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May 30    Scripture

Manners & Customs: Locusts
Locusts in ancient Bible Times

Locusts Locusts. The locusts are a dreaded enemy of the grain farmer. Perhaps these creatures are the most hated of enemy of the Palestinian farmer. These locusts are very much like the large grasshopper with which the Westerner is acquainted. When they reach the proportion of a plague, they are indeed a vast multitude (cf. Judges 6:5; 7:12). They will occupy a space as large as ten or twelve miles long, and four or five miles wide. They are said to march like an army. The Book of Proverbs indicates this interesting fact about them: "Locusts have no king, but they march all in ranks [i.e., in orderly array" (Proverbs 30:27, tr. of C. H. Toy). When the weather is cold and the air is moist, or if they become wet with the dew, then they will stay where they are until the sun has warmed and dried them. The prophet Nahum describes them thus: "Which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away" (Nahum 3:17). The prophet Joel describes the judgment of the Day of the LORD in terms of an invasion of locusts. The plague of locusts shuts out the light of the sun because of their great numbers (Joel 2:2). Before their coming, the land might be like the Garden of Eden, but after they leave, it has become a desolate wilderness (Joel 2:3). Their appearance is compared to horses because the form of their head resembles that of a horse (Joel 2:4). They make a loud noise when they are eating (Joel 2:5). The consternation which they cause to the people of the land may well be understood: "Before their face the people shall be much pained" (Joel 2:6). They are able to pass over walls, and to enter windows or doors of houses (Joe1 2:9). The terrible fact is that sometimes one swarm of locusts after another may invade the same section of land. Dr. Keil believes that this is what Joel 1:4 describes, rather than different stages in the development of the locust. He gives a literal translation of the verse thus: "The leavings of the gnawer the multiplier ate, and the leavings of the multiplier the licker ate, and the leavings of the licker, the devourer ate." [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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Locusts in Easton's Bible Dictionary 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 Assyrians. 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.
http://www.bible-history.com/eastons/L/Locust/


Locusts in Naves Topical Bible Authorized as food Le 11:22 -Used as food Mt 3:4; Mr 1:6 -Plague of Ex 10:1-19; Ps 105:34,35 -Devastation by De 28:38; 1Ki 8:37; 2Ch 7:13; Isa 33:4; Joe 1:4-7; Re 9:7-10 -Sun obscured by Joe 2:2,10 -Instincts of Pr 30:27 -In A. V. often inaccurately translated "grasshopper," as in Jud 6:5; 7:12; Job 39:20; Jer 46:23 -See GRASSHOPPER -FIGURATIVE Jer 46:23 -SYMBOLICAL Re 9:3-10
http://www.bible-history.com/naves/L/LOCUST/


Locusts in Smiths Bible Dictionary a well-known insect, of the grasshopper family, which commits terrible ravages on vegetation in the countries which it visits. "The common brown locust is about three inches in length, and the general form is that of a grasshopper." The most destructive of the locust tribe that occur in the Bible lands are the (Edipoda migratoria and the Acridium peregrinum; and as both these species occur in Syria and Arabia, etc., it is most probable that one or other is denoted in those passages which speak of the dreadful devastations committed by these insects. Locusts occur in great numbers, and sometimes obscure the sun. Ex 10:15; Jud 6:5; Jer 46:23 Their voracity is alluded to in Ex 10:12,15; Joe 1:4,7 They make a fearful noise in their flight. Joe 2:5; Re 9:9 Their irresistible progress is referred to in Joe 2:8,9 They enter dwellings, and devour even the woodwork of houses. Ex 10:6; Joe 2:9,10 They do not fly in the night. Na 3:17 The sea destroys the greater number. Ex 10:19; Joe 2:20 The flight of locusts is thus described by M. Olivier (Voyage dans l' Empire Othoman, ii. 424): "With the burning south winds (of Syria) there come from the interior of Arabia and from the most southern parts of Persia clouds of locusts (Acridium peregrinum), whose ravages to these countries are as grievous and nearly as sudden as those of the heaviest hail in Europe. We witnessed them twice. It is difficult to express the effect produced on us by the sight of the whole atmosphere filled on all sides and to a great height by an innumerable quantity of these insects, whose flight was slow and uniform, and whose noise resembled that of rain: the sky was darkened, and the light of the sun considerably weakened. In a moment the terraces of the houses, the streets, and all the fields were covered by these insects, and in two days they had nearly devoured all the leaves of the plants. Happily they lived but a short time, and seemed to have migrated only to reproduce themselves and die; in fact, nearly all those we saw the next day had paired, and the day following the fields were covered with their dead bodies." "Locusts have been used as food from the earliest times. Herodotus speaks of a Libyan nation who dried their locusts in the sun and ate them with milk. The more common method, however, was to pull off the legs and wings and roast them in an iron dish. Then they thrown into a bag, and eaten like parched corn, each one taking a handful when he chose." --Biblical Treasury. Sometimes the insects are ground and pounded, and then mixed with flour and water and made into cakes, or they are salted and then eaten; sometimes smoked; sometimes boiled or roasted; again, stewed, or fried in butter.
http://www.bible-history.com/smiths/L/Locust/


