The Bible Remembered What the World Forgot

Pygmy elephant from the Mediterranean

In Ezekiel’s lament for Tyre (Ezekiel 27), naming some of the luxuries enjoyed by the wealthy people of that city, the prophet mentions “benches of ivory, brought out of the isles of Chittim.”

This puzzled Bible scholars for many centuries. “Chittim” denotes the big island of Cyprus in particular, and refers collectively to the islands and seacoasts of the Mediterranean. But ivory from Chittim? There aren’t any elephants in Cyprus! Must be more o’ that fiction they just tossed into the Bible while they were cooling their heels in Babylon.

But in prehistoric times there were elephants on many of the islands in the Mediterranean–dwarf elephants, pygmies. No one wrote about them because writing hadn’t been invented yet: or else it had, but the writings have been lost–which, given the upheavals and tumults of history, not to mention the Flood, would not be surprising. Anyway, by modern times the little elephants had been thoroughly forgotten.

Until later on in the 20th century, when, lo and behold, fairly large troves of elephant bones and skeletons turned up on many of the islands. Lots and lots of ivory, not old enough to be quite fossilized.

So, yeah, in Ezekiel’s time, it would be natural to import ivory from Chittim, where they didn’t even have to hunt the elephants to get it. To this day elephant remains can be found there; they haven’t all been collected.

The Bible preserves much information that would otherwise be lost, and much that hasn’t been deciphered yet–and all of it true.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

3 responses to “The Bible Remembered What the World Forgot

  • unknowable2

    Another case of the Bible being well ahead of archaeology. I get the impression that archaeology is turning up more than a few findings which lend weight to the Bible’s record of history. In the same book of Ezekiel, God makes known that His name will be made known to all nations.

  • thewhiterabbit2016

    Oh pygmy elephant, what big teeth you have! The one thing we can be sure of in this life is The Holy Bible.

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