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Smith's Bible Dictionary

(that which clings to the ground) (Heb. letaah . (Leviticus 11:30) Lizards of various kinds abound in Egypt, Palestine and Arabia. The lizard denoted by the Hebrew word is probably the fan-foot lizard (Ptyodactylus gecko) which is common in Egypt and in parts of Arabia, and perhaps is found also in Palestine. It is reddish brown spotted with white. The gecko lives on insects and worms, which it swallows whole. It derives its name from the peculiar sound which some of the species utter.

ATS Bible Dictionary

A cold-blooded animal, with much resemblance to the serpent, but having four feet. Large numbers are found in Syria, varying greatly in size, appearance, and place of abode; some dwelling partly in water, and others on the rocks of the desert, or among old ruins. Lizards were unclean by the Levitical law, Le 11:30.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Only in Leviticus 11:30, as rendering of Hebrew letaah, so called from its "hiding." Supposed to be the Lacerta gecko or fan-foot lizard, from the toes of which poison exudes. (see CHAMELEON.)
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) Any one of the numerous species of reptiles belonging to the order Lacertilia; sometimes, also applied to reptiles of other orders, as the Hatteria.

2. (n.) A piece of rope with thimble or block spliced into one or both of the ends.

3. (n.) A piece of timber with a forked end, used in dragging a heavy stone, a log, or the like, from a field.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

liz'-ard: The list of unclean "creeping things" in Leviticus 11:29, 30 contains eight names, as follows:

1. Names:

(1) choledh, English Versions of the Bible "weasel" (which see);

(2) `akhbar, English Versions of the Bible "mouse" (which see);

(3) tsabh, the King James Version "tortoise," the Revised Version (British and American) "great lizard" (which see);

(4) 'anaqah, the King James Version "ferret," the Revised Version (British and American) "gecko" (which see);

(5) koach, the King James Version "chameleon," the Revised Version (British and American) "land-crocodile" (which see);

(6) leTa'ah, English Versions of the Bible "lizard"; compare Arabic laTa', "to cling to the ground";

(7) chormeT, the King James Version "snail," the Revised Version (British and American) "sand-lizard" (which see);

(8) tinshemeth, the King James Version "mole," the Revised Version (British and American) "chameleon" (which see). In Proverbs 30:28, we find

(9) semamith, the King James Version "spider," the Revised Version (British and American) "lizard."

Since (1), (3), (4), (5), (6) and (7) occur as names of animals only in this passage, and as the philological evidence available is in most cases not very convincing, their determination is difficult and uncertain. the Revised Version margin to "gecko" (Leviticus 11:30) has "Words of uncertain meaning, but probably denoting four kinds of lizards."

2. Lizards of Palestine:

Among the many lizards of Palestine, the monitor and thorny-tailed lizard are remarkable for their size, and the chameleon for its striking appearance and habits. On etymological grounds, koach, the King James Version "chameleon," the Revised Version (British and American) "land-crocodile," Septuagint chamaileon, has been taken to be the monitor; tsabh, the King James Version "tortoise," the Revised Version (British and American) "great lizard," Septuagint krokodeilos chersaios, to be the thorny-tailed lizard; and tinshemeth, the King James Version "mole," the Revised Version (British and American) "chameleon," Septuagint aspalax, to be the chameleon. On the same grounds, choledh, English Versions of the Bible "weasel," Septuagint gale, might be the mole-rat.


The commonest lizard of Palestine is the rough-tailed agama, Agama stellio, Arabic chirdaun or chirdaun, which is everywhere in evidence, running about on the ground, rocks or walls, frequently lying still basking in the sun, or bobbing its head up and down in the peculiar manner that it has. The gecko, Ptyodactylus lobatus, is common in houses. By means of adhesive disks on the under sides of its toes, it clings with ease to smooth walls which other lizards cannot scale. Although perfectly harmless, it is believed to be poisonous, and is much feared. It is called abu-brais, "father of leprosy," either on account of its supposed poisonous qualities or because it has a semi-transparent and sickly appearance, being of a whitish-yellow color with darker spots. It utters a little cry, which may be the reason why the Revised Version (British and American) has "gecko" for 'anaqah; the King James Version has "ferret."

Various species of the genus Lacerta and its allies, the true lizards, may always be found searching for insects on trees and walls. They are scaly, like all lizards, but are relatively smooth and are prettily colored, and are the most attractive members of the group which are found in the country. They are called by the Arabs saqqaiyeh or shammuseh.

