Animal Kingdom

Excerpt from The People’s Bible Encyclopedia

The proportion of animals mentioned in the Bible compared with the total number found in Bible lands is far larger than that which obtains in the case of plants. There are 38 mammals, out of perhaps 130, 34 birds out of about 350, 11 reptiles out of nearly 100, and one amphibian out of a considerable number indigenous in these lands. It is a notable fact that not a  single species of fish is mentioned by name. Of insects there are sixteen, out of a number not as yet satisfactorily settled. Scorpions and spiders are mentioned generally. The number of species is considerable. Four only of the large number of mollusks and only one of the worms are specifically named. Coral and sponge are the generic representations of their respective orders. Few even of the mammals, except the domestic animals, are specific. Most of them are generic or family names, to which is often appended, “after his kind.” Some, as the chamois, mole, unicorn, are mistranslations; other as the dragon and satyr, are fabulous.
ADDER. see Serpent
ANT. (Heb. nem-aw-law׳).  There are large numbers of species of ants in the East, and innumerable hosts of them  make their nests beside the thrashing floors, and wherever their favorite food is found. In every country in the world the ant is proverbial for industry, so there has never been any controversy with regard to the passage in Prov. 6:6, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard.” The habits of the ants of cool climates and those of the tropical and semitropical countries differ so much that considerable controversy has arisen to the wisdom and foresight of this insect.  Prov. 30:25: “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.” There are, however, certain facts in regard to the ants of the Holy Land which settle the controversy in favor of the rigid accuracy of the authors of the Proverbs. They are: (1) The ants of these countries lay up vast stores of grain in their nests. (2) To facilitate this art of providence they place their nests as near as possible to the places where grain is thrashed or stored. (3) They certainly eat this grain during the winter season. (4) They encourage certain insects with secrete sweet juices to consort with them, and collect and store their eggs with their own, that they may have them at hand for future use when they shall have hatched.
In regard to their wisdom, he have abundant evidence of it in their social and military organization, the fact that they take and trains slaves, and that they have elaborately constructed nests, with overground and underground roads, and, in same cases, practice a sort of agriculture.
ANTELOPE. (R.V., Deut. 14:5 ; Isa. 51:20).  See ox.
APES. (Heb. kofe, monkey). We have no hint as to the kinds of apes which were brought by the merchant natives of Solomon and Hiram, but it is probable that they were very numerous, as they continue to be to the present day on all the ships coming from the East Indies through Suez Canal. They are distributed in this way in considerable numbers throughout all the counties bordering on the Mediterranean, though not indigenous in any except the Barbary States and Gibraltar.
ARROWSNAKE. see Serpent.
ASP. see Serpent.
ASS. (Heb. kham-oré, the male ass; aw-thoné, she ass; Gr. ŏνοç, on׳-os, donkey; ύποζύγιον, hoop-od-zoog׳-ee-on, under the yoke.) The ass is one of the earliest and most frequently mentioned animal alluded to in the Bible. Asses are spoken of in connection with the history of Pharaoh (Gen. 12:16), Abraham (Gen. 22:3) Balaam (Num. 22:21-33), and in fact most of the notable persons mentioned in the Old Testament. There was nothing in any sense degrading in the idea of riding on an ass, as might perhaps be inferred from Zech. 9:9 (comp. Matt. 21:7). It was the sign of the peaceful mission of Christ. Kings, high priests, judges, and the richest people of ancient and modern times, have ridden on an ass. Many of the asses of Damascus, Bagdad, Aleppo, Cairo, Cyprus, and other parts of the East are beautiful animals, very easy in gait, and perfectly surefooted. They often cost very high prices, and are adorned with magnificent caparisons,
They have also been used from the remotest antiquity as beasts of burden. Special breeds of them are raised for this purpose. Some of them are very small and cheap, while others are but little smaller than a mule, and carry burdens of greater weight in proportion to their size than any other animal. The pack saddle differs according to the use to which it is put. The familiar crosstree is employed for firewood. Abraham doubtless loaded the wood for the sacrifice in this way. (Gen. 22:3). When sheaves of grain are to be loaded a kind of cradle is suspended to this or to the flat saddle. This latter; called in Arabic a jelâl, is composed of an under layer of thick felt and an upper of strong haircloth, with a padding between, about six inches in thickness, of straw of sedges. This saddle is flat on top and bent over each side of the animal, so at to protect his ribs from the pressure of the load. Over such a saddle as this sacks of grain or cut straw are thrown and tied fast by a rope passing under the beast. The sons of Jacob probably used this sort (Gen. 42:26, 27). If sand is to be carried, smaller panniers are slung over the saddle, and hang down on either side without touching the body. If bread or other provisions, larger panniers are used. In such Jesse and Abigail may have sent their presents (1 Sam. 16:20 ; 25:18). If fruit is to be carried two boxes are slung in similar matter. Children are often carried in this way in larger boxes. Probably Moses’s wife sat on the jelâl, with her children in boxes on wither side of her, when going to Egypt. (Exod. 4:20) Sacks of grain or straw are often slung across the bare back of an ass.
Asses were also used for plowing (Isa. 30:24, 32:30).
It was not allowed to the Israelites to yoke an ox and an ass together (Deut. 22:10). They were not allowed to eat its flesh, yet in the stress of hunger during the siege of Samaria they violated this law (2 Kings 6:25).
The she ass is the one intended in a number of places not indicated in our translations (Num. 22:21-33 ; 1 Sam. 9:3 ; 2 Kings 4:22, 24). David had an officer to take care of his she asses (1. Chron. 27:30).
Ass colts (Gen. 49:11) are also called foals (Gen. 32:15), young ass (Isa. 30:6), and colt (Job 11:12). They are all translated from the same Hebrew word, ׳ayir.
Wild asses are frequently mentioned, two Hebrew words (peh׳-reh, running wild; aw-rode΄, lonesome) being so translated. Both are found together in parallelism (Job 39:5), but rendered by the single expression wild ass. We have no means of knowing whether they refer to the same or different species.  Asinus onager, Pall. and A. hemippus, St. Hilaire, are found in the deserts nearest to Palestine.
BADGER. (Heb. takh׳-ash). Although the badger is found throughout the Holy Land, its skin is unsuitable for the outer covering of the tabernacle. (Exod. 25:5, etc.), and for sandals (Ezek. 16:10). Moreover, the Heb. techahîm would seem to be from a root cognate with the Arab. tuchas, which signifies the dolphin, and possibly sea animals similar in general appearance, as the porpoise, halicore, and seal. The R. V. has rendered the Hebrew original by seal, with a marginal of porpoise. The skins of all these would suit the requirements of the ease, and it is not unlikely that the term is to be understood in the broad sense of such marine creatures, rather than in the restricted application to a single species. A number of such species were obtainable in the Red Sea, near Sinai. Seals are, and must have been, rare. We prefer dolphin or porpoise to any other rendering.
BALD LOCUST. See Locust.
BAT. (Heb. at-al-lafe׳). The Hebrew idea of a bat was “a fowl that creeps, going upon all fours.” It was unclean (Lev. 11:19). It is in reality a mammal, and its wings are membranous and destitute of feathers. It has a mouselike odor. It lives in caverns, tombs, or ruins (Isa. 2:19-21). The bat is a voracious destroyer of fruit, making it necessary for those who try to raise it in the neighborhood of cities to cover the clusters, or even the whole tree, with a net. There are about fifteen species of bats in the Holy Land.
BEAR. (Heb. dobe). The bear is now a somewhat rare animal in Syria, being confined to the higher regions of Lebanon, Antilebanon, and Amanus, and found very sparingly in the wilder portions of Bashan, Gilead, and Moab. It is rarely or never seen now in western Palestine. It is known in science as Ursus Syricaus, Ehr., and differs from the brown bear of Europe by its grayish fur. It was once abundant in Palestine (1 Sam. 17:36 ; 2 Kings 2:24). The Scripture alludes to the cunning of the bear (Lam. 3:10), to the ferocity of the she bear robbed of her whelps (2 Sam.  17:8 ; Prov. 17:12 ; Hos. 13:8), to the danger of the bear to man (1 Sam. 17:34, 36 ; Amos 5:19). The bear feeds principally on roots, fruits and other vegetables products, but does not fail to avail itself of the chance to devour any animal which may come in its way. Hence the significance of the picture of the peaceful reign of Christ (Isa. 11:7).
