From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Holman Bible Dictionary [1]


Eleph or aluph refers to tame animals living in a herd. It is variously translated as “herd,” “cattle,” “oxen,” “kine.” It includes animals used in plowing (  Isaiah 30:24 ). See  Deuteronomy 7:13;  Deuteronomy 28:4;  Proverbs 14:4 .

Behemah is a general term for animals (  Exodus 9:9;  Isaiah 30:6 ), for four-footed animals ( 1 Kings 4:33 ), wild animals ( Deuteronomy 28:26;  1 Samuel 17:44 ), as well as for domestic cattle including both herds of cattle and flocks of sheep and goats ( Leviticus 1:2 ) and oxen and donkeys ( Deuteronomy 5:14 ). Compare  Genesis 47:17-18 ). It includes all animals belonging to a household ( Genesis 34:23 ). They were used as riding animals ( Nehemiah 2:12-14 ).

Behemah can be cattle distinguished from sheep and goats of the flock ( 2 Chronicles 32:28 ). They need pasture lands ( Joel 1:18 ). Interbreeding among behemah of different kinds was forbidden ( Leviticus 19:19 ). Righteous people care for animals ( Proverbs 12:10 ). Bitter, faithless people are like dumb, ignorant animals ( Psalm 73:22 ).

Beir is a general term including beasts of burden (  Genesis 45:17 ) who graze in a field ( Exodus 22:5 ). They are the property of an individual or community ( Numbers 20:4 ,Numbers 20:4, 20:8 ).

Baqar were important members of an Israelite household (  Genesis 47:1 ), even being included in prayer and fasting by people of Nineveh ( Jonah 3:7 ). They are the most important work animals, pulling the plow ( 1 Samuel 11:5;  1 Kings 19:19;  Job 1:14 ) and the wagon ( 1 Chronicles 13:9 ). These oxen, especially the young, provided meat for special occasions ( Genesis 18:7;  1 Kings 1:9 ). The royal palace ate such food daily ( 1 Kings 4:22 ). The cattle produced milk from which yogurt was made ( Deuteronomy 32:14 ) and also cheese ( 2 Samuel 17:29 NAS). Such cattle could be fattened in the pasture (  1 Kings 4:23 ) or in stalls ( Habakkuk 3:17 ). The high value placed on oxen can be seen in the penalty for stealing one ( Exodus 22:1 ). Cattle played a most important role in Israel's sacrifices: burnt offering ( Leviticus 1:3 ), peace offering ( Leviticus 3:1 ), sin offering ( Leviticus 4:3 ). As the most important animals, cattle always head the list of animals for sacrifice.

Mala'kah is a basic Hebrew word for business or work which came to designate the wares or things connected with work and thus is used to refer to cattle in   Genesis 33:14 .

Meri' is based on the root meaning, “fat.” It refers to calves fattened for people to eat. David sacrificed these before the ark (  2 Samuel 6:13; compare  1 Kings 1:9 ). Isaiah reminded Israel that such sacrifices were not God's first priority for His people ( Isaiah 1:11; compare  Amos 5:22 ). Some have suggested the animal meant here is a buffalo— bubalus buffalus . These were apparently the best animals for human consumption, making Israel think they would be the most pleasing to God.

Miqneh is the Hebrew word for “possessions” and most frequently refers to herds and flocks (  Genesis 26:14 ) and possibly to a longer list of animals ( Genesis 47:17-18;  Exodus 9:3;  Job 1:3 ). Certain lands were suitable for raising cattle ( Numbers 32:1 ), so that the herdsmen could live in their tents with the animals ( 2 Chronicles 14:14-15 ).

