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Job 39:9

Job 39:9

Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee
Whether there is or ever was such a creature, as described under the name of an unicorn, is a question: it is thought the accounts of it are for the most part fabulous; though Vartomannus F25 says he saw two at Mecca, which came from Ethiopia, the largest of which had a horn in his forehead three cubits long. There are indeed several creatures which may be called "monocerots", who have but one horn; as the "rhinoceros", and the Indian horses and asses F26. The Arabic geographer F1 speaks of a beast in the Indies, called "carcaddan", which is lesser than an elephant and bigger than a buffalo; having in the middle of the forehead an horn long and thick, as much as two hands can grasp: and not only on land, but in the sea are such, as the "nahr whal", or Greenland whale F2; but then they do not answer to the creature so called in Scripture: and, besides, this must be a creature well known to Job, as it was to the Israelites; and must be a strong creature, from the account that gives of it, and not to be taken as here. And Solinus F3 speaks of such "monocerots" or unicorns, which may be killed, but cannot be taken, and were never known to be in any man's possession alive; and so Aelianus F4 says of the like creature, that it never was remembered that anyone of them had been taken. Some think the "rhinoceros" is meant; but that, though a very strong creature, and so may be thought fit for the uses after mentioned, yet may be tamed; whereas the creature here is represented as untamable, and not to be subdued, and brought under a yoke and managed; and besides, it is not very probable that it was known by Job. Bochart F5 takes it to be the "oryx", a creature of the goat kind; but to me it seems more likely to be of the ox kind, to be similar to them, and so might be thought to do the business of one; and the rather, because of its great strength, and yet could not be brought to do it, nor be trusted with it: for the questions concerning it relate to the work of oxen; and as the wild ass is opposed to the tame one in the preceding paragraph, so here the wild ox to a tame one. And both Strabo F6 and Diodorus Siculus F7 relate, that among the Troglodytes, a people that dwelt near the Red sea, and not far from Arabia, where Job lived, were abundance of wild oxen or bulls, and which far exceeded the common ones in size and swiftness; and the creature called the seem in the original, has its name from height. Now the question is, could Job take one of these wild bulls or oxen, and tame it, and make it willing to do any work or service he should choose to put it to? No, he could not;

or abide by thy crib?
manger or stall, as the tame or common ox will; who, when it has done its labour, is glad to be led to its stall and feed, and then lie down and rest, and there abide; see ( Isaiah 1:3 ) ; but not so the wild ox.


FOOTNOTES:

F25 Navigat. l. 1. c. 19.
F26 Vid. Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 3. c. 26.
F1 Nub. Clim. 1. par. 8.
F2 Ludolf. Ethiop. Hist. l. 1. c. 10. Of this narhual, or sea unicorn, see the Philosoph. Transact. abridged, vol. 9. p. 71, 72.
F3 Polyhistor. c. 65.
F4 De Animal. l. 16. c. 20.
F5 Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 3. c. 27. col. 969
F6 Geograph. l. 16. p. 533.
F7 Bibliothec. l. 3. p. 175.
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