BEAST. There is no great a want of uniformity and accuracy in both the A. V. and the R. V. in their renderings of the three Hebrew words for living creatures that out limits will not allow us to make an analysis of them. Beasts were created on the fifth and sixth day. The term is sometimes used by the translators for Heb. bĕ-hay-maw׳, dumb; at others for beh-ere׳ ; and still again for khah׳ee, to live. It is sometimes employed for living things (Gen. 7:14), or animals in contradistinction to man (Gen. 6:7) or mammalian (1 Kings 4:33), or the animal kingdom (Prov. 30:30), or wild beasts as distinguished from cattle (Gen. 7:14), or quadrupeds (Gen. 7:2), etc. Paul describes his opponents as wild beasts (1 Cor. 15:32). Peter speaks of certain sinners at natural brute beasts (2 Pet. 2:12). In the same manner, Jude 10.  The New Testament word for beast is θηρίου, thay-ree׳-on.
BEES. (Heb. deb-o-raw׳, orderly). In the Holy land, while bees occasionally make their hives in trees, as in other counties (1 Sam. 14:25, 26), they generally resort to clefts in the rocks, usually almost inaccessible to man. There are several allusions to the rocky homes of the bees (Deut. 32: 13 ; Psa. 81:16). They are especially abundant in the wilderness of Judea (Matt. 3:4). They resent with great fury ant interference by man with their retreats (Deut. 1:44 ; Psa. 118: 12).
The numbers of wild bees at present in Palestine would not justify the expression “ a land flowing with milk and honey.” It is however, probable that they were far more numerous at the time when the Israelites entered Canaan. But the number of domesticated bees in the country is enormous, and, added to the wild ones, fully justifies the hyperbole. Among the peasant population they are in almost every house.
Honey is used not only in its separate state, but fruit is preserved in it, and it is used as a sauce for a variety of confections and pastries. It was a standard article of commerce (Ezek. 27:17). Stores of it were collected at Mizpah (Jer. 41: 8). It was not allowed to be used in burnt offerings (Lev. 2:11). They honey in carcass of the lion (Judg. 2:11) is best explained by the rapidity with which a carcass is denuded by wild beasts and ants in this hot climate and then dried in the blazing sun.
According to the author of Proverbs (24: 13), it is good to eat honey, but (25:16, 27) not to indulge to surfeit. Other references to honey convey sundry moral lesions (Ezek. 3:3 ; Psa. 19:10 ; Prov. 16:24).
BEETLE. an insect of the grasshopper kind (Lev. 11:22). See Locust.
BEHEMOTH, the plural of the Hebrew word for Beast (q. v.), used (Job 40:15-24) of the hippopotamus, the beast, only excelled by leviathan, with the description of which ends the climax begun in ch. 38, and carried upward until it finds its acme in the “king over all the children of pride” (41:34). The hippopotamus is a pachyderm, the largest except the elephant and the rhinoceros, amphibious in habits, living on vegetable food, and corresponding well with the description in the above passage. It is found in the upper Nile, and was common in the lower in ancient times. It may have been found in the Jordan (40:23), although poetic license would make it quite possible that the mention of that river should have reference only to its aquatic habits and its courage, and not to its geographical range. Indeed, “the river” if the first member of the parallelism can only mean the Nile, and the mention of the Jordan in the second would seem to be simply to strengthen the hyperbole.
BIRD. See fowl.
BITTERN. See supplement.
BOAR. See swine.
CALF. See ox.
CAMEL. (Heb. gaw-mawl׳, labor, burden-bearing; Gr. κάμηλος; kam׳-ay-los), one of the most useful of the domestic animals of the East. With the exception of the elephant it is the largest animal used by man. It is often eight feet or more in height, and possessed of great strength and endurance. It has a broad foot, which enables it to walk over sandy wastes without sinking deeply beneath the surface. It has a provision in its stomach for storing water enough to enable it to travel for days together without drinking. It is capable of subsisting on the coarsest and bitterest of herbage, and can take into its horny mouth the most obdurate thorns, which it grinds up with its powerful teeth and digests with its ostrich-like stomach. To offset its great height it is formed to kneel, so that it can be loaded as easily as an ass, and then rise with its burden of five hundred pounds and plod on through the hottest day, and the most inhospitable waste of the deserts, in which it finds its congenial home. The hump on its back is not only a help to retaining its pack saddle, but a storehouse of fat, in reserve against long fasts. The flesh, although forbidden to the Israelites, is eaten by the Arabs, and sold in the markets of all oriental cities. Its skin is used in making sandals, and its hair in weaving of the coarse cloth of which their tents and outer garments are made. Its milk, and the products made from it, are a prime element in the diet list of the Bedouin.
The allusions of the camel in the Scripture are so numerous that it is unnecessary to point them out. They prove that it was used from the earliest times in the very regions where it is not the main reliance of the people for traversing the otherwise almost impassible deserts, and transporting burdens too heavy for other animals to carry.
The word rendered dromedaries (Isa. 60:6 ; Jer. 2:23) does not refer to the peculiar breed of blood camels known by that name, but to young camels, the latter reference being to the female.
Figurative. In the two passages (Matt. 19:24 ; 23:24) the size of the camel is made the basis of comparison. There is not a particle of evidence in favor of the statement that the needle’s eye, in the former passage, refers to the smaller gate cut through the panel of the city gates of the East, or that such a gate is, or ever was, called a needle’s eye. The whole force of the comparison in both passages is found in the hyperbole. Moreover, no camel could ever be forced through one of these small gates.
CANKERWORM, probably a stage in the development of the Locust (q. v.).
CAT. The is nowhere alluded to in the Bible, excepting in the Apocrypha (Epistle of Jer. 21). It is not mentioned in classical authors, except when treating of Egyptian history. This seems the stranger as there are two species of wild cats in Palestine, and the domestic cat is exceedingly common now all through the East.
CATTLE. (The rendering of several Hebrew and Greek words) were of prime importance to the Hebrews. Their first employment was the care of flocks and herds. On their arrival in Egypt they were assigned to the land of Goshen, on account of its pastoral facilities. They then became herdsmen and shepherds to Pharaoh. One of the words, mikneh, translated cattle, signifies possessions. It includes horned cattle, horses, asses, sheep, and goats. The specific words for animals of the bovine species, and for sheep and goats, are also occasionally rendered cattle. Also behêmâh, which means, primarily, beast, in general.
CHAMELEON (Heb. ko׳-akh). There is no possibility of determining with certainty the animal intended by this Hebrew word in the list of creeping things (Lev. 11:30). It was probably a lizard, and more likely to have been the Nile monitor than a chameleon. The R. V. renders it land crocodile. The former of these attains a length of five to six feet, and the latter of four to five. On the authority of the LXX. And the Vulgate the A. V. has rendered it chameleon.
On the other hand the R. V. has rendered tinshemeth, at the end of the verse, by chameleon, instead of mole of the A. V. This is based on the fact that tinshemeth is derived from a root signifying to breathe, and that the ancients believed that the chameleon lived on air. This somewhat fanciful idea is hardly probable enough to do away with the authority of the LXX. and the Vulgate, which render the word mole. The reference, however, is not to the true mole, but to the mole rat, Spalax typhlus, which is abundant in Bible lands. If the above views be correct, chameleon should be dropped from the biblical fauna.
CHAMOIS (Heb. zeh׳-mer). The chamois of Europe is not found in the Holy Land. The animal referred to by this name (Deut. 14:5) was certainly not one of the domestic animals. It was also certainly known to them by its Hebrew name, was spoken of as an animal that they might eat. No animal satisfies the probabilities of the case so well as the mountain sheep of Egypt and Arabia, known as the aoudad and the kebsh. It is probable that it was abundant in Sinai, where it is to be found even now. It is distinguished from the other animals of its group by the long hair on its throat and breast, extending like a ruffle to its foreknee. Its horns resemble those of the beden, or mountain goat.
CHICKEN. See Cock.
COCK. The only mention of domestic fowls in the Old Testament is in connection with the daily provision for Solomon’s table (1 Kings 4:23). The Hebrew word, bar-boor׳, has been rendered swans, geese, guinea fowls, capons, and flattened fish, as well as the flattened fowl of the A. V. and the R. V. In the absence of decisive evidence we may accept the opinion of our translators and assume that such an epicure as Solomon did not fail to have so delicious an element in his larder.
In the New Testament the cock crowing is mentioned as a measure of time in connection with Peter’s denial of Christ (Matt. 26:34, 74 ; Mark 14:30 ; Luke 22:34 ; John 18:27). Cocks are not regular in their times of crowing, sometimes crowing twice (Mark 13:35), and at other times irregularly through the night or before the dawn. The hen is alluded to but once in the Scripture (Luke 13:34).
COCKATRICE. See serpent.
COLT. See Ass, Horse.
CONEY (Heb. shaw-fawn׳), a small pachydermatous animal, with a dentition and feet resembling those of the hippopotamus. It is as large as a rabbit. It has a plump body and very short ears and tail. Its scientific name is Hyrax Syriacus. It does not really chew the cud, but has a motion of the jaws which resembles that function. Had it divided the hoof it would undoubtedly have been admitted into the list of animals allowed to the Hebrews for food (Lev. 11:5 ; Deut. 14:7).
The coney lives in holes and clefts of the rocks (Psa. 104:18 ; Prov. 30:24, 26). It is found throughout the whole length of Sinai, Palestine, and Lebanon.
CORAL (Heb. raw-maw׳, high in value). It is uncertain what substance is intended by the word râmôth, rendered coral by both the A. V. and R. V. As coral, however, is a precious commodity, and highly suitable for the requirements of the only two passages in which the word occurs, we may rest contented with this translation (Job 28:18 ; Ezek. 27:16). This substance is the skeleton of microscopic zoophytes. It is of a great variety of colors and shapes, and consistency. The most valuable is the red. Many of the branches of coral are extremely beautiful. The Red Sea was probably named so on account of the red coral growing in its waters. The best coral is brought from Persia and the Red Sea, but a very good quality is also found in the Mediterranean. Fine specimens of the best colors may bring fifty dollars the ounce. Coral was much valued among the ancients and the Arabs for making beads and other ornaments.
CORMORANT. In the list of unclean birds (Lev. 11:17 ; Deut. 14:17) the word cormorant is probably the correct rendering of the Heb. shaw-lawk׳, bird of prey. It is abundant in the Holy Land. It is a large black bird, living by fishing. Its scientific name is Phalacrocrax carbo. In all other places in the A. V. where cormorant is used pelican should be substituted for it, as the true rendering of the original, kaw-ath׳, vomiting.
COW. See Ox.
CRANE (Heb. soos, leap). The word occurs only twice in the Bible (Isa. 38:14 ; Jer 8:7), and in both places should be rendered twittering, or twitterer, as applied to the swallow or some similar bird. Notwithstanding the opinion of the A. V. and the R. V., we think that the crane ought to be dropped from the list of biblical birds.
CROCODILE. (marg. Job 41:1), a well-known saurian found in ancient times in lower as well as upper Egypt, but now confined to the upper water of the Nile. It was probably abundant in the Kishon in Bible days. It is said to be still found there. It is the creature intended by “dragon” (Ezek. 29:3) and “whale” (32:2 ; comp. Jer. 14:6, R. V., marg.). See Leviathan.
CUCKOW, a mistranslation of a Hebrew word, shakh׳-af, which is probably generic for bird of the sea gull family. The word occurs twice (Lev. 11:16 ; Deut. 14:15, R. V., “seamew”).
DOE (R.V., Prov. 5:19, for roe, A. V.) is the female of the wild goat. See Goat, Wild.
DOG (Heb. keh׳-leb, yelping; κυνάριον, koo-nar׳-ee-on, puppy; κύων, koo׳-ohn, dog). The dof referred to in the Scriptures is invariably the unclean animal, so familiar in the streets of all oriental cities. He is a cowardly, lazy, despised creature. He eats garbage, dead animal (Exod. 22:31), human flesh (1 Kings 14:11), blood (1 Kings 22:38). He is the lowest type of vileness (Eccles. 9:4 ; 2 Sam 3:8 ; Isa. 66:3). Dogs wander through the streets (Psa. 59:6, 14). With all their cowardice they are treacherous and violent (Psa. 22:16, 20). The only good thing said of them is that they watch the flocks (Job 30:1 ; Isa. 56:10). Christ compares the Gentiles to them (Matt. 15:26). Those who are shut out of heaven are called dogs (Rev. 22:15). The price of a dog (Deut. 23:18) probably refers to sodomy. The return of a fool to his folly is compared to one of the most disgusting of the many filthy habits of the dog (Prov. 26:11 ; 2 Pet. 2:22).
DOLEFUL CREATURES (Heb. o׳akh, a howler; Isa. 13:21 ; A. V., marg., “Ochim”) refer to birds or beasts which emit shrieks or howlings or ominous sounds, such as the booming of owls, the wailing cries of jackals, and the dismal howling of wolves. The point of the allusion is the fact that such creatures resort to ruins and deserted dwellings, and indicate the desolation, which has overtaken them.
DOLPHIN. See Badger.
DOVE (Heb. yo-naw׳ ; Gr. περιστερά, per-is-ter-ah׳). Four species of wild pigeons are found in the Bible lands, the ring dove, or wood pigeon, the stock dove, the rock dove, and the ashrumped rock dove. They are all known by the name of hamâm in Arabic. They make their nests in the clefts and holes of rocks (Song of Sol. 2:14 ; Jer. 48:28 ; Ezek. 7:16). They also nest in trees. They are unresisting (Matt. 10:16), and therefore suitable for sacrifice (Gen. 15:9 ; Lev. 12:6-8 ; Luke 2:24 ; Mark 11:15 ; John 2:14-16). They are timid (Hos. 11:11); they fly to great distances in their migrations (Psa. 55:6-8) ; they are gentle (Song of Sol. 1:15 ; 4:1, etc). Therefore a dove was the form in which the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus Christ (Matt. 3:16, etc.).  See turtledove.  Wild doves are very numerous in some parts of the Holy Land. There are also vast numbers of tame pigeons in all the cities and villages. They have been kept from the earliest times. Being acceptable for sacrifices, they were also clean, and used for food.
DOVE’S DUNG (Heb. khar-ay׳-yo-neem׳). Several theories have been formulated to explain the difficulty in regard to this material as an article of food. (2 Kings 6:25): (1) That it was a kind of plant. No plant with this name has been discovered, however, and it is unlikely that any plant would have been found in any quantity in a  place in the last extremity of famine. (2) That it is in reality dung, but used as a fertilizer, to promote the quick growth of vegetables for food. This is fanciful, and not supported by the context. (3) That the people, in the depth of their despair and starvation, actually ate this disgusting material. This seems the most probable view, and is supported by the fact that a similar occurrence took place in the English army in 1316.
DRAGON (Heb. tan-neen׳). This word is used in the A. V. with several meanings: (1) In connection with desert animals (Isa. 13:22 ; 34:13, 14 etc.), it is best translated by wolf, and not by jackal, as in R. V. The feminine form of the Heb. tan-naw׳, is found in Mal. 1:3. (2) Sea monsters (Psa. 74:13 ; 148:7). (3) Serpents, even of the smaller crocodile (Ezek. 29:3 ; 32:2, marg.). (5) In the New Testament (Rev. 12:3, et seq.) it refers to a mythical monster, which is variously described and figured in the legends of all nations. One of the Hebrew words, usually rendered dragon, is in some places translated serpents (Exod. 7:9, 10, 12).
