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LOCUST:

(Redirected from CANKERWORM.)

Of all the insects the locust is most frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. It occurs under the following nine names, which probably denote different species; but there is no certain clue by which the exact species intended by each name can be identified: (1) "arbeh" (A. V. sometimes "grasshopper"), the most common term, comprising the whole genus; (2) "sol'am," derived by Ibn Ezra from "sela'" = "rock" (rock-locust; A. V. "bald locust"); (3) "ḥargol" (A. V. "beetle"; R. V. "cricket"; Jewish exegetes, "grasshopper"; comp. Arabic "ḥarjal" = "a troop of horses," or "locust," from "ḥarjala" = "to hop," "to jump"); (4) "ḥagab" (A. V. usually "grasshopper"; seems likewise to be used in a general sense in Num. xiii. 33; Isa. xl. 22); (5) "ḥasil" (I Kings viii. 37; Ps. lxxviii. 46); (6) "gazam" (Joel i. 4; Amos iv. 9), usually rendered "palmer-worm"; (7) "yeleḳ" (Jer. li. 27; Nahum iii. 15; LXX. and Vulgate, "bronchos"; R. V. "canker-worm"); (8) "ẓelaẓal" (Deut. xxviii. 42) may be an onomatopœic designation of locusts in general; (9) "gebim" and "gobai" (Nahum iii. 17; Amos vii. 1; A. V. "grasshopper"; R. V. margin to the latter passage, "green worms") are probably also general terms. The first four species are enumerated among the "winged creeping things" which are allowed to be eaten, and are described as having "legs above their feet to leap withal upon the earth" (Lev. xi. 21 et seq.).

Upward of forty orthopterous insects have been discovered in Palestine. The Acrydium lineola, A. peregrinum, and the (Edipoda migratoria are counted among the most destructive, and are therefore the most dreaded.

The term "locusts" is sometimes used figuratively; e.g., for swarming hordes and mighty hosts (Judges vi. 5, vii. 12; Jer. xlvi. 23; Prov. xxx. 28); for prancing horses (Joel ii. 4; Job xxxix. 20); as an emblem of voracious greed (Isa. xxxiii. 4; Amos vii. 1); of feebleness, insignificance, and perishableness (Num. xiii. 33; Isa. xl. 22; Ps. cix. 23; Nahum iii. 17).

The Talmud points out as the marks of the clean locust: four feet, two hopping legs, and four wings which are large enough to cover the body (Ḥul. 59a). Besides the species mentioned in the Old Testament the Talmud refers to many others (comp. Ḥul. 65). Public prayers were instituted against the plague of locusts (Ta'an. 14a, 19a). Some locusts, probably variegated, were the playthings of children (Shab. 90b). The egg of the ḥargol carried in the ear relieves earache (ib. 65a); while the left part of the "ẓipporat keramim" worn on the left side of the body preserves one's knowledge (ib. 90b; Tristram, "Nat. Hist." p. 306; Lewysohn, "Z. T." p. 285; Burckhardt, "Notes on the Bedouins," p. 269).

E. G. H. I. M. C.
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