Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Wolf

Timber Wolves by Ray

Timber Wolves by Ray

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Wolf

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

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.

Timber Wolf by Ray

Timber Wolf by Ray

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.

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See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Nave’s Topical Bible – Wolf

Torrey’s Topical Textbook – Wolf

(Photos ©WikiC)

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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Whale

Humpback Whale breaching ©Wikipedia

Humpback Whale breaching ©Wikipedia

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Whale

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

The whale is mentioned in the first chapter of the Bible, 21st verse.

And God created great whales.

Some suppose that large fish of every kind are here meant.

An animal called the leviathan is described in one of the last chapters of Job, which some suppose to be the whale. It certainly means a large and strong animal, as you will see by the questions asked about him:

Canst thou draw out leviathan with a hook ? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? Canst thou put a hook in his nose ? or bore his jaw through with a thorn? Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? When he raiseth himself up, the mighty are afraid. The arrow cannot make him flee; he laugheth at the shaking of a spear; he maketh the deep to boil like a pot; one would think the deep to be hoary.

This is like the whale in some things; but you will remember that it is not certain that he is meant.

Humpback whale jumping©WikiC

Humpback whale jumping©WikiC

The common whale for which so many sailors are always seeking on the great ocean, is an enormous animal. It is often found seventy feet long; and it is said that they have been found of the length of a hundred feet. If you do not know how long this would be, you will do well to ask some friend to tell you of a building or something else with which you can compare it; for it is not very likely that you will ever see the whale itself, and its size is very wonderful. It is covered with a coat of fat, sometimes more than a yard thick; and when this is cut up and put over fires in great kettles, a hundred barrels of oil are sometimes obtained from a single whale.

Perhaps you already know how they take the whale. As soon as the sailors see one, they go towards him in a boat until they get as near to him as they dare. Then they throw their harpoons at him; these are sharp-pointed irons, fastened to a very long rope, one end of which they keep in the boat. As soon as the whale is wounded, he dives down into the water, and swims away to some distance. He is usually obliged to come up again in about half an hour to breathe, for he cannot live all the while under water; and then the men throw other harpoons at him. Sometimes he comes so near as to upset the boat with a blow of his strong tail. The picture shows you a scene of this kind, where the boat was tossed into the air, the men thrown out, and one of them drowned.

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See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Nave’s Topical Bible – Whale

(Photos ©WikiC)

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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Vulture

White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) by Africaddict

White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) by Africaddict

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Vulture

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

The vulture is called a bird of prey, because it lives on flesh; but it has not such strong claws as the eagle, to seize and tear its food. It does not often kill other animals; but preys upon those that have been killed in some other way, or have died of themselves. It is a disagreeable bird, and one that you would not like very well to see; no wonder the Israelites were forbidden to eat it. It is about a yard long from the top of its head, and it sometimes measures two yards across the wings.

Black Vultures at Saddle Creek by Lee

Black Vultures at Saddle Creek by Lee

It lives only in warm or hot climates, and there it is very useful, though you might at first be puzzled to think how this can be. It is because it lives upon such things as would be very injurious to man if they were left to decay in the open air. It not only consumes the dead bodies of animals, but takes away many things from the streets of the cities which the inhabitants are too indolent to remove. It is for this reason that in the city of Cairo, in Egypt, there is a law forbidding any person to kill a vulture. These birds sometimes follow an army, and prey upon the bodies of those poor soldiers who have been killed in battle. Ah ! it is a sad thing to go to war; almost every thing about it is sad.

The vulture has a very keen eye, and, like the eagle, can see what is on the ground, even when it is very high in the air. This is referred to in the book of Job.

There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen.

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) by Nikhil

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) by Nikhil

It often happens in those countries that almost as soon as an ox, or a horse, or any other large animal has been killed, great multitudes of vultures will gather around, though not one could be seen in the sky before. they seem to fly down from every part of the heavens, and being to pull and struggle for the flesh of the animal; until in the course of a few hours nothing is left but the bones. We read in Isaiah,

There shall the vultures be gathered, every one with her mate.

This must have been written by one who had seen these birds coming together, as they do in great flocks or companies.

(Blog formatted by Lee)

See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Birds of the Bible

Birds of the Bible – Vulture

Accipitridae – Kites, Hawks & Eagles

Nave’s Topical Bible – Vulture

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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Unicorn

Herd of Addax: note how the horns of one animal at rest on the right appear to be joined as one horn.

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Unicorn

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

There is only this animal mentioned in the Bible, the name of which begins with U, and of this I cannot give you a picture, because no person now knows what sort of an animal it was. Some suppose it was a kind of wild goat; others think that it was a sort of deer; and others, that it was what we call the rhinoceros. Perhaps you have seen pictures with the name of the unicorn under them; but you must remember that those who made them only guessed it was so, and that no person can certainly tell what it was.
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See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Nave’s Topical Bible – Unicorn

Torrey’s Topical Textbook – Unicorn

(Photos ©WikiC)

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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Turtle-Dove

Oriental Turtle Dove (Streptopelia orientalis) by Nikhil Devasar

Oriental Turtle Dove (Streptopelia orientalis) by Nikhil Devasar

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Turtle-Dove

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

This is a very beautiful and innocent bird, and no one is mentioned more frequently in the Bible. It does not live upon the flesh of animals: so when Noah sent one out of the ark, she soon came back again, because she could find nothing to eat, and no rest for the sole of her foot. Noah put out his hand and gently took her in, and she did not go out again for a whole week. Then Noah let her fly, and the beautiful creature came back in the evening, having in her mouth a green leaf which she had plucked from an olive-tree; as though she wanted to tell him that the waters were beginning to dry up. After another week she went out, and did not come back again to the ark, because the earth was dry.

