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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Hare

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Syrian Hare

Hare occurs in , and , and in both instances it is prohibited from being used as food, because it chews the cud, although it has not the hoof divided. The hare however does not actually chew the cud, but has incisor teeth above and below, set like chisels, and calculated for gnawing, cutting, and nibbling, and when in a state of repose is engaged in working the incisor teeth upon each other. This practice is a necessary condition of existence, for the friction keeps them fit for the purpose of nibbling, and prevents their growing beyond a proper length. As hares do not subsist on hard substances, but on tender shoots and grasses, they have more cause, and therefore a more constant craving, to abrade their teeth; and this they do in a manner which, combined with the slight trituration of the occasional contents of the cheeks, even modern writers, not zoologists, have mistaken for real rumination. It follows therefore we should understand the original in the above passages rendered 'chewing the cud,' as merely implying a second mastication, more or less complete. The act of 'chewing the cud' and 're-chewing' being considered identical by the Hebrews, the sacred lawgiver, not being occupied with the doctrines of science, no doubt used the expression in the sense in which it was then understood. It may be added, that a similar opinion, and consequent rejection of the hare as food, pervaded many nations of antiquity.

There are two distinct species of hare in Syria: one, the Syrian hare, nearly equal in size to the common European, having the fur ochry buff; and the hare of the desert, smaller and brownish. They reside in the localities indicated by their names, and are distinguished from the common hare, by a greater length of ears, and a black tail with white fringe. There is found in Egypt, and higher up the Nile, a third species, represented in the outline paintings on ancient monuments, but not colored with that delicacy of tint required for distinguishing it from the others, excepting that it appears to be marked with the black speckles which characterize the existing species.

 

 

 

 


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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Hare'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/kbe/h/hare.html.

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