Rendering in the English versions of the Hebrew "ḥazir." The swine is enumerated among the unclean animals (Lev. xi. 7; Deut. xiv. 8); the use of its flesh as food is branded as apostasy (Isa. Ixv. 4; lxvi. 3, 17); and the contempt in which the animal was held is expressed in the proverbial use of its name (Prov. xi. 22). The boar is referred to in Ps. lxxx. 13 as the "swine of the woods," i.e., of the thickets along the banks of the Jordan from Jericho to the Sea of Galilee, where it still swarms, being comparatively rare elsewhere in Palestine.
The abhorrence to the swine in later times is illustrated by the endeavor in the Talmud to avoid even mentioning it by name, the expression "another thing" ("dabar aḥar") being used instead. Hence tyrants and heathen mobs used to enjoy the diversion of forcing Jews to eat swine (Philo, ii. 531; II Mace. vi. 18, vii. 1; comp. Josephus, "Ant." xiii. 8, § 2). Not only was the breeding of the swine forbidden (Men. 64b); but to keep it among flocks was prohibited also (B. Ḳ. vii. 7; Yer. Sheḳ. 47c).
The swine is the emblem of filthiness (Ber. 43b). It is the richest of all animals because it can find its food everywhere (Shab. 155b). Breeders of swine are compared to usurers because both grow rich easily and rapidly; for the swine fattens quickly (Ber. 55a).
Among the parts of the swine mentioned as being used are its haunches, which were considered a delicacy; its fat, with which cheeses were embellished; the bristles of its back, which were used as needles; and its excrement, which was employed by tanners (Ḥul. 17a; 'Ab. Zarah 35b; Shab. 90b [Rashi]; Ber. 25a). The swine is one of the three animals which grow stronger with age (Shab. 77b; see Serpent); it is, of all animals, most subject to disease (Ḳid. 49b); and as its intestines most resemble those of man, an epidemic among swine was cause for the ordinance of public prayers and fasting (Ta'an. 21b). Its period of gestation is sixty days (Bek. 8a). The boar is mentioned under the name of "ḥazir ha-bar": it roams in swamps and marshy places (Ḥul. 122a). It crushes its prey, eating its fill, and trampling the rest (Pes. 118b). The Egyptian swine is referred to in Sanh. 33a, 93a. See, also, Leopard.
- Tristram, Nat. Hist. pp. 54, 145;
- Lewysohn, Z. T. p. 146;
- Cassel, De Judœorum Odio et-Abstinentia a Porcina Eiusque Causis, Magdeburg, 1740.