Curved bone-like structures growing from the heads of animals such as deer or goats and vessels or instruments made from or shaped like such horns. In Scripture horn refers to trumpets, vessels, topographical features, and figurative symbols.
Old Testament The basic meaning of horns relate to animal horns (Genesis 22:13;
Daniel 8:5). Elephant tusks were also called horns (Ezekiel 27:15). Horns are mentioned being used as trumpets (Joshua 6:5). Such instruments were perforated horns of the ram or the wild ox used to sound ceremonial or military signals. Priests sounded trumpets to call to worship. Trumpets later were made of silver. See Music. Horns also were used as vessels. Being hollow and easy to polish, horns were used to hold liquids for drinking or storage, including ceremonial anointing oil (1 Samuel 16:1). Horn-like projections were built onto the corners of the altar of burnt offerings in the Temple and in tabernacles (Exodus 27:2). The horns were smeared with the blood of the sacrifice, served as binding posts for the sacrifice, and were clung to for safety from punishment (1 Kings 2:28).
As a topographical feature, the peaks or summits of Palestinian hills were called horns (Isaiah 51:1). Metaphorically, horn signified the strength and honor of people and brightness and rays. Such references are used in Scripture as emblems of power of God (Hebrews 3:4) and other physical or spiritual entities. There is an apocalyptic use of the word in
Daniel 7:7. Horns budding or sprouting is a figurative language indication of a sign of revival of a nation or power.
New Testament Christ is called “an horn of salvation” (Luke 1:69), which is a methaphorical use of the word signifying strength. Other figurative uses include the Lamb with seven horns mentioned in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 5:6); the beast with ten horns rising up out of the sea (Revelation 13:1); and the scarlet beast of the great prostitute also having ten horns (Revelation 17:3,Revelation 17:7). Those references represent antichristian powers.
J. William Thompson