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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Cattle. Are animals which are kept and bred in order to harvest something from them for food or clothing. (Sheep for wool, cows for milk and meat.)

If we think of cattle as a group of cows, we must adjust our thinking when we read the Bible. The word cattle is usually a general reference to livestock (Gen. 30:32; 31:10). What we think of as cattle, the Bible calls oxen. A wild ox– a massive, untamable beast– is also mentioned (Job 39:9-10). The KJV calls it a unicorn.

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Oryx is a genus consisting of four large antelope species. Three of them are native to arid parts of Africa, and the fourth to the Arabian Peninsula. Their fur is pale with contrasting dark markings in the face and on the legs, and their long horns are almost straight. The exception is the scimitar oryx, which lacks dark markings on the legs, only has faint dark markings on the head, has an ochreneck, and horns that are clearly decurved.

The Arabian oryx_ was only saved from extinction through a captive breeding program and reintroduction to the wild. The scimitar oryx_, which is now listed as Extinct in the Wild, also relies on a captive breeding program for its survival.[2] Small populations of several oryx_ species, such as the Scimitar Oryx, exist in Texas and New Mexico (USA) in wild game ranches. Gemsboks were released at the White Sands Missile Range and have become an invasive species of concern at the adjacent White Sands National Monument.



Oryx (see Antelope).

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