Egel and eglah are young steers and cows. The golden calves of the wilderness were formed like an egel (  Exodus 32:4 ) as were the calves King Jeroboam placed in Bethel and Dan ( 1 Kings 12:28 ). An egel was the son of a baqar (  Leviticus 9:2 ). A woman without standing or position could have such a calf fattened and ready to butcher ( 1 Samuel 28:24 ). Calves graze the land and eat leaves from small bushes or trees ( Isaiah 27:10 ). Their frolicking and free spirits make them symbols of unruly, disobedient children ( Jeremiah 31:18 ). A calf was cut in two when a covenant agreement was made ( Jeremiah 34:18-19 ). Year-old calves were viewed as the best animals for sacrifice ( Micah 6:6 ). The cow was used as a yoke animal for plowing ( Deuteronomy 21:3 ). The Bible points to the day when the calf and lion can live together in peace ( Isaiah 11:7 ).

Par or parah represents a bull or cow which has matured enough to be capable of reproduction (  Job 21:10 ). They are older than an egel or eglah and belong to the collective term baqar . The bulls and cows played an important role in sacrifice to God, since these animals were more valuable than sheep or goats. They were offered as sin offerings for the priests ( Leviticus 8:2 ,Leviticus 8:2, 8:14-17;  Numbers 8:12 ) and for the community ( Leviticus 4:1 ). The great annual festivals featured sacrifices of bulls ( Leviticus 23:1;  Numbers 28-29 ). The dedication of a worship place also involved offerings of bulls ( Numbers 7:1 ). Purification from contact with the dead involves a ritual with a red cow ( Numbers 19:1 ) which differs from sacrifice. Other special occasions involved the offering of a bull or cow ( Exodus 24:1;  Numbers 23:1;  Judges 6:1;  1 Samuel 1:24-25;  1 Samuel 6:14;  1 Kings 18:23-33 ). Criticism of sacrifice done in the wrong attitude speaks of bulls and cows ( Psalm 50:5;  Psalm 69:31;  Isaiah 1:11 ,Isaiah 1:11, 1:15-17;  Hosea 14:3 —which reads literally, “the steers of our lips”). The strength of the bull made it quite suitable as a symbol for enemies ( Psalm 22:12 ). Their fatness led to other symbolism ( Amos 4:1 ).

Shor is a collective term for either bull or cow and most often refers to a single animal. These were tame animals able to recognize their owner (  Isaiah 1:3; compare  Exodus 21:35 ). Their financial value led to special laws concerning them ( Exodus 21:33 ,  Exodus 22:1 ,Exodus 22:1, 22:10;  Deuteronomy 22:1 ). They ate grass from pasturelands ( Numbers 22:4;  Psalm 106:20 ) and made a lowing sound ( Job 6:5 ). They could become vicious, using their horns to gore people to death ( Exodus 21:28-32 ). They were yoked to the plow but were not to be unequally yoked with a donkey ( Deuteronomy 22:10 ). They also were yoked to carts to pull them ( Numbers 7:3 ). They were used to stomp on the grain to thresh out the kernels from the husks ( Deuteronomy 25:4 ). The shor was old enough to mate ( Job 21:10 ). The firstborn had to be sacrificed ( Leviticus 22:27-28;  Numbers 18:17;  Deuteronomy 15:19 ). Defeat in war brought murder of one's animals ( Joshua 6:21;  1 Samuel 15:3 ). They were clean animals which God's people could eat ( Deuteronomy 14:4 ).

Threma refers to a domesticated animal, usually a sheep or a goat (  John 4:12 ).

Ktenos refers to domesticated animals, often ones used for riding or for pack animals.   Revelation 18:13 apparently refers to cattle. The same word may refer to a donkey in   Luke 10:34 . Compare  Acts 23:24 .

KJV refers to cattle in  Luke 17:7 , but the Greek term poimaino refers to the activity of a herdsman leading sheep or goats to pasture. Compare   1 Corinthians 9:7 .

Tauros is a bull or ox used in sacrifices and for banquets. It is the Greek translation of Hebrew shor. See   Matthew 22:4;  Acts 14:13;  Hebrews 9:13;  Hebrews 10:4 .

Bous is an ox or cow. Kept in stalls, they had to be led to water even on the Sabbath (  Luke 13:15 ). Compare  Luke 14:5 . They were yoked for plowing ( Luke 14:19 ). Jesus found people selling them in the Temple for sacrifices ( John 2:14 ). It can also translate Hebrew shor (  1 Corinthians 9:9 ).

