har ('arnebheth (Lev 11:6; Dt 14:7); compare Arabic 'arnab,
"hare"): This animal is mentioned only in the lists of
unclean animals in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, Where it
occurs along with the camel, the coney and the swine. The
camel, the hare and the coney are unclean, `because they
chew the cud but part not the hoof,' the swine, "because he
parteth the hoof .... but cheweth not the cud." The hare and
the coney are not ruminants, but might be supposed to be
from their habit of almost continually moving their jaws.
Both are freely eaten by the Arabs. Although 'arnebheth
occurs only in the two places cited, there is no doubt that
it is the hare. Septuagint has dasupous, "rough-footed,"
which, while not the commonest Greek word (lagos), refers to
the remarkable fact that in hares and rabbits the soles of
the feet are densely covered with hair. 'Arnab, which is the
common Arabic word for "hare," is from the same root as the
Lev 11:4-7: verse 4, English Versions of the Bible "camel";
Septuagint ton kamelon; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-
405 A.D.) camelus; Hebrew ha-gamal. Lev 11:5, English
Versions of the Bible "coney"; Septuagint ton dasupoda;
Vulgate, choerogryllus; Hebrew ha-shapan. Lev 11:6, English
Versions of the Bible "hare"; Septuagint ton choirogruillion
Vulgate, lepus; Hebrew ha-arnebeth. Lev 11:7, English
Versions of the Bible "swine"; Septuagint ton hun; Vulgate,
sus; Hebrew ha-chazir.
Dt 14:7: English Versions of the Bible "camel"; Septuagint
ton kamelon Vulgate, camelum; Hebrew hagamal; English
Versions of the Bible "hare"; Septuagint dasupoda; Vulgate,
leporem; Hebrew ha'arnebeth; English Versions of the Bible
"coney"; Septuagint choirogrullion; Vulgate, choerogryllum;
Dt 14:8: English Versions of the Bible "swine"; Septuagint
ton hun Vulgate, sus; Hebrew hacheziyr.
It is evident from the above and from the meanings of
dasupous and chorogrullios as given in Liddell and Scott,
that the order of Septuagint in Lev 11:5,6 does not follow
the Hebrew, but has apparently assimilated the order of that
of Dt 14:7,8. In Ps 104:18, Septuagint has chorogrullios for
shaphan; also in Prov 30:26.
Since the word "coney," which properly means "rabbit," has
been applied to the hyrax, so, in America at least, the word
"rabbit" is widely used for various species of hare, e.g.
the gray rabbit and the jack-rabbit, both of which are
hares. Hares have longer legs and ears and are swifter than
rabbits. Their young are hairy and have their eyes open,
while rabbits are born naked and blind. Hares are widely
distributed in the Northern Hemisphere, and there is one
species in South America. Rabbits are apparently native to
the Western Mediterranean countries, although they have been
distributed by man all over the world.
Lepus syriacus, the common hare of Syria and Israel, differs
somewhat from the European hare. Lepus judeae is cited by
Tristram from Northeastern Israel, and he also notes three
other species from the extreme south.
Alfred Ely Day
-Forbidden as food
Le 11:6; De 14:7
(Heb. arnebeth) occurs only in Le 11:6 and Deut 14:7
amongst the animals disallowed as food by the Mosaic
law. The hare is at this day called arnel by the Arabs in
Israel and Syria. It was erroneously thought by the ancient
Jews to have chewed the cud. They were no doubt misled as in
the case of the shaphfan (hyrax), by the habit these animals
have of moving the jaw about.
(Heb. 'arnebeth) was prohibited as food according to the
law (Lev. 11:6; Deut. 14:7), "because he cheweth the
divideth not the hoof." The habit of this animal is
to grind its
teeth and move its jaw as if it actually chewed the
like the cony (q.v.), it is not a ruminant with four
but a rodent like the squirrel, rat, etc. Moses
speaks of it
according to appearance. It is interdicted because,
apparently chewing the cud, it did not divide the
There are two species in Syria, (1) the Lepus
Syrian hare, which is like the English hare; and (2)
Sinaiticus, or hare of the desert. No rabbits are
arnebeth Reckoned unclean on the ground that it "chews the
cud, but divideth not the hoof" (Leviticus 11:6; Deuteronomy
14:7). It brings up from the (esophagus and chews again its
food; but there is no genuine rumination, neither it nor the
hyrax ("coney") or shaaphan have the special stomach of the
ruminants. Rodent animals, as the hare and the hyrax, keep
down the undue growth of their teeth, which grow during
life, by grinding with their jaws. The sacred legislator did
not design the classification of a scientific naturalist or
a comparative anatomist, but to furnish a popular mode of
recognizing animals the flesh of which was not to be eaten.
The rule in Deuteronomy 17:27, "whatsoever goeth upon his
paws" (as the dog, cat, and beasts of prey), sufficiently
excludes from the clean the hyrax and the hare. The Parsees
still abominate the hare.
The hare, though having a divided foot, has not a
cloven hoof, which was a requisite for legal cleanness. True
ruminants have four stomachs, molar teeth, and a jawbone
suited for the circular movement of chewing the cud. The
hare has none of these marks, and has in the upper jaw
incisor teeth, which ruminants have not. But hares retain
the cropped food within the hollows of their cheeks and
masticate it at leisure, which in phenomenal language is
"chewing the cud," and is so described by even so close an
observer of nature as the poet Cowper. The ancient Britons
rejected it as food. The Palestinian hare, Lepus Syriacus,
was of a fur buff or yellowish-grey color, the hare of the
desert (Lepus Sinaiticus) darker and smaller. The rabbit
(Lepus cuniculus) seems to be unknown in Syria and Israel.
Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud,
or of them that divide the cloven hoof; [as] the camel, and
the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not
the hoof; [therefore] they [are] unclean unto you.
And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the
hoof; he [is] unclean unto you.
Hare. - Mentioned Lev., xi, 6; Deut., xiv, 7, in the list of the unclean quadrupeds. Several subspecies of the European Hare and the Cape Hare live in Israel: Lepus europaeus syriacus in the north; Lepus europaeus judeae in the south and the Jordan valley, together with Lepus capensis sinaiticus, Lepus capensis aegyptius and Lepus capensis isabellinus, The statement of the Bible that the hare "cheweth the cud" is a classical difficulty. It should be noticed that this is not the reason why the hare is reckoned among the unclean animals; but the cause thereof should be sought for in the fact that though it chews the cud, which certainly it appears to do, it does not divide the hoof.