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Animal Parables

Animal Stories From The Bible

The Mole

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

I remember but two places in the Bible where this animal is mentioned. One is in Leviticus, where it is named among the unclean animals which the Israelites were forbidden to eat; and the other is this verse in the second chapter of Isaiah: “In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats.” Have you read about the first missionaries who went to the Sandwich Islands? And do you remember that although the people had always been worshippers of idols, they had cast them all away just before the missionaries came? That was a very wonderful thing to happen; and it seems as though God was making these poor people ready to hear about the Savior, when the missionaries should come. Well, this verse in Isaiah declares that the same thing will happen by and by over the whole earth. You know that there are now millions and millions of poor heathen who worship nothing but images of gold, or brass, or stone; but the day is coming when not an idol shall be seen, and no being shall be worshipped but the true God. The mole lives under ground, and the bat in gloomy, dark caves where nobody thinks of going; so when it is said that the idols shall be “Cast to the moles and to the bats,” it means that they shall be thrown away in dark and neglected places, just as we throw away old shoes, or any thing that we care nothing about. Will you try to remember this verse about the idols? Perhaps you may live to see the near approach of that day.

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The Locust

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

The locust is called an insect, as well as the ant and the bee, but instead of being harmless, as they usually are, it does a great deal of injury. It is also much larger than they; for it is generally three inches long, and sometimes as much as four or five. The plague of the locusts was the eighth that God sent upon the Egyptians, because they would not let the children of Israel go, as he commanded; and it was a very terrible one indeed. The Bible says, “They covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left; and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field through all the land of Egypt.” This is the way they often do in those countries, though perhaps it is not common for so many to come at once.

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The Leopard

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

The leopard is a beautiful animal, though very savage and cruel. It is about as large as the largest of our dogs, but it looks much more like a cat than a dog. You have watched kittens at their play a hundred times, and you know how very quick, and pretty, and graceful all their motions are. It is just so with the leopard; and it can creep along too, as softly as a cat, and run up a tree after a monkey, as easily as a cat does after a bird.

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The Lion

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

You have seen pictures of the lion a hundred times, I suppose, and perhaps you have seen it alive; would you not like to know what the Bible says about it? You have heard it called the “king of beasts,” because it is so strong and so bold; it is afraid of no other animal, and it is strong enough to carry away a horse or a buffalo. In Proverbs 30:30, we read about “the lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any.” When king David was mourning for the death of Saul and Jonathan, he said, “They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.” How strong Samson must have been to take hold of a young lion and tear it in pieces with his hands! Did you ever read a riddle in one of the chapters of Judges? This is it, “Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness;” and it was made by Samson after he had found the honey in the skeleton of the lion,-as I told you when speaking of the bee. He promised some of his friends that he would give them thirty sheets and thirty changes of raiment, if they would find it out in seven days; but they would not have been able to do it, if Samson’s wife had not told them what he meant. Then they came to him and said, “What is sweeter than honey, and what is stronger than a lion?”

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The Kite

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

The kite is mentioned but once or twice in the Bible. In Leviticus, 11:13,14, it is named among the birds which the Israelites were not allowed to use for food. “And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination; the eagle, and the Ossifrage, and the Osprey, and the vulture, and the kite after its kind.” These are all birds of prey, that is, they live by destroying other animals, and some of them are very fierce and cruel; I suppose this is one reason why they were not to be eaten.

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The Jerboa, Or Mouse

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

You will not find the name of the Jerboa in the Bible; but it is supposed to be the same animal that is called a mouse in Isaiah 66:17, “They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the Lord;” and also in Leviticus, where God is telling the children of Israel what animals they may be allowed to eat, and also what they must not taste. He says, “These also shall be unclean to you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind.” Whether the Jerboa is the same animal or not, the Israelites must have been well acquainted with it, for it is found in great numbers in Syria and Egypt, and other countries mentioned in the Bible. They like to live where the soil is sandy, and make their burrows, or holes to live in, in the sides of sand-hills. These burrows are often several yards long, and the part where they sleep is made soft with grass.

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The Ibex, Or Wild Goat

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

The Ibex is a kind of goat, but different from the one described at page 33. It is sometimes called the Rock Goat, or Wild Goat; and the last is the name given it in the Bible. It resembles the common goat, but is larger, and its horns are much longer; they are sometimes considerably more than a yard in length, beautifully curved, and surrounded by many curious rings or ridges. It lives in places where you would think no animal could get without falling and breaking its neck; you would be frightened to see it sometimes, when it climbs up rough and narrow places, or jumps from one great rock to another. But God has given it just such a kind of foot as it needs; it has a small hoof, something like those of a sheep, excepting that it is hollow underneath, and has a sort of ridge around it by which the animal can cling to the rock, and so keep from slipping. I never heard of such a thing as one of them sliding off the rocks, unless it was pursued by the hunters. Two goats once met on a high narrow path, where there was just room for one to walk. There was a high rock rising close to their shoulders on one side, and on the other was a place so steep that it would have made you dizzy to look down. They could not go back without danger of falling, and they could not pass each other; what do you think they could do, but stay there and starve? It seemed for a little while as if they were considering about it; at last one bent his knees and laid down, and the other walked safely over his back.

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The Horse

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

There is a fine description of a war-horse in the book of Job—a book which some think to be the oldest in the world. It is in the thirty-ninth chapter. “Hast thou given the horse strength? Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? The glory of his nostrils is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength; he goeth on to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver rattleth against him; the glittering spear and the shield. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains and the shouting.”

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The Hart And Hind (Deer)

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

Several animals of the deer kind are mentioned in the Bible under the names of Fallow-deer, Hart, Hind, and Roe-buck. They were all numbered among the clean animals, or those which the Israelites were allowed to eat; as we see in Deuteronomy 14:4, 5, “These are the beasts which ye shall eat; the ox, the sheep, the goat, the hart, the roe-buck and the fallow-deer.” In 1 Kings, 4:23, we read of the daily provision which was made for king Solomon’s table, and among the rest were “ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and a hundred sheep, besides harts, and roe-bucks, and fallow-deer.”

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The Goat

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

There are two kinds of goat in the countries where the Bible was written; one very much like those that we sometimes see; the other differing from it in several respects, especially in the greater length of its ears. It is supposed that the prophet Amos speaks of the latter kind when he says, “As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion, two legs or a piece of an ear.” The ear of this kind of goat is so long that a large piece might easily be bitten off; it sometimes measures more than a foot.

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