It might strike you as odd but the Old Testament contains passages that mention both unicorns and dragons. We know that unicorns and dragons are fictitious – none of these are alive today and no scientist has ever found a fossil of one. Yet, some of the most unique verses in the Old Testament refer to unicorns, while the Old and New Testament both mention dragons.
Unicorns are mentioned in the King James Version of the Bible nine times, in five different books by at least five different authors including Balaam, Moses, David, Isaiah and even God Himself in the book of Job. The verses that mention unicorns include:
Numbers 23:22 (KJV): “God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.”
Numbers 24:8 (KJV): “God brought Him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn; he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.”
Job 39:9 (KJV): “Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by the crib?”
Job 39:10 (KJV): “Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? Or will he harrow the valleys after thee?”
Psalms 29:6 (KJV): “He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.”
Psalms 92:10 (KJV): “But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.”
Deuteronomy 33:17 (KJV): “His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”
Psalms 22:21 (KJV): “Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.”
Isaiah 34:7 (KJV): “And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.”
It’s important to note that unicorns are not mentioned in any of the modern Bible translations. They are only mentioned in the King James version. The modern translations say “wild ox.” Some translations say “buffalo.”
So why does the Bible mention unicorns you might wonder? Many Christian apologists are adamant that the King James Version of the Bible is the most accurate of all the English translations. Atheists have used this as an argument for why the Bible is simply a book of myths and fairy tales. What’s important to remember is that the definition of the word “unicorn” has evolved over time.
In the very first edition of the dictionary that Webster came out with (1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary), the definition of the unicorn was, “an animal with one horn; the Monoceros. This name is often applied to the rhinoceros.” The 200-year-old definition makes no mention of a horse with one-horn. The scientific name of the Asian one-horned Rhinoceros is Rhinoceros unicornis. There is also an extinct species of giant one-horned rhinoceros called Elasmotherium sibiricum. Scientists refer to this creature as “The Giant Unicorn.” Some creation scientists believe it may be the unicorn that is mentioned in the Bible. It is likely that unicorn simply meant one-horned animal.
The Bible mentions dragons over 30 times in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. One example in the Old Testament, King James version is in Psalm 148:7: "Praise the LORD from the earth, you dragons, and all deeps.” Another Psalm that mentions dragons is Psalm 91:13 which says, “You shall tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shall you trample under feet.” Jeremiah 51:34 says, “he has swallowed me up like a dragon…” which brings to mind the way many carnivorous reptiles eat their prey whole. The prophet Jeremiah predicted that Israel would be carried away into captivity and Jerusalem would be broken and inhabited by dragons (9:11). Interestingly enough, there was a peculiar name given to a well in Nehemiah 2:13 in the King James Version called the “dragon well.”
Revelation chapters 12, 13, 16 and 20 also mentions dragons directly. Revelation 20:2 says, “He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.” What’s important to note here is that the Bible isn’t teaching that dragons existed. The Bible is simply comparing Satan to a fire-breathing monster.
Another interesting point is that every major ancient culture has legends and myths about giant reptiles. Many wonder how this can be when dinosaur fossils were not discovered until thousands of years after the myths of giant reptiles began. The Bible mentions two creatures that bare the resemblance to the dinosaurs.These two creatures were the leviathan and behemoth, mentioned in Job chapters 40-41. Creation scientists believe that all dragon myths came from real contact between human beings and dinosaurs.
Unicorns and dragons are not the only fantastic creatures mentioned in the Bible. Divine beings like sea monsters, giants and supernatural heroes also have a place in Scripture. You may have thought these creatures only had a place in mythology and fairytales but they are right there in the Bible. Most scholars agree that the unicorns and dragons in question weren’t real unicorns but another more familiar animal. Some of these creatures are symbolic and poetic in nature, but others have actually walked the earth at some point or are based on creatures that did at one point. All you have to do is crack open the King James Version of the Bible to find them.