Trumpets were at first horns perforated at the tip, used for various purposes (Joshua 6:4, 5).
Flasks or vessels were made of horn (1 Samuel 16:1, 13; 1 Kings 1:39).
But the word is used also metaphorically to denote the projecting corners of the altar of burnt offerings (Exodus 27:2) and of incense (30:2). The horns of the altar of burnt offerings were to be smeared with the blood of the slain bullock (29:12; Leviticus 4:7-18). The criminal, when his crime was accidental, found an asylum by laying hold of the horns of the altar (1 Kings 1:50; 2:28).
The word also denotes the peak or summit of a hill (Isaiah 5:1, where the word "hill" is the rendering of the same Hebrew word).
This word is used metaphorically also for strength (Deuteronomy 33:17) and honour (Job 16:15; Lamentations 2:3). Horns are emblems of power, dominion, glory, and fierceness, as they are the chief means of attack and defence with the animals endowed with them (Dan. 8:5, 9; 1 Samuel 2:1; 16:1, 13; 1 Kings 1:39; 22:11; Joshua 6:4, 5; Psalm 75:5, 10; 132:17; Luke 1:69, etc.). The expression "horn of salvation," applied to Christ, means a salvation of strength, or a strong Saviour (Luke 1:69). To have the horn "exalted" denotes prosperity and triumph (Psalm 89:17, 24). To "lift up" the horn is to act proudly (Zechariah 1:21).
Horns are also the symbol of royal dignity and power (Jeremiah 48:25; Zechariah 1:18; Dan. 8:24).