Moschos is a young bull or heifer, basically equivalent to Hebrew par or parah . See  Luke 15:23;  Hebrews 9:12 ,Hebrews 9:12, 9:19;  Revelation 4:7 .

Damalis is the Greek equivalent for Hebrew eglah and is used in the New Testament to refer to the red heifer of   Numbers 9:2-9 . See  Hebrews 9:13 .

Trent C. Butler

Easton's Bible Dictionary [2]

  • Small cattle. Next to herds of neat cattle, sheep formed the most important of the possessions of the inhabitants of Palestine ( Genesis 12:16;  13:5;  26:14;  21:27;  29:2,3 ). They are frequently mentioned among the booty taken in war ( Numbers 31:32;  Joshua 6:21;  1 Samuel 14:32;  15:3 ). There were many who were owners of large flocks ( 1 Samuel 25:2;  2 Samuel 12:2 , Compare  Job 1:3 ). Kings also had shepherds "over their flocks" ( 1 Chronicles 27:31 ), from which they derived a large portion of their revenue ( 2 Samuel 17:29;  1 Chronicles 12:40 ). The districts most famous for their flocks of sheep were the plain of Sharon ( Isaiah 65 ::  10 ), Mount Carmel ( Micah 7:14 ), Bashan and Gilead ( Micah 7:14 ). In patriarchal times the flocks of sheep were sometimes tended by the daughters of the owners. Thus Rachel, the daughter of Laban, kept her father's sheep ( Genesis 29:9 ); as also Zipporah and her six sisters had charge of their father Jethro's flocks ( Exodus 2:16 ). Sometimes they were kept by hired shepherds ( John 10:12 ), and sometimes by the sons of the family ( 1 Samuel 16:11;  17:15 ). The keepers so familiarized their sheep with their voices that they knew them, and followed them at their call. Sheep, but more especially rams and lambs, were frequently offered in sacrifice. The shearing of sheep was a great festive occasion ( 1 Samuel 25:4;  2 Samuel 13:23 ). They were folded at night, and guarded by their keepers against the attacks of the lion ( Micah 5:8 ), the bear ( 1 Samuel 17:34 ), and the wolf ( Matthew 10:16;  John 10:12 ). They were liable to wander over the wide pastures and go astray ( Psalm 119:176;  Isaiah 53:6;  Hosea 4:16;  Matthew 18:12 ).

    Goats also formed a part of the pastoral wealth of Palestine ( Genesis 15:9;  32:14;  37:31 ). They were used both for sacrifice and for food ( Deuteronomy 14:4 ), especially the young males ( Genesis 27:9,14,17;  Judges 6:19;  13:15;  1 Samuel 16:20 ). Goat's hair was used for making tent cloth ( Exodus 26:7;  36:14 ), and for mattresses and bedding ( 1 Samuel 19:13,16 ). (See Goat .)

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Cattle'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [3]

    'Eleph ( אֶלֶף , Strong'S #504), “cattle; thousand; group.” The first word, “cattle,” signifies the domesticated animal or the herd animal. It has cognates in Aramaic, Akkadian, Ugaritic, and Phoenician. It appears only 8 times in the Bible, first in Deut. 7:13: “He will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine [NASB, “herd”], and the flocks of thy sheep.…”This noun is probably related to the verb 'alaph , “to get familiar with, teach, instruct.” This verb occurs 4 times, only in Job and Proverbs.

    The related noun 'eleph usually means “familiar; confident.” It, too, occurs only in biblical poetry. In Ps. 144:14, 'alluph signifies a tame domesticated animal: “That our oxen may be strong to labor; that there be no breaking in, nor going out.…”

    The second word, “thousand,” occurs about 490 times and in all periods of biblical Hebrew. It first appears in Gen. 20:16: “Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver …”

    The third word, “group,” first occurs in Num. 1:16: “These were the renowned of the congregation, princes of the tribes of their fathers, heads of thousands [divisions] in Israel.” It appears to be related to the word 'elluph , “leader of a large group,” which is applied almost exclusively to non-lsraelite tribal leaders (exceptions: Zech. 9:7; 12:5-6). 'Alluph first occurs in Gen. 36:15: “These were [ chiefs ] of the sons of Esau.…”

    King James Dictionary [4]

    CATTLE, n.

