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reads whip; and we know that the ancients used the word scorpion to express a whip armed with points. Isiodore says 45, “ If it be smooth, it is a rod; if it has either knots or points, it is called a scorpion.” Certain machines used in war were also called scorpions; and are mentioned i Maccab. vi. 51 46.
Akrabbim, Numb. xxxiv. 4; Josh. sv. S; and Judges, i. 36; was so named from being the haunt of scorpions. The place was afterwards called Acrabatane. See 1 Maccab. v. 3. In Ptolemy, we find a city in Mesopotamia called Akraba, not far from Charran, and a region on the Tigris named Acabene, for which Bochart proposes to read Acrabene; all of them alluding to the number of scorpions with which they were infested.
SERPENT. WHİ NACHASH.
This word, says the learned Gataker 47, is in the Hebrew a general term, common to all living creatures, in water or on land, that glide along, in one or on the other, with a wriggling kind of motion, without the use of feet or fins.
Dr. Adam Clarke in his Note on Gen. iii. 1, has the following remarks." The word, according to Buxtorf and others, has three meanings in Scripture. (1.) It signifies to view or observe attentively, to divine or use enchantments, because in thein the augurs viewed attentively, certain omens, &c. and under this head it signifies to acquire knowledge by experience. (2.) It signifies brass, brazen, and is translated in our Bible, not only “ brass,” but “ chains," “ fetters,
fetters,” “ fetters of brass," and in several places, “ steel;" see 2 Sain. xxii. 35; Job, xx. 24; Psal. xviii. 34; and in one place at least, “ filthiness,” or fornicationi, Ezek. xvi. 36. (3.) It signifies a serpent, but of what kind is not determined. In Job, xxvi. 13, it seems to imean the hippopotamus. In Eccles, x.
2, the creature, of whatever kind, is compared to the babbler; “ surely the serpent, nachash, will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better." In Isai. xxvii. 1, the crocodile or alligator seems particularly meant by the original. And in Isai. Ixv. 25, the same creature is meant as in Gen. iii. 1, for in the words, “and dust shall be the serpent's meat,” there is an evident allusion to the words of Moses. In Amos, ix. 3, the crocodile is evidently intended. “Though they be hid in the bottoin of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, wn), HA-NACHASH, and he shall bite them.” No person can suppose
any of the snake or serpent kind can be intended here; and we see from the various acceptations of the word, and the different senses which it bears in various places in the Sacred
45 Orig. 1. v. c. 25.
46 These are described by Tertullian, at the beginning of the book, “Scorpiacum;" by Vegetius, l. iv. c. 22; Justus Lips. I. iii. Poliorcet, dial. iii. and Philo de telorum constructione, inter Vet. Mathemat. Op. p. 73. 47 Annot. in Isai. xxvii. 11.
Writings, that it appears to be a sort of general term, confined to no one sense.”
II. The fiery serpent, U SARAPH, mentioned Numb. xxi. 6, 8; Deut. viii. 15; Isai. xiv. 29; and xxx. 0; was so called, probably from the burning sensation which its bite occasioned. Plutarch speaks of a similar kind of reptiles 48. “ The inhabitants of the country round the Red Sea (says he) were tormented in such a manner as was never heard of till that time. Little dragons bit their arms and legs: and if you touched them ever so lightly, they fixed themselves to the flesh, and their bite was intolerably painful, and like fire 49." The Hebrew original signifies also a winged serpent: and we are told that such were very common both in Egypt and Arabia 50. The learned Bochart describes then as short, spotted with divers colours, and with wings resembling those of the bat. He quotes a number of ancient and modern authors to prove that they are the same with the hydra of the Greeks or Latins.
The heathen writers concur in testifying that the deserts wherein the Israelites journeyed produced serpents of so venomous a kind, that their biting was deadly, beyond the power of any art then known to cure it 51. The ancients observed in general, that the most sandy and barren deserts had the greatest number, and the most venomous of serpents. Diodorus, I. iii. p. 128, makes this remark more particularly concerning the sands of Africa; but it was equally true of the wilderness through which the Israelites journeyed. Some writers have supposed that the serpents that bit the Israelites were of the flying kind. Herodotus, l. iii. c. 109, informs us that Arabia produced this sort: but Moses does not hint that they were flying-serpents; he calls them HA NECHASHIM HASERAPIM, Numb. xxi. 5; had he meant flying-serpents, he would have said, NACHASHIM SERAPIM MENOPEPIM, for so they are described where they are mentioned in the Scriptures. See Isai. xiv. 19; xxx. 6. Strabo, Geogr. 1. xvi. p. 778, has taken notice of a kind of serpents in
