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Old Testament Hebrew Lexical Dictionary
Strong's #8476 - תַּחַשׁ
Jeff Benner, Ancient Hebrew Research Center Used by permission of the author.
תַּחַשׁ m. an obscure word, always in this connexion, עוֹר תַּחַשׁ Tachash skin, Numbers 4:6, seq. Plur. עוֹרוֹת תְּחַשִׁים Tachash skins, Exodus 25:5, 26:14 35:23 39:34 and in the same sense simply תַּחַשׁ Numbers 4:25; Ezekiel 16:10 (where it is said that women’s shoes are made of it). The ancient versions understand it to be the colour of a skin (LXX. ὑακίνθινα. Aqu. Symm. ἰάνθινα. Chald. and Syr. rubra, red), and they have been followed by Bochart (Hieroz. i. p. 989, seqq.); this is however a mere conjecture, which has no ground either in the etymology or in the cognate languages; on the other hand the Talmudists and almost all the Hebrew interpreters take תַּחַשׁ to be an animal, the skins of which were used both for a covering of the holy tabernacle, and for making shoes. I have no hesitation in acceding to this opinion, and I would follow R. Salomon on Eze. loc. cit. with Luther in understanding it to be either the seal, or the badger, taxus or taxo (meles, Varr. Plin.). Besides the context, which almost requires an animal, this opinion is supported
(1) by the authority of the Talmudists who (Tract. Sabb. cap. ii. fol. 28) in treating at large of this animal, say that it is like the weasel (תלא אילן), which is very suitable to the badger
(2) by the agreement of languages, the authority of which is very great with regard to the names of animals and plants. Arabic تخُسُ and دُخَسُ are indeed rendered dolphin by lexicographers; but this name has a wider extent, and alsc comprehends seals, which in many respects resemble the badger, and which were of frequent occurrence in the peninsula of Sinai (Strab. xvi. p. 776); this has been already observed (see Beckm. ad Antig. Caryst. c. 60). The Latin taxus and taxo (whence in modern languages taxo, taisson, Dachs) is not found, it is true, in Latin writers before the time of Augustine, but there is no need for us to consider it on that account to be a new-formed word, but only one received from the vulgar language, and of foreign origin.
(3) The etymology, which the Hebrew language supplies with sufficient probability. For תַּחַשׁ may be for תַּחֲשֶׁה, from the root חָשָׁה to rest, so that taxus may be so called from its sleeping for half a year, which became almost proverbial; nor are seals less somnolent.
(4) The skins both of the badger and seal might without doubt have been used both for covering the tabernacle, and for making elegant shoes: seal skins are even now used for shoes. To give my opinion, the Hebrews seem to have at once designated by this one word (which the Arabs and western nations apply to only particular species), the seal, the badger, and other similar creatures, which they neither knew nor distinguished with accuracy.
[(2) Tahash, pr.n. m. Genesis 22:24.]
the Second Week after Epiphany