Locust a well-known insect, which commits terrible devastation to vegetation in the countries which it visits. In the East it is especially prevalent, and at times commits such ravages as to produce famine and render the district almost uninhabitable.

I. There are ten Hebrew words which appear to signify locust in the Old Testament, while in the Greek the general term is ἀκρίς, which is employed in the New Testament. It has been supplosed that some of these words denote merely the different states through which the locust passes after leaving the egg, viz. the larva, the pupa, and the perfect insect — all which much resemble each other, except that the larva has no wings, and that the pupa possesses only the rudiments of those members, which are fully developed only in the adult locust (Michaelis, Supplem. ad Lex. Hebr. 2:667, 1080). But this supposition is manifestly wrong with regard to several of these terms, because, in Le 11:22, the word לַמַינוֹ, "after his kind," or species, is added after each of them (compare verses 14, 15,16). It is most probable, therefore, that all the rest are also the names of species. But the problem is to ascertain the particular species intended by them respectively.

(1.) ARBEH' (אִרבֶּה, occurs in Ex 10:4; Sept. ἀκρίδα πολλήν, a vast flight of locusts, or perhaps indicating that several species were employed, Vulg. locustam; and in verses 12, 13, 14, 19, ἀκρις and locusta, Eng. "locusts;" Le 11:22, βροῦχον, bruchus, "locust;" De 28:38, ἀκρίς, locustae, "locust;" Jg 6:5; Jg 7:12; ἀκρίς, locustarum, "grasshoppers;" 1Ki 8:37, βροῦχος, locssta, "locust;" 2Ch 6:28, ἀκρίς, locusta, "locusts;" Job 39:20, ἀκρίδες, locustas, "grasshopper;" Ps 78:46, ἀκρίδι, Symm. σκώληκι, locustae, "locust;" Ps 105:34, ἀκρίς, locusta, "locusts;" Ps 109:23, ἀκρίδες, locustae, "locust;" Pr 30:27, ἀκρίς, locusta, "locusts;" Jer 46:23, ἀκρίδα, locusta, "grasshoppers;" Joe 1:4; Joe 2:25, ἀκρίς, locustar, "locust;" Na 3:15, βροῦχος, bruchus, "locusts;" verse 17, ἀττέλαβος, locusts, "locusts"). In almost every passage where arbeh occurs, reference is made to its terribly destructive powers.

Bible concordance for LOCUST.

It is the locust of the Egyptian plagues described in Exodus 10, where, as indeed everywhere else, it occurs in the singular number only, though it is there associated with verbs both in the singular and plural (verses 5, 6), as are the corresponding words in the Sept. and Vulgate. This it might be as a noun of multitude, but it will be rendered probable that four species were employed in the plague on Egypt, of which this is named first (Ps 78:46-47; Ps 105:34). These may all have been brought into Egypt from Ethiopia (which has ever been the cradle of all kinds of locusts), by what is called in Exodus " the east wind," since Bochart proves that the word which properly signifies "east" often means "soth" also. The word arbeh may be used in Le 11:22 as the collective name for the locust, and be put first there as denoting also the most numerous species; but in Joe 1:4, and Ps 78:46, it is distinguished from the other names of locusts, and is mentioned second, as if of a different species; just, perhaps, as we use the word fly, sometimes as a collective name, and at others for a particular species of insect, as when speaking of the hop, turnip, meat fly, etc. When the Hebrew word is used in reference to a particular species, it has been supposed, for reasons which will be given, to denote the Gryllus gregarius or migratorius. Moses, therefore, in Exodus, refers Pharaoh to the visitation of the locusts, as well known in Egypt; but the plague would seem to have consisted in bringing them into that country in unexampled numbers, consisting of various species never previously seen there (comp. Ex 10:5-6,15).

