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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


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hôrs´lēch ( עלוּקה , ‛ălūḳāh ; compare Arabic ‛alûḳah , "ghoul," and ‛alaḳah , "leech," from root ‛alı̄ḳ , "to cling"; Septuagint βδέλλα , bdélla , "leech"): The word occurs only once, in Proverbs 30:15 , the Revised Version margin "vampire." In Arabic ‛alaḳah is a leech of any kind, not only a horse-leech. The Arabic ‛alûḳah , which, it may be noted, is almost identical with the Hebrew form, is a ghoul (Arabic ghûl ), an evil spirit which seeks to injure men and which preys upon the dead. The mythical vampire is similar to the ghoul. In zoölogy the name "vampire" is applied to a family of bats inhabiting tropical America, some, but not all, of which suck blood. In the passage cited the Arabic Bible has ‛alûḳah , "ghoul." If leech is meant, there can be no good reason for specifying "horseleach." At least six species of leech are known in Palestine and Syria, and doubtless others exist. They are common in streams, pools, and fountains where animals drink. They enter the mouth, attach themselves to the interior of the mouth or pharynx, and are removed only with difficulty.

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Horseleach'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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