Coney in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
shaphan, from the root "to hide"; the S. Arab, thofun; the
Syrian Arab, weber. A pachydermatous animal, gregarious,
greybacked, white on the belly, with long hair, short tail,
and round ears; common on the ridges of Lebanon; living in
caves and clefts; the Hyrax Syriacus, not the rabbit or coney.
Proverbs 30:26; "the coneys are but a feeble folk, yet make
they their houses in the rocks:" exactly true of the hyrax;
with weak teeth, short incisors, and nails instead, it seems
defenseless, but its security is in rocky hiding places, such
as Ain Feshkah on the Dead Sea shore.
"No animal" (says Tristram). "gave us so much trouble
to secure." It is described as "chewing the cud" (Leviticus
11:5; Deuteronomy 14:7), in phenomenal language, because the
motion of its jaws is like that of ruminating animals; so also
the hare. Though in some respects like the rodentia, it is
really akin to the rhinoceros; its molar teeth differ only in
the size; its body is as large as the rabbit. The "exceeding
wisdom" of the coneys is illustrated in their setting an old
male sentry near their holes to warn his companions when
danger approaches, by a whistling sound.
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