An animal important in ancient Israelite religion. Bulls were often sacrificed in the Temple. A designation for Israel’s God in Genesis, commonly translated “Mighty One of Jacob,” was originally in Hebrew “Bull of Jacob” (Gen 49:24). Statues of bulls were erected in Israel presumably as animal thrones for the invisible deity. Still, in Israelite religion, there was always concern that the animal throne would itself become the object of worship. This danger was actually realized, according to the biblical writer, in the two bulls that Jeroboam I set up in Bethel and Dan in the tenth century BCE (1Kgs 12:28; Exod 32:4).

Gen 49:24

24Yet his bow remained taut,
and his arms were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,

1Kgs 12:28

28So the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold. He said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Here are your gods, O Israel, who br ... View more

Exod 32:4

4He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land ... View more

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