The skinks include Scincus officinalis, and allied species. Arabic sa qanqur = Greek skigkos (skinkos). They are smooth, light-colored lizards, and are found in sandy places. They cannot climb, but they run and burrow in the sand with remarkable rapidity. The dried body of Scincus officinalis is an important feature of the primitive oriental materia medica, and may be found in the shops (officinae) of the old-style apothecaries.

3. Identifications:

Semamith (Proverbs 30:28, the King James Version "spider," the Revised Version (British and American) "lizard") is one of the "four things which are little.... but.... exceeding wise." the Revised Version (British and American) reads:

"The lizard taketh hold with her hands,

Yet is she in kings' palaces."

The Septuagint (Septuagint) has kalabotes, which according to Liddell and Scott = askalabotes, "a spotted lizard." There is no other lizard which fits this passage as does the gecko. If Gesenius is correct in deriving semamith from the root samam (compare Arabic samma, "to poison"), we have another reason for making this identification, in which case we must rule out the rendering of the Revised Version margin, "Thou canst seize with thy hands."

For none of the names in Leviticus 11:29, 30 have we as many data for identification as for semamith. For leTa'ah, English Versions of the Bible "lizard," the Septuagint has chalabotes, which is another variant of askalabotes. If we follow the Septuagint, therefore, we should render leTa'ah "gecko." Tristram quotes Bochart as drawing an argument that leTa'ah is "gecko" from the Arabic laTa', "to cling to the ground." This view is at least in accordance with Septuagint. It is of course untenable if 'anaqah is "gecko," but (see FERRET) the writer thinks it quite possible that 'anaqah may mean the shrew or field-mouse, which is also in agreement with Septuagint. It will not do to follow Septuagint in all cases, but it is certainly safe to do so in the absence of a clear indication to the contrary.

There seems to be little evidence available for deciding the identity of chomeT, the King James Version "snail," the Revised Version (British and American) "sand-lizard." Septuagint has saura, and Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) lacerta, both words for lizard. Gesenius refers the word to an obsolete chamaT, "to bow down," "to lie upon the ground." Tristram, NHB, cites Bochart as referring to a word meaning "sand." Hence, perhaps the Revised Version (British and American) "sand-lizard." If by this is meant the skink, there is no inherent improbability in the identification.

We have thus more or less tentatively assigned various words of the list to the monitor, the thorny-tailed lizard, the chameleon, the gecko and the skink, but we have done nothing with the rough-tailed agama and the Lacertae, or true lizards, which are the commonest lizards of Palestine, and this fact must be reckoned against the correctness of the assignment. The translation of the Revised Version (British and American) has this to commend it, that it gives two small mammals followed by six lizards, and is therefore to that extent systematic. It is, however, neither guided in all cases by etymological considerations, nor does it follow Septuagint.

As none of the etymological arguments is very cogent, the writer can see no harm in consistently following Septuagint, understanding for

(1) gale, weasel or pole-cat; for

(2) mus, mouse; for

(3) krokodeilos chersaios, some large lizard, either the monitor or the thorny-tailed lizard; for

(4) mugale, shrew or field-mouse; for

(5) chamaileon, chameleon; for

(6) chalabotes, gecko; for

(7) saura, a Lacerta or true lizard; for

(8) aspalax, mole-rat.

On the other hand, if etymological considerations are to be taken into account and Septuagint abandoned when it conflicts with them we might have

(1) holedh, mole-rat;

(2) `akhbar, mouse;

(3) tsabh, thorny-tailed lizard;

(4) 'anaqah, field-mouse;

(5) koach, monitor;

(6) leTa'ah, gecko;

(7) chomeT, skink;

(8) tinshemeth, chameleon.

Neither of these lists has the systematic arrangement of that of the Revised Version (British and American), but we must remember that the Biblical writers were not zoologists, as is seen in the inclusion of the bat among birds (Leviticus 11:19 Deuteronomy 14:18), and of the hare and coney among ruminants (Leviticus 11:5, 6 Deuteronomy 14:7).

