we'-z'-l (choledh; compare Arabic khuld, "mole-rat"): (1)
Choledh is found only in Lev 11:29, where it stands first in
the list of eight unclean "creeping things that creep upon
the earth." the King James Version and the Revised Version
(British and American) agree in rendering choledh by
"weasel," and the Septuagint has gale, "weasel" or "marten."
According to Gesenius, the Vulgate, Targum, and Talmud
support the same rendering. In spite of this array of
authorities, it is worth while to consider the claims of the
mole-rat, Spalax typhlus, Arabic khuld. This is a very
common rodent, similar in appearance and habits to the mole,
which does not exist in Israel. The fact that it burrows may
be considered against it, in view of the words, "that
creepeth upon the earth." The term "creeping thing" is,
however, very applicable to it, and the objection seems like
a quibble, especially in view of the fact that there is no
category of subterranean animals. See MOLE. (2) The weasel,
Mustela vulgaris, has a wide range in Asia, Europe, and
North America. It is from 8 to 10 inches long, including the
short tail. It is brown above and white below. In the
northern part of its range, its whole fur, except the tail,
is white in winter. It is active and fearless, and preys
upon all sorts of small mammals, birds and insects.
Alfred Ely Day
(Heb. holedh), enumerated among unclean animals (Lev. 11:29).
Some think that this Hebrew word rather denotes the
typhlus) common in Israel. There is no sufficient
however, to depart from the usual translation. The
are common also in Israel.
So the Mishna interprets choled (Leviticus 11:29), as meaning
an animal that glides or slips away. So Septuagint and Vulgate
But Bochart takes it as related to the Arabic chuld, "the
mole"; chephar is the more usual Hebrew for the mole (Isaiah
2:20). The choled was unclean.
Weasel, Lev., xi, 29, must be regarded as a general name, probably designating, besides the weasel proper, the polecat and ichneumon, all very common in the Holy Land.