    1. Beasts or quadrupeds in general, serving for tillage, or other labor, and for food to man. In its primary sense, the word includes camels, horses, asses, all the varieties of domesticated horned beasts or the bovine genus, sheep of all kinds and goats, and perhaps swine. In this general sense, it is constantly used in the scriptures. See  Job 1 . 3 . Hence it would appear that the word properly signifies possessions, goods. But whether from a word originally signifying a beast, for in early ages beasts constituted the chief part of a mans property, or from a root signifying to get or possess. This word is restricted to domestic beasts but in England it includes horses, which it ordinarily does not, in the United States, at least not in New-England. 2. In the United States, cattle, in common usage, signifies only beasts of the bovine genus, oxen, bulls, cows and their young. In the laws respecting domestic beasts, horses, sheep, asses, mules and swine are distinguished from cattle, or neat cattle. Thus the law in Connecticut, requiring that all the owners of any cattle, sheep or swine, shall ear-mark or brand all their cattle, sheep and swine, does not extend to horses. Yet it is probable that a law, giving damages for a trespass committed by cattle breaking into an inclosure, would be adjudged to include horses.

    In Great Britain, beasts are distinguished into black cattle, including bulls, oxen, cows and their young and small cattle, including sheep of all kinds and goats.

    3. In reproach, human beings are called cattle.

    Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [5]

    1: Θρέμμα (Strong'S #2353 — Noun Neuter — thremma — threm'-mah )

    "whatever is fed or nourished" (from trepho, "to nourish, nurture, feed"), is found in  John 4:12 .

    2: Βασίλειος (Strong'S #934 — Adjective — ktenos — bas-il'-i-os )

    "cattle as property:" see Beast , No. 3.

     Luke 17:7

    Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

    Various Hebrew words are used in reference to the cow and the ox as 'cattle.' The word miqneh, however, often used for 'cattle,' signifies 'possession,' because the principal property of nomadic tribes consisted of their cattle: the word includes also sheep and goats, but not horses and asses.  Exodus 9:3-21 , etc. Another word, tson , signifies small cattle, that is, sheep and goats.  Genesis 30:39-43;  Genesis 31:8-43;  Ecclesiastes 2:7 . seh has the same meaning,  Genesis 30:32;  Ezekiel 34:17-22 : in  Isaiah 7:25 it is translated 'lesser cattle,' and in   Isaiah 43:23 'small cattle.'

    Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [7]

    CATTLE . The word commonly used in OT is miqneh , meaning primarily possessions or wealth oxen, camels, sheep, and goats being the only wealth of peoples in a nomadic stage of civilization. It includes sometimes horses and asses, e.g.   Exodus 9:3 ,   Job 1:3 . The word is also sometimes rendered ‘possessions’ ( e.g.   Ecclesiastes 2:7 ), ‘flocks’ (  Psalms 78:46 ), and ‘herds’ (  Genesis 47:18 ). For other words rendered in EV [Note: English Version.] ‘cattle,’ see Beast. See also Ox, Sheep, Shepherd, etc.

    E. W. G. Masterman.

    Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [8]

     Psalm 50:10 (b) This represents the great wealth and resources of GOD which are for the blessing of His people.

     Isaiah 43:23 (b) This tells us that GOD notices when even the smallest offerings are not brought to Him.

     Jonah 4:11 (c) This indicates that GOD cares for everything that He has made.

    Smith's Bible Dictionary [9]

    Cattle. See Bull .

    Webster's Dictionary [10]

    (n. pl.) Quadrupeds of the Bovine family; sometimes, also, including all domestic quadrupeds, as sheep, goats, horses, mules, asses, and swine.

