« Prev Insects Next »

INSECTS.

Under this head are classed all those smaller animals not included in the previous Tables. They are arranged rather for facility of reference than scientifically, and being in alphabetical order, any one can be found by the reader at a glance.

N.B.–Italics in Col. 1 denote words not used in A.V.; H.=Houghton; T.=Tristram; W.=Westwood.

English Name. Hebrew and Greek. Zoological Species. Remarks.

Ant.

 (Prov. vi. 6-8;
xxx. 24.)

Nemalah.

***

Formica, or Myrmica

.

Ants are abundant in Palestine; and though they feed on flesh, insects, and saccharine matter from trees, they store up corn, chaff, seeds, &c., to protect their nests from damp. They surpass most insects in instinct and industry. T.

Bee.

 (Ps. cxviii. 12;

1 Sam. xiv. 25.)

Debôrah.

***

Apis mellifica.
Apis Ligustica.

There are in abundance the hive bees of England, and yet more those of S. Europe, and the wild bees; the allusions in Scripture are mainly to the last, which attack plunderers with great fury (Deut. i. 44). Their abundance is certified by the term descriptive of Palestine, "flowing with milk and honey" for which its climate and aromatic flora are peculiarly adapted. They are most numerous in the wilderness of Judæa (Matt. iii. 4). Honey was one of the delicacies sent by Jacob to Egypt, and a commodity supplied by Judah to the market at Tyre. T. They are also found in Assyria (Is. vii. 18).

Various species of humble bees and mason bees are very numerous.

Beetle.

 (Lev. xi. 21, 22.)

Chargol.

***

Buprestis (?),

Only once found in the Old Testament, among winged reptiles allowed for food. It is evidently, from the connexion, some kind of "locust," and not a "beetle," since the latter has not "legs above its feet to leap withal." More than 400 species of beetles have been found in Palestine, the climate being peculiarly suited to them. T.

Hab. ii. 11.)

Chaphis.

***
 

In Hab. ii. 11, Bochart renders Chaphis by "the scarabæus," or sacred beetle of Egypt, with which the Jews were familiar; it was an emblem of eternity and resurrection. (See Hope, in Trans. Entomol. Soc., ii. 173.) Though the LXX. and Vulgate favour this interpretation, Gesenius and others agree with the A.V., and translate it" beam."

Cochineal.

 (Is i. 18.)

Tola'ath.

***

Coccus ilicis.

Tola'ath is always translated (A.V.) by "crimson" or "scarlet." It is literally the "crimson worm" (Arab. Kermez), but the latter word is omitted, because in the texts the colour, not the insect, is denoted. It is a

92
Cochineal (cont.).    

cochineal, attaching itself to the Syrian holm-oak. The male is winged, the female wingless; and it is from the latter alone that the dye is gained. It is dark red, of the size of the kernel of a cherry, but when dry smaller than a wheat grain. It is very abundant in Palestine, though supplanted as a dye by the imported Mexican species, which feeds on the prickly pear. T.

Flea.

(I Sam.xxiv. 14; xxvi. 20.)

Par'osh.

***

Pulex irritans.

Only twice mentioned, as an illustration of the most insignificant of creatures. They swarm in the very sand of Egypt, and in the dust of all parts of Palestine,—the greatest pests of man and beast.

Fly.

(Ex. viii. 21;

Ps. lxxviii. 45).

1. Arôb, or Oreb.

***

Musca, or Culex.

1. Arôb only occurs of the plague of flies in Egypt. It is disputed whether the common house-fly or mosquito is meant; both are great pests in Egypt now, as also are the gad-fly and horse-fly. The common fly carries the poison of ophthalmia from man to man, and spreads its infection. It is probably here generic, including in the "plague of swarms," flies, sand-flies, gnats, mosquitos, &c. H. By some authors, Kirby (Bridgewater Treatise, ii. 357), Michælis, Rosenmüller, Geddes, &c., the Oreb has been supposed to be a cockroach, Blatta sp. (Hope, op. cit., ii. 180.) W.

(Eccles. x. 1.)

2. Zebub.

***

Scarabseus coprophagus. H.

2. Zebub, only twice mentioned, once as frequenting the rivers of Egypt; again, as corrupting the apothecary's ointment;—the former a gad-fly tormenting horses on the Nile and Jordan banks, so pestiferous as to be deprecated by appeals to a special god, Baal-zebub (of Ekron), whom the Jews derisively called "lord of the dunghill" (Baal-zebel). Probably the poisonous Tsetse, described by Livingstone, is meant. W. The other would be the common fly, whose swarms would corrupt any unguent or savoury compote in a few minutes.

(Is. vii. 18.)

 

Hippobosca, or Œstrus. H.

Gadfly

   

Probably the Zebub of Eccles. x. 1. See Fly.

Gnat.

(Matt. xxiii. 24.)

***

Culex.

The word is only found in the New Testament, where the proper rendering is "strain out a gnat," a metaphor from the custom of straining wine before drinking, to avoid breach of ceremonial law, in Lev. xi. 20, 23, 41, 42. Gnats and mosquitos are among the most prevalent pests of Egypt and Palestine, frequenting all marshy ground. H.

Grasshopper.

(Judg. vi. 5;

Lev. xi. 22.)

Arbeh.

Chagab.

***

 

A creeping thing, with "legs above its feet to leap withal," but used as an illustration of diminutive size; therefore probably the smallest of the locust tribe. It is translated "locust" in 2 Chron. vii. 13. Locust. There are many brilliantly-coloured species of this small insect. T.

Hornet.

(Ex. xxiii. 28.)

Tzir'ah

***

Vespa Crabro.