48 Lib. viii. de fest. 9, 9.
50 Herodotus, says, he had seen them, and went to the city of Butus for that purpose, 1. j. c. 75, 76. He in another place gives a particular description of them, l. iii. c. 107–110; and Pausanius says that a physician brought into Ionia a scorpion, which had wings like those of the grasshopper. Herodotus, Hist. “ Euterpe," $ 75, says, “ There is a place in Arabia, near the city Butos, which I visited for the purpose of obtaining information concerning the winged serpents. I saw here a prodigious quantity of serpents, bones and ribs, placed on heaps of different heights. The place itself is a strait betwixt two mountains; it opens upon a wide plain, which communicates with Egypt. They affirm, that in the commencement of every spring, these winged serpents fly from Arabia towards Egypt, but that the Ibis here meets and destroys them. The Arabians say, that in acknowledgment of this service, the Egyptians hold the Ibis in great revesence, which is not contradicted by that people."
51 Strabo, Geogr. I. svi. p. 759. Herodot. I. iii. c. 109. Diodor, I. iii. p. 128.
or near the parts where the Israelites journeyed, which might be called fiery from their colour; and both Diodorus and he were of opinion, that the bites of these were ipcurable; of which sort, probably, were those which assaulted the Israelites.
Professor Paxton 52 remarks, that the original term Điya MEOPHEPH does not always signify flying with wings; it often expresses vibration, swinging backwards and forwards, a tremulous motion, a fluttering; which is the motion of the darting serpent. He also observes that the phrase will bear another interpretation which, perhaps, approaches still nearer the truth. The verb by OUPH sometimes means to sparkle, to emit coruscations of light. In this sense, the noun mpyN THEEPHA frequently occurs in the Sacred Volume. Thus in Job, xi. 17, Zophar says " the coruscation, dyn, shall be as the morning." The word may therefore refer to the ruddy colour of the serpent, and express the sparkling of the blazing sunbeam upon its scales, which are extremely brilliant.
I have a little enlarged upon this serpent called saraph, because it was of such that the Israelites were so grievously bitten in the wilderness 53. An imitation of one of these, formed of brass, was by Moses erected on a pole, that those who should be bitten by the saraphim might look up to it and be healed. The serpent thus raised up for the security and the salvation of the people, Christ informs us was a representation of his crucifixion, and an allusion to its restorative design. John, iii. 14.
The author of the Book of Wisdom (ch. xvi. 5) gives a most beautiful turn to the means of deliverance appointed by God, namely, looking up to the brazen serpent that the offending Israelites might be healed of the wounds made by these fiery serpents : for when the horrible fierceness of beasts came upon these (thy people), and they perished with the stings of crooked serpents, thy wrath endured not for ever : but they were troubled for a small season, that they might be admonished, having a sign of salvation to put them in remembrance of the commaodment of thy law. For he that turned towards it was not saved by the thing that they saw; but by thee, that art the Saviour of all. And in this, thou madest thine enemies confess that it is thou that deliverest from all evil; for them, the bitings of grasshoppers and flies, killed, neither was there found any reinedy for their life, for they were worthy to be punished by such: but thy sons, not the very teeth of venomous dragons overcame; for thy mercy was ever by them, and healed them. For they were stung that they should remember thy words, and were
52 Illustrations, V. i. p. 358.
53 Numb. xxi. 9; Ísai. vi. 2; xiv. 29; xxx. 6. See further on the subject of flying serpents, Bochart, de an. sacr. p. ii. 1. 3, c. 13. Cicero, de nat. deor. I. i. Mela, l. iii. c. 9. Lucan, l. 6, and 9. Solinus, c. 32. Am. Marcel. c. 22. Ælian, J. ii. c. 38. Josephus, Antiq. I. ii. c. 10.
quickly saved, that not falling into deep forgetfulness, they might be continually mindful of thy goodness.
