A rooster or male chicken. Due to the widespread domestication of the chicken (Gallus domesticus), the jaunty figure of the cock is a generally familiar sight. It has bright-colored plumage, long tail feathers arched over its back, and a red wavy fleshlike comb topping its head, with two similar appendages hanging beneath the beak and throat.
The cock is not mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures and appears in the Christian Greek Scriptures only in connection with its crowing. (See COCKCROWING.) The most frequent references relate to Jesus’ prophecy concerning Peter’s denials of him, fulfilled on the night prior to Jesus’ death and recounted by all four writers of the Gospel accounts.—Mt 26:34, 74, 75; Mr 14:30, 72; Lu 22:34, 60, 61; Joh 13:38; 18:27.
While the Jewish Mishnah (Bava Kamma 7:7) contains a prohibition against the keeping of domestic fowl by the Jews, because of the probability of their causing ceremonial defilement, rabbinic sources indicate that they were kept as much by the Jews as by the Romans. An onyx seal bearing the figure of a cock was found near Mizpah and contains the inscription “belonging to Jaazaniah, servant of the king.” If, as some suggest, this Jaazaniah (Jezaniah) is the one mentioned at 2 Kings 25:23 and Jeremiah 40:8, this would indicate the keeping of cocks in Israel back in the seventh century B.C.E. The figure of a cock has also been found on a shard of a cooking pot excavated at ancient Gibeon.