The Hebrew word for horn is keren. Ancient Hebrew only has around 1000 root words. So some words have to do dual duty or more. Horn is one of those words. The Hebrew text uses the word horn many ways. Most often it is a literal physical horn that is either attached to an animal or one that has been removed to make a vessel or a trumpet but there is another use, it can be the idea of strength.
Horns of the Altar
Because there was no known altars from the Middle East in 1611, the King James Bible translated this word literally. Since no one whats to make a translation that deviates too much from the “Authorized Version” they all still say horns. However in recent years many altars have been found in and around Israel. If they had seen a picture of one in 1611 they would have translated the horn as crenellations.
The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, seeing I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 1Sam. 16:1 c.f. verse13
There Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the tent, and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!” 1Kings 1:39
Sometime the word shofar is used and like here keren.
And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, as soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up every man straight before him.” Josh. 6:5
The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psa. 18:2
The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king, and exalt the power of his anointed.” 1Sam. 2:10
The LORD has done what he purposed, has carried out his threat; as he ordained long ago, he has demolished without pity; he has made the enemy rejoice over you, and exalted the might of your foes. Lam. 2:17
All the horns of the wicked he will cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted. Psa. 75:10
c.f. Ps 89:17,24; 92:10; 112:9
I say to the boastful, “Do not boast,” and to the wicked, “Do not lift up your horn; do not lift up your horn on high, or speak with insolent neck.” Psa. 75:4-5
Let me sing for my beloved a love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. Is. 5:1
And when Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. Ex. 34:30
In the Hebrew it says he had horns. This is why Michelangelo’s Moses has horns. In Hebrew the rays of sunlight are called horns.
His brightness was like the light, rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power. Hab. 3:4
Hannah also prayed and said, “My heart exults in the LORD; my strength is exalted in the LORD. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in thy salvation. 1Sam. 2:1
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; thou savest me from violence. 2Sam. 22:3
The horn of Moab is cut off, and his arm is broken, says the LORD. Jer. 48:25
“On that day I will cause a horn to spring forth to the house of Israel, and I will open your lips among them. Then they will know that I am the LORD.” Ezek. 29:21
Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion, for I will make your horn iron and your hoofs bronze; you shall beat in pieces many peoples, and shall devote their gain to the LORD, their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth. Mic. 4:13
Psa. 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Horns appear throughout the prophecies of the Bible as symbols for kingdoms/empires.
- Dan 7 on the Terrible Beast
- Dan 8 on the Ram and the He-goat
- Zech 1:18-21 The Horns or Empires that have scattered Judah
- Rev 12 The horns on the Dragon Beast
- Rev 13 The horn on the Imperial Beast
- Rev 13 The horn on the Earthly Beast
- Rev 17 The horns on the Imperial Beast
The symbolic message is that these “horns” represent the strength of the empires. Whether they are big or small crowned or not. They are all finally disposed of into the lake of fire. [Rev 19:19-20]