Fig. 44.

Fore and Hind Leg of Testudo.

the posterior four. The tyrse (Trionyx niloticus, Fig. 7) is distinguished by the absence of horny plates on the flat shield, and by the swimming feet having only three toes. The nose assumes the form of an elongated snout (Fig. 6). A rough skin covers its soft depressed carapace. The colour of the skin is dark brown, dotted with yellowish white spots.

FERRET (Mustela furo). The rendering of the English version cannot be retained, chiefly because this animal comes in as a weasel, it being only a domesticated variety of polecat, introduced into Europe originally from Africa. The Hebrew name is derived from a root which signifies to gnaw. The LXX. have rendered it by mygale, the word employed by Aristotle for the shrew-mouse (Sorex araneus). It is much more likely that the reference here is to one of the widely distributed tribe of lizards. One of the Gecko family (Geckotide), the fan-foot, or house gecko (Platydactylus gecko), very abundant in Egypt, answers the Hebrew word.

It utters a croaking sound, softer than that of a frog, as it runs about in search of the insects, &c., on which it feeds. Taking then the lizards noticed here we have


Fig. 45.


Ferret Platydactylus gecko, Plate XI., Fig. 1.

Carapace of Trionyx.
Chameleon Chamæleo vulgaris, Plate IX., Fig. 12; X., Fig. 4.
Lizard = Stellio vulgaris, Plate X., Fig. 3.
Snail =Lacerta ocellata, Plate VIII., Fig. 8; X., Fig. 2.

But many others of the so-called lizard group would come under their notice. The monitor, for example, Plate X., Fig. 1; the scinc, Plate IX., Fig. 7; XI., Fig. 4; the triton, Plate XI., Fig. 2; and the salamander, Plate XI., Fig. 3.

SNAIL.—See under Ps. lviii. 8.

“The MOLE.”—It will be seen from the table given above that the LXX., Vulgate, and English versions agree in rendering tanshemeth by “mole.” The Syriac gives centipede. The only other reference in the English Bible to this animal is in Isa. ii. 20—“ In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made

Fig. 46.

the Common Mole.

each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats.” But there is no certain allusion here to the mole. The literal rendering of the Hebrew is “the dig-holes”—any animals which make for themselves holes in the earth. Accordingly Gesenius proposes “rats” as a more appropriate translation; erring in this respect with our translators. The statement is of the most indefinite kind, and, clearly, not intended to indicate any one kind of animal. The idols of gold and silver shall be buried out of sight in the earth, or they shall be thrust into such dark places of the rocks as those which the bats haunt.

The common mole (Talpa Europaea) is one of the insect-eating mammals (Insectivora), and the type of the mole family (Talpidæ). The

anatomist has found in its skeleton some of the most striking illustrations of the adaptation of structure to habits which are to be met with among the mammalia (Plate XXI., Fig. 4). Its general shape is admirably fitted for its underground habits. The digging de

manded in order to the supply of its daily Front and Back View of Fore-foot of

wants, implies great muscular power in the anterior limbs and fore part of the whole body. This is found to be strikingly developed, and to be associated with peculiarities in the bony skeleton fitted to co-operate with it to greatest purpose. The hands, or fore feet, are armed with strong claws, grooved beneath and converging at the tips. The feet themselves are formed like a scoop. The mole makes for itself a habitation, whose construction bears

testimony to instincts as acute as those of the hut-building beaver itself. “The fortress is domed by a cement, so to speak, of earth, which has been beaten and compressed by the archi

tect into a compact and solid state. Within, a circular gallery is formed at the base, and communicates with an upper smaller gallery by five passages, which are nearly at equal distances (fig. 47). Within the lower, and under the upper of these galleries, is the chamber or dormitory, which has access to the upper gallery by three similar passages. There are many other passages all arranged with great order, and fitted to enable it to reach the worms on which it feeds.

' And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an

Fig. 47.


Habitation of the Common Mole.

abomination; it shall not be eaten. Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination. Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby. For I am the Lord your God; ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy; neither shall


defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (ver. 41-44).

“Whatsoever goeth upon the belly.” The common slow-worm may be named as illustrative of this expression. It is to be met

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with in most countries of Europe, and is abundant in Western Asia. It is viviparous, feeds on insects, earth-worms, &c. Though popularly regarded as poisonous it is not so.

“Whatsoever goeth upon all four.” The toad, the salamander, and the like, may be referred to here.

“Whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things." All the forms of life included under the class Myriapoda, or Many-feet. The scolopendra or so-called centipede abounds in Palestine. A recent traveller says :-“I was somewhat startled to find myself this morning in close proximity to a more formidable species of vermin than either gnats or fleas. While seated on a dilapidated sepulchre, an immense centipede crawled out cautiously, and made direct for my head, which I quickly gave, and with it a smart stone, to add emphasis to the salutation. Are these ugly creatures really dangerous ? I am surprised to find them stirring so early in the spring, though Tiberias is hot enough for them or for anything else. The bite of the centipede is not fatal, but is said to be extremely painful, and very slow to heal. The Arabs say that it strikes its fore claws into the flesh, and there they

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break off and remain, thus rendering the wound more troublesome. I never saw a person bitten by them, but their mere appearance makes one's flesh creep. While the locusts were passing through Abeîth, they started up a very large centipede near my house, and I was greatly amused with its behaviour. As the living stream rolled over it without cessation for a moment, it became perfectly furious; bit on the right hand and on the left; writhed, and squirmed, and floundered in impotent wrath; and was finally worried to death. During this extraordinary battle its look was almost satanic.'

The millipedes are also widely distributed, and many of them would come under the notice of the Jews.

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The series of commands relating to the clean and unclean creatures is summed up with the statement of the high moral ends in all. “ These,” it is said, “ye shall give attention to, for I am the Lord your God; ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your


ye shall therefore be holy; for I am holy. This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth” (ver. 44-47).




HREE kinds of leprosy are named in these chapters. 1.

Leprosy on the human body (verses 1-46). 2. Leprosy in the garments worn by man (verses 47–59). 3. Leprosy in the walls of their dwellings (xiv. 33–48) This terrible

malady is still more common in Egypt and Syria than in most other countries where it occurs. The Egyptian priest

Manetho (B.C. 300) alleged that the Hebrews had introduced this disease into Egypt. Tacitus, following his account, says that it is certain “ the Jews, when in Egypt, were all afflicted with leprosy, and from them it spread to the Egyptians. When the king, Bochorus, inquired of Jupiter Ammon how his kingdom could be freed from this calamity, he was informed that it could be effected only by expelling the whole multitude of the Jews, as they were a race detested by the gods.” He adds other fables to those of the Egyptian priest, tells how Moses accidentally met the expelled people in the wilderness, and brought them under obedience to himself; how the leprosy had been caught from swine, and that thus swine's flesh continued to be held in abomination by the Jews. But both the testimony of Scripture and of antiquity is against this. Moses speaks of the “evil diseases of Egypt,” and of “the botch of Egypt” (Deut. vii. 15; xxviii. 27). The heathen poet Lucretius (De Rerum Natura) traces the worst kind of leprosy to the same country. He says that elephantiasis is produced by the waters of the Nile :

“Est Elephas morbus, qui propter flumina Nili,

Gignitur Ægypto in Media."

The circumstances attending Miriam's leprosy showed that it was rare among the Israelites at the period of the Exodus.

When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or bright spot, and it shall be in the skin of his flesh like the plague of leprosy; then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest.”

In the description of leprosy here, the expression “ bright spot,” Heb. bachreth, is the general designation for the first appearances of this disease. But as there are bright spots which do not develope into

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