Hornets were abundant in Palestine, as is indicated by the name of the valley of Zoreah (Josh. xv. 33),="the place of hornets." The Bible phraseology betokens the dread with which they were regarded; but it is conjectured that God's promise to drive out the Canaanites before Israel was metaphorical of a panic, or of preceding plagues generally, since no mention occurs in the Pentateuch of any such visitation of hornets. Four species (resembling ours, but larger) have been found there. H.

Lice

(Ex. viii. 16.)

Kinnim.

***

 

Lice are only mentioned in the record of the Egyptian plague, and the Hebrew name is thought to be of Egyptian origin. Some contend that "gnats" or "mosquitos" are meant; but the latter spring from water, not from dust. Parasitic insects abound in the East, and through the summer the Mohammedan men keep their heads shorn to avoid them.

Locust.
(Ex. x. 4—6;
Lev. xi. 22.

1. Arbeh.

***

Œdipoda migratoria. T.

Locusta peregrina.

The "locust" includes the insects called in our version by the different names Beetle, Canker-worm, Caterpillar, Grasshopper, Locust, Bald-Locust, Palmerworm. The Rabbis say there were 800 species; but only about forty have yet been identified in Palestine. Its name, habits, ravages, appearance, &c., are constantly mentioned in Scripture. The locusts swarm, and their ravages are great; but in all stages of growth they are largely eaten by natives, and are a palatable food. Nine Hebrew words are used to express the locust species:

93

Locust (cont.).

 

 

1. General word ("multiplier"), used of the Egyptian plague, and of the edible insect, and as the food of the Baptist. In four passages it is rendered "grasshopper;" but it always seems to be migratory (1 Kin. viii. 37, &c..

Locust (bald).

(Lev. xi. 22.)

Sal’am

***

Truxalis. T.

2. Only mentioned once (probably Chaldee word, "devourer"); having a smooth head, frequenting rocks. It answers to Truxalis, which is common in Palestine. T.

3.Chargol.

***

Unidentified.

3. Only occurs once as ap edible, clean animal. Rendered "beetle" (A.V.). This may possibly be identical with the Cossus of the Romans. W.

4. Chagob.

***

 

4. Generally translated "grasshopper" but once "locust." From a comparison of texts we gather that it was the smallest of destructive leaping locusts, doubtless a grasshopper. H.

(Joel i. 4.)

5. Gazam.

***

Larva of Arctia caja. H.

(Edipoda migratoria. H.

5. The "palmer-worm" of A.V., consuming what the locusts left, especially the fig trees, vines, and olive trees. The LXX. and other old versions translate it "caterpillar" generally, which modern naturalists confirm, including the larvae of locusts before developing wings, the woolly-bear, &c. H. Or, a worm, or grub destroying buds of plants. W.

(Joel i. 4)

Nah. iii. 15.)

(Ps. cv. 34;

Jer. li. 14, 27.)

6. Yelek.

***

 

6. The "canker-worm" of A.V., in five passages; but rendered "caterpillar" in three. The name means "the licker" of the grass; hence seems to be the larva of the locust, which is most destructive of all, only appearing after the winged locust has left, consuming all that remains, then assuming wings and flying away (Nah. iii. 15).

(Deut.xxviii. 42.)

7. Tzelatzal.

***

 

7. Occurs only once; means the "tinkler" (Cymbals), applied to the locust from the noise of its wings; probably only a synonym. T. Evidently from the name, identical with the Tsaltsalya, or Zimb, of Bruce. W.

(Is. xxxiii. 4;

Amos vii. 1.)

8. Gob.

***

 

8. Once translated "locust," and twice "grasshoppers" (margin, "green worms"); but no indication is given of any particular species, or whether the larva or full-grown insect is meant, though "green worm" would suggest the former. T.

(Ps. lxxviii. 46.)

9. Chasil.

 

9. Translated "caterpillar" in all passages, and always included with the locust, in Solomon's dedication prayer and elsewhere, as a Divine plague. The Hebrew means "consumer," and is probably the locust in the larva state, and not a distinct species. T.

Manna.

 

Coccus manniparus. Ehrenb.

A species of Coccus, closely allied to the cochineal insect, is found on Mount Sinai, upon the Tamarix mannifera, which it punctures with its proboscis, causing it to discharge a gummy saccharine secretion, which quickly hardens and drops from the trees, when it is collected by the natives, who superstitiously regard it as the real manna of the Israelites. W. See Manna, p. 102.

Mosquito.

 

 

See Gnat, and Lice.

Moth.

(Is. l. 9;

Job xiii. 28;

xxvi. 18.)

’Âsh.

***

Tinea.

The moth in Scripture alludes to the destruction of clothes by its larvae, and is cited as a mark of the perishable nature of temporal matter, and the folly of the prevalent Eastern custom of hoarding costly raiment. In Job xxvii. 18, "buildeth his house as a moth," reference is made to some leaf-rolling larvse. The moth is the only one of the genus Lepidoptera mentioned in Scripture; but 280 species of this genus have been found, though the climate and the absence of wood are unfavourable to butterflies, moths, &c. T.

Spider.

(Is. lix. 5.

(Pr. 28. ix. 5.)

1. Accabish.

***

2. Semamith.

Epeira.

Two Heb. words are translated "spider" (A.V.): 1. In reference to its web, as a metaphor of what is fragile, flimsy, and temporary, as a warning to the wicked of the weakness of their contrivances. 2. Occurs only once of the "spider" (A.V.) taking hold with her hands; but by some it is thought the Gecko is meant. The action is applicable to both. T. More than 700 species of spiders are found in Great Britain, and quite as many in Palestine. T.

« Prev Insects Next »





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |