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SNAIL:

Rendering given in the English versions for "shabbelul," which occurs only in Ps. lviii. 9 (A. V. 8). An equivalent rendering is given bythe Targum and the Talmud; the Septuagint and Vulgate give "wax." The idea of melting away, expressed in the passage referred to, may have arisen from the trail of slime which this mollusk leaves behind as it crawls, or from its retirement, or "melting away," into cracks and crevices. There are numerous and various mollusks in Syria and Palestine. For "ḥomeṭ" (Lev. xi. 30), which the Authorized Version renders by "snail," see Lizard.

The shabbelul serves as a cure for boils (Shab. 77b). Of the ḥomeṭ it is said that at birth it is of the size of a lentil. Other conchylia are comprised under the name of "ḥalazon" (see Sanh. 91a); 'Ab. Zarah 28b). The "melting away" of the snail on its walk is referred to in M. Ḳ. 6b. In the egg of the snail the white is not separated from the yolk ('Ab. Zarah 40a).

Bibliography:
  • Tristram, Nat. Hist. p. 268;
  • Lewysohn, Zoologie des Talmuds, p. 279.
E. G. H. I. M. C.
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