Dusky Turtle Dove (Streptopelia lugens) ©WikiC

Dusky Turtle Dove (Streptopelia lugens) ©WikiC

The dove was often offered as a sacrifice in ancient times; and was a type of our innocent Savior, to show how he would afterwards be put to death for the guilty. The Holy Spirit once condescended to take the form of a dove, when he rested upon Christ at the time of his baptism. Our Savior speaks of the innocence of this bird when he says to his disciples,

I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

This bird has a very sweet but mournful voice; and this is referred to in the Bible. Hezekiah, one of the Jewish kings, had been very sick and expected to die; but as he lay on his bed, he prayed that God would be pleased to spare his life. God heard his prayer, and promised that he should live fifteen years longer; and soon after he became quite well. He was grateful to God for his goodness, and wrote a beautiful song of praise to be sung in the temple. Among other things he told how he felt when he lay so sick upon his bed. He says,

Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter; I did mourn as a dove.

Adamawa Turtle Dove (Streptopelia hypopyrrha) ©WikiC

Adamawa Turtle Dove (Streptopelia hypopyrrha) ©WikiC

The turtle-dove is a bird of passage. It appears in Judea early in the spring, when the leaves are coming out, the flowers opening, and every thing looking lovely and beautiful. This will explain some verses in the Song of Solomon,

Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away, for lo ! the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle (or turtle-dove) is heard in our land.

It remains until summer is gone; and then flies away to a warmer climate to spend the winter. It is in reference to this that David says,

Oh ! that I had wings like a dove ! for then would I flee away, and be at rest; lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness; I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.

You will find these beautiful verses in the 55th Psalm.

Who would not wish to be like the gentle, peaceful dove?

(Blog formatted by Lee)

See:

Harriet Newell Cook -Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Birds of the Bible

Doves and Pigeons

Columbidae Family – Pigeons, Doves

Nave’s Topical Bible – Dove, Turtle

Torrey’s Topical Textbook – Dove

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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Sheep

Matterhorn Sheep©WikiC

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Sheep

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

I suppose you think you already know as much about sheep and lambs as I can tell you, and perhaps you do. Yet I dare say you never took up your Bible to see how many times they are mentioned there, or how many beautiful things are said about them. Abel, who, as you know, was the third man that lived on the earth, was a

keeper of sheep;

and there have always been a great many shepherds in the world from that time to this. Some of the men who lived in old times had a great many sheep. Job had seven thousand, which God allowed to be taken from him; but afterwards gave him twice as many-fourteen thousand. At the time when Solomon’s beautiful temple was dedicated to God, he offered a sacrifice of a hundred and twenty thousand sheep. If you want to know how many that is, try to think of a pasture with a hundred sheep in it-then think of a hundred pastures, just like it, with just as many sheep in each-then think of those hundred pastures taken twelve times over, and you will begin to understand how many there were. It is not common with us to have persons whose whole business it is to take care of sheep, but that was always the way in Bible countries. This was not done by servants, at least not always; for a great many rich men employed their children as shepherds. Rachel, who was afterwards the wife of Jacob,

kept her father’s sheep

-so did Jacob’s twelve sons-so did Moses for his father-in-law.

Sheep Fold©WikiC

Sheep Fold©WikiC

When God was about to make David king, he sent Samuel the prophet to do it by anointing him, or putting oil upon his head. David had six brothers, and Samuel did not know which of all the sons was to be king; but both he and their father Jesse supposed it would be one of the older ones, and nobody remembered even to call little David, who had been left with the sheep, until they found that he was the one whom God had chosen. David often spoke of his shepherd-life after he became a king, and even when he was an old man. You remember that most beautiful psalm of his, the twenty-third,

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want: he maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.

That is the way they are accustomed to do in those countries: the shepherd walks on, and the sheep follow where he wishes them to go. So Christ says,

And when he (the shepherd) putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

The sheep in many countries are in danger from wolves, which prowl about and try to carry them off; so it is necessary to watch them by night as well as by day. You remember the shepherds were watching their flocks by night when the bright angels appeared to tell the glad tidings that A SAVIOR had come; and they were the first to hear that sweet song in the stillness of the night, when all around were hushed in sleep.

Good Shepherd

Good Shepherd

The sheep is so timid and gentle that it needs the protection of man, and without the care of the shepherd would often stray away and be lost, or devoured by other animals. David says,

I have gone astray like a lost sheep;

and in Isaiah we read,

All we like sheep have gone astray.

Is not this true of us-that we have gone away, far away, from Jesus our good shepherd? Perhaps, dear child, you are wandering still; but why should you thus go on, alone, and every hour in danger? Why should you, when he calls you back with his voice of kindness, and is ready to

gather you with his arms, and carry you in his bosom.

as the shepherd does his tender lambs?

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See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Nave’s Topical Bible – Sheep

Torrey’s Topical Textbook – Sheep

(Photos ©WikiC)

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