Fawn (see Deer).
Dromedary (see Camel).
Elephant. No elephants lived in Palestine. But they were native to the neighboring continents of Africa and Asia. Wealthy Jews sometimes imported the ivory which came from their great tusks. King Solomon “made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold” (1 Kin. 10:18). And King Ahab built an “ivory house” (1 Kin. 22:39).
Cormorant. Both the prophets Isaiah and Zephaniah linked the cormorant or “the pelican” (NKJV) with the bittern to describe the ruin God brings in judgment upon man’s proud cities (Is. 34:11; Zeph. 2:14). The cormorant (or “the fisher owl,” NKJV) was listed among the few birds the Israelites were not to eat (Lev. 11:17; Deut. 14:17).
Crocodile. The land crocodile appears as an unclean beast in the RSV rendering of (Leviticus 11:30). Many scholars assume that the crocodile is the mysterious “Leviathan” (whale, NEB) praised by Job (Job 41:1-34) and mentioned in (Psalm 74:14; 104:26); and (Isaiah 27:1).
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.
Dove. Doves and pigeons belong to the same family. They are often mentioned in the Bible as if they are the same animal. The rock dove found in Palestine is the wild ancestor of our common street pigeon. Turtledoves are migrants. They spend the months of April to October in the Holy Land, filling the air with soft cooing when they arrive each Spring (Song 2:11-12).
Doves come in several colors, from pure white to the chestnut-colored palm turtledove. Even the plain gray pigeon has a silver sheen. Solomon waxed poetic over doves’ eyes. David longed for “wings like a dove” (Ps. 55:6), so he could fly away from his enemies.
Pigeons were probably the first domesticated bird. When people realized doves could travel long distances and always find their way home, they used them to carry messages. Homing pigeons have keen eyes with which they spot landmarks to help them stay on the right route.
Hebrews ate pigeons and, from Abraham’s time, used them in sacrifice. Even a poor man could provide a pigeon or two for worship, as Joseph and Mary did at Jesus’ circumcision (Luke 2:21-24; Lev. 12:8).
Doves appear to express affection, stroking each other, and “billing and cooing.” They mate for life, sharing nesting and parenting duties. They are gentle birds that never resist attack or retaliate against their enemies. Even when her young are attacked, a dove will give only a pitiful call of distress.
Because of its innocence and gentle nature, the dove is a common religious symbol. The Holy Spirit took the form of a dove at Jesus’ baptism (Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22). The dove also symbolizes peace, love, forgiveness, and the church.
a kind of dog-faced, long-haired monkey, dwelling among ruins (gen. Cynocephalus); it was an object of worship for the Egyptians. Some deem it to be the “hairy one” spoken of in Is. 13:21; 34:14, but it is very doubtful whether it ever existed west of the Euphrates
Baboons are monkey-like creatures that represent curiosity in Scripture as kings and queens have them for their entertainment.