Manners & Customs: Rams Horn
Rams Horns in ancient Bible times
Horn in Easton's Bible Dictionary
Trumpets were at first horns perforated at the tip, used for
various purposes (Josh. 6:4,5).
Flasks or vessels were made of horn (1 Sam. 16:1,
13; 1 Kings
But the word is used also metaphorically to denote
projecting corners of the altar of burnt offerings
and of incense (30:2). The horns of the altar of
were to be smeared with the blood of the slain
Lev. 4:7-18). The criminal, when his crime was
an asylum by laying hold of the horns of the altar
The word also denotes the peak or summit of a hill
where the word "hill" is the rendering of the same
This word is used metaphorically also for strength
33:17) and honour (Job 16:15; Lam. 2:3). Horns are
power, dominion, glory, and fierceness, as they are
means of attack and defence with the animals endowed
(Dan. 8:5, 9; 1 Sam. 2:1; 16:1, 13; 1 Kings 1:39;
6:4, 5; Ps. 75:5, 10; 132:17; Luke 1:69, etc.). The
"horn of salvation," applied to Christ, means a
strength, or a strong Saviour (Luke 1:69). To have
"exalted" denotes prosperity and triumph (Ps. 89:17,
"lift up" the horn is to act proudly (Zech. 1:21).
Horns are also the symbol of royal dignity and power
48:25; Zech. 1:18; Dan. 8:24).
Horn in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
qeren. Trumpets were perhaps at first merely horns
perforated at the tip. In Joshua 6:4-5, instead of "trumpets
of rams' horns," translated "Jubilee trumpets." Rams' horns
would scarcely have been effective enough. Hajobeel, from
jabal "to stream violently with noise," is the name for a
long wind instrument like a horn. Used for summoning to war,
or for public proclamations (Judges 3:27; Judges 7:18). The
horn was also used for a flask to contain oil (1 Samuel
16:1); also to contain stibium or antimony to beautify the
eyelashes and eyelids of women; from whence Job's daughter
drew her name Keren-happuch, "horn of stibium," in contrast
to Job's "horn defiled in the dust" formerly (Job 16:15).
The "horn" being the instrument of the oxen's
strength is the symbol of power (1 Kings 22:11). The "horns
of the (See ALTAR" were simply projections from the four
corners. The peak of a hill is called a horn. Isaiah 5:1, "a
very fruitful hill" Hebrew "a horn of the son of oil," as
the Swiss Shreckhorn, Wetterhorn, Celtic cairn. In Habakkuk
3:4, "He had horns coming out of His hand" means, He had the
emblems of power wielded by His hand (L. de Dieu), or else
rays" (i.e. lightnings): Psalm 18:8 (Maurer). So Exodus
34:29-30; Exodus 34:35, qaaran, "to horn," is used in the
sense to emit rays. Livingstone mentions a horn-shaped cap
as worn by Africans; married Druse women wear silver horns
on their heads.
The ram with two horns (Daniel 8:3) represents the
Medo-Persian double power. The "notable horn" of the "he
goat" (Daniel 8:5) is Alexander the Great who on coins is
represented with horns. The four horns in Zechariah 1:18
represent the four ruling powers of the world, to be
superseded finally by Messiah's kingdom: Babylon, Medo-
Persia, Greece, and Rome. (On "the little horn" of the third
and of the fourth world powers (Daniel 7:8; Daniel 8:9).
(See ANTICHRIST.) On Egyptian and Roman coins, and in
Assyrian sculptures, are figures of gods with horns,
symbolical of power. "A horn of salvation" means mighty
instrument of salvation (Luke 1:69).
Horn in Naves Topical Bible
Used to containi the anointing oil
1Sa 16:1; 1Ki 1:39
-Used for a trumpet
Of divine protection
1Ki 22:11; Ps 89:24; 92:10; 132:17
Da 7:7-24; 8:3-9,20; Am 6:13; Mic 4:13; Hab 3:4; Zec
1:18-21; Re 5:6; 12:3; 13:1,11; 17:3-16
Horns of the altar
Horn in Smiths Bible Dictionary
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, De 33:17 etc.,
but not always; comp. 1Ki 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," 1Sa 2:3 and so for the supreme authority. It
also stands for the concrete, whence it comes to mean king,
kingdom. Da 8:2 etc.; Zech 1:18
Out of either or both of these last two metaphors
sprang the idea of representing gods with horns.
Horn in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
horn (Hebrew and Aramaic qeren; keras; for the "ram's horn"
(yobhel) of Josh 6 see MUSIC, and for the "inkhorn" of Ezek
9 (qeceth) see separate article):
(1) Qeren and keras represent the English "horn" exactly,
whether on the animal (Gen 22:13), or used for musical
purposes (Josh 6:5; 1 Ch 25:5), or for containing a liquid
(1 Sam 16:1,13; 1 Ki 1:39), but in Ezek 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
(2) Both the altar of burnt offering (Ex 27:2; 38:2; compare
Ezek 43:15) and the incense altar (Ex 30:2; 37:25,26;
compare Rev 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; Lev 4:7,18,25,30,34; 16:18; compare Ezek 43:20),
and according to Lev 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 (1 Ki 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.
