Rats in the Bible

There are not a lot of references to rats or mice (KJV) in the Bible. The first is Leviticus 11: 29 where the eating of rats and other animals is forbidden. They were and are used as food by the people in surrounding countries. You can see Peter’s dream in Acts 10: 12 containing all of these animals.  If you have ever owned mice or hamsters you know they like to surround themselves with their fecal droppings and it is a safe bet that is why God did not want them eaten. The second reference is the one that most people think about when you talk about rats or mice in the Bible; 1 Samuel 6 tells the story when the Philistines have captured the Ark and God inflects them with tumors and they send a guilt offering of golden rats and tumors. The last verse is Isaiah 66:17 were a special curse is reserved for those who go to pagan temples and eat rats. 2 Kings19: 35 historically is connected to rats chewing on equipment and spreading the disease to Sennacherib’s army. Chewing and gnawing on things and destroying fields of grain is what rats/mice do and they are really good at it.

See Rats #2 for ideas about their meaning and appearance in dreams.

Several references will tell you that there are many species of rodents (twenty-three at least) in the land of Israel. They are hamsters, sand rats, Jerboas (a hopping rat with big ears), and a gopher/groundhog/mole-like animal. My NIV concordance specifically listed Jerboas as a possibility for the animal in Samuel. The pictures are a sand rat and the sore is from a parasite that uses them as a host for their larva. If those sores are what the Philistines had no wonder they wanted to get rid of the Ark of God.

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8 thoughts on “Rats in the Bible

  1. Pingback: Rats #2 | Mark's Bible Study

  2. And to think… all this disease is a result of the fall.
    One of my greatest anticipations for the day when our Messiah returns is a restoration of animals to the original, created harmony. No more parasites. The lion and the lamb able to frolic together and enjoy a newly restored nature. Mice, and even rats, able to return to their original nature which C.S. Lewis gave us a glimpse of with the Talking Animals of Narnia.

  3. Just watching PBI about Black Death and Bubonic Plagues and author saying no rats in Europe in the 14th century.
    Yet Bible clearly details bubonic plague tumors or ”bubos’ lumps filled with rotten blood.
    I think all diseases are cooked up by Satan and his demons.

    • The black rat we think of came from China because of the trade caravans and has spread worldwide, they are resourceful. The Bible rodents still carried fleas, etc. and caused problems. I agree with your idea of diseases, Adam should have never eaten that fruit!

  4. I kill a lot of mice/rats. But I still feel a bit of guilt each time I kill one. My cat likes to bring mice alive home. We give her extra treats if it is dead.

    These mice… They freak my mom out. I understand why too. I wish there was a better way. If I just release it outside it will still cause problems. If I keep killing them there is one less mouse in the house.

    My God, Jesus, father, and protector, you know my heart. Am I doing the right thing?
    (I did edit this. Mark)

    • God does know your heart. I have raised them as pets and had to protect my home and family from them. You may be upset about killing them but your Mom and your health are important.
      Friends of mine have had their cats bring them trophies (live or dead mice), so be glad for your cat is being a cat.
      Try anointing your house with oil and pray against the rodents from coming in and attacking your home. Seeking out their entry points and blocking them is also a step you should try. Holes 2.5 to 5 cm are big enough for them to come in.

  5. Pingback: The Poles of the Ark and the Philistines | Mark's Bible Study

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