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SCORPION (Hebrew, "'aḳrab"):

An arachnid resembling a miniature flat lobster, and having a poisonous sting in its tail. It is common in the Sinaitic Peninsula and the desert of El-Tih. In Palestine, where it is represented by eight species, it swarms in every part of the country, and is found in houses, in chinks of walls, among ruins, and under stones. In Ezek. ii. 6 "scorpion" is employed as a metaphor of bitter, stinging words; and in I Kings xii. 11, 14 it is applied to a scourge which was probably provided with metal points. A place-name derived from the scorpion may perhaps be seen in Maaleh Akrabbim ("ascent of the scorpions"), occurring in Num. xxxiv. 4, Josh. xv. 3, and Judges i. 36.

In the Talmud the scorpion is said to live in empty cisterns, in dung-heaps, in holes, among stones, and in crevices of walls (Ḥag. 3a and parallels). It attacks without provocation or warning; and its bite is even more dangerous than that of the snake, because it repeats it (Yer. Ber. 9a). The scorpions of Adiabene (Ḥadyab) were considered especially (dangerous (Shab. 121b). The urine of a forty-day-old infant and the gall of the stork were used as curatives (ib. 109b; Ket. 50a). The scorpion itself was employed as a medicament in curing cataract (Giṭ. 60a). Among the permanent miracles of Jerusalem was numbered the fact that no one was ever bitten there by a scorpion or a serpent (Ab. v. 5). The anger of the wise is likened to the sting of the scorpion (ib. ii. 10). Metaphorically, "'aḳrab" is used of the iron bit of the horse (Kelim xi. 5, xii. 3).

Bibliography:
  • Tristram, Nat. Hist. p. 301;
  • Lewysohn, Z. T. p. 298.
J. I. M. C.
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