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Animal Parables

Animal Stories From The Bible

The Raven

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

The raven has always been very well known to man, and is mentioned almost at the beginning of the Bible. You remember that this was the first bird that Noah sent out of the ark to see whether the waters had begun to dry up; and that it did not go back to him again. I suppose it was very glad to be at liberty after it had been shut up more than a year; and as it lives upon the flesh of other animals, it probably found food enough from the bodies of those that had been drowned. It is a large bird, considerably larger than the crow; and its feathers are very black, very glossy, and very beautiful. People in ancient times seem to have liked a black color, and were especially pleased with black hair; so we read in the Song of Solomon, where one who is beautiful is described, “His locks are bushy, and black as a raven.”

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The Quail

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

The quail is about the size of a pigeon. It is called a bird of passage, because it does not always live in the same place, but spends the winter in one country, and in the spring flies away to another. In their journeys, they fly together in very large flocks, as you have perhaps seen wild geese or pigeons do. A great many spend the summer north of the Black Sea, and when autumn comes they fly away to spend the winter in some warmer place, farther south. They usually start early some fine evening in August, when there is a north wind to help them on, and fly perhaps a hundred and fifty miles before morning. The people on the opposite shore of the Black Sea know about what time to look for them, and catch a great many of them for food.

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The Pelican

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

The pelican is a large bird, and a curious one. It sometimes measures nearly six feet from the top of the head to the end of the tail; and you know that this is the height of a tall man. It may be called a water-bird, because it lives on the sea-coast, or on the borders of lakes and rivers and lives upon fish only. It has a very long bill, and under this is a curious bag or pouch to hold the fish which it takes. When there is nothing in it, you would hardly notice it, because it is drawn up close under the bill; but it is so large that it will hold two or three gallons of water.

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The Peacock

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

The peacock is first mentioned in the Bible in the time of Solomon. He used to send his vessels to distant countries, and they came back once in three years, “bringing gold, and silver, and ivory, and apes, and peacocks.” Solomon was the richest among all the kings that the Bible tells us about. When he first became king God spoke to him in a dream, and told him to ask for any thing he wished. If God should speak so to you, what would you ask for?

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The Ostrich

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

The ostrich is sometimes called the “camel-bird,” because it is so very large, because it can go a long time without water, and because it lives in desert and sandy places, as the camel does. It is often taller than the tallest man you ever saw, and it neck alone is more than a yard in length.

Each of the wings is a yard long when the feathers are spread out; but although the wings are so large, the bird cannot fly at all. One reason of this is, because it is so very heavy, and another is that its wings are not of the right sort for flying. They are made of what we call ostrich-plumes, and if you have ever noticed these beautiful feathers, you will remember that they are very different from others that you have seen. If you take a quill from the wing of a goose, you will find that the parts of the feather lie close together, so that you cannot very easily separate them; but in an ostrich plume they are all loose and open, and would not support the bird at all in flying. The feathers are generally either white or black. There are none under the wings, or on the sides of the body, and only a few small ones on the lower part of the neck. The upper part of the neck, as well as the head, is covered with hair.

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The Nighthawk

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

I believe this is the only animal of any kind mentioned in the Bible, the name of which begins with N. It is named in Leviticus 11, among other birds, such as the owl, the cuckoo and the raven, which the children of Israel were not allowed to eat.

It is somewhat like the owl in its shape, and in its large, full, round eyes. It flies at evening, and hides itself during the day from the bright light of the sun. It likes to live in lonely, dark woods, and when it comes out at twilight to get the insects that it lives upon, you could hardly hear the sound of its wings, it flies so very gently. It has a very wide, gaping mouth, which helps it to seize upon moths and flies, and its mouth is bordered with a row of stiff bristles, so that the insects may not escape again after they have been caught.

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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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