David Lamb, of God Behaving Badly has a post on biblical unicorns. He wrote about these unicorns in the Bible:
A student in my psalms class (Phil) pointed out to me recently that unicorns appear in the Bible.
I said, “What?” He said, “Yep”. I said, “Where?” He said in Psalm 22 and other places. “You’re kidding.” “Nope, but only in the King James Version.”
I opened up BibleWorks 7.0, and discovered 9 references, including these two:
“His horns are like the horns of unicorns” (Deut. 33:17).
“And the unicorns shall come down with them” (Isa 34:7).
Fine and dandy, at least in the KJV does indeed mention “unicorns”. BUT are all the nervous fundies and exultant atheists right to get excited?
Well, no, as Dt 33:17 makes clear:
His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.
RTFT (read the flipping text!) these unicorns have “horns” plural, now if we only had the KJV one might argue that this just means there are several unicorns, except in the Hebrew the word is a not plural it reads: vecarne re’em “horns of a XXX” a single XXX has “horns” therefore the unicorn in the KJV has more than one horn. I can think of loads of non mythical animals that have more than one horn, and I do not need even to join Jerome in wondering if this is a rhinoceros!
Unless I get really carried away, and look at the Greek, instead of the Hebrew, there I find mention of a μονοκέρωτος or “one horn” which suggests that at least the Greek translators were thinking of a rhino…