The Bible is perhaps one of the most beloved books in the world, selling more copies than any other book in history, with translations in nearly every language around the globe. A recent story about an American who was arrested for leaving a copy of the Bible in a night club in North Korea and news of a new Museum of the Bible in the works have reminded a few of how common place the Bible is in the U.S. But even though everyone knows of the Bible, there’s still a lot of little surprising gems to be found within its hallowed pages. While everyone may be familiar with some of the more famous stories of the Bible, there’s also a lot of surprising things in there too. Here’s a look at just a few of the surprising things that you never knew were in the Bible.
Unicorns are mentioned around nine times in the Bible, including this verse in Numbers 24:8 “God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.”
But the Bible is not the only appearance of the unicorn in ancient texts. While some scholars have argued that this could be a mistranslation in the Bible, many more believe that it is a historically accurate translation given the fact that unicorn is also mentioned through many scientific nature journals through out ancient Greece. Interestingly enough, unicorns are never included in ancient mythology, only in the scientific descriptions of wildlife. In addition to its numerous mentions in the Bible and several nature journals, cave drawings and the ancient seals of the Indus Valley Civilization also featured the unicorn and it was not until the medieval period that unicorns began to really make their way into the land of myth.
2. Underground Ocean:
While scientists have recently discovered the possible existence of a flowing sea deep beneath the service of the Earth, those who were familiar with this passage in Deuteronomy 5:8 of the Bible may not have been too surprised. “Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth.”
The half horse, half man creature similar to a faun can be found in ancient Greek and Roman mythology but the Bible also makes mentions of these strange creatures in at least two verses including this one in Isaiah 34:14. “The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest.
4. All Livings Things Have a Soul:
Although it is not an idea that you might have heard in Sunday school, the Bible actually says that every living thing has a soul, and more over, it speaks of learning all of the mysteries of the universe from nature in this passage found in Job 12:7-10. “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.”
This concept, known as Animism, is not unique to the Bible alone. In addition to being found in the Bible, it is also a common part of many spiritual traditions including various Native American traditions, Shinto, and ancient Celtic beliefs and some scholars believe that Christian Animism was also a part of the early Christian world view.
5. Curses And Man-Eating Bears
Most of us are probably familiar with the Bible’s telling of the great plagues of Egypt, but did you know there are other curses in the Bible, including one incidence of man eating bears? Once, while the great prophet Elisha was going to Bethel, he sent a curse upon a gang of young people who had begin taunting and making fun of him. Bullies beware! It did not end well for them, as we see in 2 Kings 2:24. “And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.”
6. Female Prophets:
Although we rarely hear about them much these days, the Bible is filled with numerous examples of female prophets, beginning with Miriam, the sister of Aaron and Moses, who the Bible calls a prophetess in Exodus 13:20. The Bible also tells of many other female prophets, including Deborah (Judges 4:4), Huldah (2 Kings 22:14), Noadiah (Nehemiah 6:14), and Anna (Luke 2:36). The Bible also mentions other women of note who served in such capacities, including the daughters of Phillip, one of Peter’s companions in the New Testament, and the wife of Isaiah, although she is not mentioned by name in the Bible, only as “the prophetess” in Isaiah 8:3.