DROMEDARY (Heb. reh׳-kesh, swift beast; ram-mawk׳, a brood mare). Besides the references to the dromedary in the A. V. (Isa. 60:6 ; Jer. 2:23), where the word should be rendered young camel (Heb. beh׳-ker), it is also mentioned in 1 Kings 4:28 and Esth. 8:10; in the first being an erroneous rendering of a Hebrew word signifying “swift beast,” as in margin, and in the second another word signifying “mares.” There is no clear and undoubted reference to the dromedary in the Scripture.
EAGLE (Heb. neh׳-sher; raw-khawn׳; Gr. άετόζ, ah-et-os׳). The word eagle in the A. V. includes both the eagles proper and the vultures. There is no less than four of the former and eight of the latter in the Holy Land. The most common of the vultures are the griffon and raoh’s chicken. The commonest of the eagles is the short-toed eagle, Circœtus Gallicus, Gmel. All of these birds are swift (Deut. 28:49), soar high (Prov. 23:5), nest in inaccessible rocks (Job 39:27-30), and sight their prey from afar (Job 39:9). Besides the above references the habits of eagles and vultures are alluded to in numerous passages (Num. 24:21 ; Job 9:26 ; Prov. 30:17, 19; Jer. 49:16 ; Ezek. 17:3 ; Obad. 4; Hab. 1:8 ; Matt. 24:28 ; Luke 17:37). The tenderness of the eagle to its young is also graphically set forth (Exod. 19:4 ; Deut. 32:11). Its great age is also noted (Psa. 103:5 ; Isa. 40:31).
EGGS. See Fowl.
ELEPHANT. This animal is not mentioned in the text of the A. V., but twice in the margin (1 Kings 10:22 ; 2 Chron. 9:21). The animal is mentioned in Maccabees.
EWE. See Sheep.
FALCON, R. V. for A. V. “kite” (Lev. 11:14 ; Deut. 14:13), and A. V. :vulture (Job 28:7).
FERRET. See Gecko.
FISH. The Greek language has over four hundred names of fishes. The Hebrew, as we have it in the Bible, has not even one. Nevertheless fishes are mentioned frequently in the Scriptures. They were classified as clean, having fins and scales, and unclean, not so furnished. Whales, seals, dolphins, and other creatures, were known to be lung breathers, were regarded by the Hebrews as fish. There are forty-fives species in the inland waters and very large numbers in the Mediterranean Sea. Dagon, the god of the the Philistines, has a man’s body and a fish’s tail. There are many allusions to fishing in the Bible.
FLEA (Heb. par-oshe׳), a most annoying and unfortunately most common insect in the East. David compares himself to a flea in order to discredit Saul (1 Sam. 24:14). The similar reference (1 Sam. 26:20) is considered by some an error in the text.
FLY (Heb. zeb-oob׳). The immense number of flies in the East is one of the most striking characteristics. The number of species is also very large. The Heb. zeb-oob׳, which is part of the name of the god Ekron, Baal-zebub, is generic, but as the horse fly is the most familiar representative it would be most frequently thought of in connection with this name. It is uncertain whether the plaque of flies, aw-robe׳, refers to the swarming of a single species (R. V. Psa. 78:45, “swarms of flies”), or a multiplication of such noxious insects (A. V. “divers sorts of flies”). “Devoured them” can hardly mean ate them up bodily, nor bit them; but destroyed their food, and overwhelmed them with their nastiness.
FOAL. See Ass, Horse.
FOWL. A number of Hebrew words are rendered fowl, as bar-boor׳, tsip-pore׳. They are all translated by other words also, as “bird,” “birds of prey,” “sparrow,” etc. this want of uniformity tends to obscure meanings which would otherwise be simple.
1. Birds were divided into clean and unclean, the latter including the carrion birds, fish hunters, and some others, as the hoopoe. Domestic fowls are mentioned, but it is nowhere said that they were eaten. It is, nevertheless, extremely probable the they were so used.
2. Nest. The allusions to bird’s nests in the Bible are frequently and forcible. They were made in the sanctuary (Psa. 84:3), rocks (Job 39:27 ; comp. Num. 24:21 ; Jer. 49:16), trees (Psa. 104: 17 ; Jer. 22:23 ; Ezek. 31:6). Nests are concealed in ruins (Isa. 34:15) and holes (Jer. 48:28). The New Testament nests (Matt. 8:20 ; Luke 9:58) are mere roosts.
3. Eggs are frequently alluded to (Deut 22:6 ; Job 34:14 ; Isa. 10:14). They are well-known articles of food (Luke 11:12).
4. Migration (Song of Sol. 2:11, 12; Jer. 8:7), their singing (Eccles. 12:4 ; Psa. 104:12), flight (Exod. 19:4), care of young (Deut. 32:11, 12), voracity (Matt. 13:4), and many other characteristics are alluded to.
FOX. In several places it is uncertain whether Heb. shoo-awl׳ ; Gr. Άλώπηζ, al-o׳-pakes, signifies fox or jackal (Lam. 5:18 ; Ezek. 13:4 ; Song of Sol. 2:14). In others it doubtless means jackal (Judg. 15:4 ; Psa. 63:10). The difficulty in regard to the number of jackals which Samson turned loose into the fields of Philistines disappears if we consider that he probably collected them, doubtless with the aid of him companions, over a wide district of the Philistine plain, and set them loose in pairs at perhaps as many as a hundred and fifty centers, so as to burn up as much as possible of the “shocks, and also the standing corn, and the vineyards and olives.” In only one place is it more probable that the fox in intended (Neh. 4:3). Άλώπηξ, al-o׳-pakes, in the New Testament can mean nothing but fox. The Syrian fox is identified with the common European fox, Vulpes vulgaris, L.
FROG (Heb. tsef-ar-day׳-ah). The frog of the Egyptian plague (Exod. 8:2-14) is Rana esculenta, L., an amphibian, common everywhere in Egypt and the Holy Land (see Wisd. 19:10)
GAZELLE, the correct rendering of tseb-ee׳, translated, A. V., roe and roebuck. It is the smallest of the antelopes in the Holy Land. It is abundant in the wildest portions of the country. Its beauty and speed are often alluded to in sacred and profane poetry. Its scientific name is Gazella Dorcas, L.
GECKO (Heb. an-aw-kaw׳, R. V., Lev. 11:30, for A. V. “ferret”). This lizard is names from the sound which it emits. Its scientific name is Ptyodactylus Hasselquistii, Schneid. It is frequently found in housed. It runs with great rapidity, and clings to walls and ceilings by the suckers with which its feet are furnished. It is no way probable that the Hebrew original of this word signifies the ferret.
GIER EAGLE, a term in English of indefinite meaning, referring to the soaring of birds of prey. A. V. uses it for Heb. raw-khawm׳, which is Pharaoh’s chicken, Neophron percnopterus. R. V. used it for peh׳-res, which is better rendered ossifrage.
GLEDE, an old name for the kite. If the Hebrew original raw-aw׳ (Deut. 14:13) be not the same as dâ’âh (Lev. 11:14, A. V., “kite;” R. V. , “vulture”), glede is as good a rendering can be given.
GNAT (Gr. κώνωψ, ko׳-nopes), the wine gnat, or midge in fermenting and evaporating wine. Gnats or mosquitoes are most irritating pests in all parts of the East, and are very common in the low-lying marshy lands of Palestine and Egypt. It may refer to any small bloodsucking insect, and the more minute creatures, whether bloodsuckers or not, which torment man and beast.
Figurative.  The custom of filtering wine, among the Jews, was founded on the prohibition of “all flying, creeping things” being used for food, excepting saltatorii (see Lev. 11:22, 23). The saying of our Lord, “Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow down a camel” (Matt. 23:24), was doubtless taken from this custom. The contrast between the smallest insect and the largest animal is used to illustrate the inconsistency of those who are superstitiously anxious in avoiding small faults, yet do not scruple to commit the greatest sins.
