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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
(1) תּנּים , tannı̄m , "jackals," the King James Version "dragons"; compare Arabic tı̂nân , "wolf"; and compare תּנּין , tannı̄n , Arab tinnı̂n , "sea monster" or "monster" the English Revised Version "dragon" ( Job 7:12 m; Psalm 74:13; Psalm 148:7; Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 51:9; Jeremiah 51:34 ), "serpent" (Exodus 7:9 , Exodus 7:10 , Exodus 7:12; Deuteronomy 32:33; Psalm 91:13 ), the King James Version "whale" (Genesis 1:21; Job 7:12 ); but תּנּין , tannı̄n , "jackals," the King James Version "sea monsters" (Lamentations 4:3 ), "jackal's well," the King James Version "dragon well" (Nehemiah 2:13 ), and tannı̄m , "monster," the King James Version and the English Revised Version "dragon" (Ezekiel 29:3; Ezekiel 32:2 ).
(2) איּים , 'ı̄yı̄m , "wolves," the King James Version "wild beasts of the islands"; compare אי , 'ı̄ , plural איּים , 'ı̄yı̄m , "island"; also איּה , 'ayyāh , "a cry," אוה , 'āwāh , "to cry," "to howl"; Arabic ‛auwa' , "to bark" (of dogs, wolves, or jackals); 'ibn 'âwa' , colloquially, wâwı̂ , "jackal."
(3) ציּים , cı̄yı̄m , "wild beasts of the desert."
(4) אחים , 'oḥı̄m , "doleful creatures."
"Jackals" occurs as a translation of tannı̄m , the King James Version "dragons," in Job 30:29; Psalm 44:19; Isaiah 13:22; Isaiah 34:13; Isaiah 35:7; Isaiah 43:20; Jeremiah 9:11; Jeremiah 10:22; Jeremiah 14:6; Jeremiah 49:33; Jeremiah 51:37; of the feminine plural form tannōth in Malachi 1:3 , and of tannı̄n in Nehemiah 2:13 and Lamentations 4:3 . Tannı̄m is variously referred to a root meaning "to howl," and to a root meaning "to stretch out" trop. "to run swiftly, i.e. with outstretched neck and limb extended" (Gesenius). Either derivation would suit "wolf" equally as well as "jackal." The expression in Jeremiah 10:22 , "to make the cities of Judah a desolation, a dwelling-place of jackals," seems, however, especially appropriate of jackals. The same is true of Isaiah 34:13; Jeremiah 9:11; Jeremiah 49:33 , and Jeremiah 51:37 .
The jackal (from Persian shaghâl ), Canis aureus , is found about the Mediterranean except in Western Europe. It ranges southward to Abyssinia, and eastward, in Southern Asia, to farther India. It is smaller than a large dog, has a moderately bushy tail, and is reddish brown with dark shadings above. It is cowardly and nocturnal. Like the fox, it is destructive to poultry, grapes, and vegetables, but is less fastidious, and readily devours the remains of others' feasts. Jackals generally go about in small companies. Their peculiar howl may frequently be heard in the evening and at any time in the night. It begins with a high-pitched, long-drawn-out cry. This is repeated two or three times, each time in a higher key than before. Finally there are several short, loud, yelping barks. Often when one raises the cry others join in. Jackals are not infrequently confounded with foxes. They breed freely with dogs.
While tannı̄m is the only word translated "jackal" in English Versions of the Bible, the words 'ı̄yı̄m , cı̄yı̄m , and 'oḥı̄m deserve attention. They, as well as tannı̄m , evidently refer to wild creatures inhabiting desert places, but it is difficult to say for what animal each of the words stands. All four (together with benōth ya‛ănāh and se‛ı̄rı̄m ) are found in Isaiah 13:21 , Isaiah 13:22 : "But wild beasts of the desert ( cı̄yı̄m ) shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures ('oḥı̄m ); and ostriches (benōth ya‛ănāh ) shall dwell there, and wild goats (se‛ı̄rı̄m ) shall dance there. And wolves ('ı̄yı̄m ) shall cry in their castles, and jackals (tannı̄m ) in the pleasant palaces."
In the King James Version 'ı̄yı̄m ( Isaiah 13:22; Isaiah 34:14; Jeremiah 50:39 ) is translated "wild beasts of the islands" (compare 'ı̄yı̄m , "islands"). the King James Version margin has merely the transliteration iim , the Revised Version (British and American) "wolves," the Revised Version margin "howling creatures." Gesenius suggests the jackal, which is certainly a howler. While the wolf has a blood-curdling howl, it is much more rarely heard than the jackal.
Cı̄yı̄m ( Psalm 72:9; Psalm 74:14; Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 23:13; Isaiah 34:14; Jeremiah 50:39 ) has been considered akin to cı̄yāh , "drought" (compare 'erec cı̄yāh , "a dry land" (Psalm 63:1 )), and is translated in the Revised Version (British and American) as follows: Psalm 72:9 , "they that dwell in the wilderness"; Psalm 74:14 , "the people inhabiting the wilderness"; Isaiah 23:13 , "them that dwell in the wilderness," the Revised Version margin "the beasts of the wilderness"; Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 34:14; Jeremiah 50:39 , "wild beasts of the desert." There would be some difficulty in referring cı̄yı̄m in Psalm 72:9 to beasts rather than to men, but that is not the case in Psalm 74:14 and Isaiah 23:13 . "Wild cats" have been suggested.
'Oḥı̄m , "doleful creatures," perhaps onomatopoetic, occurs only in Isaiah 13:21 . The translation "owls" has been suggested, and is not unsuitable to the context.
It is not impossible that tannı̄m and 'ı̄yı̄m may be different names of the jackals. 'Īyı̄m , cı̄yı̄m , and tannı̄m occur together also in Isaiah 34:13 , Isaiah 34:14 , and 'ı̄yı̄m and cı̄yı̄m in Jeremiah 50:39 . Their similarity in sound may have much to do with their collocation. The recognized word for "wolf," ze'ēbh (compare Arabic dhi'b ), occurs 7 times in the Old Testament. See DRAGON; WOLF; ZOOLOGY .
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Jackal'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/j/jackal.html. 1915.