Spider or lizard? Proverbs 30:28

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by franklinmonroe, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
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    The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces. (Proverbs 30:28, KJV)

    a locust hath no kyng, and al goith out bi cumpanyes; an euete enforsith with hondis, and dwellith in the housis of kingis. (Proverbs 30:27-28, Wycliffe)
    The Hebrew word here is semamiyth (Strong's #8079, only one occurrence in the Bible) meaning: a kind of lizard. Perhaps it could be a gecko, or as Wycliffe's suggests a newt ("euete"). The NKJV has "spider*" in the main text, with the footnote stating: "* Or, lizard".

    Brenton's English translation of the LXX --
    And the eft, which supports itself by its hands, and is easily taken, dwells in the fortresses of kings.
    The Greek word kalabotes is rendered "eft". What is an "eft"? An "eft" is a newt, or common lizard according to Webster's 1828.
    From the ISBE listing "Lizard" --
    The Septuagint (Septuagint) has kalabotes, which according to Liddell and Scott = askalabotes, "a spotted lizard." There is no other lizard which fits this passage as does the gecko. ..."

    There are two other verses in the Bible with a reference to spiders --
    Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust [shall be] a spider's web. (Job 8:14, KJV)

    They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper. (Isaiah 59:5, KJV)
    There is a different Hebrew word in these two verses is 'akkabiysh (Strong's #5908) meaning: spider.

    So, how did Coverdale, Bishops', Geneva, Young's (and some loyal others), with the KJVs arrive at "spider" in Proverbs 30:28 if not from ancient Hebrew, Greek, or Latin sources?
     
    #1 franklinmonroe, Feb 25, 2009
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  2. AntennaFarmer

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    Rashi reads "spider" in this passage.

    Rev. David Scot
    [*] notes several sources giving alternate meanings for semamith (sic) (including spider) while coming down on the side of lizard.

    Sometimes these things aren't quite so clear cut as the lexicon makes it seem. I am not trying to make a conclusive argument here. This is just some clues for further study.




    * Rev David Scot (several titles), On the Semamith of Solomon, Prov. XXX.28, The Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, 1828. p. 30. [Available on Google Books]
     
  3. Jim1999

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    With all the castles throughout England and Europe, spider makes the most sense. Think of the annoying spider webs all over the castles, in doorways (high arches) windows and stairways. It is less likely that a lizard would enter the minds of early translators. They wouldn't be as much of a problem in the castles.......I should think the same might be true in Bible ages.......Who can know for certain?

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  4. Amy.G

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    That's exactly what I was thinking Jim.
     
  5. franklinmonroe

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    I agree that we can hardly know with absolute certainty. I affirm that human living quarters are often co-occupied by insects and small reptiles, rodents, amphibians, etc. and I think that either "spider" or "lizard" ("gecko", "newt") can fit in this context.

    But I find your speculation reckless. Serious translators should always strive to bring their speculation under submission, in part by limiting the influence of their own limited local experiences upon their work. Applying one's narrow personal experience to interpret unknown and unexperienced things can (and often does) lead to wrong ends. The king's revisers of 1611 ought not to have been thinking in geographic terms of European castles but rather in terms of Mid-Eastern structures; in taxonomical terms, they should have considered the abundant creatures specifically found in Palestine and not organisms only found in England. (However, whether to express in a translation those things which are foreign by substituting familiar things is a separate discussion entirely.) And as much as possible, readers ought not to prejudice the Scriptures.

    It seems that neither you nor I really can properly conjecture based on our own direct experience what is more (or less) "likely" to have been identified the writer of the Proverb. What makes the most "sense" is that we rely upon 'indirect' experience, that is, the knowledge that is supplied from qualified others (expert translators, historians, interpreters).
     
    #5 franklinmonroe, Feb 26, 2009
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  6. Salamander

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    A lizard can make it in some places almost unimaginable. The spider can make it into the unimaginable/ king's palaces.:tongue3:

    Thus the KJB remains far superior.
     
  7. EdSutton

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    Yep! I live on a farm, and occasionally do move a rock or a log.

    And I agree. One can find them in almost unimaginable places.

    Ed
     
  8. Jim1999

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    Lizard or spider, I don't think it really matters. Neither changes the meaning of the text, and I sure understand the spider better than the lizard from where I live.

    Reckless? If you wish and it makes you feel better.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  9. franklinmonroe

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    Thanks, AF. It seems that Scot's entire purpose in this lecture was to establish that the semamiyth is not a kind of spider, but rather a kind of lizard. He merely briefly mentions "two of the least objectionable" other options (the swallow and the ape!) before proceeding to discredit the interpretation of a spider and constructing the case in favor of a lizard. From page 34 --
    ... This rendering of the semamith by the Septuagint and Vulgate is supported by the Syriac, Chaldee and Samaritan translators. The term which each employs signifies stellio, or a spotted lizard.

