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Dictionaries :: Horn

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Easton's Bible Dictionary

Horn:

Trumpets were at first horns perforated at the tip, used for various purposes (Jos 6:4,5).

Flasks or vessels were made of horn (1Sa 16:1,13; 1Ki 1:39).

But the word is used also metaphorically to denote the projecting corners of the altar of burnt offerings (Exd 27:2) and of incense (30:2). The horns of the altar of burnt offerings were to be smeared with the blood of the slain bullock (29:12; Lev 4:7-18). The criminal, when his crime was accidental, found an asylum by laying hold of the horns of the altar (1Ki 1:50; 2:28).

The word also denotes the peak or summit of a hill (Isa 5:1, where the word "hill" is the rendering of the same Hebrew word).

This word is used metaphorically also for strength (Deu 33:17) and honour (Job 16:15; Lam 2:3). Horns are emblems of power, dominion, glory, and fierceness, as they are the chief means of attack and defence with the animals endowed with them (Dan 8:5,9; 1Sa 2:1; 16:1,13; 1Ki 1:39; 22:11; Jos 6:4,5; Psa 75:5,10; 132:17; Luk 1:69, etc.). The expression "horn of salvation," applied to Christ, means a salvation of strength, or a strong Saviour (Luk 1:69). To have the horn "exalted" denotes prosperity and triumph (Psa 89:17,24). To "lift up" the horn is to act proudly (Zec 1:21).

Horns are also the symbol of royal dignity and power (Jer 48:25; Zec 1:18; Dan 8:24).

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia

Horn:

horn (Hebrew and Aramaic qeren; keras; for the "ram's horn" (yobhel) of Jos 6 see MUSIC, and for the "inkhorn" of Eze 9 (qeceth) see separate article):

(1) Qeren and keras represent the English "horn" exactly, whether on the animal (Ge 22:13), or used for musical purposes (Jos 6:5; 1Ch 25:5), or for containing a liquid (1Sa 16:1,13; 1Ki 1:39), but in Eze 27:15 the horns of ivory are of course tusks and the "horns" of ebony are small (pointed?) logs. Consequently most of the usages require no explanation.

(2) Both the altar of burnt offering (Ex 27:2; 38:2; compare Eze 43:15) and the incense altar (Ex 30:2; 37:25,26; compare Re 9:13) had "horns," which are explained to be projections "of one piece with" the wooden framework and covered with the brass (or gold) that covered the altar. They formed the most sacred part of the altar and were anointed with the blood of the most solemn sacrifices (only) (Ex 30:10; Le 4:7,18,25,30,34; 16:18; compare Eze 43:20), and according to Le 8:15; 9:9, the first official sacrifices began by anointing them. Consequently cutting off the horns effectually desecrated the altar (Am 3:14), while "sin graven on them" (Jer 17:1) took all efficacy from the sacrifice. On the other hand they offered the highest sanctuary (1Ki 1:50,51; 2:28). Of their symbolism nothing whatever is said, and the eventual origin is quite obscure. "Remnants of a bull-cult" and "miniature sacred towers" have been suggested, but are wholly uncertain. A more likely origin is from an old custom of draping the altar with skins of sacrificed animals (RS, 436). That, however, the "horns" were mere conveniences for binding the sacrificial animals (Ps 118:27, a custom referred to nowhere else in the Old Testament), is most unlikely.

See ALTAR.

(3) The common figurative use of "horn" is taken from the image of battling animals (literal use in Da 8:7, etc.) to denote aggressive strength. So Zedekiah ben Chenaanah illustrates the predicted defeat of the enemies by pushing with iron horns (1Ki 22:11; 2Ch 18:10), while "horns of the wildox" (De 33:17; Ps 22:21; 92:10, the King James Version "unicorn") represent the magnitude of power, and in Zec 1:18-21 "horns" stand for power in general. In Hab 3:4 the "horns coming out of his hand" denote the potency of Yahweh's gesture (the Revised Version (British and American) "rays" may be smoother, but is weak). So to "exalt the horn" (1Sa 2:1,10; Ps 75:4, etc.) is to clothe with strength, and to "cut off the horn" (not to be explained by Am 3:14) is to rob of power (Ps 75:10; Jer 48:25). Hence, the "horn of salvation" in 2Sa 22:3; Ps 18:2; Lu 1:69 is a means of active defense and not a place of sanctuary as in 1Ki 1:50. When, in Da 7:7-24; 8:3,8,9,20,21; Re 13:1; 17:3,7,12,16, many horns are given to the same animal, they figure successive nations or rulers. But the seven horns in Re 5:6; 12:3 denote the completeness of the malevolent or righteous power. In Re 13:11, however, the two horns point only to the external imitation of the harmless lamb, the "horns" being mere stubs.

Written by Burton Scott Easton

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
1 Strong's Number: g2768 Greek: keras

Horn:

"a horn," is used in the plural, as the symbol of strength,

(a) in the apocalyptic visions;

(1) on the head of the Lamb as symbolic of Christ, Rev 5:6;

(2) on the heads of beasts as symbolic of national potentates, Rev 12:3; 13:1, 11; 17:3, 7, 12, 16 (cp. Dan 7:8; 8:9; Zec 1:18, etc.);

(3) at the corners of the golden altar, Rev 9:13 (cp. Exd 30:2; the horns were of one piece with the altar, as in the case of the brazen altar, Exd 27:2, and were emblematic of the efficacy of the ministry connected with it);

(b) metaphorically, in the singular, "a horn of salvation," Luk 1:69 (a frequent metaphor in the OT, e.g., Psa 18:2; cp. 1Sa 2:10; Lam 2:3).

Smith's Bible Dictionary

Horn:

The word "horn" is often used metaphorically to signify strength and honor, because horns are the chief weapons and ornaments of the animals which possess them; hence they are also used as a type of victory. Of strength the horn of the unicorn was the most frequent representative (Deuteronomy 33:17 etc.) but not always; compare 1 Kings 22:11 where probably horns of iron, worn defiantly and symbolically on the head, are intended. Among the Druses upon Mount Lebanon the married women wear silver horns on their heads. In the sense of honor, the word horn stands for the abstract "my horn," (Job 16:16). "all the horn of Israel," (1 Samuel 2:3) and so for the supreme authority. It also stands for the concrete, whence it comes to mean king, kingdom (Daniel 8:2 etc.; Zechariah 1:18). Out of either or both of these last two metaphors sprang the idea of representing gods with horns.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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