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TORTOISE:

Rendering in the Authorized Version of the Hebrew word "ẓab" (Lev. xi. 29; see Lizard). Some commentators assume "gallim" in Hos. xii. 12 to mean "tortoises," a view which has the support of the Septuagint, the Peshiṭta, and old Arabic versions. Two species of land tortoise, Testudo græca and Testudo leithii, and several of the aquatic tortoises have been found in Palestine. Of the latter the Emys caspica is the most numerous.

The Talmud uses "ẓab" and also "zabuni" to denote the toad (Ṭoh. v. i). In Ber. 33a it is said that the water-snake is the issue of the toad and the snake. The tortoise is assumed to be intended in and in Nid. 17a and Gen. R. lvii. 2.

Bibliography:
  • Tristram, Nat. Hist. p. 255;
  • Lewysohn, Z. T. p. 232.
E. G. H. I. M. C.
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