Alfred Ely Day

Strong's Hebrew
3911. letaah -- (a kind of) lizard
... 3910, 3911. letaah. 3912 . (a kind of) lizard. Transliteration: letaah
Phonetic Spelling: (let-aw-aw') Short Definition: lizard. ...
/hebrew/3911.htm - 5k

8079. semamith -- (a kind of) lizard
... 8078, 8079. semamith. 8080 . (a kind of) lizard. Transliteration: semamith
Phonetic Spelling: (sem-aw-meeth') Short Definition: lizard. ...
/hebrew/8079.htm - 6k

6632b. tsab -- lizard
... tsab. 6633 . lizard. Transliteration: tsab Short Definition: lizard. Word Origin
from an unused word Definition lizard NASB Word Usage great lizard (1). ...
/hebrew/6632b.htm - 5k

2546. chomet -- (a kind of) lizard
... 2545, 2546. chomet. 2547 . (a kind of) lizard. Transliteration: chomet
Phonetic Spelling: (kho'met) Short Definition: reptile. Word ...
/hebrew/2546.htm - 5k

6632. tsab -- a litter
... From an unused root meaning to establish; a palanquin or canopy (as a fixture);
also a species of lizard (probably as clinging fast) -- covered, litter ...
/hebrew/6632.htm - 5k

604. anaqah -- a ferret, shrewmouse
... ferret. The same as 'anaqah; some kind of lizard, probably the gecko (from its wail) --
ferret. see HEBREW 'anaqah. 603, 604. anaqah. 605 . Strong's Numbers
/hebrew/604.htm - 6k

3581. koach -- a small reptile (of unknown species)
... firm; vigor, literally (force, in a good or a bad sense) or figuratively (capacity,
means, produce); also (from its hardiness) a large lizard -- ability, able ...
/hebrew/3581.htm - 5k

8580. tinshemeth -- (an animal) perhaps owl, chameleon
... From nasham; properly, a hard breather, ie The name of two unclean creatures, a
lizard and a bird (both perhaps from changing color through their irascibility ...
/hebrew/8580.htm - 6k


Mosaic Cosmogony.
... The land was inhabited by gigantic animals, half-toad, half-lizard, who hopped about,
leaving often their foot-prints like those of a clumsy human hand, upon ...
/.../temple/essays and reviews the education of the world/mosaic cosmogony.htm

... the Wesleyan public, and forty thousand pounds have already been expended in the
erection of new Chapels at Ilfracombe, Dawlish, the Lizard, Brighton, Weymouth ...
/.../king/the wesleyan methodist pulpit in malvern/preface.htm

section i.
... I cannot start at the presence of a Serpent, Scorpion, Lizard, or Salamander: at
the sight of a Toad or Viper, I find in me no desire to take up a stone to ...
// medici/section i 2.htm

Striking Similes
... A purpose as the steady flame. A question deep almost as the mystery of life. A
quibbling mouth that snapped at verbal errors like a lizard catching flies. ...
/.../kleiser/fifteen thousand useful phrases/section viii striking similes.htm

... fairies and children of seraphic beauty; but in the corner of the canvas, or just
at their feet, some uncouth and loathsome form"a toad, a lizard, a slimy ...
// ideal life/ill-temper.htm

Behind the Door
... One furious old dame called us "Child-snatchers and Powder-mongers," and white snakes
of the cobra species, and a particular genus of lizard, which when ...
/.../wilson-carmichael/things as they are/chapter xxii behind the door.htm

Lands at Deal
... leagues south of Scilly. Sunday, 29."We saw English land once more; which,
about noon, appeared to be the Lizard Point. We ran by ...
// journal of john wesley/lands at deal.htm

Slandering Wesley in the Pulpit
... thin their ranks. Afterward they saw a large fleet of three-mast ships,
in full sail toward the Lizard Point. This continued above ...
/.../wesley/the journal of john wesley/slandering wesley in the pulpit.htm

Let it be Granted, However, that There are Other Prophylactics ...
... folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; the locusts have no king, yet go
they forth in order at one command; and the spotted lizard, [4032] though ...
/.../origen/origen against celsus/chapter lxxxvii let it be.htm

On the Work of the Sixth Day (One Article)
... either have no feet and cannot rise from the earth, as serpents, or those whose
feet are too short to life them far from the ground, as the lizard and tortoise ...
// theologica/on the work of the 4.htm

Lizard (3 Occurrences)
... Only in Leviticus 11:30, as rendering of Hebrew letaah, so called from its "hiding."
Supposed to be the Lacerta gecko or fan-foot lizard, from the toes of ...
/l/lizard.htm - 16k

