A close-up shot of an open Bible, showcasing the page that mentions "conies," surrounded by highlighted verses and a magnifying glass emphasizing the significance of this biblical reference.

What Are Conies In The Bible? A Comprehensive Guide

Conies are mysterious little creatures mentioned several times in the Bible, leaving many readers wondering – what exactly are they? If you’re looking for a quick answer, conies are small rabbit-like mammals that live among rocks and are known for their wisdom.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about these fascinating biblical animals.

We’ll start by looking at the various mentions of conies in the Bible and analyzing what these passages reveal about them. We’ll then delve into what zoologists and bible scholars say conies likely were, based on archaeological and historical evidence.

With some background on the natural history of conies, we’ll reflect on their symbolic meaning and what we can learn from these humble creatures. By the end, you’ll be an expert on the conies of the Bible!

Appearances of Conies in the Bible

Psalms 104:18 – Conies as Part of God’s Creation

Psalm 104 is a psalm of praise to God as the creator and sustainer of all life. Verse 18 mentions the conies or hyraxes as part of God’s creation:

“The high mountains belong to the wild goats; the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.” (Psalm 104:18)

This verse portrays the conies sheltering among mountain rocks and crags that God provided for them. As part of God’s creation, they have a place and purpose in the world.

Proverbs 30:24-26 – Conies as Examples of Wisdom

Proverbs 30 reflects on the wisdom of God’s creation. Verses 24-26 mention four small but wise animals as examples, including the conies:

“Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; hyraxes are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags; locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks; a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces.”

(Proverbs 30:24-26)

Despite their small size and lack of strength, conies exhibit wisdom in their ability to make their homes and find refuge in rocky habitats. Their wisdom reflects the wisdom of their creator.

Leviticus 11:5 – Conies as Unclean Animals

Leviticus 11 lists various animals that are ritually unclean and not to be eaten. Verse 5 includes the cony or hyrax among these:

“The hyrax, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you.” (Leviticus 11:5)

Along with pigs, camels, and some other animals, conies were considered unclean for nutritional or symbolic reasons. God gave instructions against eating them to teach spiritual lessons. But as part of His creation, conies still had a purpose and place in the world.

The Identity and Natural History of Conies

Conies as Hyraxes – Evidence from Archaeology and Zoology

Conies are actually rock hyraxes, a type of small mammal native to Africa and the Middle East. Archaeological evidence shows that hyraxes have existed since prehistoric times and are the same species described as “conies” in the Bible.

Zoologically, rock hyraxes belong to the order Hyracoidea. They have stout bodies with short legs, small ears, and dense fur. Their closest living relatives are elephants and sea cows. Hyraxes inhabit rocky outcrops and cliffs across sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

There are four species: the rock hyrax, yellow-spotted rock hyrax, western tree hyrax, and eastern tree hyrax.

The Habits and Abilities of Hyraxes

Hyraxes have some fascinating habits and abilities that explain why they thrive in rugged, mountainous areas:

  • They are skilled climbers and jumpers, able to scale rocks and squeeze into small cracks.
  • Hyraxes use moist membranes on the bottoms of their feet to grip surfaces.
  • They can regulate their body temperature and survive without water for long periods.
  • Hyraxes live in colonies and use over 30 vocalizations to communicate warnings of predators like leopards, eagles, and snakes.
  • Their teeth are similar to those of elephants with enamel rings for grinding tough vegetation.

Symbolic Meanings of Rock Hyraxes

In ancient times, rock hyraxes were associated with uncleanliness under Levitical law (Leviticus 11:5). But they gained new meaning in later Jewish tradition as symbols of ingenuity and adaptability for surviving in the harshest environments.

Early rabbis marveled at how hyraxes thrived in the desert without permanent dens or shelter. The rabbis taught that God’s providence protected the rock hyrax as stated in Psalm 104:18: “The high mountains belong to the conies.”

Hyraxes came to represent the Jewish people’s resilience and capacity to spiritually flourish despite prolonged hardship. Their habit of huddling together for warmth symbolized community and reliance on God in barren times. Overall, the lowly cony became a model for perseverance and faith.

Lessons We Can Learn From the Conies

Appreciating God’s Care for All Creatures

Conies, also known as hyraxes, are small mammals that live in the mountains and rocks. Though humble in appearance, the Bible points out that God cares for the conies just as he cares for mighty creatures like the lion (Proverbs 30:24-28).

This reminds us that the Lord values all life, not just the strong and powerful. No living thing is forgotten or deemed unimportant to God. Appreciating his attentiveness to small creatures like the hyrax gives us a greater sense of his love and care for humanity.

Cultivating Wisdom and Resourcefulness

The cony lacks strength or speed to defend itself, yet it survives in a harsh environment. How? Conies are intelligent and adapt well to their surroundings. Their wisdom and resourcefulness allow them to find shelter and avoid predators (Psalm 104:18).

For us, this highlights the need to cultivate wisdom and make the most of our gifts and circumstances. With ingenuity and prudent living, we can overcome disadvantages and thrive. Rather than relying on our own strength or possessions, we must look to God for discernment and prudence in the decisions we make each day.

Finding Security in God

Despite their vulnerability, conies are able to find security among the rocky cliffs (Psalm 104:18). This speaks to us of finding our security in God, who is our rock and refuge (Psalm 18:2). When we trust in the Lord, we have a place of safety and stability, even amidst life’s storms.

As we cling to him in faith, he lifts us up beyond the reach of those who would seek to harm us. We can be as vigilant as the cony, alert to danger, yet resting in the knowledge that our eternal security is in our heavenly Father’s hands.


In summary, while conies are small, unassuming creatures, their mention in Scripture offers us much to reflect on. We’re reminded of God’s care for all his creation, no matter how humble. Conies exemplify wisdom and resourcefulness, showing us we can thrive when we rely on God rather than our own strength.

And by making their homes among the rocks, conies illustrate the security we find when God is our rock and refuge. The next time you encounter conies in the Bible, take a moment to appreciate these meaningful little animals!

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