[b-hebrew] Striped leopard? Cheetah? Leopard? Stripes?

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Tue Apr 11 12:13:25 EDT 2006


Cheetahs are spotted. In fact, according to the 
article in wikipedia the name for the cat comes 
from Sanskrit meaning spotted.

As for NMR, none of the big cats with the exception 
of the cheetah, are known for their speed. They 
rely on surprise from ambush. Even if allowing that 
I am wrong on XBRBRH, leopard does not fit its 
description in Tanakh usage. Claiming that XBRBRH 
means stripes left me unsatisfied for that very 

If NMR was used in the same way that pardalis was 
in Greek, then we can't insist that its use was 
restricted to felines. The word is used only six 
times in Tanakh, none of them specifically 
referring to felines. It could refer to an animal 
that has since become extinct and the term 
transferred to leopards. The NMR is listed as being 
dangerous to people, leopards and cheetahs usually 
are not, though tigers are known as man eaters. The 
combination of actions listed: swift, danger to 
man, lie in wait (city gates, road), connected with 
a mountainous region, has distinctive markings; if 
it refers to a specific animal, none of the big 
cats fit unless possibly referring to all of them. 
But it could have referred to a now extinct animal 
whose identity is in doubt because it is now 

As for XBRBRH, you may be right that it refers to 
markings in general, and the translation in Isaiah 
53 of "stripes" may be wrong.

Karl W. Randolph.

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Peter Kirk" <peter at qaya.org>
> On 11/04/2006 02:42, Karl Randolph wrote:
> > Peter:
> >
> > Quite frankly, I have not checked what the other dictionaries say 
> > about XBRBRH. That it is from the same root as XBRH using a 
> > regular derivation pattern indicates that it is unlikely to have 
> > a significantly different meaning, as "spot" would be.
> >
> > The usual word for "spot" is NQDH, though BRD is also used for speckled.
> >
> > I have found that some dictionaries follow old translations 
> > rather than admit that the older translation may have been wrong. 
> > Especially if the older translation has become somewhat hallowed 
> > by ancient practice, as the KJV.
> >
> >
> I take your point, Karl, but I really think you should research 
> XBRBRH properly before trying to explain the relatively clear (NMR) 
> by means of the far more obscure (XBRBRH). There are good reasons 
> for thinking that NMR was a leopard. It certainly wasn't a tiger, 
> which has never lived in the land of Israel. But it might have been 
> a cheetah, which was of course striped, as sometimes suggested for 
> Habakkuk 1:8 as cheetahs were used for hunting; indeed "hunting 
> leopard" is another name for the cheetah, see 
> http://www.encyclopedia.com/html/c/cheetah.asp.
> -- Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
> http://www.qaya.org/


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