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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Horse-Leech

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HORSE-LEECH ( ‘aluqah , cf. Arab. [Note: Arabic.] ‘alaqeh ). The horse-leech ( Hœmopis sanguisuga ) and the medicinal leech ( Hirudo medicinalis ) are very common in Palestine and are the cause of much trouble, even sickness and death, to man and beast. They abound in many springs, streams, and pools, and lodge themselves, while still small, in the mouths of those drinking. Thence they not infrequently find their way to the pharynx, and even larynx, where they live and grow for many months. They cause frequent hæmorrhages, and, if not removed, lead to progressive anæmia and death. Their voracious appetite for blood, possibly referred to in Proverbs 30:15 , is well illustrated by their habits as internal parasites. It is probable, however, that the reference here is not to the leech of common life, but to the mythological vampire, the ghul of the Arabs.

E. W. G. Masterman.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Horse-Leech'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdb/h/horse-leech.html. 1909.

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