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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Leopard

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A ferocious carnivorous mammal. Several allusions are found in the Old Testament to this animal and its characteristics; e.g., its fierceness, Isaiah 11:6; its agility and swiftness, Habakkuk 1:8; its cunning, Jeremiah 5:6 and Hosea 13:7; its unchangeable spots as a type of immutability, Jeremiah 13:23; as an emblem of one of the "great monarchies," Daniel 7:6. The leopard (Felis pardus) is still met with in the forest of Gilead, round the Dead Sea, and in the mountains; the chetah (Gueparda jubata) is of less frequent occurrencein Palestine. The former frequency of the leopard there may perhaps be inferred from the place-names "Beth-nimrah" (Numbers 32:3,36) and "Nimrim" (Jeremiah 48:34), the latter perhaps identical with the modern Nimerah (comp. also the "mountains of leopards," Song of Solomon 4:8).

In the Talmud the namer is classed with the wolf, lion, etc., for dangerousness and ferocity (Sanh. 2a and parallels). Following the ancient conception of the leopard as a hybrid between a panther or pard and the lioness (hence the name "leo-pardus"), some of the rabbis believed it to be the issue of the boar and lioness (comp. Bartenora to the admonition of Ab. 5:5: "Be firm like a leopard to do the will of thy Father in heaven"). The namer is a type of immodesty (Ḳid. 70a). Its term of gestation is said to be three years (Bek. 8a).

Bibliography:
  • Tristram, Nat. Hist. p. 111;
  • Lewysohn, Z. T. p. 71;
  • comp. also W. R. Smith, Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, p. 204.
E. G. H.
I. M. C.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Leopard'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/l/leopard.html. 1901.

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