The Clever Baboon

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 10
The Wonders of God’s Creation
“Every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.” 2 Chronicles 9:2121For the king's ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. (2 Chronicles 9:21). Solomon apparently maintained a zoo near his palace and made apes a part of it. We do not know what species of apes they were, but quite possibly they included baboons.
There are several kinds of baboons in South Africa, most of them having dog-like faces, but some are called “pig face” because they resemble that animal. They weigh about fifty pounds and all of them have large canine teeth and cheek pouches in which they can store food. They are noisy and quarrelsome creatures and sometimes viciously attack humans.
A visitor in South Africa recounted taking a walk into the woods and when at some distance from the village suddenly found a group of baboons surrounding him, causing him to fear for his life. Fortunately, on the seldom-used road, a car appeared and the animals fled.
The members of this ape family live in community fashion and have a highly developed social system, with a dominant leader—all others taking their places in a well-defined “pecking order.”
Making frequent raids on farmers’ crops, they are a serious pest. In one area the farmers kept such close watch with their guns that the baboons discontinued coming into the orchards as a group. Yet trees continued to be stripped of fruit, much to the dismay of the farmers.
Finally they discovered what was taking place. A group of baboons was found, forming a line concealed in brush adjoining the orchard. The leader, making sure he was not being watched, would silently approach a tree alone, pluck some fruit and hurry with it to the first baboon in line. The fruit was then passed from animal to animal and put in a pile at the far end until sufficient was gathered for them all to get together for a feast. However, they seemed to know that this pleasant little game might be interrupted, so, as the first of the fruit reached them, each baboon took a bite and stored it in his cheek pouch without eating it. It was clear they figured that if chased away they would at least be assured of one meal.
This animal also has a quality that researchers wonder about: in periods of drought, when other animals are dying of thirst, the baboons somehow find water and survive.
Like every animal of God’s creation this unusual one has been given instincts that enable it to flourish in harsh environments. The Psalmist said: “I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember Thy wonders of old... Thou art the God that doest wonders: Thou hast declared Thy strength among the people.” Psalms 77:11,1411I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. (Psalm 77:11)
14Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. (Psalm 77:14)
We are responsible to recognize the wonders of God in creation, for this is one way in which He has “declared His strength among the people.” But, oh, how much more important to know Him as the Saviour God, who gave His Son “to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:1010Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10). Are you among those who own His Son as your personal Lord and Saviour?