This word is used of flocks or herds of grazing animals ( Exodus 22:5 ; Numbers 20:4 Numbers 20:8 Numbers 20:11 ; Psalms 78:48 ); of beasts of burden ( Genesis 45:17 ); of eatable beasts ( Proverbs 9:2 ); and of swift beasts or dromedaries ( Isaiah 60:6 ). In the New Testament it is used of a domestic animal as property ( Revelation 18:13 ); as used for food ( 1 Corinthians 15:39 ), for service ( Luke 10:34 ; Acts 23:24 ), and for sacrifice ( Acts 7:42 ).
The Mosaic law required that beasts of labour should have rest on the Sabbath ( Exodus 20:10 ; 23:12 ), and in the Sabbatical year all cattle were allowed to roam about freely, and eat whatever grew in the fields ( Exodus 23:11 ; Leviticus 25:7 ). No animal could be castrated ( Leviticus 22:24 ). Animals of different kinds were to be always kept separate ( Leviticus 19:19 ; Deuteronomy 22:10 ). Oxen when used in threshing were not to be prevented from eating what was within their reach ( Deuteronomy 25:4 ; 1co.9:9).
This word is used figuratively of an infuriated multitude ( 1 Corinthians 15:32 ; Acts 19:29 ; Compare Psalms 22:12 Psalms 22:16 ; Eccl 3:18 ; Isaiah 11:6-8 ), and of wicked men ( 2 Peter 2:12 ). The four beasts of Daniel 7:3,17,23represent four kingdoms or kings.