The Bible Includes Satyrs, Unicorns, and Dragons

Fire Breathing Dragon

Did you know that the Trojan War happened before David and Goliath? In fact, it probably happened before the traditional Exodus story. Most ancient societies were not superstitious cavemen, dragging women around by their hair, and carrying clubs. They had rich, highly developed cultures, full of architects, artists, writers, musicians, and scholars. Before Abraham, the Minoan people on the isle of Crete had running water and flushing toilets, and this was at least one thousand years before Rome!


Me standing in front of the Lion Gate (~1350 BCE) which is traditionally believed to be the home of King Agamemnon.

Archeologists are perplexed at the water erosion around the base of The Great Sphinx of Giza, which probably dates the structure pre-deluge (before Noah’s Ark). So my verses today come from the prophet Isaiah, and they frustrate many of my literalist’s friends because whether figurative, wrong, or literal, they complicate understanding the scriptures. But no matter how you slice and dice it, the Bible makes it fun to read about giants, satyrs, wizards, witches, unicorns, cockatrices, dragons, monsters, flying horses, demons, talking donkeys, and many other cool things.

KJV-Isaiah 13:21, 14:29, 27:1, 34:7 = Satyrs, cockatrices, leviathans, dragons, and unicorns


  1. The words of the biblical prophets are rich in startling imagery. Anyone approaching the bible must first understand both the broad and near context in which the text was written. The near context for most of the old testament is rooted in the oral tradition. Whether the writer, like Moses was chronicling historical events, like David mixing history, poetry, and song, or like Isaiah communicating deeply prophetic events and meaning, we must always remember that they spoke these words and they were passed on orally for generations before anyone wrote them down.

    When considering the near context of a scriptural passage, one must also take into account the audience that was being addressed, the culture of the time, and recent events that relate to the particular story. All of these things influence what was being told, the literary device used (narrative, parable, metaphor, historical account, poetry, song, or allegory), and require at least a basic hermeneutic process to uncover the deeper meaning. Literalist interpretations of scripture lack a critically important dimension and often obscure the deeper intent and meaning.

    A good example is the creation stories as presented in Genesis 1 and 2. Any plain reading of these chapters leaves the reader with the impression that Moses is giving us two subtly contradictory versions of creation. Literalists have been tying themselves into knots for centuries in vain attempt to resolve or explain away this apparent conflict.

    But if one reads the creation accounts in Genesis 1 & 2 as literature, the conflict disappears and you are left with, what I believe, is a richer and more impactful truth. When I read Genesis 1 it is clear to me that Moses was conveying that God and God alone created the universe and everything in it to point to Him and His glory and majesty. Genesis 2 tells me that mankind is His most precious creation and that He wants nothing more than to be in relationship with us. To me, that is the point of the creation story. And it is beautiful and powerful.

    And therein lies the beauty of the literary richness of the bible. Multiple dimensions and layers of meaning that keep your heart and mind searching again and again for deeper and deeper truth.