Word Study on Unicorns in the Bible

Date: Yom Kippur of 2017 A.D.

In the English Bible, the word "unicorn" is used 9 times. What can we find out by looking at the Latin and Hebrew texts that it was translated from? To compare English with Greek, Latin, and Hebrew texts of the Bible, we will use the Tetrapla. The Tetrapla uses Neo-Paleo encoding to transliterate all Bible texts into English letters, no matter what the source language.

Raw Data

English Latin Hebrew
Num23:22 God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. DEUW EDUJIX EUM DE AEGVPXO CUIUW FORXIXUDO WIMILIW EWX RINOCEROXIW AL MVJIAM MMJRIM CXVOPX RAM LV
Num24:8 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. DEUW EDUJIX ILLUM DE AEGVPXO CUIUW FORXIXUDO WIMILIW EWX RINOCEROXIW DEUORABUNX GENXEW HOWXEW ILLIUW OWWAQUE EORUM CONFRINGENX EX PERFORABUNX WAGIXXIW AL MVJIAV MMJRIM CXVOPX RAM LV IACL GVIM JRIV VOJMXIEM IGRM VHJIV IMHJ
Deut33:17 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. QUAWI PRIMOGENIXI XAURI PULCHRIXUDO EIUW CORNUA RINOCEROXIW CORNUA ILLIUW IN IPWIW UENXILABIX GENXEW UWQUE AD XERMINOW XERRAE HAE WUNX MULXIXUDINEW EPHRAIM EX HAEC MILIA MANAWWE BCVR WVRV EDR LV VQRNI RAM QRNIV BEM OMIM INGH IHDV APSI ARJ VEM RBBVX APRIM VEM ALPI MNWE
Job39:9 Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? NUMQUID UOLEX RINOCEROW WERUIRE XIBI AUX MORABIXUR AD PRAEWEPE XUUM EIABE RIM OBDC AM ILIN OL ABVSC
Job39:10 Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee? NUMQUID ALLIGABIW RINOCEROXA AD ARANDUM LORO XUO AUX CONFRINGEX GLEBAW UALLIUM POWX XE EXQWR RIM BXLM OBXV AM IWDD OMQIM AHRIC
Ps22:21 Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. WALUA ME EJ ORE LEONIW EX DE CORNIBUW UNICORNIUM EJAUDI ME EVWIONI MPI ARIE VMQRNI RMIM ONIXNI
Ps29:6 He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn. EX DIWPERGEX EAW QUAWI UIXULUW LIBANI EX WARION QUAWI FILIUW RINOCEROXIW VIRQIDM CMV OGL LBNVN VWRIN CMV BN RAMIM
Ps92:10 But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil. EX EJALXABIXUR QUAWI MONOCEROXIW CORNU MEUM EX WENECXA MEA IN OLEO UBERI VXRM CRAIM QRNI BLXI BWMN RONN
Isa34:7 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. EX DEWCENDENX UNICORNEW CUM EIW EX XAURI CUM POXENXIBUW INEBRIABIXUR XERRA EORUM WANGUINE EX HUMUW EORUM ADIPE PINGUIUM VIRDV RAMIM OMM VPRIM OM ABIRIM VRVXE ARJM MDM VOPRM MHLB IDWN


English Latin Hebrew
Num23:22 unicorn RINOCEROXIW RAM
Num24:8 unicorn RINOCEROXIW RAM
Deut33:17 unicorns RINOCEROXIW RAM
Job39:9 unicorn RINOCEROW RIM
Job39:10 unicorn RINOCEROXA RIM
Ps22:21 unicorns UNICORNIUM RMIM
Isa34:7 unicorns UNICORNEW RAMIM

Latin words for unicorn:

rinocerotis, rinoceros, rinocerota, unicornium, monocerotis, unicornes.

Rinocerotis is used four times, the other words are used once each. From this, it does seem that the Romans understood the text to refer to a rhinocerous.

Hebrew words for unicorn:


RAM is used thrice, RIM twice, RMIM once, RAMIM twice, and RAIM once. The Hebrew word CRAIM becomes RAIM. The letter kaph (C) in front is a suffix, that means "like". "Like a RAIM". Another interesting detail is how the spelling of RAM changes over time. In the book of Job it is RIM. Job is the oldest book in the Bible, written in the Edomite dialect of Hebrew.

It is interesting to see so many different spellings of RAM in the Psalms. This isn't unusual in the Psalms, noted for its mispellings and archaic forms of Hebrew.

RAMIM is the plural form of RAM, so we can count RAMIM the same as RAM. RMIM is the plural form of RM. It looks like the poet forgot to put the A in RM in Psalm 22:21. I note that the English doesn't agree with the Hebrew when it comes to the plural forms. So the Hebrew QRN for Horn and RAM for Unicorn need to be checked in all 9 instances to see what is the correct reading.

More work to be done

This is just a preliminary gathering of data, more study has to be done to draw any conclusions about the Biblical unicorn.