GOAT. (Heb. ak-ko׳, slender, yaw-ale׳, climbing; and so leader ; saw-eer׳, shaggy ; Gr. έρίφιον, er-if׳-ee-on ; τράγοζ, trag׳-os), an animal often associated with sheep, and mentioned with them in many places in Scripture, once sharply contrasted (Matt 25:32, 33). Owing to the unlovely disposition of the goat it was less chosen for ordinary sacrifices. Nevertheless it was an allowable victim (Lev. 3:12 ; 4:24 ; 9:15 ; 10:16 ; ch. 16, passim; Num. 15:27 ; 28:22, etc.). Goats were only second in importance, as a source and investment of wealth, to sheep.
Figurative. In Matt 25:32, 33, sheep and goats are used to represent the righteous and the wicked respectively. “The wicked are here conceived of under the figure of goats, not on account of the wantonness and stench of the latter (Grotius), or in consequence of their stubbornness (Lange), but generally because these animals were considered to be comparatively worthless (Luke 15:29) ; and hence, in v. 33, we have the diminutive τά έρίφια for the purpose of expressing contempt” (Meyer, Com., Matt. 25:32, 33).
GOAT, WILD, a graceful animal, Capra Beden, L., with semicircular horns two and a half to three feet long. It is found in the more inaccessible mountains and deserts. Of the two Hebrew words ya’alath and akko (Deut. 14:5) the first certainly, and the second probably, refers to this species.
GREYHOUND, a very doubtful rendering of Heb. zar-zeer׳ mawth-na׳-yeem, slender in the loins (Prov. 30:31). The marginal readings, “horse” and “warhorse,” slow that the translators were not quite satisfied with the rendering of the test.
HARE. (Heb. ar-neh׳-beth, Lev. 11:6 ; Deut. 14:7), a rodent of which there are four species in the Holy Land, of which Lepus Syriacus, Hempr. et Ehr., is generally diffused. The others, L. Sinaiticus Hempr. et Ehr. L. Ægyptius, Geoffr., and L. Isabellinus, Rüpp., are desert species.
HART, Cervus Dama, L., an animal once found in Palestine, but now probably extinct S. of Amanus. The Hebrew ah-yawl׳, and not yahmôr (Deut. 14:5 ; 1 Kings 4:23), is the fallow deer. The female is called Hind. See Fallow Deer.
HAWK (Heb. nayls, Lev. 11:16 ; Deut. 14:15 ; Job 39:26 ; takh-mawce׳, Lev. 11:16; Deut 14:15). There are eighteen species of the hawk “after his kind,” ranging in size from the little sparrow hawk to the buzzard. These are exclusive of the kites and gledes.
HE ASS. See Ass.
HEN. See Cock.
HERON. There are six species of herons in the Holy Land. As the Heb. an-aw-faw׳ (Lev. 11:19 ; Deut. 14:18), is associated with the stork, and accompanied by the qualifying phrase “after her kind, “ it is reasonable to accept “heron,” rather than eagle, parrot, swallow, or ibis, all of which have been suggested in place.
HIND, the female of Hart (q. v.).
HONEY. See Bee.
HOOPOE, probably the correct translation of Heb. doo-kee-fath׳, R. V., Lev. 11:19 ; Deut. 14:18 ; A. V., “lapwing.” It is a migratory bird, Upupa epops, L., which spends the summer in the Holy Land and the winter in more southerly districts. Its head is often figured on the Egyptian monuments. If it be the bird intended by doo-kee-fath׳ it was unclean. It is, however, now freely eaten.
HORNET (Heb tsir-aw׳, as stinging), an insect with a formidable sting. It is found in considerable abundance in the Holy Land. Commentators are at variance as to whether the intention of the passages in which it is mentioned (Exod. 23:28 ; Deut. 7:20 ; Josh 24:12) is literal or figurative. There are several species of hornets in the Holy Land.
HORSE. The Hebrews were at first forbidden to retain the horses they captured (Deut. 17:16), and accordingly houghed most of those which they took (Josh. 11:4-9). But they soon ceased to regard this restriction, and accumulated large studs of cavalry and chariot horses, mostly from Egypt and Assyria. Solomon had twelve thousand chariot horses. Riding a horse was usually a sign of military rank. Many high functionaries, however, rode asses, mules, and camels.
HORSELEECH (Heb. al-oo-kaw׳, sucking, Prov. 30:15), either one of the leeches, Hirudo meaicinalis, Sav., or Hœmopis sanguisorba, Sav., found in the stagnant waters throughout the land, or a specter like the “night monster.”
HOUND. See Greyhound.
HYENA (Heb. tsaw-boo׳-ah, speckled), probably the correct rendering of Jer. 12:9, “speckled bird.” It suits well the context. The hyena is very common throughout the Holy Land, and would be one of the “beasts of the field” to devour the carrion so vividly represented in the above passage.
JACKAL (Heb tan-neen׳, monster), R. V., Isa. 34:13 ; Jer 9:11 ; 10:22 ; 51:37; Mic. 1:8, for A. V. “dragon.” It would better be rendered wolf. On the other hand, “wild beasts of the islands” should be jackals. Jackal should in some cases be substituted for fox, as the translation of shoo-awl׳. See Fox. The jackal is a familiar nocturnal animal, with a peculiar howl, feeding on live prey and carrion.
KID. See Goat.
KINE. See Ox.
KITE. Three Hebrew words (ah-yaw׳; daw-aw׳, fly rapidly ; and dah-yaw׳) are general terms for birds of prey of the falcon sort. R. V. renders ah-yaw׳ “falcon;” A. V., sometimes “kite” (Lev. 11:14 ; Deut. 14:13), some times “vulture.” R. V. renders  daw-aw׳, and dah-yaw׳ “kite;” A. V. “vulture.” Three kites exist in the Holy Land, Milvus ictnus, Sav., M. migrans, Bod., and M. Ægyptius, Gmel.
LAMB. See Sheep.
LAPWING. See hoopoe.
LEOPARD. (Heb. naw-mare׳, spotted ; Gr. πάρδαλιζ, par׳-dal-is), Felis leopardus, L., a wily active, ferocious beast (Isa. 11:6 ; Jer. 5:6 ; Dan 7:6 ; Hab. 1:8 ; Rev. 13:2). It is next to the bear in the largest of the existing carnivora in the Holy Land. It has a beautiful spotted skin (Jer. 13:23), which is highly admired by the people. It is used for rugs, saddle covers, and one is sometimes hung over the back by religious mendicants. The cheetah, or hunting leopard, Felis jubata, Schreb., is probably included under the Hebrew generic name naw-mare׳.
LEVIATHAN (Heb. liv-yaw-thawn׳), a word signifying an animal, writhing or gathering itself into folds ; used for the crocodile (Job 41:1, and probably 3:8, R. V. “leviathan;” A. V. “their mourning,” marg. “leviathan;” also Psa. 74:14) ; for a serpent (Isa. 27:1) ; for some sea monster (Psa. 104:26), possibly the whale.
LICE. Notwithstanding the authority of R. V. (marg., Exod. 8:16 ; Psa. 105:31) “sandflies” or “fleas” for Heb. kane, fastening, and its derivatives, the weight of evidence is in favor of lice. These filthy insects are an endemic pest of the first magnitude in the East. What it must have been when they became universal is beyond the power of imagination to conceive. The Muslims shave their heads, and use means to cause hair to fall out by the roots in other parts of their bodies, to escape this pest. This is that inheritance of an ancient custom of the Egyptians priests, and others of the inhabitants.
