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Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The Old Testament Hebrew word: עכבר

Source: https://www.abarim-publications.com/Dictionary/ay/ay-k-b-r.html

עכבר

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary

עכבר

The noun עכבר (akbar) means mouse. Mice in the Bible aren't very positive; they are considered unclean (Leviticus 11:29) and were known for carrying disease (1 Samuel 6:5 - in relation to the wrath of God aroused by the Philistines improper handling of the Ark of the Covenant; HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament proposes bubonic plague).

Where the word akbar comes from isn't known, but perhaps the slightly similar and also of unknown origin noun עכביש (akkabish), meaning spider suggests there once was a common root or idea for the two of them. What that might have been is no longer clear but note that the Greek word for mouse, namely μυς (mys) appears to be related to the words μυστης (mustes), mystery, and even μυσαρος (musaros), foul, dirty or loathsome. The key is that all these words express existence just beneath the surface, a state of being hidden or kept from sight, whereas the Bible promotes transparency in all things.

עכביש

The noun עכביש (akkabish) means spider. Spiders are referred to only three times in the Bible: Job 8:14, 27:18 and Isaiah 59:5. Spiders, of course, are notorious web-weavers, which might explain the association with the secretive and foul mouse.


Associated Biblical names