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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

 

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INSECTS

in'-sekts: In English Versions of the Bible, including the marginal notes, we find at least 23 names of insects or words referring to them: ant, bald locust, bee, beetle, cankerworm, caterpillar, creeping thing, cricket, crimson, flea, fly, gnat, grasshopper, honey, hornet, locust, louse, (lice), moth, palmer-worm, sandfly, scarlet-worm, silk-worm. These can be referred to about 12 insects, which, arranged systematically, are: Hymenoptera, ant, bee, hornet; Lepidoptera, clothes-moth, silk-worm; Siphonaptera, flea; Diptera, fly; Rhynchota, louse, scarletworm; Orthoptera, several kinds of grasshoppers and locusts.
The word "worm" refers not only to the scarletworm, but to various larvae of Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, and Diptera. "Creeping things" refers indefinitely to insects, reptiles, and beasts. In the list of 23 names given above honey and bee refer to one insect, as do crimson and scarlet. Sandfly has no place if "lice" be retained in Ex 8:16 ff. Bald locust, beetle, canker-worm, cricket, and palmerworm probably all denote various kinds of grasshoppers and locusts. When the translators of English Versions of the Bible had to do with two or more Hebrew words for which there was only one well-recognized English equivalent, they seem to have been content with that alone, if the two Hebrew words occurred in different passages; e.g. zebhubh, "fly" (Eccl 10:1; Isa 7:18), and `arobh, "fly" (Ex 8:21 ff). On the other hand, they were put to it to find equivalents for the insect names in Lev 11:22; Joel 1:4, and elsewhere. For cale'am (Lev 11:22) they evidently coined "bald locust," following a statement of the Talmud that it had a smooth head. For gazam and yeleq they imported "palmer-worm" and "canker-worm," two old English names of caterpillars, using "caterpillar" for chasil. The King James Version "beetle" for chargol is absolutely inappropriate, and the Revised Version (British and American) "cricket," while less objectionable, is probably also incorrect. The English language seems to lack appropriate names for different kinds of grasshoppers and locusts, and it is difficult to suggest any names to take the places of those against which these criticisms are directed. See under the names of the respective insects. See also SCORPION and SPIDER, which are not included here because they are not strictly insects.
Alfred Ely Day

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'INSECTS'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". bible-history.com - ISBE; 1915.

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