2 Chronicles 9:21 – Is it “Peacocks” or “Baboons”?

I’ve been browsing the new Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary and came across the article on Peacock which reads:

‘Peacock’ is a traditional translation of the last item in the list of luxuries that Solomon’s ships brought from Tarshish (1Kings 10:22; 2 Chron. 9:21 [e.g., KJV, ESV, NLT]). However, a more probable translation of the Hebrew word tukki is ‘baboon’ (NIV) or ‘monkey’ (NAB). All the other items come from Africa, but peacocks come from Asia. The KJV also uses ‘peacock’ to translate renanim in Job 39:13, but this is probably better translated as ‘ostrich’ as in the NIV. (1285)

Out of curiosity I checked various English translations and found the majority go with “peacock.” Here’s the breakdown of what I found:



Peacocks ESV, RSV, NLT, KJV, MSG, Young’s Literal, HCSB, NASB, CEV, NET,   Douay-Rheims, Knox Bible, NRSV, Lexham English Bible, Amplified, CEB
Monkeys God’s Word, NKJV, Good News, REB, NAB
Baboons NIV, NCV, New Jerusalem, Expanded Bible

Bible Dictionary


About Louis

I am a 1997 graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
This entry was posted in Bible Translation. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 2 Chronicles 9:21 – Is it “Peacocks” or “Baboons”?

  1. Rich says:

    I noticed this discrepency just yesterday, and appreciated reading your article. I wonder how they determined “a more probable translation” was monkey. And I want to point out that while the modern peacock is from India, there are many other large birds that could have been grouped together before the age of scientific genus and such.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s