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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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That bears were common in Palestine appears from several passages of the Old Testament. Their strength, rapacity, and fierceness, furnish many expressive metaphors to the Hebrew poets. The Hebrew name of this animal is taken from his g r owling; so Varro deduces his Latin name ursus by an onomatopaeia from the noise which he makes; "ursi Lucana origo, vel unde illi, nostri ab ipsius voce: " [the origin of the term ursus (bear) is Lucanian, (whence also the bears themselves,) from the noise made by the animal.] David had to defend his flock against bears as well as lions, 1 Samuel 17:34 . And Dr. Shaw gives us to understand that these rugged animals are not peculiar to the bleak regions of the north, being found in Barbary; and Thevenot informs us that they inhabit the wilderness adjoining the Holy Land, and that he saw one near the northern extremities of the Red Sea. The ferocity of the bear, especially when hungry or robbed of its whelps, has been mentioned by many authors. The Scripture alludes in three places to this furious disposition. The first is, 2 Samuel 17:8 , "They be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field." The second, Proverbs 17:12 , "Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man rather than a fool in his folly." And the third, Hosea 13:8 , "I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart."

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Bear'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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