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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Jackal

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JACKAL . Although the word ‘jackal’ does not occur in the AV [Note: Authorized Version.] , there is no doubt that this animal is several times mentioned in OT: it occurs several times in RV [Note: Revised Version.] where AV [Note: Authorized Version.] has ‘fox.’ (1) shû’âl is used in Heb. for both animals, but most of the references are most suitably tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ‘jackal.’ The only OT passage in which the fox is probably intended is Nehemiah 4:3 . (2) tannîm (pl.), AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘ dragons ,’ is in RV [Note: Revised Version.] usually tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ‘jackals.’ See Isaiah 34:13 , Jeremiah 9:11; Jeremiah 10:22 etc. Post considers ‘wolves’ would be better. (3) ’iyyîm , tr. [Note: translate or translation.] AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘wild beasts of the island’ ( Isaiah 13:22; Isaiah 34:14 , Jeremiah 50:39 ), is in RV [Note: Revised Version.] tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ‘wolves,’ but Post thinks these ‘howling creatures’ (as word implies) were more probably jackals. (4) ’ôhîm , ‘ doleful creatures ’ ( Isaiah 13:21 ), may also have been jackals. The jackal ( Canis aureus ) is exceedingly common in Palestine; its mournful cries are heard every night. During the day jackals hide in deserted ruins, etc. ( Isaiah 13:22; Isaiah 34:13; Isaiah 35:7 ), but as soon as the sun sets they issue forth. They may at such times be frequently seen gliding backwards and forwards across the roads seeking for morsels of food. Their staple food is carrion of all sorts ( Psalms 63:10 ). At the present day the Bedouin threaten an enemy with death by saying they will ‘throw his body to the jackals.’ Though harmless to grown men when solitary, a whole pack may be dangerous. The writer knows of a case where a European was pursued for miles over the Philistine plain by a pack of jackals. It is because they go in packs that we take the shu’âlim of Judges 15:4 to be jackals rather than foxes. Both animals have a weakness for grapes ( Song of Solomon 2:15 ). Cf. art. Fox.

E. W. G. Masterman.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Jackal'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/j/jackal.html. 1909.

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