bor (chazir): In lamenting the troubled state of the Jewish
nation the Psalmist (Ps 80:13) says: "The boar out of the wood
doth ravage it, and the wild beasts of the field feed on it,"
with evident reference to Israel's enemies, the Assyrians,
etc. The wild boar is abundant in certain parts of Israel and
Syria, especially in the thickets which border the lakes and
rivers, as about the Chuleh, the sea of Galilee, the Jordan,
and in the deltas of streams flowing into the Dead Sea, as
Ghaur-us-Cafiyeh. Several fountains in Lebanon bear the name,
`Ain-ul-Chazir, though chazir is not an Arabic word, khanzir
being the Arabic for "swine."
Alfred Ely Day
-General scriptures concerning
(Heb. chazir). The flesh of swine was forbidden as food by
the Levitical law, Le 11:7; De 14:8 the abhorrence which the
Jews as a nation had of it may be inferred from Isa 65:4 and
2 Macc 6:18,19. No other reason for the command to abstain
from swine's flesh is given in the law of Moses beyond the
general one which forbade any of the mammalia as food which
did not literally fulfill the terms of the definition of a
clean animal" viz,, that it was to be a cloven-footed
ruminant. It is, however, probable that dietetical
considerations may have influenced Moses in his prohibition
of swine's flesh: it is generally believed that its use in
hot countries is liable to induce cutaneous disorders; hence
in a people liable to leprosy the necessity for the
observance of a strict rule. Although the Jews did not breed
swine during the greater period of their existence as a
nation there can be little doubt that the heathen nations of
Israel used the flesh as food. At the time of our Lord's
ministry it would appear that the Jews occasionally violated
the law of Moses with regard to swine's flesh. Whether "the
herd of swine" into which the devils were allowed to enter,
Mt 8:32; Mr 5:13 were the property of the Jewish or of the
Gentile inhabitants of Gadara does not appear from the
sacred narrative. The wild boar of the wood, Ps 80:13 is the
common Sus scrofa which is frequently met with in the woody
parts of Israel, especially in Mount Tabor.
occurs only in Ps. 80:13. The same Hebrew word is elsewhere
rendered "swine" (Lev. 11:7; Deut. 14:8; Prov. 11:22;
66:3, 17). The Hebrews abhorred swine's flesh, and
none of these animals were reared, except in the
the Sea of Galilee. In the psalm quoted above the
destroyed the Jewish nation are compared to wild boars
beasts of the field.
The flesh of "swine" (domestic) was forbidden food to
Israel. Eating it was the token of apostasy under Antiochus
Epiphanes' persecution, and is mentioned among Judah's
provocations of Jehovah (Isaiah 65:4; Isaiah 66:17). E. of
the sea of Galilee, some Gadarenes are mentioned as having a
herd of 2,000. Probably they refrained themselves from the
flesh, and compromised between conscience and covetousness
by selling them to their neighbors the Gentiles. But they
gained nothing by the compromise, for the whole herd
perished in the wafters, in judicial retribution. The Lord
of the land, peculiarly set apart as the Holy Land, finds it
defiled with demons and unclean beasts. The demons beg leave
not to be sent to the abyss of torment, but into the swine.
With His leave they do so, and the swine rush down the steep
and perish in the waters.
Instead of gratitude for the deliverance, the
Gadarenes prefer their swine, though at the cost of the
demons' presence, to the Savior at the cost of sacrificing
their swine; so they entreat Him to "depart out of their
coasts," forgetting His word, "Woe to them when I depart
from them" (Hosea 9:12); a striking contrast to him who was
delivered from the demons and who "prayed that he might be
with Jesus (Mark 5:15-18). The lowest point of the
prodigal's degradation was when he was sent into the fields
to feed swine (Luke 15:15). The sensual professor's
backsliding into "the pollutions of the world," after he has
"escaped them through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior,"
is fitly compared to "the sow that was washed returning to
her wallowing in the mire" (2 Peter 2:20-22).
"As a jewel of gold (worn often by women as 'nose
jewels,' Isaiah 3:21) in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman
which is without discretion" (Hebrew: taste, i.e. without
moral perception of what is pure and impure) (Proverbs
11:22). The brutish stolidity of those who appreciate only
what gratifies their own foul appetites disqualifies them
for appreciating heavenly mysteries; to present these holy
truths to them would be as unwise as to east pearls before
swine, which would only trample them under foot (Matthew
The wild boar is mentioned once only (Psalm 80:13).
Its destroying a vineyard partly by eating the grapes,
partly by trampling the vines under foot, is the image of
the pagan world power's ravaging of Israel, Jehovah's choice
vine, transplanted from Egypt into the Holy Land. Pococke
saw large herds among the reeds of Jordan, where it flows
into the sea of Galilee; and so it is sculptured on Assyrian
monuments as among reeds. Its Hebrew name, chazir, is from a
root to roll in the mud.
The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of
the field doth devour it.
Boar, Wild. - The only allusion to this animal is found Ps. lxxix (Hebr., lxxx), 14; however, the wild boar was undoubtedly always, as it is now, common in Israel, having its lair in the woods, and most destructive to vineyards.