The learned Michaelis, Quest. 83, recommended it to the gentlemen who lately travelled into Arabia at the expense of the king of Denmark, to inquire after the existence and nature of flying serpents. He remarks: “ Although modern naturalists have not communicated any satisfactory information respecting flying serpents, yet they are so often spoken of by the ancient writers of nations near to the equator, who may be better acquainted with the nature of serpents than we are, that I dare boldly recommend farther inquiries to travellers respecting the existence of such. If there be avy, and if they have been seen by witnesses deserving of credit, I beg every information, name, &c." Accordingly, M. Niebuhr, one of these learned travellers, in bis “Description de l'Arabie," p. 156, speaks thus : " there is at Basra a sort of serpents, which they call Heie sursurie,'. Heie thiare.' They commonly keep upon the datetrees; and, as it would be laborious for them to come down from a very high tree, in order to ascend another, they twist themselves by the tail to a branch of the former, which, making a spring by the motion they give it, throws them to the branches of the second. Hence it is that the modern Arabs call them flying serpents, 'heie thiare.' I know not whether the ancient Arabs, of whom M. Michaelis speaks, saw any other flying serpents. Admiral Anson also speaks of the flying serpents that he met with at the island of Quibo, but which were without wings. Thus M. Niebuhr. The words in Anson's voyage are these: “ The Spaniards too informed us, that there was often found in the woods a most mischievous serpent, called 'the flying snake,' which, they said, darted itself from the boughs of trees, on either man or beast that come within its reach, and whose sting they believed to be inevitable death 54.” Mr. Parkhurst, after quoting the account given by Niebuhr, says, “On the whole, I apprehend that the fiery flying serpent mentioned in Isaiah was of that species which, from their swift, darting, motion, the Greeks called “acontias,' and the Romans, jaculus,' of which, see more in Bochart, Hieroz. V. iii. p. 411, and to these the term seems as properly applicable in Hebrew, as,
volucer,' which Lucan applies to them in Latin, jaculique volucres 55.''
The serpent was worshiped in Chaldea, and among several of the oriental nations. In the Egyptian language it was called
oub,” and was the same in the Chaldee dialect: hence, the
54. Voyage, p. 308, ed. 1748.
The description of Pliny, N. H. 1. viii. c. 23, is observable. « Jaculum ex arborum ramis vibrari, nec pedibus tantum cavere serpentes, sed et missili volare tormento.”
55 See other authorities in “ Scripture Illustrated,” p. 540.
Thus we read Levit. xx. 27, “ A man or a woman that hath a familiar spirit, nIIx OBOTH, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death.” So xx. 6; Deut. svii. 11; 1 Sam. xxvii. S, 7, 9; 2 Kings, xxi. 6; xxiii. 24; and 2 Chron. xxxii, 6. The woman at Endor, who had a familiar spirit, is called
a mistress of os," aix, and it is interpreted “ Pythonissa.” Kircher says that obion is still, among the people of Egypt, the name of a serpent. It is said that Jotham, king of Israel, built much on the wall of ophel, i. e. the serpent god 56. See Asp.
SHEEP. TW SEH.
Occurs frequently; and 118 TSAN, a general name for both sheep and goats, considered collectively in a flock. Arab. zain.
A well known animal. The benefits which mankind owe to it are very numerous. Its fleece, its skin, its flesh, its tallow, and even its horns and bowels are articles of great utility to human life and happiness. Its mildness and inoffensiveness of manners strongly recommend it to human affection and regard; and have designated it the pattern and emblem of meekness, innocence, patience, and submission. It is a social animal. The flock follow the ram as their leader; who frequently displays the most impetuous courage in their defence: dogs, and even men, when attempting to molest them, have often suffered from his sagacious and generous valour.
There are two varieties of sheep found in Syria. The first, called the “ Bidoween sheep,” differs little in appearance from the large breed among us, except that the tail is somewhat longer and thicker. The second is much more common, and is more valued on account of the extraordinary bulk of its tail, which has been remarked by all the Eastern travellers 57. The carcass of one of these sheep, without including the head, feet, entrails, and skin, weighs from fifty to sixty pounds, of which the tail makes up fifteen pounds. Some of a larger size, fattened with care, will sometimes weigh one hundred and fifty pounds, the tail alone composing one third of the whole weight 58. It is of
56 For an account of this species of idolatry, consult Vossius, de Orig. Idol. 1. 1. i. c. 5. Bryant's Mythol. V. i. p. 420-490, and Dimock, “ Observations on the Serpent,” annexed to his critical and explanatory notes on Genesis, &c. London, 1804, 4to.
It is a curious coincidence, that the African negroes denote those whom they conceive to possess the power of enchantment, particularly the power of inflicting disease and death, “ Obi men and women. They may, perbaps, have borrowed the word from the Moors, who use a corrupt Arabic. “ The appalling mysteries of Obi's spell."
MONTGOMERY's W. Indies. See Dallas' History of the Maroons among the Mountains of Jamaica. Also Dr. Moseley's Treatise on Sugar.
57 Ovis platyura. Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 97.
58 Russell's Aleppo, V. ii. p. 147. Pennant, Zool. Scheuchzer, Phys. Sact, on Exod. xxix. 22, and plate.