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

    kat ´' l ( בּהמה , behēmāh , "a dumb beast"; מקנה , miḳneh , "a possession" from קנה , ḳānāh , "to acquire" (compare Arabic ḳana ), "to acquire," and Greek κτῆνος , ktḗnos , "beast," and plural κτήνεα , ktḗnea , "flocks," from κτάομαι , ktáomai , "to acquire," flocks being both with the Homeric peoples and with the patriarchs an important form of property; compare English "fee"); צאן , cō'n "small cattle," "sheep" or goats (compare Arabic ḍa'n , "sheep"); שׂה , seh , a single sheep or goat (compare Arabic shāh ); מלאכה , melā'khāh , "property," from לאך , lā'akh , "to minister" (compare Arabic malākah and mulk , "property," from malak , "to possess"); מריא , merı̄' "fatling" (1 Ki 19); θρέμμα , thrémma ( John 4:12 ), "cattle," i.e. "that which is nourished," from τρέφω , tréphō , "to nourish"; בּקר , bāḳār , "kine," "oxen" (compare Arabic baḳar , "cattle"); שׁור , shōr , תּור , tōr ( Daniel 4:25 ), ταῦρος , taúros ( Matthew 22:4 ), "ox" or "bull"; βοῦς , boús , "ox" ( Luke 13:15 ); אלף , 'eleph , only in the plural, אלפים , 'ălāphı̄m , "oxen" ( Psalm 8:7 )): From the foregoing and by examination of the many references to "cattle," "kine" or "oxen" it is apparent that there are important points of contact in derivation and usage in the Hebrew, Greek and English terms. It is evident that neat cattle were possessed in abundance by the patriarchs and later Israelites, which is fax from being the case in Palestine at the present day. The Bedouin usually have no cattle. The fellāḥı̄n in most parts of the country keep them in small numbers, mostly for plowing, and but little for milk or for slaughtering. Travelers in the Holy Land realize that goat's milk is in most places easier to obtain than cow's milk. The commonest cattle of the fellachin are a small black breed. In the vicinity of Damascus are many large, fine milch cattle which furnish the delicious milk and cream of the Damascus bazaars. For some reason, probably because they are not confined and highly fed, the bulls of Palestine are meek creatures as compared with their European or American fellows.

    In English Versions of the Bible the word "cattle" is more often used in a wide sense to include sheep and goats than to denote merely neat cattle. In fact, bāḳār , which distinctively denotes neat cattle, is often rendered "herds," as cō'n , literally "sheep," is in a large number of instances translated "flocks." A good illustration is found in  Genesis 32:7 : "Then Jacob ... divided the, people ( ‛ām ) that were with him, and the flocks ( cō'n ), and the herds ( bāḳār ), and the camels ( gemallı̄m ), into two companies ( maḥănōth )." For the last word the King James Version has "drove" in  Genesis 33:8 , the Revised Version (British and American) "company." Next to cō'n , the word most commonly rendered "flock" in English Versions of the Bible is ‛ēdher , from root "to arrange," "to set in order." ‛Ēdher is rendered "herd" in  Proverbs 27:23 , and in  Joel 1:18 it occurs twice, being rendered "herds of cattle," ‛edhrē bāḳār , and "flocks of sheep," ‛edhrē ha - cō'n ̌ . Miḳneh is rendered "flock" in  Numbers 32:26 , "herd" in  Genesis 47:18 , and "cattle" in a large number of passages. Other words rendered "flock" are: mar‛ı̄th (r, rā‛āh (Arabic ra‛a ), "to pasture"), once in  Jeremiah 10:21; 'ashterōth cō'n , "flocks of thy sheep," the Revised Version (British and American) "young of thy flock," in  Deuteronomy 7:13 , etc., ‛ashtārōth being plural of ‛ashtōreth , or Ashtoreth; ḥāsı̄ph , once in  1 Kings 20:27 : "The Children of Israel encamped before them (the Syrians) like two little flocks of kids," ḥāsı̄ph signifying "something stripped off or separated," from root ḥāsaph , "to strip" or "to peel," like the Arabic ḳaṭı̄‛ , "flock," from root ḳaṭa‛ , "to cut off"; ποίμνη , poı́mnē ( Matthew 26:31 ): "The sheep of the flock shall be scattered," and ( Luke 2:8 ): "keeping watch by night over their flock"; ποίμνιον , poı́mnion ( Luke 12:32 ): "Fear not, little flock," and ( 1 Peter 5:2 ): "Tend the flock of God which is among you."