(3) The common figurative use of "horn" is taken from the
image of battling animals (literal use in Dan 8:7, etc.) to
denote aggressive strength. So Zedekiah ben Chenaanah
illustrates the predicted defeat of the enemies by pushing
with iron horns (1 Ki 22:11; 2 Ch 18:10), while "horns of
the wildox" (Dt 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"
(1 Sam 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 2 Sam 22:3; Ps 18:2; Lk 1:69 is a means of
active defense and not a place of sanctuary as in 1 Ki 1:50.
When, in Dan 7:7-24; 8:3,8,9,20,21; Rev 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 Rev
5:6; 12:3 denote the completeness of the malevolent or
righteous power. In Rev 13:11, however, the two horns point
only to the external imitation of the harmless lamb, the
"horns" being mere stubs.
Horn Scripture - 1 Chronicles 25:5
All these [were] the sons of Heman the king's seer in the
words of God, to lift up the horn. And God gave to Heman
fourteen sons and three daughters.
Horn Scripture - 1 Samuel 16:1
And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for
Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?
fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse
the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his
Horn Scripture - 1 Samuel 2:1
And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD,
mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over
mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.
Horn Scripture - 1 Samuel 2:10
The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of
heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the
ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king,
and exalt the horn of his anointed.
Horn Scripture - Exodus 21:29
But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past,
and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept
him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall
be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death.
Horn Scripture - Joshua 6:5
And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long [blast]
with the ram's horn, [and] when ye hear the sound of the
trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and
the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people
shall ascend up every man straight before him.
Horn Scripture - Lamentations 2:17
The LORD hath done [that] which he had devised; he hath
fulfilled his word that he had commanded in the days of old:
he hath thrown down, and hath not pitied: and he hath caused
[thine] enemy to rejoice over thee, he hath set up the horn of
Horn Scripture - Micah 4:13
Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine
horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt
beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain
unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole
Horn Scripture - Psalms 148:14
He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his
saints; [even] of the children of Israel, a people near unto
him. Praise ye the LORD.
Horn Scripture - Zechariah 1:21
Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying,
These [are] the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no
man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to
cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up [their]
horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.
Rams Horn as a Trumpet
The ram's horn was also made into a trumpet and has been called by the Jews, Shofar. The Mosaic Law called for the sounding of rams' horns at certain times. Each year of Jubilee was ushered in by the blowing of these horns. "Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land" (Leviticus 25:9).
In connection with the Feast of Trumpets there was to be "a day of blowing the trumpets" (Numbers 29:1). The most famous use of the rams' horns was in connection with the encircling and destruction of the city of Jericho by Joshua's army. "And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns; and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets" (Joshua 6:4). The trumpets were also used as signals to gather the people (Jeremiah 4:5).
The ram's horn trumpet measures about eighteen inches long and is in one piece. It is made from the left horn of the fat-tailed sheep, which is "not spiral but flattish, curved backwards, and forming nearly a circle, the point passing under the ear. This structure, added to the large size of the horn, adapts it well for its purpose. In order to bring it to the proper shape, the horn is softened by heat (i.e. hot water) and then modeled into the very form which was used by the Jewish priests." [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Rams Horn to Carry Oil
Rams' horns. The horns of the rams are considered to be of great value. In many Western lands, growers of sheep have endeavored to develop a hornless breed, but in the East the horns are thought of as an important part of the animal. The ram's horn has been used chiefly as a vessel in which liquids have been carried. For carrying purposes a wooden plug is driven into the large end of the horn so as to close it, and sometimes it is covered with raw hide to hold it in place. The small part of the pointed end of the horn is cut off, and the opening closed with a stopper. The ram's horn was used in Bible times to carry oil.
Samuel was told to take his horn of oil and anoint David to be the future king (I Samuel 16:1). Solomon was anointed king by the oil in the horn of Zadok the priest (I Kings 1:39). Reference has already been made to the shepherd's use of oil with his sheep, and this was carried in a ram's horn.
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Sound of the Trumpet
ISRAEL'S USE OF TRUMPETS
The trumpets as used by the Hebrews were in three forms. The earliest form was made from the horn of an ox or a ram. A second form was a curved metallic trumpet. And a later form was the straight trumpet, a representation of which is seen on the Arch of Titus.
Moses was commanded of the LORD to make two silver trumpets which were to be sounded forth "for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps" (Numbers 10:2). Also GOD told them: "If ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets" (Numbers 10:9). The fiftieth year, or the Year of Jubilee, was ushered in on the Day of Atonement by the blowing of the trumpets (Leviticus 25:8, 9). Throughout the history of Israel, trumpets were used to gather the people together in times of war that they might go to battle, and usually in times of peace that they might come to the sanctuary for the purpose of divine worship.
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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