Only in Lev. 11:30, as rendering of Hebrew _letaah_, so called
from its "hiding." Supposed to be the Lacerta gecko or fan-foot
lizard, from the toes of which poison exudes. (See CHAMELEON
(Heb. tsabh). Ranked among the unclean animals (Lev. 11:29).
Land tortoises are common in Syria. The LXX. renders the word by
"land crocodile." The word, however, more probably denotes a
lizard, called by the modern Arabs _dhabb_.
a species of lizard which has the faculty of changing the colour
of its skin. It is ranked among the unclean animals in Lev.
11:30, where the Hebrew word so translated is _coah_ (R.V.,
"land crocodile"). In the same verse the Hebrew _tanshemeth_,
rendered in Authorized Version "mole," is in Revised Version
"chameleon," which is the correct rendering. This animal is very
common in Egypt and in the Holy Land, especially in the Jordan
Lev. 11:30 (R.V., "gecko"), one of the unclean creeping things.
It was perhaps the Lacerta gecko which was intended by the
Hebrew word (anakah, a cry, "mourning," the creature which
groans) here used, i.e., the "fan-footed" lizard, the gecko
which makes a mournful wail. The LXX. translate it by a word
meaning "shrew-mouse," of which there are three species in
Israel. The Rabbinical writers regard it as the hedgehog. The
translation of the Revised Version is to be preferred.
The trust of the hypocrite is compared to the spider's web or
house (Job 8:14). It is said of the wicked by Isaiah that they
"weave the spider's web" (59:5), i.e., their works and designs
are, like the spider's web, vain and useless. The Hebrew word
here used is _'akkabish_, "a swift weaver."
In Prov. 30:28 a different Hebrew word (semamith) is used. It
is rendered in the Vulgate by stellio, and in the Revised
Version by "lizard." It may, however, represent the spider, of
which there are, it is said, about seven hundred species in
(1.) Heb. homit, among the unclean creeping things (Lev. 11:30).
This was probably the sand-lizard, of which there are many
species in the wilderness of Judea and the Sinai peninsula.
(2.) Heb. shablul (Ps. 58:8), the snail or slug proper.
Tristram explains the allusions of this passage by a reference
to the heat and drought by which the moisture of the snail is
evaporated. "We find," he says, "in all parts of the Holy Land
myriads of snail-shells in fissures still adhering by the
calcareous exudation round their orifice to the surface of the
rock, but the animal of which is utterly shrivelled and wasted,
Heb. tinshameth (Lev. 11:30), probably signifies some species of
lizard (rendered in R.V., "chameleon"). In Lev. 11:18, Deut.
14:16, it is rendered, in Authorized Version, "swan" (R.V.,
The Heb. holed (Lev. 11:29), rendered "weasel," was probably
the mole-rat. The true mole (Talpa Europoea) is not found in
Israel. The mole-rat (Spalax typhlus) "is twice the size of
our mole, with no external eyes, and with only faint traces
within of the rudimentary organ; no apparent ears, but, like the
mole, with great internal organs of hearing; a strong, bare
snout, and with large gnawing teeth; its colour a pale slate;
its feet short, and provided with strong nails; its tail only
In Isa. 2:20, this word is the rendering of two words _haphar
peroth_, which are rendered by Gesenius "into the digging of
rats", i.e., rats' holes. But these two Hebrew words ought
probably to be combined into one (lahporperoth) and translated
"to the moles", i.e., the rat-moles. This animal "lives in
underground communities, making large subterranean chambers for
its young and for storehouses, with many runs connected with
them, and is decidedly partial to the loose debris among ruins
and stone-heaps, where it can form its chambers with least