    Figurative: Not only poimnē and poimnion but also ר , 'edher and נ , co'n are used figuratively of God's people; e.g.  Isaiah 40:11 : "He will feed his flock ( ‛ēdher ) like a shepherd";  Zechariah 10:3 : "Yahweh of hosts hath visited his flock (['edher), the house of Judah";   Isaiah 65:10 : "And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks" ( cō'n );  Jeremiah 23:2 : "Ye have scattered my flock" ( cō'n );  Ezekiel 34:22 : "Therefore will I save my flock" ( cō'n );  Micah 7:14 : "Feed ... the flock ( cō'n ) of thy heritage."

    The wild ox or wild bull, the Revised Version (British and American) "antelope" ( te ō or of  Deuteronomy 14:5 and   Isaiah 51:20 ), is considered by the writer to be probably the Arabian oryx, and in this he is in agreement with Tristram ( NHB ). Tristram however thinks that the unicorn ( rēm or re'ēm ), the Revised Version (British and American) "wild ox," was the aurochs, while the present writer believes that this also may well have been the oryx, which at the present day has at least three names in Arabic, one of which, baḳar - ul - waḥsh , means "wild ox." See Antelope .

    Our domestic cattle are believed by some of the best authorities to be of the same species as the ancient European wild ox or aurochs, Bos taurus , which is by others counted as a distinct species under the title of Bos primigenius . The aurochs was widely spread over Europe in Roman times, but is now extinct. Some degenerate wild cattle are preserved in some British parks, but these according to Lydekker in the Royal Natural History are probably feral descendants of early domestic breeds. Tristram cites the occurrence in the Dog River bone breccia of teeth which may be those of the aurochs, but this is a deposit accumulated by prehistoric man of an unknown antiquity to be variously estimated according to the predilections of the geologist at a few thousands or a few score of thousands of years, and is far from proving that this animal existed in Palestine in Bible times or at any time.

    The European bison ( Bos or Bison bonassus ) is thought by some to be the wild ox of the Bible. This is a forest-dwelling species and is now confined to the forests of Lithuania and the Caucasus. It was formerly more widely distributed, but there is no certain evidence that it ever lived as far South as Palestine, and there have probably never existed in Palestine forests suitable to be the haunts of this animal.

    About the Sea of Tiberias and the Jordan valley and in the plain of Coele-Syria there exist today Indian buffaloes ( Bos bubalus ) some feral and some in a state of domestication, which are believed to have been introduced in comparatively recent times. See Beast; Calf .

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

    (the representative in various passages in the A.V. of the Hebrews words . בְּהֵמָה , Behemah ´ , a large Quadruped in general, usually "beast", (See Behemoth); in  Numbers 20:4, and  Psalms 78:48, בְּעַיר , Be '''''Ï''''' R ´ , grazing Animals, elsewhere "beast;" so the Gr. Βοσκήματα , as beingfd,  2 Maccabees 12:11, or Θρέμματα , from being Reared,  John 4:12; most frequently and characteristically מַקְנֶה , Mikneh ´ , Apossession, as sometimes rendered-from the fact that Oriental wealth ["substance,"  Job 1:3;  Job 1:10] largely consisted in this kind of property; like the Gr. Κτήνη , as being Possessed,  1 Maccabees 12:23; also idiomatically, שֶׂה , Seh,  Genesis 30:32;  Isaiah 7:25;  Isaiah 43:23;   Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. Bibliography InformationMcClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Cattle'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]

    Cattle [BEASTS]