Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
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onycha Summary and Overview

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onycha in Easton's Bible Dictionary

a nail; claw; hoof, (Heb. sheheleth; Ex. 30:34), a Latin word applied to the operculum, i.e., the claw or nail of the strombus or wing-shell, a univalve common in the Red Sea. The opercula of these shell-fish when burned emit a strong odour "like castoreum." This was an ingredient in the sacred incense.

onycha in Smith's Bible Dictionary

spoken of in #Ex 30:34| was one of the ingredients of the sacred perfume. It consists of the shells of several kinds of mussels, which when burned emit a strong odor.

onycha in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

ON'YCHA , an ingredient of the sacred incense which was prepared under divine direction. Ex 30:34. It was probably the horny lid or door of a univalve shell (Strombus) found in the Red Sea. When burnt this "operculum " emits a strong pungent odor.

onycha in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

An ingredient of the anointing unguent (Exodus 30:34). Shechecleth means literally, "a shell or scale", the horny cap of a shell. The operculum or "cover" of the strombus or "wing shell", which abounds in the Red Sea, is employed in compounding perfume, and was the medicine named blatta Byzantina or unguis odoratus in the middle ages. Pliny (H. N. 32:46) and Dioscorides (Matthew Med. 2:11) mention a "shell", onyx, "both a perfume and a medicine"; "odorous because the shell fish feed on the nard, and collected when the heat dries up the marshes; the best kind is from the Red Sea, whitish and shining; the Babylonian is darker and smaller; both have a sweet odor when burnt, like castoreum." The onyx "nail" refers to the clawlike shape of the operculum of the strombus genus; the Arabs call this mollusk "devil's claw." Shell fish were unclean; hence, Gosse conjectures a gum resin.