The Coney

The Hebrew word for coney is shaphan, which means “to conceal”. In Scripture, conies are described as “a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks” (Prov 30:26; Psa 104:18). They are gregarious, and “exceeding wise” (Prov 30:24). They are described in Leviticus 11:5 and Deuteronomy 14:7 as chewing the cud.

The coney is a rodent-like creature known among naturalists as the Hyrax Syriacus. Rock hyraxes are gregarious, living in colonies of up to 80 individuals. They grow up to 60cms in length, weigh about 5kg and have a pair of long, pointed tusk-like incisors. When at rest they continually work their jaws from side to side.

The feet of the Rock Hyrax have black, rubbery pads that are moistened by numerous sweat glands. The pads lift up in the centre for a suction cup-like effect that helps them keep their grip on rocky surfaces. They are very active, leaping amongst the rocks, and also very alert. They are keen-eyed watchmen, always on the lookout for any predators. Should one of them manage to catch a glimpse of the enemy, it utters a shrill cry or squeal, and darts at once into the crevices.

The conies represent those exceedingly wise believers who recognise that they are feeble and without strength, yet they put their trust in the rock of their salvation.