In the Bible, what do the Unicorns symbolize and where in the Bible are
they talked about?
That is a pretty easy question. Unicorns do not appear anywhere in the
Bible and therefore they do not symbolize anything in the Bible. There is
no word in either the Hebrew Old Testament of the Greek New Testament
which scholars would translate using the word unicorn. Probably you got
the idea that unicorns are in the Bible because of the fact that the word unicorn
appears in the King James Version. In fact, the word unicorn appears in
Numbers 23:22, 24:8, Job 39:9,10 and Psalms 29:6 and 92:10. You should
bear in mind that although the King James Version was the best available
in its time, it is very deficient compared to such modern, more accurate
translation such as the Revised Standard Version, the New International
Version, The New American Standard Version or even the New King James
Version.This is true for several reasons, among which is the fact that
there were only a very few good Greek and Hebrew manuscripts available at
the time the King James translation was made. Besides, in the past almost
four hundred years since the King James translation was made, huge leaps
in the scholarship of Hebrew words have been made. For example in Job
39:9,10 where the KJV has “unicorn,” the NKJV has “wild ox.” It is highly
unlikely that the Jews even had a word for the mythical unicorn at the
time that Job was written, making the KJV’s use of unicorn quite a
stretch. By the way, the NKJV uses “wild ox” in the Numbers and Psalms
verses mentioned above as well. If you have any questions about why the
modern translations do not use unicorn and about the Hebrew word which is
translated as “wild ox” in modern translations, I suggest you do a little
research on your own. You could look up an English/Hebrew interlinear,
find the Hebrew word, and look up that Hebrew word in a Hebrew/English
dictionary. Sound like a fun project?
John Oakes, PhD
Editor’s note: a helpful friend found the answer to this question below, which provides more help on this one. It is copied and pasted from Yahoo Answers:
Best Answer – Chosen by Voters
Nowhere in these passages is there any suggestion that anything other than a real animal is being described.
So what was the animal described in the Bible as the ‘unicorn’?
The word used in the Hebrew is re’em. This has been translated in various languages as monoceros, unicorns, unicorn, einhorn and eenhorn, all of which mean ‘one horn’.
Archaeology has in fact provided a powerful clue to the likely meaning of re’em. Mesopotamian reliefs have been excavated which show King Assurnasirpal hunting oxen with one horn. The associated texts show that this animal was called rimu. It is thus highly likely that this was the re’em of the Bible, a wild ox.
The real re’em or wild ox was also known as the aurochs (Bos primigenius). This was the original wild bull depicted in, for example, the famous Lascaux (Cro-magnon) cave paintings. This powerful, formidable beast is now extinct.
Today when we think of a “unicorn” we think of something completely different. We think of a mythical creature. Just as we tend to do when Hebrew words that were describing whales, dinosaurs, large snakes and lizards, are translated as “dragons” in the older versions of English language Bibles.
(The word “dinosaur” is a fairly recent word and had not been invented when the King James Bible was being translated from the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic.)
It’s no big deal though, we can always go back to the Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic and check up on how any given word, phrase or sentence has been translated and we can also see how it has been translated into other languages and in what ways it was used in the original language.
So while the English translators might not have always used the very best word or word definitions might have changed a little over the years, we can easily go back and find out what was really originally meant because of all the language and manuscript resources that are available to serious scholars and Bible students.