Psalm 29 6 Unicorn

Psalm 29 6 Unicorn

In Psalm 29 6 unicorn (as in the animal) is mentioned. What does that mean and what does the rest of the verse tell us? Let’s explore…

So, David continues to describe the shocking effects of the Lord’s voice in the storm on the land.

6 He maketh them also to skip like a calf;
Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.

Psalm 29 6 Unicorn
Them

The word them in our text is actually referring to Lebanon.

Psalm 29 6 Unicorn
Lebanon and Sirion

And it’s not so obvious in our English translation, but Lebanon is pictured as a calf, while Sirion is compared to the young unicorn in the Hebrew. We’ll talk about unicorns in a few moments.

Psalm 29 6 Unicorn
Sirion

But first, we’ll look at this place called Sirion.

The word Sirion is used one other place in the Old Testament – Deut 3:9 – where we’re told, “(Which Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion; and the Amorites call it Shenir;)”

Now, what did the Sidonians worship? 1Ki 16:31 – Ahab married a Sidonian (Jezebel!) and that brought with it the worship of Baal.

So, Sirion would have been the way that Baal worshipers referred to Mount Hermon on the north border of Israel.

Again, kind of adding to the idea that much of the reason for the making of this psalm was to confront Baal worshipers.

Psalm 29 6 Unicorn
What Unicorn?

Now, what do we do with the unicorn here?

We can be assured that David is not referring to a mythical fake creature.

So, it’s either what we would consider a unicorn – the one-horned equine – but instead of being fake it’s now simply extinct and we haven’t found evidence of it yet. That’s a possibility.

Or – I think more likely – it’s some other beast with one horn that is either extinct or perhaps what we would identify as a rhinoceros. And perhaps the King James translators had this kind of beast in mind when they translated.

Return to our Psalm 29 Commentary.

3 Comments

  1. TERESA A DAMICO says:

    You can’t be sure unicorns didn’t exist at one time😕

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    1. Paul says:

      I agree, Teresa. And that’s why I said in the second-to-last paragraph: “So, it’s either what we would consider a unicorn – the one-horned equine – but instead of being fake it’s now simply extinct and we haven’t found evidence of it yet. That’s a possibility.”

      Like

  2. Ramon Argila de Torres y Sandoval says:

    Wikipedia, not altogether a valid source depending on the subject, has it right about unicorn, that is “The word rhinoceros is derived through Latin from the Ancient Greek: ῥῑνόκερως, which is composed of ῥῑνο- (rhino-, ” nose “) and κέρας (keras, ” horn “) with a horn on the nose.”

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