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ivory=elephants' teeth (shēn-halbim). The literal meaning of the appellation is given under 1 Kings x. 22.
In the Song, ivory is referred to as illustrative of the beauty and strength of the “royal beloved” “ Bright ivory overlaid with sapphires” (v. 14); and of the commanding attractiveness of the “prince's daughter”_“Thy neck is as a tower of ivory” (vii. 4).
Ivory is obtained from the tusks, which answer to the incisive teeth, of the elephant (Elephas). It was long believed that the elephant periodically sheds his tusks. This supposition is stated in a comparatively recent work on science. (“Nat. Lib.,” vol. ix.) But the impression is
The beast must be destroyed in order to get possession of his tusks. The permanent tusks are like the other teeth, preceded by “milk tusks.” After these are shed, the permanent tusks cut the gum a month or six weeks later. They are dark-coloured and ragged at the ends when they first appear, following thus the characteristics of the other teeth, but are worn smooth by use, and soon lose all traces of roughness. Chemical analysis of the tusk yields the following result, as the constitution of ivory : Phosphate of lime, with trace of fluate of lime,
5.63 12.01 0.70
100.00 The ivory obtained from the African elephant is more esteemed in commerce than that got from the Asiatic species. "The annual importation of ivory into Great Britain alone, for the last few years, , has been about one million pounds; which, taking the average weight of a tusk at sixty pounds, would require the slaughter of eight thousand three hundred and thirty-three male elephants.”—(Sir E. Tennent.)
The accompanying section (fig. 154) of the elephant's skull, will show how the tusks are planted in the upper jaw-bones (premaxillaries). It will be noticed that the brain cavity is very small, compared with the size of the animal, and that it does not bear out any theory which associates sagacity in the lower animals with their proportion of brain. The sagacity of the elephant has in all ages been a favourite theme with writers on its habits and instincts. Numerous illustrations will occur to every reader. In most cases these have been drawn from the habits of the tame animal, and show his great capacity
of being trained. But this sagacity appears to distinguish him in his wild state likewise. Dr. Livingstone, describing the pitfalls on the banks of the Zonga for entrapping wild animals, says—“Old elephants have been known to precede the herd and whisk off the coverings of the pitfalls all the way down to the water. We have known instances in which the old among these sagacious animals, have actually lifted the young out of the trap.”—(“ Travels,” p. 70.)
The trunk or proboscis of the elephant is a marvel of mechanism. Other parts of its body present all those rich adaptations between means and ends, structure and habits, which may be equally met with in other lower animals. But the trunk of the elephant is characterized by a sensibility equal to that of the tenderest parts of the human body.
It resembles the organs of taste in man, the prehensile anterior limbs in monkeys, and approaches in variety of use to the human hand itself. It can pick up the smallest coin, or tear up the great tree with equal readiness. This organ contains from thirty to forty thousand muscles. The poet's lines are scarcely an exaggeration :
The same thought is pressed on us, when the great size of the elephant is regarded in the light of its habits, and the use to which it is put by man. Every bone comes to tell the tale of divine wisdom, and to contradict the absurd impressions to which ignorance of its structure gave rise; as, for example, that its legs had no joints, or such only that were useless
“. The elephant hath joints; but none for courtesy:
llis legs are for necessity, not flexure " (Shakspeare); that it always sleeps while leaning against something, and that it cannot rise when it chances to fall.
In the geological sketch, given at the beginning of this work, reference has been made to the mastodon and the mammoth, fossil forms of Elephantidæ (Plate XXXVIII.).
The men of Dedan were also importers of ivory into Tyre (ver. 15). Dedan is again mentioned (ver. 20) as trading with Tyre in “precious clothes for chariots.” In Gen. x. 7, Dedan is named with Sheba as a son of Ramah, the son of Cush, and in Gen. xxv. 3, with another Sheba the son of Joksham, a son of Abraham's second wife, Keturah. These two families intermarried, and one branch, the Cushite Dedan, settled on the shores of the Persian Gulf, while the other, the Keturahite Dedan, took possession of the borders of Idumæa. This accounts for the mode in which they are referred to here. In addition to ivory, the merchants of the Cushite Dedan traded with
Tyre in “ebony,” Heb. habenim. The plural form points to ebony wood in planks or logs. The tree which yield the ebony wood of commerce is the Diospyros (D. ebenas), one of the natural order Ebenaceae. It is a large tree, a native of Ceylon, Madagascar, &c., and is noted for its valuable wood. Nearest the bark the wood is white and soft, but deeper very hard and black. It has ever been highly esteemed for making valuable articles of household furni
ture. It is very durable, and takes a Dranch of Ebony-Tree (Diospyros ebenas). high polish. One of the species supplies the so called “date plum” of China, which is much relished by the Chinese, and is sometimes imported into Britain as a preserve.
“Syria was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of the wares of thy making : they occupied in thy fairs with emeralds, purple, and broidered work, fine linen, and coral, and agate” (ver. 16). "Emeralds," see under Rev. iv. 3; “Purple,” Judges viii. 26;
Judges viii. 26; "Fine Linen,” 1 Chron. iv. 21; "Agate,” Exod. xxviii. 18.
Coral,” Heb. rāmõth, occurs also in Job xxviii. 18, as a substance of great value. The general division Radiata is the lowest but one in