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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Beeves

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The rearing of horned cattle was encouraged by the people of Israel. These animals were protected in some cases by express provisions of the law; they were held clean, being the usual sacrifice of consideration, and the chief article of flesh diet of the population. Judging from Egyptian remains, there were two great breeds of straight-backed cattle, the long-horned and the short-horned; and in Upper Egypt at least, there was one without horns. Another hunched species existed, which served to draw chariots, yoked in the same manner as the Brahminee bulls of India are at present.

In Egypt the straight-backed or common cattle appear to have formed a very handsome breed with lunate horns. They were generally spotted black or red upon a white ground, and there were, besides, others white, red, or black. They all served for common use, but those without red were selected when new sacred bulls were to be supplied; for they alone had the colors which could show the marks made by chance or by art, and required to fit the animal for the purpose intended. There was, besides, a sacred cow; and a black bull was worshipped at Hermonthis.

In Palestine the breed of cattle was most likely in ancient times, as it still is, inferior in size to the Egyptian.

Unless the name be taken synonymously with that of other species, there is not in the Bible any indication of the buffalo. The Asiatic species was not known in Greece till the time of Aristotle. The indigenous buffaloes of Africa, amounting at least to two very distinct species, appear to have belonged to the south and west of that continent, and only at a later period to have approached Egypt as far as the present Bornou; for none are figured on any known monument in either Upper or Lower Egypt. With regard, however, to wild oxen of the true Taurine genus, some may, at a very remote period, have been found in Bashan, evidently the origin of the name—a region where mountain, wood, and water, all connecting the Syrian Libanus with Taurus, were favorable to their existence but the wild bulls of the district, mentioned in Psalms 22:12, and in various other passages, appear, nevertheless, to refer to domestic species, probably left to propagate without much human superintendence, except annually marking the increase, and selecting a portion for consumption, in the same manner as is still practiced in some parts of Europe.

 

 

 

 

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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Beeves'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/kbe/b/beeves.html.

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