LION, the well-known king of beasts, formerly abundant in Palestine (Judg. 14:5 ; 1 Sam. 17:34 ; 2 Kings 17:25 ; Jer. 49:19, etc.), and not extinct there until the end of the 12th century. Seven words, aryêh, kephîr, gûr, lâbî, layish, shahal, and shâhâz, are used to denote the lion in general, or at different ages and in different states. Four words, shâ’ag, nâ’ar, nâham, and liâgabh, express his voice in varying moods, as the roar, yell, or growl. Six words denote his attitudes and movements in quest of prey, rabaz, shâhah, yâshabh, arâbh, râmas, zinnêk, as prowling, crouching, and ambushing.
Figurative. The Scriptures abound in allusions to the strength, courage, cruelty, and rapacity of this beast. His royal attributes made him an emblem of Christ (Rev. 5:5).
LIZARD (Heb. let-aw-aw׳, hiding), a family term, occurring in a list (Lev. 11:30) of six, all of which are rendered in R. V. by names denoting lizards. A considerable number of the lizards. A considerable number of the lizard family is found in the Holy Land, and several of them are common about houses, especially the wall lizard, Zootica muralis, Laur.; the sand lizard, Lacerta agilis, L., and the green lizard, L. viridis, L. See Tortoise, Gecko, Chameleon, Mole.
LOCUST (Heb. ar-beh׳, generic term). The devastations which the locust is capable of producing made it a fitting instrument of one of the ten memorable plagues of Egypt. Two species, Ædipoda migratoria and Acridium peregrinum, are the most common. They are always to be found in the southeastern deserts, but, from time to time, multiply in vast numbers and spread over the whole country, carrying ruin and despair everywhere. The poetical and prophetical books abound in vivid descriptions of their destructiveness, and the powerlessness of man to resist them. Eight Hebrew words seem to refer to locusts; some of them probably to various stages in their development. It is, however, impossib;e to determine the exact meaning of each. Locusts were undoubtedly eaten (Matt. 3:4).
The following vivid description is given by Jahn (Bib. Arch., §23, s. n.): “Vast bodies of migrating locusts, called by the orientals the armies of God, lay waste the country. They observe as regular order, when they march as an army. At evening they descent from their flight, and form, as it were in their camps. In the morning, when the sun has risen considerably, they ascend again, if they do not find food, and fly in the direction of the wind (Prov. 30:27 ; Nah. 3:16, 17). They go immense numbers (Jer. 46:23), and occupy a space of ten or twelve miles in length, and four or five breadth, and are so deep that the sun cannot penetrate through them ; so that they convert the day into night, and bring a temporary darkness on the land (Joel 2:2, 10 ; Exod. 10:15). The sound of their wings is terrible (Joel 2:2). When they descend upon the earth, they cover a vast track a foot and a half high ; if the air is cold and moist, or if they be wet with the dew, they remain…till they are dried and warmed by the sun (Nah. 3:17). Nothing stops them. They fill the ditches which are dug to stop them with their bodies, and extinguish by their numbers the fires which are kindled. They pass over walls and enter the doors and windows of houses (Joel 2:7-9). They devour everything which is green, strip off the bark of trees, and even break them to pieces by their weight (Exod. 10:12-19 ; Joel 1:4, 7, 10, 12, 16, 18, 20 ; 2:3).”
MICE. See Mouse.
MOLE. No true mole exists in the Holy Land. The mile rat, Spalax typhlus, Pall., may be the animal intended by Heb. tan-sheh׳-meth (Lev. 11:30, R. V., “chameleon”). Another Hebrew word, khaf-ore׳ (Isa. 2:20), is translated “moles.” It would perhaps better be translated burrowing rats or mice, being understood as generic for all the numerous burrowers found in waste places. The mole rat is a rodent, while the mile is one of the insectivora, which comprise the shrews, hedgehogs, and moles.
MOTH (Heb. awsh ; Gr. σηζ, sace), several species of the family Tineidœ which infest woolen goods and furs. It is almost impossible to guard against them in their carpets and clothes with pepper grains, tobacco, pride of India leaves, and other substances. The scriptural and apocryphal allusions to moths are very significant of their subtle and noxious agency (Job 4:19; 27:18; Hos. 5:12 ; Matt. 6:19, 20 ; Luke 12:33 ; Sir. 19:3 ; 42:13).
MOUSE (Heb. ak-bawr׳ as nibbling). The number of species mouselike animals in the Holy Land is about forty. All of them are probably included in the generic prohibition (Lev. 11:29). One species was eaten by the recusant Israelites, along with swine’s flesh (Isa. 66:17). We cannot be sure what species it was. It may have been the hamster, which is said to be eaten by the Arabs.
MULE. Mules were not allowed according to the Mosaic law (Lev. 19:19). Yet they were used early in the period of the kings (2 Sam. 13:29 ; 18:9 ; 1 Kings 1:33, etc.). They were imported from Togarmah (Ezek. 27:14). Besides the Hebrew term, peh׳-red, which undoubtedly refers to the mule, two other words are so translated in the A. V., viz. reh׳-kesh (marg. 1 Kings 4:28, R. V., “swift steeds”), and yeh׳-meem (Gen. 36:24, R. V., “hot springs”).
NEST. See Fowl.
NIGHT HAWK. The Heb. takh-mawce׳, is uncertain in meaning. Some have rendered it “ostrich,” others “owl.” As the owl is mentioned in the list (Lev. 11:16; Deut. 14:15), and at least one other word exists for the ostrich, the R. V. has done well in transliterating in the margin “tahmas,” with the gloss “of uncertain meaning.”
NIGHT MONSTER, R. V. for A. V. “screech owl” (Isa. 34:14; R. V., marg., “Heb. Lilith”). The Hebrew root signifies night, and the allusion is doubtless to a fabulous specter, such as are supposed to haunt ruins.
ONYCHA (Heb. shekh-ay׳-leth, a scale), a substance mentioned as an ingredient of the holy perfume (Exod. 30:34). It is the operculum of shells of Strombi, and is prepared for use by roasting, which evolves an empyreumatic oil, on which is aromatic properties depend.
OSPRAY (Heb. oz-nee-yaw׳), this fish eagle, Pandion haliœtus, L., an unclean bird (Lev. 11:13; Deut. 14:12), which fishes along the coasts of the Holy Land and in the Hûleh.
OSSIFRAGE (Heb. peh׳-res), the lammergeier, Gypœtus barbatus, L., the largest of the vultures of the Holy Land. As it is a familiar bird in Europe its habits are well known. It kills its own prey, but also does not disdain carrion. Hence it was unclean (Lev. 11:13 ; Deut 14:12). R. V. renders the Hebrew original gier eagle.
OSTRICH (Heb. no-tsaw׳, flying, Job 39:13 ; elsewhere yaw-ane׳). The A. V. translates this latter in five out of the eight passages in which it occurs by “owl,” sometimes with marginal reading “ostrich.” R. V. correctly and uniformly renders it “ostrich.” The ostrich is a well-known bird, found in the deserts of Africa and Arabia. Its renown for voracity is due to the large size of the pebbles, bits of glass, or other objects which it swallows, as fowls swallow gravel, to assist in the subdivision of their food in the gizzard. The female ostrich makes a shallow nest, and lays so many eggs that some of them are left uncovered and therefore not incubated. She, however, covers most of them with sand, and, while leaving them to the influence of the sun’s rays by day, incubates them by night. The ostrich, when pursued, runs against the wind, and in large circles, a fact which enables the hunter to lie in wait for it, and thus partially neutralizes the advantage of its great speed. It is not true that it hides its head in the sand on the approach of danger. When compared with some other birds, as the partridge, noted for their cunning in concealing their eggs and young, and escaping from their enemies, the ostrich, which runs away from eggs and chicks, in the frantic desire to escape by its great speed, seems open to the charge of stupidity (Job 39:14:17).
