Chickens and the reliability of the Bible
Researchers have determined the humble chicken is descended from the Red Jungle Fowl, native to Southeast Asia. Attracted by the rice that humans would cultivate and eat, these birds were soon domesticated as they made their homes near their human feeders. This happened around 1650-1250 BC.
It wasn’t until 800BC (nearing the end of the Old Testament period) that chickens were found in the Middle East, a fact that accords with both archaeological evidence and the Bible. “Chickens don’t feature in the Old Testament,” said Naomi Sykes from University of Exeter in an article in Science magazine. “They burst onto the scene in the New”.
Intrigued, I did a quick search for where chickens are mentioned in the Bible. Sure enough, they’re in the Gospels (think of Peter denying Jesus before the rooster crows), yet absent in older descriptions of Israelite life. One possibility is the strutting rooster of Proverbs 30:31, but the Hebrew word used here is not altogether clear (horse or greyhound are other translations). It’s just a small reminder that the Bible records real history and is not a made-up fairy tale!
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