It is one of the flying creeping creatures that were allowed as food by the law of Moses (Le 11:21). In this passage it is clearly the representative of some species of winged saltatorial orthoptera, which must have possessed indications of form sufficient to distinguish the insect from the three other names which belong to the same division of orthoptera, and are mentioned in the same context. The opinion of Michaelis (Suppl. 667, 910), that the four words mentioned in Le 11:22 denote the same insect in four different ages or stages of its growth, is quite untenable, for, whatever particular species are intended by these words, it is quite clear from verse 21 that they must all be winged ortholptera. The Septulagint word βροῦχος there clearly shows that the translator uses it for a winged species of locust, contrary to the Latin fathers (as Jerome, Augustine, Gregory, etc.), who all define the bruchus to be the untledged young or larva of the locust, and who call it attelabus when its wings are partially developed, and locusta when able to fly; although both Sept. and Vulg. ascribe flight to the bruchus here, and in Na 3:17. The Greek fathers, on the other hand, uniformly ascribe to the βροῦχος both wings and flight, and therein agree with the descriptions of the ancient Greek naturalists. Thus Theophrastus, the pupil of Aristotle, who, with his preceptor, was probably contemporaneous with the Septuagint translators of the Pentateuch, plainly speaks of it as a distinct species, and not a mere state: "The ἀκρίδες (the best ascertained general Greek word for the locust) are injurious, the ἀττέλαβοι still more so, and those most of all which they call βροῦχοις (De Aniin). The Sept. seems to recognize the peculiar destructiveness of the βροῦχος in 1Ki 8:37 (but has merged it in the parallel passage, 2 Chronicles), and in Na 3:15, by adopting it for arbeh. In these passages the Sept. translators may have understood the G. migratorius or greguarius (Linn.), which is usually considered to be the most destructive species (from βρώσκω, I devour). Yet, in Joe 1:4; Joe 2:2, they have applied it to the yelek, which, however, appears there as engaged in the work of destruction. Hesychius, in the 3d century, explains the βροῦχος as "a species of locust," though, he observes, applied in his time by different nations to different species of locusts, and by some to the ἀττελαβος. May not his testimony to this effect illustrate the various uses of the word by the Sept. in the minor prophets? Our translators have wrongly adopted the word "grasshopper" in Judges and Jer 46:23, where "locusts" would certainly have better illustrated the idea of "innumerable multitudes;" and here, as elsewhere, have departed from their professed rule "not to vary from the sense of that which they had translated before, if the word signified the same in both places" (translators to the reader, ad finern).

Definition of locust

The Hebrew word in question is usually derived from, רבה, "to multiply," or "be numerous," because the locust is remarkably prolific; which, as a general name, is certainly not inapplicable; and it is thence also inferred that it denotes the G. migratorius, because that species often appears in large numbers. However, the largest flight of locusts upon record, calculated to have extended over five hundred miles, and which darkened the air like an eclipse, and was supposed to come from Arabia, did not consist of the G. nigratorius, but of a red species (Kirby and Spence, Introd. to Entomology, 1:210); and, according to Forskal, the species which now chiefly infests Arabia, and which he names G. gregarius, is distinct from the G. migratorius of Linn. (Encyc. Brit. art. Entomology, page 193). Others derive the word from אָרִב, "to lie hid" or "in ambush," because the newly-hatched locust emerges from the ground, or because the locust besieges vegetables. Rosenmüller justly remarks upon such etymologies, and the inferences made from them (Scholia in Joel. 1:4), "How precarious truly the reasoning is, derived in this manner from the e mere etymology of the word, everybody may understand for himself. Nor is the principle otherwise in regard to the rest of the species." He also remarks that the references to the destructiveness of locusts, which are often derived from the roots, simply concur in this, that locusts consume and do mischief. Illustrations of the propriety of his remarks will abound as we proceed. Still, it by no means follows from a coincidence of the Hebrew roots, in this, or any other meaning, that the learned among the ancient Jews did not recognize different species in the different names of locusts. The English word fly, from the Saxon fleon, the Heb. עוֹŠ, and its representative "fowl," in the English version (Ge 1:20, etc.), all express both a general and specific idea. Even a modern entomologist might speak of "the flies" in a room, while aware that from fifty to one hundred different species annually visit our apartments. The Scriptures use popular language; hence "the multitude," "the devourer," or "the darkener," may have been the familiar appellations for certain species of locusts. The common Greek words for locusts and grasshoppers, etc., are of themselves equally indefinite, yet they also served for the names of species, as ἀκρίς, the locust generally, from the tops of vegetables, on which the locust feeds; but it is also used as the proper name of a particular species, as the grasshopper: τετραπτερυλλίς, "four-winged," is applied sometimes to the grasshopper; τρωξαλλίς, from τρώγω, "to chew," sometimes to the caterpillar. Yet the Greeks had also distinct names restricted to particular species, as ὄνος, μολουρίς, κερκώτη, etc. The Hebrew names may also have served similar purposes.

