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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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WORM . 1 . sâs , Isaiah 51:6 (cf. Arab [Note: Arabic.] , sûs , a moth or a worm), the larva of a clothes-moth. See Moth. 2. rimmâh ( Exodus 16:24 , Job 25:6 , Isaiah 14:11 ). 3. tôlâ ‘, tôlç‘âh ’ or tôla‘ath ( Exodus 16:20 , Job 25:6 , Isaiah 14:11; Isaiah 66:24 , Jonah 4:7 etc.). Both 2 and 3 are used to describe the same kind of worms (cf. Exodus 16:20; Exodus 16:24 ), and most references are to maggots and other insect larvæ which breed on putrid organic matter. These are very common in Palestine, occurring even on neglected sores and, of course, on dead bodies ( Job 19:26; Job 21:26; Job 24:20 ). Jonah’s worm ( tôlç‘âh ) was probably some larva which attacks the roots, or perhaps a centipede. The ‘worms’ of Deuteronomy 28:39 were probably caterpillars. 4 . râqâb ( Hosea 5:12 AVm [Note: Authorized Version margin.] ). In Proverbs 12:4 where the same word is also tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ‘rottenness,’ it is rendered in LXX [Note: Septuagint.] skôlçx , ‘wood-worm,’ which seems appropriate to the context. 5 . zôch ăl ç‘ârets , ‘worms of the earth’ ( Micah 7:17 ), may possibly refer to true earthworms (which are comparatively rare in Palestine), but more probably to serpents. See Serpent ( 10 ). 6 . skôlçx , Mark 9:44 etc. The expression ‘ eaten of worms ,’ used ( Acts 12:23 ) in describing the death of Herod Agrippa i., would seem to refer to a death accompanied by violent abdominal pains, such symptoms being commonly ascribed in the Holy Land to-day to abdominal worms ( Lumbricoides ) a belief often revived by the evacuation of such worms near the time of death (cf. p. 600 a ).

E. W. G. Masterman.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Worm'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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