Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
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bear Summary and Overview

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bear in Easton's Bible Dictionary

a native of the mountain regions of Western Asia, frequently mentioned in Scripture. David defended his flocks against the attacks of a bear (1 Sam. 17:34-37). Bears came out of the wood and destroyed the children who mocked the prophet Elisha (2 Kings 2:24). Their habits are referred to in Isa. 59:11; Prov. 28:15; Lam. 3:10. The fury of the female bear when robbed of her young is spoken of (2 Sam. 17:8; Prov. 17:12; Hos. 13:8). In Daniel's vision of the four great monarchies, the Medo-Persian empire is represented by a bear (7:5).

bear in Smith's Bible Dictionary

#1Sa 17:34; 2Sa 17:8| The Syrian bear, Ursus syriacus, which is without doubt the animal mentioned in the Bible, is still found on the higher mountains of Israel. During the summer months these bears keep to the snowy parts of Lebanon, but descend in winter to the villages and Gardens. It is probable also that at this period in former days they extended their visits to other parts of Israel.

bear in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

BEAR . Prov 17:12. The Syrian bear seems but a variety of the brown bear of Europe and Asia, though it is much lighter in color. Its food is seeds, fruits, and roots, to which it occasionally adds a goat or sheep. "I never but once saw the Syrian bear south of Hermon; this was in winter, in a rugged ravine near the Lake of Gennesaret. Syrian Bear. (After Tristram.) When we visited Hermon, before the snow had melted from the top, we found the snow-ridges trodden in all directions by the tracks of bears, which were well known, but not much feared, by the shepherds; and we also saw their trace in the snow on Lebanon. They descend both sides of Hermon and do considerable damage to the crops, especially the lentiles, of which they are very fond." --Tristram. The attachment of the female bear to her young is very great, and nothing enrages her so much as to see her cubs hurt or taken from her. Hence the allusions 2 Sam 17:8; Hos 13:8, and also the passage above cited.

bear in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

The Ursus Syriacus is the particular species meant in Scripture. Akin to the polar bear. As large as the European brown bear, but lower on the legs. it has a high mane of bristling hair between the shoulders. Of a buff or yellow white color. One is represented in an Egyptian picture of tribute brought to Thothmes III by Phoenicians. The crusader Godfrey of Bouillon rescued a man from its attack, at, the imminent risk of his own life, being unhorsed and severely wounded by it. The she-bear is peculiarly fierce when she has lost or is defending her cubs (2 Samuel 17:8; Proverbs 17:12; Hosea 13:8). Almost as formidable as the lion (Amos 5:19). The instrument of punishing the 42 youths who mocked Elisha, in a wood between Jericho and Bethel, probably in winter when bears descend from the mountains to the lowlands (2 Kings 2:24). It attacks flocks and cattle (1 Samuel 17:34-37; Isaiah 11:7). Its roaring, ranging widely for food, and lying in wait for its prey, are alluded to in Isaiah 59:11, where however translate, "We moan like (hungry) bears," growling for food (Proverbs 28:15; Lamentations 3:10). It was carnivorous. Daniel 7:5; "it raised up itself on one side," lying on one of its fore feet and standing on the other; a figure still to be seen in Babylonian monuments, but see margin. Persia is meant. Media was the lower and passive side; Persia, the upper and active. It had three ribs in its mouth, namely, it seized on Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt. From a Hebrew root, "to move by creeping": dob, dabab. Bochart, from Arabic," hairy."