OWL. Five Hebrew words are rendered in A. V. “owl.” (1) bath yah-an-aw׳. In five out of the eight places in which it occurs A. V. text translates it “owl.” R. V. correctly renders them all “ostrich.” (2) yan-shoof׳, or yan-shofe׳, means twilight. It may refer to some species of owl, or owls in general, or, as in LXX. and Vulgate, mean ibis. (3) koce, is a general term for the owl (Lev. 11:17 ; Deut. 14:16, “little owl;” Psa. 102:6, “owl”). (4) kip-poze׳ (Isa. 34:15, A. V., “great owl ;” R. V., “arrowsnake”), probably refers to any owls which frequent ruins. Nesting, laying eggs, and hatching must refer to a bird, not to a snake. (5) lee-leeth׳ (Isa. 34:14, A.V., “screech owl;” R. V., “night monster”), is probably no bird at all. See Night Monster. Only two of the above five words certainly refer to owls. Both of these are probably generic, or at least their specific meaning has been lost. There are numerous species of owls in solitary places, caves, and ruins of the East, as Asio Otus, L., A. brachyotus, J. R. Foster, Bubo ascalaphus, Sav., and others. All of them are regarded by the people as birds of evil omen. They were all unclean, according to the Mosiac law.
OX. 1. The translation of Heb. shore. The cognate Arab. thaur, Gr. ταΰροζ,  tŏw׳-ros, Lat. taurus, refer to the male. Shore, however, is generic for both sexes and all ages. Though generally translated “ox,” it is sometimes rendered “bullock.”
2. Cow, Kine. The rendering of Heb. baw-kawr׳, which is also generic for bovines, bak-aw-raw׳, with the feminine ending, signifies the cow.
3. Bull, Bullock. Usually the equivalent of Heb. par, or pawr. The feminine pârâh is once used (Num. 19:2) for heifer. Sometimes the term abbir, strong ones, is used metaphorically for bull (Psa. 22:13 ; Lev. 13 ; Isa. 34:7), but it is also used in the same sense for the horse (Jer. 8:16 ; 47:3).
4. Calf, Heifer. The rendering of Heb. ay׳-ghel, and eg-law׳. Once “heifer” is the equivalent of paw-raw׳ (Num. 19:2).
5. Wild Ox (Heb. the-o׳, A. V., Deut. 14:5), Wild Bull (Heb. toh, A. V., Isa. 51:20). R. V. in both passages, “antelope.” It is probably Oryx beatrix, L., also know as Antilope leucoryx, Pall., an Arabian and African species, which extends to the borders of Syria. “Unicorn” of A. V. is rendered “wild ox” in R. V., Num. 23:22 ; 24:8 ; Job 39:9, 10 ; Psa 29:6 ; 93:10. See Unicorn.
No animal except the sheep, is so frequently alluded to in Scriptures as the ox and his derivatives.
PALMERWORM (Heb. gaw-zawm׳, devouring, Joel 1:4 ; 2:25 ; Amos 4:9), a destroying larva, possibly a caterpillar, more probably a stage in the development of the locust. Its root signifies to cut off. It is impossible to identify it.
PARTRIDGE (Heb. ko-ray׳, a caller, from its cry). There are two species of partridges in the Holy Land, Caccabis chuckar, C. R. Gray, the red-legged partridge, and Ammoperdix Heyi, Temm., the sand partridge. The former is generally in the middle and upper mountain regions and Syrian desert. The latter is peculiar to the Dead Sea and Jordan valley. This may be the one alluded to by David (1 Sam 26:20). The passage Jer. 17:11, in which R. V. has adopted A. V. marginal rendering, “gatherth young which she hath not brought forth,” is obscure. It may refer to pirating a nest, after the manner of the cuckoo, or decoying away the chicks of another bird. Although no modern authority has witnessed such theft, some of the ancients believed that the partridge was guilty of it.
PEACOCKS. In one place where A. V. has given “peacock” (Job 39:13) the original is Heb. reh׳-nen, which is undoubtedly a name for the ostrich, as in R. V. In the other two passages where “peacocks” occurs in A. V.  and R. V. (1 Kings 10:22 ; 2 Chron. 9:21) the reference is unquestionably to this lordly bird. The Heb. took-hee׳, survives in the allied tokei, which is the Tamil name of the bird. So far as we know Solomon was the first to import  it into western Asia. It soon became well known all over the civilized world, and has never ceased to be raised for its gorgeous feathers.
PEARL is mentioned in A. V. in Old Testament only once (Job 28:18. gaw-beesh׳). R. V., with probability, translated it “crystal.” Pearls are mentioned several times in the New Testament (Matt. 7:6 ; 13:45, 46; 1 Tim. 2:9 ; Rev. 17:4 ; Gr. μαργαρίτηζ, mar-gar-ee׳-tace). The gates of pearl (Rev. 21:21) refer to mother of pearl. Both are depositions from the juice of the pearl oyster. Avicula, margaritifera, L.
PELICAN, probably the correct translation of Heb. kaw-ath׳. It was an unclean bird (Lev. 11:18: Deut. 14:17). It was found in desolate places (Psa. 102:6) and ruins (R. V., Isa. 34:11 ; Zeph. 2:14, A. V. “cormorant,” marg. “pelican”). Two species are found in Holy Land, Pelecanus onocrotalus, L., and P., crispus, Brush. The pelican lives on fish, with it catches with its long beak and stores in the capacious pouch beneath it. When gorged with food it flies away to some lonely place, and pressing its pouch against its breast stands in this attitude for hours or days, until it is hungry again, when it resumes its fishing. If kaw-ath׳ be the pelican, this attitude would well suit the melancholy inactivity to which David alluded in comparing himself with the “pelican in the wilderness.”
PIGEON. See Dove.
PORCUPINE. See Supplement, Page 1200.
PORPOISE. See Badger.
PURPLE. A dye extracted from the throat of several shellfish of the genera Murex and Purpura, found on the coast of the Mediterranean. The art of preparing it is lost. It is uncertain whether the A. V. “scarlet,” marg. “purple,” R. V. “purple” (Heb. ar-gaw-mawn׳, Dan. 5:7, 16), is the same as “purple,” πορφνροΰν, por-foo-room׳ (John 19:2), which is called “scarlet,” κοκκίνην, kok-kin׳-ane (Matt. 27:28). See Colors.
PYGARG (Heb. dee-shone׳, leaper), probably the addax, Antilope addax, Licht. An animal found in the Syrian and Arabian deserts. It is mention’ed in only one of the two lists of clean animals (Deut. 14:5). There seems to be no authority for A. V. marg. “bison.”
QUAIL (Heb sel-awv׳), a gallinaceous bird, Coturnix vulgaris, L. more or less resident in Egypt and the Holy Land, but also passing through them on its migrations northward in March, and southward in September. The quails pass over narrow portions of the sea, but arrive gently exhausted. Many of them perish in the transit. Those which the Israelites captured (Exod. 16:13 ; Num. 11:31, 32) were on their way N. Tristram has pointed out their course up the Red Sea, across the mouth of the Gulf of Akabah and Suez, to the Sinaitic peninsula, and so blown by a sea wind over the camp of Israelites.
RAM. See Sheep.
RAVEN. The raven Corvus corax, L. is the first bird named (Gen. 8:7). It feeds in part on seeds and fruit. To this fact our Savior alludes (Luke 12:24 ; Gr. κόαξ, kor׳-ax). It also captures small creatures alive, but it loves carrion (Prov. 30:17), and so was unclean. Orientals, as well as occidentals, look upon it as a bird of evil omen (Isa. 34:11). The Hebrew word o-rabe׳, of which raven is the translation. Doubtless includes the crows, rooks, jays, and choughs, as is implied in the expression “after his kind” (Lev. 11:15 ; Deut. 14:14).
ROE. In one place (A. V., Prov. 5:19 ; R. V. “does;” Heb. yah-al-aw׳) it would be wild she-goat ; in all other places, Gazelle (q. v.).
ROEBUCK, a mistranslation of the Heb. tseb-ee׳, which signifies the Gazelle (q. v.). The roebuck, Cervus capreolus, L., is found in the Holy Land, and is the proper translation of Heb. yakh-moor׳ (Deut. 14:5  ; 1 Kings 4:23 ; A. V. wrongly “fallow deer”). It must have been very abundant in the days of Solomon. It is not found rarely in northern Galilee and Carmel, and in the woods of Gilead. It is still known in Carmel by the name yakh-moor׳, and E. of the Jordan by that of hamûr.
