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Easton's Bible Dictionary


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        There are ten Hebrew words used in Scripture to signify locust.
        In the New Testament locusts are mentioned as forming part of
        the food of John the Baptist (Matt. 3:4; Mark 1:6). By the
        Mosaic law they were reckoned "clean," so that he could lawfully
        eat them. The name also occurs in Rev. 9:3, 7, in allusion to
        this Oriental devastating insect.
        Locusts belong to the class of Orthoptera, i.e.,
        straight-winged. They are of many species. The ordinary Syrian
        locust resembles the grasshopper, but is larger and more
        destructive. "The legs and thighs of these insects are so
        powerful that they can leap to a height of two hundred times the
        length of their bodies. When so raised they spread their wings
        and fly so close together as to appear like one compact moving
        mass." Locusts are prepared as food in various ways. Sometimes
        they are pounded, and then mixed with flour and water, and baked
        into cakes; "sometimes boiled, roasted, or stewed in butter, and
        then eaten." They were eaten in a preserved state by the ancient
        The devastations they make in Eastern lands are often very
        appalling. The invasions of locusts are the heaviest calamites
        that can befall a country. "Their numbers exceed computation:
        the hebrews called them 'the countless,' and the Arabs knew them
        as 'the darkeners of the sun.' Unable to guide their own flight,
        though capable of crossing large spaces, they are at the mercy
        of the wind, which bears them as blind instruments of Providence
        to the doomed region given over to them for the time.
        Innumerable as the drops of water or the sands of the seashore,
        their flight obscures the sun and casts a thick shadow on the
        earth (Ex. 10:15; Judg. 6:5; 7:12; Jer. 46:23; Joel 2:10). It
        seems indeed as if a great aerial mountain, many miles in
        breadth, were advancing with a slow, unresting progress. Woe to
        the countries beneath them if the wind fall and let them alight!
        They descend unnumbered as flakes of snow and hide the ground.
        It may be 'like the garden of Eden before them, but behind them
        is a desolate wilderness. At their approach the people are in
        anguish; all faces lose their colour' (Joel 2:6). No walls can
        stop them; no ditches arrest them; fires kindled in their path
        are forthwith extinguished by the myriads of their dead, and the
        countless armies march on (Joel 2:8, 9). If a door or a window
        be open, they enter and destroy everything of wood in the house.
        Every terrace, court, and inner chamber is filled with them in a
        moment. Such an awful visitation swept over Egypt (Ex. 10:1-19),
        consuming before it every green thing, and stripping the trees,
        till the land was bared of all signs of vegetation. A strong
        north-west wind from the Mediterranean swept the locusts into
        the Red Sea.", Geikie's Hours, etc., ii., 149.

Bibliography Information
Easton, Matthew George. M.A., D.D., "Biblical Meaning for 'Locust' Eastons Bible Dictionary". - Eastons; 1897.

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