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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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ANT ( nemâlâh , Arab. [Note: Arabic.] namlah ). Ants are exceedingly abundant all over Palestine, where, through their vast numbers, they perform a most important rôle, by continually changing the surface soil in the way earthworms do in northern countries. No more apt illustration of diligence ( Proverbs 6:6-8 ) could be found than these little insects, which, in all but the wettest weather, can be seen scurrying backwards and forwards on the long tracks they have made. Some common varieties of Palestine ants ( Aphœnogaster barbara, A. structor and Pheidole megacephala ) store up great quantities of various kinds of seeds, which they are able, in some unknown way, to prevent germinating and make use of as food ( Proverbs 30:25 ). Whole troops of these little insects may be seen carrying seeds, often many times their own size and weight, from a distant garden or corn-field. The writer has even seen a procession of ants carrying their harvest under the thickness of a broad mud wall which bounded the corn-field, and then across a wide and frequented road. The stores of seeds so collected have been found so great that the Mishna laid down rules in regard to their ownership. If they were discovered in the field before reaping, they belonged to the owner, but if afterwards, they were all or in part for the poor. The sagacity of the ant in this and other respects is widely recognized both in Oriental lore as in Proverbs 30:24-25 and even more forcibly by the modern naturalist.

E. W. G. Masterman.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Ant'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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