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Bible Dictionaries

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary

Roe and Roebuck

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Not the animal still found in Scotland and Germany, but the oriental antelope or gazelle, the Antilopa Cervicapra, or Dorcas, of Linnaeus. It is often referred to in the Bible, Deuteronomy 12:15,22 14:5 1 Kings 4:23 Proverbs 6:5 Song of Song of Solomon 2:7,9,17 8:14 Isaiah 13:14 . It is about two and a half feet in height, of a reddish-brown color, with the belly and feet white, has long naked ears, and a short, erect tail. The horns are black, about twelve inches long, and bent like a lyre. It inhabits Barbary, Egypt, Arabia, and Syria, and is about half the size of a fallow deer. It goes in large flocks, is easily tamed, though naturally very timid; and its flesh is reckoned excellent food.

There are no less than twenty-nine species of antelopes in all. This animal constitutes a genus between the deer and the goat. They are mostly confined to Asia and Africa, inhabiting the hottest regions of the old world, or the temperate zones near the tropics. None of them, except the chamois and the saiga, are found in Europe. In America only one species has yet been found, namely, the Missouri antelope, which inhabits the country west of the Mississippi. Antelopes chiefly inhabit hilly countries, though some reside in the plains; and some species form herds of two or three thousand, while others keep in small troops of five or six. These animals are elegantly formed, active, restless, timid, shy, and astonishingly swift, running with vast bounds, and springing or leaping with surprising agility; they frequently stop for a moment in the midst of their course to gaze at their pursuers, and then resume their flight. The greyhound, the fleetest of dogs, is usually outrun by them; and the sportsman is obliged to have recourse to the aid of the falcon, which is trained to the work, for seizing on the animal and impeding its motion, that the dogs may thus have an opportunity of overtaking it. In India and Persia a sort of leopard is made use of in the chase; and this animal takes its prey, not by swiftness of foot, but by its astonishing springs, which are similar to those of the antelope; and yet, if the leopard should fail in its first attempt the game escapes.

The fleetness of this animal has been proverbial in the countries which it inhabits, from the earliest time, 2 Samuel 2:18 1 Chronicles 12:8; as also the beauty of its eyes; so that to say, "You have the eyes of a gazelle," is to pay a high compliment.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Roe and Roebuck'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ats/r/roe-and-roebuck.html. 1859.

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