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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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עחלפּ? , Leviticus 11:19 ; Deuteronomy 14:18 ; Isaiah 2:20 ; Bar_6:22 . The Jewish legislator having enumerated the animals legally unclean as well beasts as birds, closes his catalogue with a creature whose equivocal properties seem to exclude it from both those classes; it is too much a bird to be properly a mouse, and too much a mouse to be properly a bird. The bat is therefore well described in Deuteronomy 14:18-19 , as the passage should be read, "Moreover the othelaph, and every creeping thing that flieth, is unclean to you; they shall not be eaten." This character is very descriptive, and places this creature at the head of a class of which he is a clear and well-known instance. It has feet or claws growing out of its pinions, and contradicts the general order of nature, by creeping with the instruments of its flight. The Hebrew name of the bat is from עחל darkness, and עפ to fly, as if it described "the flier in darkness." So the Greeks called the creature νυκτερις , from νυξ , night; and the Latins, vespertilio, from vesper, "evening." It is prophesied, Isaiah 2:20 , "In that day shall they cast away their idols to the moles and to the bats;" that is, they shall carry them into the dark caverns, old ruins, or desolate places, to which they shall fly for refuge, and so shall give them up, and relinquish them to the filthy animals that frequent such places, and have taken possession of them as their proper habitation.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Bat'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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