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Dogs are a very popular species in scripture. The Bible mentions dogs many times, but most of the times, they were used in a derogatory manner. They were used to refer to unholy people, sinners, apostates or frankly, those who had fallen from the right path. King David also used dogs to refer to enemies and detractors when he said that they were after his life like a pack of dogs.
Many times when God was cursing the Kings of Israel, he would say that the dogs would eat their Flesh in the streets of the city. He cursed Jezebel that dogs would pick the flesh clean from her bones, and that happened when Jehu threw her off her “Penthouse”.
However, despite the fact that dogs were mentioned many many times in the Bible, there was only one time that the specific name of a particular dog breed was mentioned. Want to know what that breed is? I’ll let you hazard a guess.
No it’s not Chiwawas.
No it’s also not Boxers (Definitely not.)
It’s not Bulldogs.
Okay. I’ll tell you. The only time that dogs were referred to was in Proverbs 30:29-31. I’ll let you read it for yourself from the King James Version.
Prov.30.29 – There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going:
Prov.30.30 – A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any;
Prov.30.31 – A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.
Yup. You read that right. Greyhounds are the only breed of dogs mentioned in any of the sixty six books of the Bible. However, this isn’t so in all the versions of the Bible. For instance, the Message Bible puts verse 31 this way;
“a rooster, proud and strutting; a billy goat; a head of state in stately procession.”
So it’s safe to say that we don’t know for a certain if the Bible meant to say Greyhound. There are many pointers to that not being the case. Understanding the fact that the King James version was translated from Greek and Aramaic translations which were themselves translated from the original books of the Bible, it’s safe to say that there’s been quite a lot of dilution.
For instance, Matthew 11:12 Says in King James Version “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force”
However, that version translates to give other meanings in other translations. For instance, the New Living Translation translates it thus;
“And from the time John the Baptist began preaching and baptizing until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people attack it.”
The Message Bible translates it thus; “For a long time now people have tried to force themselves into God’s kingdom.”
So you see how one verse can have many different translations? That is why we’re not absolutely sure that the Bible in it’s original text says Greyhound.
Here’s Proverbs 30:29-31 in The Amplified Version.
Prov.30.29 There are three things which are stately in step, yes, four which are stately in their stride:
Prov.30.30 The lion, which is mightiest among beasts and turns not back before any;
Prov.30.31 The war horse [well-knit in the loins], the male goat also, and the king [when his army is with him and] against whom there is no uprising.
So you see, it’s called “The Warhorse” this time around.
Here’s how the Message Bible puts those verses;
Prov.30.29 “There are three solemn dignitaries, four that are impressive in their bearing–“
Prov.30.30 “a lion, king of the beasts, deferring to none;”
Prov.30.31 “a rooster, proud and strutting; a billy goat; a head of state in stately procession.”
The word “greyhound” was translated from the Hebrew phrase meaning “girt in the loins”. So if might not even mean the greyhound that we know today. There’s every possibility that the greyhound we know today wasn’t around in Israel 4000 years ago.
Interestingly though, there are other parts of the Bible where the greyhound is referred to as the Strutting Rooster. It’s quite possible that the writers didn’t want to refer to the dog as Greyhound. The Bible refers to dogs 41 times in total; 32 times in the old testament and 9 times in the new testament. Considering the variations, it’s quite possible that the Bible was referring to another breed of dogs, and not this current breed of greyhounds.
Also, looking at the way the Bible refers to dogs, this is one of the few times in which a dog isn’t used in a bad way. Historical evidence has shown that dogs have been domesticated for over 30,000 years, what with people burying dogs and all.
However, it’s safe to assume that dogs weren’t the Pet of Choice in Israel. This is because of the way in which it was used derogatorily, just the way Jackals were used derogatorily. Dogs must have been seen as street animals not worthy of someone’s care or love.
However it is also safe to assume that dogs were domesticated. This is looking at the book of Mark, where the Samaritan woman came to Jesus to heal her daughter.
Mark 7:27: And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
Mark 7:28: But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
For a dog to eat the crumbs that fall from the children while under the table, the dog would have had to be domesticated. This would also have had to be a popular practice for it to be used casually when talking about dogs.
Thus it is safe to assume that dogs were domesticated and also safe to assume that they weren’t domesticated.
Seeing as this is just about the only scripture in which a dog is referred to non derogatorily, we can assume that they weren’t really talking about dogs. Other versions ping them as wild horses, so we wouldn’t hurt anyone assuming they are those. They are used in the same conversation as lions, and used to refer to the same thing/person. Now when I saw this, I was like “Damn! So the bible can see dogs like this?”
Let’s examine some other scriptures in which the Bible refers to dogs.
Rev.22.15 “For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” (KJV)
Phil.3.2 “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.” (KJV)
Isa.56.10 “His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.” (KJV)
Isa.56.11 “Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.” (KJV)
Ps.59.14 And at evening let them return; and let them make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city. (KJV)
So by now, you get the gist that dogs in general context aren’t the kind of animals of which someone would be proud a proud owner. However it’s thankful that that didn’t shape the way some people see dogs today, like the story of Adam and Eve at Eden has shaped how and why so many people hate serpents
You know what’s funny? There are no mention of cats in the Bible. So there you have it dog lovers. Another win in the bag. There are some animals though that we have here that you wouldn’t think would make it in. The Bible makes mention of Moles, Seagulls, Hedgehog, Ostrich, Pigeon, e.t.c.
These are animals mostly found in Children’s storybooks. That they made it into the most distributed book ever in the world says something. Pigeon may not be all that surprising because it’s mentioned quite a number of times, mostly when they’re being used for Animal sacrifice.
You can carry read up more scripture about dogs on your own though, and you’ll find out just how the bible sees your little canine friend. If you own a greyhound, you have some bragging rights as your dog being the only one mentioned in a version of the Bible. Congratulations.
Greyhounds. Now you know.