Cock


Domestic poultry originated in Asia, although the precise location is unknown. One breed came from Malacca and one from Java. The cock was known in India, but not in Egypt, during ancient times. Pisthetaerus called the cock the Persian bird, and it is probable that the Greeks obtained these domestic birds from Persia. They were perhaps introduced into Pal. by the Romans, who prized them both for food and for cock fighting. The Mishna says that the people did not rear cocks at Jerusalem because of the holy things. This restraint could not have applied to foreigners, and many Jews must also have kept them.


Tradition has grown up around this incident, leading to the belief that there was one particular rooster that God used to awaken Peter’s conscience. There is even a church in Jerusalem named “The Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu” built in memory of Peter’s repentance on this occasion. It is probable that there was a whole chorus of roosters crowing and the reference is only to the time when cocks crew.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

There is no reference in the Old Testament to domesticated poultry, which was probably first introduced into Judea after the Roman conquest. See Chicken. The cock is several times mentioned in the New Testament and always with reference to its habit of crowing in eastern countries with such regularity as to be almost clocklike. The first full salute comes almost to the minute at half-past eleven, the second at half-past one, and the third at dawn. So uniformly do the cocks keep time and proclaim these three periods of night that we find cock-crowing mentioned as a regular division of time: "Watch therefore: for ye know not when the lord of the house cometh, whether at even, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or in the morning" (Mr 13:35). Jesus had these same periods of night in mind when he warned Peter that he would betray Him. Mt 26:34; Lu 22:34; Joh 13:38, give almost identical wording of the warning. But in all his writing Mark was more explicit, more given to exact detail. Remembering the divisions of night as the cocks kept them, his record reads: "And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say into thee, that thou today, even this night, before the cock crow twice, shalt deny me thrice" (Mr 14:30). See nodetitle. It is hardly necessary to add that the cocks crow at irregular intervals as well as at the times indicated, according to the time of the year and the phase of the moon (being more liable to crow during the night if the moon is at the full), or if a storm threatens, or there is any disturbance in their neighborhood.

Gene Stratton-Porter

See also

  • Birds