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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(עֲטִלֵּ, atalleph'; Sept. νυκτερίς ; Syriac Vers. peacock) occurs in Leviticus 11:19; Deuteronomy 14:18; Isaiah 2:20; and Baruch 6:22. In Hebrew the word implies "flying in the dark," which, taken in connection with the sentence, "Moreover, the bat and every creeping thing that flieth is unclean unto you; they shall not be eaten," is so clear, that there cannot be a mistake respecting the order of animals meant, though to modern zoology neither the species, the genus, nor even the family is thereby manifested: the injunction merely prohibits eating bats, and may likewise include some tribes of insects. At first sight, animals so diminutive, lean, and. repugnant to the senses must appear scarcely to have required the legislator's attention, but the fact evidently shows that there were at the time men or women who ate animals classed with bats, a practice still in vogue in the great Australasian islands, where the frugivorous Pteropi of the harpy or goblin family, by seamen denominated flying-dogs, and erroneously vampires, are caught and eaten; but where the insectivorous true bats, such as the genera common in Europe, are rejected. Some of the species of harpies are of the bulk of a rat, with from three to four feet of expanse between the tips of the wings; they have a fierce dog-like head, and are nearly all marked with a space of rufous hair from the forehead over the neck and along the back. For a description of the various kinds of bats, see the Penny Cyclopaedia, s.v. Cheiroptera.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Bat'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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