horn Summary and Overview
Bible Dictionaries at a Glance
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 the
projecting corners of the altar of burnt offerings (Ex. 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 (1 Kings
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 (Deut.
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; 1 Sam. 2:1; 16:1, 13; 1 Kings 1:39; 22:11; Josh.
6:4, 5; Ps. 75:5, 10; 132:17; Luke 1:69, etc.). The expression
"horn of salvation," applied to Christ, means a salvation of
strength, or a strong Saviour (Luke 1:69). To have the horn
"exalted" denotes prosperity and triumph (Ps. 89:17, 24). To
"lift up" the horn is to act proudly (Zech. 1:21).
Horns are also the symbol of royal dignity and power (Jer.
48:25; Zech. 1:18; Dan. 8:24).
horn in Smith's 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 Schaff's Bible Dictionary
HORN . This word is employed in the O.T. as an emblem of power, honor, or glory. Deut 33:17; Job 16:15; Lam 2:3. "To exalt the horn" was the same as to prosper; so "to cut off" the horn," Jer 48:25; Lam 2:3, is to render worthless, to ruin. "To defile the horn in the dust" is to humble most deeply, Job 16:15. The horn was likewise the symbol of victory. Hence its use by the false prophet Zedekiah, 1 Kgs 22:11, and in the Revelation of John, Rev 5:6. So elsewhere. It is also frequently employed in prophetic visions instead of "kings" and "kingdoms," Dan 7:20-24; Zech 1:18. Horns were used as vessels for liquids, especially oil and perfumes, 1 Sam 16:1; 1 Kgs 1:39, and also for trumpets, Josh 6:8, Lev 6:13. It is not necessary to think they were always actual horns, but rather hornshaped articles. The horn being the chief defence and strength of many beasts, to break or cut off the horn of a king or people is to abridge or destroy their power, and to raise or exalt the horn is to establish or increase power and prosperity. So also among the aborigines of this country a like custom prevailed. The chief of the council which negotiated the treaty with William Penn Horns worn as head-ornaments by modern Orientals. opened the business by placing on his own head a crown with a horn in it, significant of supreme authority, by which the covenants of the treaty were made binding. Dr. Livingstone describes how the natives of South Africa ornament their heads with buffalo-horns. The married women of the Druses of Mount Lebanon formerly wore on their head horns, originally of paste-board or pottery, but, through pride and rivalry, from a few inches they became of enormous length and the material was of greater cost, until the Druse rich women "sported gold horns decked with jewels, and so long that a servant had to spread the veil over them." Horns of the Altar. See Altar.
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).