Bible mentions dogs frequently; most of the references are derogatory. Even in New Testament times, Jews called Gentiles “dogs” (Matt. 15:26). The term “dog” also referred to a male prostitute (Deut. 23:18). Unbelievers who were shut out of the New Jerusalem were also termed “dogs” (Rev. 22:15)– probably a reference to their sexual immorality. Moslems later applied the insult to Christians.

The dog may have been the first animal in the ancient world to be tamed. Ancient Egyptians raced greyhounds, mentioned by Solomon in his Proverbs (Prov. 30:31), (NKJV), and the Greeks raised mastiffs. But dogs in Palestine were more wild than tame. They often banded together in packs and lived off the refuse and food supplies of a village. Some dogs were useful as watchdogs or guardians of sheep, but even they were not altogether reliable (Is. 56:10).

Source: [Anon-Animals]

The Dog

There are many dogs in the countries where the Bible was written, but the people do not like them as well as we do, and do not let them live about their yards and houses. So the dogs go wandering about without any master, and live on whatever they can find in the streets or around the markets. In the fifty-ninth Psalm you will find the verse: “They return at evening; they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city,”-and a little farther on you will see, “Let them wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied.” These verses show that the dogs wandered about in those days just as they do now. Sometimes when they do not find enough to eat, they become very fierce and cruel, so that you would be afraid to meet one of them.

There is a sad story in some of the chapters of the two books of Kings, in which you will find these dogs mentioned. There was a very proud and wicked queen, named Jezebel, and she tried to make her husband, king Ahab, do all the evil she could. Once Ahab wanted a piece of ground that was near his palace, so that he might have it made into a garden, and he asked the owner of it, whose name was Naboth, to sell it to him. But Naboth was not willing, because he used it for his vineyard, and because his father had given it to him before he died. Then Ahab was very angry about it, and acted just as I have seen some foolish children do when they were not pleased. He went into his great splendid house, and laid himself down on the bed; then he turned his face towards the wall, and when it was dinner time he would not get up or eat any thing. So his wife Jezebel asked him what was the matter; and when she found out, she told him that he need not be troubled, for she could get that vineyard for him. Then she contrived to have Naboth killed by stoning, and when he was dead king Ahab took the vineyard.

Now you may be sure God was displeased with such wickedness as this, and you will think it was very right that he should punish the cruel Jezebel. Do you think her husband Ahab ought to be punished too? I do; because he knew that his wife was going to kill Naboth, and yet he did not try to keep her from doing it. I think he was as wicked as she. After Ahab had taken the vineyard, God sent to him the prophet Elijah to say to him these words, “Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.” And of Jezebel he said, “The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.” Now see how the word of God was fulfilled, just as he had said. Pretty soon after this, king Ahab went out to fight with his enemies, and as he was riding along in his carriage a man drew his great, strong bow, and shot an arrow which pierced the king and almost killed him. He lived a few hours, until nearly night, and then he died. The blood had run down from his wound into the carriage, and after the king was dead they took it to the pool of Samaria to wash it: there the dogs came and licked up the blood of Ahab.

The wicked Jezebel lived some years after this, and one of her sons became king; but God raised up another king, named Jehu, who slew this son, and then went to Jezreel, the city where Jezebel lived. She heard he was coming, and feared that he meant to put her to death; but she determined that, instead of begging him to spare her life, she would act as though she was still a queen, and then perhaps he would not dare to injure her. So she put ornaments on her head, and painted her face, and then sat down by an upper window in all the splendor of a queen. When Jehu came near, she called out to him in great anger and scorn, to reproach him for having put her son to death. When Jehu heard her voice and saw her sitting at the window, he cried out, “Who is on my side?” and two or three of the queen’s officers looked out at the windows. Then he said to them, “Throw her down.” They were very glad to get rid of the proud and cruel queen, and so they threw her down, as he had said. It was so far to the ground that she was killed immediately, and her blood was sprinkled upon the walls. But Jehu did not care for this; he went into the house to eat and drink. After he had taken his dinner, he thought of Jezebel, and told some of his servants that they must go and bury her: but in the mean time a terrible thing had happened. The dogs had seized and devoured the body, and nothing was left of it but the feet, and the palms of the hands, and part of the bones of the head. So God’s word came to pass, “The dogs shall eat Jezebel.”

[Cook, Scripture Alphabet of Animals]

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]