Locusts in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE lo'-kust: The translation of a large number of Hebrew and Greek words: 1. Names: (1) 'arbeh from the root rabhah, "to increase" (compare Arabic raba', "to increase"). (2) sal`am, from obsolete [?] cal`am, "to swallow down," "to consume." (3) chargol (compare Arabic charjal, "to run to the right or left," charjalat, "a company of horses" or "a swarm of locusts," charjawan, a kind of locust). (4) chaghabh (compare Arabic chajab, "to hide," "to cover"). (5) gazam (compare Arabic jazum, " to cut off") (6) yeleq, from the root laqaq "to lick" (compare Arabic laqlaq, "to dart out the tongue" (used of a serpent)). (7) chacil, from the root chacal, "to devour" (compare Arabic chaucal, "crop" (of a bird)). (8) gobh, from the obsolete root gabhah (compare Arabic jabi, "locust," from the root jaba', "to come out of a hole"). (9) gebh, from same root. (10) tselatsal from [?] tsalal (onomatopoetic), "to tinkle," "to ring" (compare Arabic call, "to give a ringing sound" (used of a horse's bit); compare also Arabic Tann, used of the sound of a drum or piece of metal, also of the humming of flies). (11) akris (genitive akridos; diminutive akridion, whence Acridium, a genus of locusts). 2. Identifications: (1), (2), (3) and (4) constitute the list of clean insects in Lev 11:21 f, characterized as "winged creeping things that go upon all fours, which have legs above their feet, wherewith to leap upon the earth." This manifestly refers to jumping insects of the order Orthoptera, such as locusts, grasshoppers and crickets, and is in contrast to the unclean "winged creeping things that go upon all fours," which may be taken to denote running Orthoptera, such as cockroaches, mole-crickets and ear-wigs, as well as insects of other orders. 'Arbeh (1) is uniformly translated "locust" in the Revised Version (British and American). the King James Version has usually "locust," but "grasshopper" in Jdg 6:5; 7:12; Job 39:20; Jer 46:23. Septuagint has usually akris, "locust"; but has brouchos, "wingless locust," in Lev 11:22; 1 Ki 8:37 (akris in the parallel passage, 2 Ch 6:28); Nah 3:15; and attelebos, "wingless locust," in Nah 3:17. 'Arbeh occurs (Ex 10:4-19) in the account of the plague of locusts; in the phrase "as locusts for multitude" (Jdg 6:5; 7:12); "more than the locusts .... innumerable" (Jer 46:23); "The locusts have no king, Yet go they forth all of them by bands" (Prov 30:27). 'Arbeh is referred to as a plague in Dt 28:38; 1 Ki 8:37; 2 Ch 6:28; Ps 78:46; in Joel and in Nahum. These references, together with the fact that it is the most used word, occurring 24 times, warrant us in assuming it to be one of the swarming species, i.e. Pachtylus migratorius or Schistocerca peregrina, which from time to time devastate large regions in the countries bordering on the Mediterranean. Cal`am (2), English Versions of the Bible "bald locust," occurs only in Lev 11:22. According to...
http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/L/LOCUST/


Locusts Scripture - 2 Chronicles 6:28 If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillers; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness [there be]:
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/2+Chronicles/6/


Locusts Scripture - 2 Chronicles 7:13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/2+Chronicles/7/


Locusts Scripture - Exodus 10:12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, [even] all that the hail hath left.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Exodus/10/


Locusts Scripture - Exodus 10:13 And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all [that] night; [and] when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Exodus/10/


Locusts Scripture - Exodus 10:19 And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Exodus/10/


Locusts Scripture - Matthew 3:4 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Matthew/3/


Locusts Scripture - Nahum 3:15 There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the cankerworm: make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Nahum/3/


Locusts Scripture - Nahum 3:17 Thy crowned [are] as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, [but] when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they [are].
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Nahum/3/


Locusts Scripture - Revelation 9:3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Revelation/9/


Locusts Scripture - Revelation 9:7 And the shapes of the locusts [were] like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads [were] as it were crowns like gold, and their faces [were] as the faces of men.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Revelation/9/


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