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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Locust

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LOCUST

(1) ’arbeh (root = ‘to multiply’) occurs more than 20 times; in Judges 6:5 ; Judges 7:12 , Job 39:20 , and Jeremiah 46:23 it is, however, tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ‘grasshopper’ in AV [Note: Authorized Version.] .

(2) châgâb (tr. [Note: translate or translation.] AV [Note: Authorized Version.] and RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘locust’ in 2 Chronicles 7:13 , elsewhere ‘grasshopper’), possibly a small locust: see Leviticus 11:22 , Numbers 13:33 , Ecclesiastes 12:5 , Isaiah 40:22 .

(3) gçbîm (pl.), Amos 7:1 , AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘grasshoppers,’ RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘locusts,’ AVm [Note: Authorized Version margin.] ‘green worms’; gôbai , Nahum 3:17 , AV [Note: Authorized Version.] great grasshoppers,’ RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘swarms of grasshoppers.’

The remaining words are very uncertain. (4) gâzâm , tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ‘palmer worm’ ( i.e . caterpillar). (5) yeleq , tr. [Note: translate or translation.] (RV [Note: Revised Version.] ) ‘ canker-worm .’ (6) châsîl , tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ‘ caterpillar .’ ( Joel 1:4 ; Joel 2:25 etc.) may all be stages in the development of the locust, or they may, more probably, be some varieties of grasshoppers. (7) chargôl , Leviticus 11:22 (mistranslated in AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘ beetle ’; RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘ cricket ’), and (8) Sol‘âm , Leviticus 11:22 . (tr. [Note: translate or translation.] AV [Note: Authorized Version.] and RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘ bald locust ’), are also some varieties of locust or grasshopper (it is impossible to be certain of the varieties specified). (9) tsěl âtsal , Deuteronomy 28:42 , from a root meaning ‘whirring,’ may refer to the cicada , which fills the countryside with its strident noise all through the hot summer.

Locusts and grasshoppers are included in the family Acrididæ . The latter are always plentiful, but the locusts fortunately do not appear in swarms, except at intervals of years. The most destructive kinds are Acridium peregrinum and Ædipoda migratoria . When they arrive in their countless millions, they darken the sky ( Exodus 10:15 ). The poetical description in Joel 2:1-11 is full of faithful touches; particularly the extraordinary noise they make (v. 5) when they are all feeding together. Their voracious onslaught is referred to in Isaiah 33:4 , and their sudden disappearance when they rise in clouds to seek new fields for destruction is mentioned in Nahum 3:17 . They clear every green thing in their path ( Exodus 10:15 ). No more suitable figure can be conceived for an invading army ( Judges 6:5 ; Judges 7:12 , Jeremiah 46:23 ). When, some forty years ago, the Anezi Bedouin from E. of the Jordan swarmed on to the Plain of Esdraelon, an eye-witness looking from Nazareth described the plain as stripped utterly bare, ‘just as if the locusts had been over it.’ When locusts are blown seaward, they fall into the water in vast numbers ( Exodus 10:19 ). The present writer has seen along the N. shore of the Dead Sea a continuous ridge of dead locusts washed up. The smell of piles of rotting locusts is intolerable. The feebleness and insignificance of these little insects, as viewed individually, are referred to in Numbers 13:33 , Psalms 109:23 , Isaiah 40:22 . Locusts are still eaten (cf. Matthew 3:4 ). See Food, 8 .

E. W. G. Masterman.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Locust'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdb/l/locust.html. 1909.

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