And Jehovah saith unto Moses, 'Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, and it hath become gnats in all the land of Egypt.'
Exodus 8:16 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
Smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice - If the vermin commonly designated by this name be intended, it must have been a very dreadful and afflicting plague to the Egyptians, and especially to their priests, who were obliged to shave the hair off every part of their bodies, and to wear a single tunic, that no vermin of this kind might be permitted to harbor about them. See Herod. in Euterp., c. xxxvii., p. 104, edit. Gale. Of the nature of these insects it is not necessary to say much. The common louse is very prolific. In the space of twelve days a full-grown female lays one hundred eggs, from which, in the space of six days, about fifty males and as many females are produced. In eighteen days these young females are at their full growth, each of which may lay one hundred eggs, which will be all hatched in six days more. Thus, in the course of six weeks, the parent female may see 5,000 of its own descendants! So mightily does this scourge of indolence and filthiness increase!
But learned men are not agreed on the signification of the original word כנים kinnim, which different copies of the Septuagint render σκνιφες, σκνιπες, and σκνηπες, gnats; and the Vulgate renders sciniphes, which signifies the same.
Mr. Harmer supposes he has found out the true meaning in the word tarrentes, mentioned by Vinisauf, one of our ancient English writers; who, speaking of the expedition of King Richard I. to the Holy Land, says, that "while the army were marching from Cayphas to Caesarea, they were greatly distressed every night by certain worms called tarrentes, which crept on the ground, and occasioned a very burning heat by most painful punctures; for, being armed with stings, they conveyed a poison which quickly occasioned those who were wounded by them to swell, and was attended with the most acute pain." All this is far fetched. Bochart has endeavored to prove that the כנים kinnim of the text may mean lice in the common acceptation of the term, and not gnats. 1. Because those in question sprang from the dust of the earth, and not from the waters. 2. Because they were both on men and cattle, which cannot be spoken of gnats. 3. Because their name comes from the radix כון kun, which signifies to make firm, fix, establish, which can never agree to gnats, flies, etc., which are ever changing their place, and are almost constantly on the wing. 4. Because כנה kinnah is the term by which the Talmudists express the louse, etc. See his Hierozoicon, vol. ii., c. xviii., col. 571. The circumstance of their being in man and in beast agrees so well with the nature of the acarus sanguisugus, commonly called the tick, belonging to the seventh order of insects called Aptera, that I am ready to conclude this is the insect meant. This animal buries both its sucker and head equally in man or beast; and can with very great difficulty be extracted before it is grown to its proper size, and filled with the blood and juices of the animal on which it preys. When fully grown, it has a glossy black oval body: not only horses, cows, and sheep are infested with it in certain countries, but even the common people, especially those who labor in the field, in woods, etc. I know no insect to which the Hebrew term so properly applies. This is the fixed, established insect, which will permit itself to be pulled in pieces rather than let go its hold; and this is literally באדם ובבהמה baadam ubabbehemah, in man and in beast, burying its trunk and head in the flesh of both. In woodland countries I have seen many persons as well as cattle grievously infested with these insects.
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Exodus 8:5,17 And the LORD spoke to Moses, Say to Aaron, Stretch forth your hand with your rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds...
lice. Mr. Harmer supposes he has found out the true meaning in the word tarrentes, a species of worm. Bochart, however, seems to have proved that lice, and not gnats, are meant; because,
1. they sprang from the dust, and not from the waters;
2. they were on both man and beast, which cannot be said of gnats;
3. their name is derived from koon, to make firm, fix, establish, which cannot agree with gnats, flies, which are ever changing place, and almost constantly on the wing;
4. the term kinnah is used by the Talmudists to express the louse. This insect must have been a very dreadful and afflicting plague to the Egyptians, and especially to the priests, who were obliged to shave all their hair off, and to wear a single linen tunic, to prevent vermin harbouring about them.
Exodus 8:16 Parallel CommentariesAaron Dust Earth Egypt Gnats Ground Insects Lice Moses Rod Smite Staff Stretch Stretched Strike ThroughoutAaron Dust Earth Egypt Gnats Ground Insects Lice Moses Rod Smite Staff Stretch Stretched Strike ThroughoutTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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