    Bochart, in his Hierozoicon, says, that there are two species of stellio, the one poisonous and the other harmless ; but doubts which was meant by the semamith. If it be the stellio reputed poisonous, sem with a samech, which is convertible with sin, according to some, will signify poison, and of course the semamith will be the poisonous lizard. Others, however, pronounce shemamith, and bring it from a verb, which signifies to stun or stupify ; and they think this lizard is so called, because it stuns or stupifies the scorpion, to which it is said to be a determined and terrible enemy. So Galen, De Theriaca ad Pisonem, asserts, that "the stellio, as soon as seen by scorpions, stuns, and so destroys them;" and AElian and Isidore, &c. agree with Galen in ascribing to the stellio this power over the scorpion.

    But what is still more to our purpose, in proving the semamith to be a stellio, is this sentence of the Talmud, treatise on the Sabbath, chap. 8. "The terror of the semamith is upon the scorpion," a sentence which cannot be predicated of any spider, however formidable. ...

    "Bochart" is evidently Samuel Bochart, a French Protestant Bible scholar who published his encylopedic study of biblical zoology in 1663.
     
    #9 franklinmonroe, Mar 2, 2009
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  10. AntennaFarmer

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    That is correct. He is making that argument. You will observe, however, that he develops the argument while recent sources don't bother. That being the case we can examine his arguments rather than just taking his opinion blindly.

    Did you check out RASHI?

    A.F.
     
  11. franklinmonroe

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    I only found this --
    The spider: Erinee in Old French. [Araignee in modern French.]​
     
  12. robycop3

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    No, the KJV is guessing, same as the others, same as it did with 'unicorns'. Its translators readily admitted they often made their best guesses as to the identity of many critters in Hebrew when they had no help from context.

    Spiders have no hands, while many small lizards do. And mosta those small lizards eat spiders.
     
  13. AntennaFarmer

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    The KJV translators didn't guess. They followed the expert. RASHI gave the reading "spider". He was considered an authority on the Hebrew text.

    As to unicorn (lit. single horn), you are misrepresenting the meaning. The reading came from the Septuagint. That isn't guessing. That is using the best available sources.
     
  14. AntennaFarmer

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    I think that is about all. RASHI's comments are known for being brief. He wrote them in Old French (hence the added comments)....

    Does RASHI qualify as an "ancient source"? I believe he was around only about 500 years before the KJV was translated.

    A.F.
     
  15. franklinmonroe

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    Yes, I accept RASHI as an ancient source; however, we have at least two other 'ancient' witnesses (the LXX & Vulgate) that agree against him.

    So, on what basis should RASHI become the final authority here? Should RASHI be the final authority on all issues? Has RASHI ever be shown to be in error?
     
  16. Salamander

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    Nope, your accusations are always unfounded.

    The context places the emphasis on the unlikelyhood of the matter and God shows that even in king's palaces the spider is found. It has to do with no matter how clean we think we are, even a spider/unwanted insect( for the most part) is found even where the richest have servents to keep things
    "spotless" but not spiderless!

    You're asking the text be literally "hands" when that is not the principle. Spiders have "legs" viewed as arms/ arms have hands, but look at this:
    "Spider" is best understood rather than "lizard", but I forget who I'm dealing with here:sleep:
     
  17. Salamander

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    Also the understanding of "unicorn" didn't have the conontation of it being a mystical horse with a twisted horn protruding from its forehead with mystical powers.

    After researching this tired old arguement against the KJB when i first ran across it, I find it almost humorous that anyone would consider themselves serious about a versions discussion and try to use this that way.:sleep:
     
  18. Keith M

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    Spiders don't have hands, Sal.

    Right, Sal! The KJVs are always right - except when they're wrong, of course.
     
  19. Keith M

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    Robycop3 has a lot more foundation and truth to his claims than you have, Sal. Your entire KJVO position has no foundation at all.

    That's your interpretation, Sal...

    That's really a s-t-r-e-t-c-h, Sal. Try again...
     
  20. Salamander

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    Define "lizard".


    Define "spider".

    How many varieties of lizards have venom? I betcha the ones in "Holes" were non-poisonous:tongue3:

    How many spiders use venom? How many times do you see a spider using its practice of weaving a web around its victim? How many times do you see a lizard using its hands?

    To be truthful, I have only seen lizards use their mouths when taking prey. Can you show me where they actually use their hands for anything other than walking?

    I've got three boys and each of them have been obsessed with lizards, I've caught a few myself, but I can honestly say I have never seen them using their hands / feet, as a racoon might to make the implication of "lizards" as being correct.

    Of course reality isn't any proof of anything in any discussion on the BB.:sleep:
     

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