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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature


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Frog (). Although the common frog is so well known that no description is needed to satisfy the reader, it may be necessary to mention that the only species recorded as existing in Palestine is the green (Rana esculenta), and that of all the authorities we have been able to consult, Dr. Richardson alone refers the species of Egypt to the green speckled gray frog (Rana punctata). But considering the immense extent of the Nile from south to north, and the amazing abundance of these animals which it contains in the state of spawn, tadpole, and complete frog, it is likely that the speckled is not the only species found in its waters, and that different species, if they do not occur in the same locality, are at least to be met with in different latitudes. The speckled species is found westward even to the north of France, but is not common in Europe. It is lively, but no strong swimmer, the webs on the hinder toes extending only half their length; hence, perhaps, it is more a terrestrial animal than the common green frog, and, like the brown species, is given to roam on land in moist weather.

Although it is very hazardous, in transactions of an absolutely miraculous nature, to attempt to point out the instruments that may have served to work out the purposes of the Almighty, we may conjecture that, in the plague of frogs, a species, the one perhaps we have just mentioned, was selected for its agility on land, and that, although the fact is not expressly mentioned, the awful visitation was rendered still more ominous by the presence of dark and rainy weather—an atmospheric condition never of long duration on the coast of Egypt, and gradually more and more rare up the course of the river. We have ourselves witnessed, during a storm of rain, frogs crowding into our cabin, in the lowlands of Guiana, till they were packed up in the corners of the apartment, and continually falling back in their attempts to ascend above their fellows; and the door could not be opened without others entering more rapidly than those within could be expelled. Now, as the temples, palaces, and cities of Egypt stood, in general, on the edge of the ever dry desert, and always above the level of the highest inundations, to be there visited by a continuation of immense number of frogs was assuredly a most distressing calamity; and as this phenomenon, in its ordinary occurrence within the tropics, is always accompanied by the storms of the monsoon or of the setting in of the rainy season, the dismay it must have caused may be judged of when we reflect that the plague occurred where rain seldom or never falls, where none of the houses are fitted to lead off the water, and that the animals appeared in localities where they had never before been found, and where, at all other times, the scorching sun would have destroyed them in a few minutes. Nor was the selection of the frog as an instrument of God's displeasure without portentous meaning in the minds of the idolatrous Egyptians, who considered that animal a type of their creative power, and also an indication of man in embryo. The magicians, indeed, appeared to make frogs come up out of the waters; but we must not understand that to them was given also the power of producing the animals. The effect which they claimed as their own was a simple result of the continuation of the prodigy effected by Moses and Aaron; for that they had no real power is evident, not only from their inability to stop the present plague, the control which even Pharaoh discovered to be solely in the hands of Moses, but also the utter failure of their enchantments in that of lice, where their artifices were incompetent to impose upon the king and his people.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Frog'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature".

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