The Coney (Syrian Hyrax)
Proverbs 30:26 “The Coneys (Badgers) are but a feeble folk, yet make they houses in the rocks.” Coney refers to the Syrian Hyrax, a small mammal with short legs, ears, and tail and reddish-brown fur. The animal has large front and heavy teeth, broad nails on their feet, which are also padded, great for movements on the rocky surfaces. One of the Hebrew words “shaphan” is best identified as the “Rock-Badger,” is abound in the Kedron area, as well as near the Dead Sea Hills.
Coney (Badger) speaks of the “necessity of precaution.” Coney (Badger) lived in companies in the cleft of the rocks. Coney (Badger) has three basics abilities for survival:
- Coney (Badger) first ability is to understand its limitation in its size and strength and the protective cleft of the impregnable rock. Thus, Coney (Badger) first step is not to get too far removed from “the protective-home,” of the rock, that it knows so well.
- The other characteristic of Coney (Badger) is that the animal has “posted-look-out,” and thus, is hard to be captured. This speaks of the ability to read the “situation,” with precaution, taken!
- The third important safeguard of Coney (Badger) is to move, the moment its sense danger, and not to wait to test the situation with foolishness.
Wisdom at Work
Coney (Badger) is “but a feeble folk” (Proverbs 30:6a), such a profound description of its problem; but Coney (Badger) shows its wisdom by seeking security among the impregnable rocks. Coney (Badger) though not strong, makes wise choice, by living in rocky crags where it can hole up to escape animals of prey or human hunters – Psalm 104:18 “The high hills are for the wild goats; the cliffs are a refuge for the rock badgers (coneys).” – Because Coney (Badger) is hunted, it needs a refuge.
Also, Coney (Badger) has the “in-built instinct” of able to move cautiously, with calculated ability, to move from place to place, but never getting itself too far from “protective-home,” to become victim of a larger and stronger predator/hunter. Coney’s (Badger’s) Wisdom is understanding of its limitations, taking practical action to address the issue, or else its time of learning becomes the end of the learning process.
The tenant (Coney or Badger) may be weak, but the house is strong. This is a demonstration of “the necessity of precaution.” What Coney (Badger) lack of size and strength it makes up for, with wisdom!!
Though feeble, finds compensation in the strength of the dwelling it selects. To be able to run to the rocks or fastnesses is necessary for the feeble. And in the ordering of our lives, it is necessary to count on our being sometimes defeated. He is but a poor captain who conducts his campaign without “securing the base;” and he does not know the practical wisdom of life who does not provide for himself a retreat, a reserve, when fortune goes against him, as it sometimes will in, “the battle of life.”
Lessons to be Learned
The lessons that we can learn from Coney (Badger), is that we have to be wise if we are not strong, in the threefold approach/strategy:
- First, our ability to understand our size and limitation, as the Coney (Badger), and setting in place, contingency plans, to address our size and weaknesses, as not to be caught flat-footed, in situations, as shown in the wisdom of the Coney (Badger). – Proverbs 3:5-7 “Trust the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil.”
- Second, the other use of wisdom is to keep sentries on guard, at all times, so the enemy is not able to catch us by surprise – 1Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your Adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” This speaks of our ability to read the “situation,” with precaution, taken!
- Third, knowing what we can do best, in difficult/trying situation – we have contingency plan, in reserve – this is wisdom!! Although the Coney has not the compensating intelligence of the ant. But their instinct leads them to live among the rocks and hide themselves in the dark caves and inaccessible crevices. Thus, the strength of the hills is their protection. When there is no hope of holding our ground in the open field, we may find shelter in the Rock of Ages, our Lord Jesus Christ! – Psalm 62:6-8 “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.”
The lessons of the Coney (Badger) are small but smart; defenseless due to the size and strength, but great and strong in wisdom! How about us!