SAND LIZARD. See Snail and Lizard.
SATYR, the equivalent (Isa. 13:21 ; 34:14) of saw-eer׳, which means a he-goat, and is usually so translated. The same word is rendered in A. V. (Lev. 17:7 ; 2 Chron. 11:15) “devils,” creatures, half men and half goat, figure on the Greek and Roman mythologies under the name of satyrs and fauns.
SCARLET. The product of the cochineal insects, Coccus ilicis and C. cacti, which are raised in Palestine. Crimson is also produced by the same insects, as also purple and violet. See Colors.
SCORPION, a generic terms for about a dozen species of the Arachnidœ, which inhabit the Holy Land. The poison is in the sting at the end of the tail. The scorpion is an emblem of torture and wrath. Some of the species of southern Palestine are six inches long.
SCREECH OWL. See Owl, Night Monster.
SEAMEW. See Cuckow.
SEA MONSTER. See Dragon , whale.
SERPENT. It is impossible to unravel the tangle in which the translators, ancient and modern, have involved the eight words used in the Hebrew for serpents. Only one of them (Heb. shef-ee-fone׳) can be identified with an degree of certainty. This is in all probability Cerastes Hasselquistii, Strauch, the horned cerastes of the desert. It is reasonably probable that pethen refers to cobra. Zepha’ and ziph’ôni and eph’eh are uncertain. Heb. tan-neen׳, is usually translated dragon, and if it refers to a snake in the story of the controversy between Moses and Pharaoh we have no means of guessing the species. Heb. saw-rawf׳, means fiery, and is therefore only a term to characterize the venomousness of the unknown species intended.
The serpents of Egypt, Sinat, and the Holy Land are numerous. Of the venomous ones the principal are Daboia zanthina, Gray, Cerastes Hesselquistii, Stauch, Naja haje, L., Echis arenicola, Bole, Vipera Euphratica, Martin, and V, ammondytes, L. the English names of snakes mentioned are adder, arrowsnake, asp, basilisk (fabulous), cockatrice (fabulous), fiery flying serpent, viper and all the generic term serpent. Besides there the following terms are used: Crooked, crossing like a bar, fleeting, gliding, piercing, swift, winding, as the crocodile, under the name leviathan (Isa. 27:1).
Almost all the allusions to the serpent in the Scriptures are to its malignity and venom. Probably the Hebrews regarded most or all snakes as poisonous. Only once (Matt 10:16) is there a doubtful commendation of the serpent on account of its wisdom. Its habits, even to being oviparous (Isa. 59:5), were minutely noted. The devil is the “old serpent.”
SERPENT CHARMING has always been an Asiatic specialty. The cobra is the snake specially used for this purpose.
SHEEP, the rendering of several Hebrew and Greek words. This animal is mentioned about five hundred times in the Bible. The broad-tailed variety is the one which is, and probably has been from ancient times, the one raised in the East. Allusion is made to its fat tail (“rump,” A. V. ; Exod. 29:22 ; Lev. 3:9 ; R. V. “fat tail”). The number of sheep raised in ancient times was prodigious. We read of the tribute of 200,000 fleeces from the king of Moab (2 Kings 3:4). Reuben took 250,000 sheep from the children of Ishmael (1 Chron. 5:21). Lambs were offered in immense numbers in sacrifice, usually males, in one case a female (Lam. 14:10). Solomon offered 120,000 on occasion of the consecration of the temple (1 Kings 8:63). Sheep’s milk and wool were and are of immense importance for food and clothing, and as articles of commerce Ram’s skins entered into the structure of the tabernacle.
Shepherds in Bible lands have the same personal knowledge and exhaustive care of their flocks as in ancient times. Their offices were chosen as emblems of those in Christ and his ministers in the care of the believers committed to their charge.
The interest of the sheep to Christians culminates in the fact that Christ is the atoning, illuminating, livegiving, reigning Lamb of God.
SHE GOAT. See Goat.
SNAIL. The Hebrew word kho׳-met, rendered (A. V., Lev. 11:30) “snail,” is generic for lizard (R. V., l. c., “sand lizard,” which rendering is, however, only conjectural). Another word, shab-lool׳ (Psa, 58:8), is probably generic for snail, although neither the LXX. nor Vulgate supports the rendering. The surface of rocks, walls and tree trucks in this land is often covered with a thin pellicle, looking like a film of collodion or gelatin. This is caused by the passing and repassing of snails, which always leave a slimy track behind them. This is the melting of the snail, alluded to in the above passage. If a snail remain attached to a place in the hot sun it will dry up, but be stuck fast to its resting place by this inspissated mucilaginous fluid. The number of species of snail in Bible lands is large.
SOW. See Swine.
SPARROW, one rendering of Heb. tisp-pore׳, which like ׳usfûr in Arabic, is generic for small birds. Only in one or two instances (Psa. 84:3 ; 102:7) is it specific for the house sparrow. Zippôr is more frequently rendered “bird” and “fowl.” The New Testament στρονθίον, stroo-thee׳-on, probably refers to the house sparrow (Matt. 10:29 ; Luke 12:6, 7).
SPIDER. Two Hebrew words are translated in A. V. spider, 1. sem-aw-meeth׳ (Prov. 30:28), from a root signifying to be poisonous. R. V. gives “lizard.” Both the spider and several varieties of lizards frequent houses. 2. ak-kaw-beesh׳ (Job 8:14; Isa. 59:5, 6), is generic for spiders, of which there is a large number in the Holy Land.
SPONGE. (Gr. σπόγγοζ, spong׳-gos), a porous body, produced in the sea, composed to tubules and cells, lines with amœboid substance. The vital action of these protozoa keeps up a steady circulation of water through the channels. Commercial sponges consist only of the skeleton, out of which the lining and investing amœboid substance has been cleaned. The only mention of these sponge is in connection with the crucifixion of our Savoir (Matt 27:48, etc.)
STALLION. (Sir. 37:8). Unaltered horses are more highly esteemed in the East for all except menial offices Geldings are seldom seen.
STORK. (Heb. khas-ee-daw׳). Two species, Ciconia alba, L., the white stork, and C. nigra, L. the black stork, are found in the Holy Land. It was an unclean bird. Although its usual nesting place is in ruins, it also, especially the black species, resorts to trees (Psa. 104:17). It is a migratory bird, going to northern Europe in the summer, flying high “in the heaven” (Jer. 8:7), and making a rushing noise (“the wind was in their wings,” Zech. 5:9). Their affection for their young is proverbial.
SWALLOW. The only Hebrew words properly translated swallow are der-ore׳ (Psa. 84:3 ; Prov. 26:2), and, soos (Isa. 38:14 ; Jer. 8:7). aw-goor׳, in the latter two signifies twitterer, instead of “swallow,” as in A. V. or “crane,” as in R. V. The swallows and swifts and martins are numerous in Bible lands. Their shrill cries as they skim the ground and sweep through the air with incredible rapidity, are among the most characteristic features in oriental towns.
SWAN. Probably the Heb. tan-sheh׳-meth (Lev. 11:18 ; Deut. 14:16 ; A. V. “swan.” R. V. “horned owl.” marge. “swan”), refers to the purple gallinule, Porphyrio cœruleus, Vandelli, or one of the ibises. Ibis religiosa, L., or I. falcinella, L., and not to the swan, which is hardly found in the Holy Land, and would not have been regarded as unclean.
SWINE. (Heb. khaz-eer׳ ; Gr. χοιροζ, khoy׳-ros). The hog is regarded by Muslims with no less loathing then by the Jews. Many of the oriental Christians share this feeling, while others raise swine and freely eat of its flesh. The Jews in Christ’s time had come to ignore their own law on this subject (Matt. 8:30, etc), as had some of their ancestors who ate their flesh (Isa. 66:17).