OK, I admit it, I cannot find the word 'pet' in the Bible.
OK, there, I've said it. I know you probably never thought I would, but I will say, however, is we have enough guidance given in scripture that we can draw some conclusions about animals and our relationship to them.
But, you say, there must be some indication in the Bible that people had pets. Well, by gosh, you are right. Let us go to 1 Kings.
1 Kings 14:11 Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat: for the LORD hath spoken [it].
The first reference that I could find that indicated that there were dogs within the city. Well, we all know cities way back then were fortified with walls surrounding them. That meant that dogs were domesticated and were living with people. Although we know that there were all kinds of animals to be found inside cities in that era, dogs have always held a special place in a relationship with humans.
Interestingly enough, cat or cats is never mentioned in the King James version of the Bible. In fact, I searched KJV of the Bible, Nave's Topical Bible, Torrey's New Topical Textbook, Vine's Dictionary of New Testament Words, Easton's Bible Dictionary, the Thematic Subject Guide, and Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary, and NOTHING! But I will assume all you cat lovers will not despair at this news.
Back to the dog. . .
We can jump to the New Testament in Matthew to find:
15:27And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.
Well, here we are with dogs [in a position that most of us who have owned dogs are familiar with . . .] sitting next to the table as we are eating looking for a hand-out. This passage is merely here for example to show that in New Testament times, as well, dogs are living with people. And, Oh My Gosh, don't let me forget that Jesus [God] says mankind are the masters of the dogs...didn't say companions.
Further, we read in Mark 7:
27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet [right] to take the children's bread, and to cast [it] unto the dogs. 28 And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.
Jesus is teaching here. In the Matthew Henry Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible , the commentary states:
Mark:24-30 "Christ never put any from him that fell at his feet, which a poor trembling soul may do. As she was a good woman, so a good mother. This sent her to Christ. His saying, 'Let the children first be filled,'shows that there was mercy for the Gentiles, and not far off. She spoke, not as making light of the mercy, but magnifying the abundance of miraculous cures among the Jews, in comparison with which a single cure was but as a crumb. Thus, while proud Pharisees are left by the blessed Saviour, he manifests his compassion to poor humbled sinners, who look to him for children's bread. He still goes about to seek and save the lost."
The lesson aside, we know that pets were present in the Bible. We know that they acted much like they act now and people obviously treated them much like they do now.
Jesus did not condemn using animals as pets. God, through the Holy Spirit and his inspired writing gave us examples of life that showed compassion and care of pets [as well as people!].
But do you think the animal rights extremists would agree with this? Well, just read on and see what they think of pets. . .
Pet ownership is an "absolutely abysmal situation brought about by human manipulation." Ingrid Newkirk, PeTA (Washingtonian Magazine, August, 1986)
"I don't use the word 'pet.' I think it's speciest language. I prefer 'companion animal.' We would no longer allow. . .pet shops . . . . . .Eventually companion animals would be phased out." Ingrid Newkirk, PeTA (Harper's Magazine, August, 1988)
If it were not for the rantings and ravings of Ingrid, we sure would not know what the animal rights movement would really want, would we? I should be shirking my duties if I did not tell you that the extremists constantly say Ingrid was misquoted on the Harper's piece, but she has never recanted it herself! Boy, wouldn't that hurt fundraising if the general public really knew what HSUS and PeTA were really about?
I believe the Bible speaks through example that God understands our wants and desires and pets are an integral part of life which has been abundantly given to us for our use. Praise God that we have our little critters!