Sand-lizard (1 Occurrence)
Sand-lizard. Sandlizard, Sand-lizard. Sands . Int. Standard Bible
Encyclopedia SAND-LIZARD. sand'-liz-ard. (chomeT; Septuagint ...
/s/sand-lizard.htm - 7k

Tortoise (1 Occurrence)
... The LXX. renders the word by "land crocodile." The word, however, more probably
denotes a lizard, called by the modern Arabs dhabb. Noah Webster's Dictionary. ...
/t/tortoise.htm - 9k

Snail (2 Occurrences)
... 11:30). This was probably the sand-lizard, of which there are many species
in the wilderness of Judea and the Sinai peninsula. (2 ...
/s/snail.htm - 10k

Ferret (1 Occurrence)
... Lacerta gecko which was intended by the Hebrew word (anakah, a cry, "mourning, "
the creature which groans) here used, ie, the "fan-footed" lizard, the gecko ...
/f/ferret.htm - 11k

Chameleon (1 Occurrence)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary A species of lizard which has the faculty of changing
the colour of its skin. It is ranked among the unclean ...
/c/chameleon.htm - 11k

Spider (3 Occurrences)
... It is rendered in the Vulgate by stellio, and in the Revised Version by "lizard."
It may, however, represent the spider, of which there are, it is said, about ...
/s/spider.htm - 10k

... Reptiles: CROCODILIA: Crocodile (Leviathan) CHELONIA: Tortoise OPHIDIA: Serpent,
Fiery Serpent, Adder, Asp, Vipet (sv SERPENT) LACERTILIA: Lizard, Great Lizard...
/z/zoology.htm - 18k

Gecko (1 Occurrence)
... Noah Webster's Dictionary (n.) Any lizard of the family Geckonidae. ... See FERRET;
LIZARD; SPIDER. Multi-Version Concordance Gecko (1 Occurrence). ...
/g/gecko.htm - 7k

Mole (2 Occurrences)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary Hebrews tinshameth (Leviticus 11:30), probably signifies
some species of lizard (rendered in RV, "chameleon"). ... See LIZARD. ...
/m/mole.htm - 12k

What is pragmatic ethics? |

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Lizard: Dictionary and Thesaurus |

Bible ConcordanceBible DictionaryBible EncyclopediaTopical BibleBible Thesuarus
Lizard (3 Occurrences)

Leviticus 11:29
"'These are they which are unclean to you among the creeping things that creep on the earth: the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard,

Leviticus 11:30
the gecko, and the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink, and the chameleon.

Proverbs 30:28
You can catch a lizard with your hands, yet it is in kings' palaces.



Lizard: General Scriptures Concerning


Related Terms

Sand-lizard (1 Occurrence)

Tortoise (1 Occurrence)

Snail (2 Occurrences)

Ferret (1 Occurrence)

Chameleon (1 Occurrence)

Spider (3 Occurrences)


Gecko (1 Occurrence)

Mole (2 Occurrences)

Groaning (27 Occurrences)

Dragon (20 Occurrences)

Monitor (1 Occurrence)

Climbing (3 Occurrences)

Chomet (1 Occurrence)


Reptile (3 Occurrences)

Land-crocodile (1 Occurrence)

Weasel (1 Occurrence)

Crocodile (1 Occurrence)

Skink (1 Occurrence)

Poison (17 Occurrences)

Land (19790 Occurrences)

Sand (40 Occurrences)

Sands (9 Occurrences)

Wall (227 Occurrences)

Lo (2209 Occurrences)

Living-space (1 Occurrence)

Grasp (20 Occurrences)

Field-mouse (1 Occurrence)

Takest (17 Occurrences)

Rat (1 Occurrence)

Moloch (2 Occurrences)

Palaces (37 Occurrences)

Basilisk (3 Occurrences)

Creep (8 Occurrences)

Crawling (20 Occurrences)

Crawl (5 Occurrences)

Anah (10 Occurrences)

Swarming (19 Occurrences)

Scorpion (6 Occurrences)

Swarm (26 Occurrences)

Swift (35 Occurrences)

Serpent (40 Occurrences)

Creeping (43 Occurrences)

Catch (46 Occurrences)

Canst (62 Occurrences)

Red (124 Occurrences)

Low (216 Occurrences)

Kinds (110 Occurrences)

Move (113 Occurrences)

Animals (224 Occurrences)

Sort (143 Occurrences)

Caught (110 Occurrences)

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