[b-hebrew] Mice, Rats, Badgers, & Weasels

David Kimbrough (CLWA) dkimbrough at clwa.org
Thu Apr 29 11:31:41 EDT 2004

Of the four times that the word "mice" (akbari) occurs in the OT,  all are
associated with golden objects resembling the animal rather than actual
animal.  Further, all four occur in 1 Sam  6 (4-18) as "trespass offerings".
The two times that the  word "mouse" (akbar) is used, it is in association
with dietary prohibitions (Lev 11:29 and Isa 66:17).  I know people will eat
mice and rats in desperation but I don't know of any societies where it is
the norm.  If people were not actually eating these animals on some sort of
routine and conspicuous basis, there would be no need for a prohibition.  It
may well be that it is a reference to some other small mammal, although I
guess the LXX translators clearly thought the appropriate Greek word was

In terms of given names, many English family names are from small (and large
mammals), e.g. Fox, Lamb, Hare, Rabbit, Mink, Hogge, etc.

David Eugene Kimbrough

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Kirk [mailto:peterkirk at qaya.org]
Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2004 5:43 AM
To: Joel Nothman
Cc: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] 1 Sam 5:6 ; Mice & Rats & Plague

On 29/04/2004 02:47, Joel Nothman wrote:

> On Thu, 29 Apr 2004 3:57:41 +0000, <david.kimbrough at CHARTER.NET> wrote:
>> Karl,
>> Before rambling on about rats and fleas, does BH, or even
>> Modern Hebrew have different words for rat and mouse?
> I find "chulda" = het.vav.lamed.dalet.heh as opposed to "achbar" =  
> ayin.kaf.bet.resh from MH.
> The dictionary from onlinebible.com (through Davar) tranlsates chulda 
> as  weasel.
> - Joel
This is interesting to me because this word appears in the Bible only as 
the name of a prophetess (2 Ki 22:14 etc). The interesting thing is that 
she was a contemporary of Acbor and Shaphan, in fact those names are 
found in the very same verse. It seems that at that time people were 
commonly named after small mammals!

BH does have XOLED, in Leviticus 11:29 only and followed by `AKBAR. NIV 
renders "the weasel, the rat", but the meaning could easily be "the rat, 
the mouse".

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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