(2.) GEB (גֵּב, Isa 33:4; Sept. ἀκρίδες, Vulgate omits, Engl. "locusts"), or GoB (גּוֹב, Am 7:1, ἐπιγονὴ ἀκρίδων; Aquila, βοράδον [voratrices], locustae, "grasshoppers;" Na 3:17, ἀττέλαβος, locusts, "grasshoppers"). Here the lexicographers, finding no Hebrew root, resort to the Arabic, גָּבָא, "to creep out" (of the ground), as the locusts do in spring. But this applies to the young of all species of locusts, and Bochart's quotations from Aristotle and Pliny occur unfortunately in general descriptions of the locust. Castell gives another Arabic root, גָּאִב, "to cut" or "tear," but this is open to a similar objection. Parkhurst proposes גִּב, anything gibbous, curved, or arched, and gravely adds, "The locust in the caterpillar state, so called from its shape in general, or from its continually hunching out its back in moving." The Sept. word in Nahum, ἀττέλαβος, has already been shown to mean a perfect insect and species. Accordingly, Aristotle speaks of its parturition and eggs (Hist. Amim 5:29; so also Plutarch, De Isid. et Osir.). It seems, however, not unlikely that it means a wingless species of locust, genus Podisma of Latreille. Grasshoppers, which are of this kind, he includes under the genus Tettix. Hesychius defines the ἀττέλαβος as "a small locust," and Pliny mentions it as "the smallest of locusts, without wings" (Histor. Nat. 29:5). Accordingly, the Sept. ascribes only leaping to it. In Nahum we have the construction גּוֹב גּוֹבִי, locust of the locusts, which the lexicons explain as a vast multitude of locusts. Archbishop Newcome suggests that "the phrase is either a double reading where the scribes had a doubt which was the true reading, or a mistaken repetition not expunged." He adds, that we may suppose גּוֹבִי the contracted plural for גּוֹבַים (Improved Version of the Minor Prophets, Pontefr. 1809, page 188). Henderson understands the reduplication to express "the largest and most formidable of that kind of insect" (Comment. on the Minor Prophets, ad loc.). Some writers, led by this passage, have believed that the gob represents the larva state of some of the large locusts; the habit of halting at night, however, and encamping under the hedges, as described by the prophet, in all probability belongs to the winged locust as well as to the larvae; see Ex 10:13: "The Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts." Mr. Barrow (1:257-8), speaking of some species of South African locusts, says that when the larvae, which are still more voracious than the parent insect, are on the march, it is impossible to make them turn out of the way, which is usually that of the wind. At sunset the troop halts and divides into separate groups, each occupying in bee-like clusters the neighboring eminences for the night. It is quite possible that the gôb may represent the larva or nymnpha state of the insect; nor is the passage from Nahum, "When the sun ariseth they flee away," any objection to this supposition, for the last stages of the larva differ but slightly from the nympha, both which states may therefore be comprehended under one name; the gob of Nahum 3:17 may easily have been the nymphae (which in all the Ametabola continue to feed as in their larva condition) encamping at night under the hedges, and, obtaining their wings as the sun arose, are then represented as flying away (so too Kitto, Pict. Bible, note on Na 3:17). It certainly is improbable that the Jews should have had no name for the locust in its larva or nymphs state, for they must have been quite familiar with the sight of such devourers of every green thing, the larvae being even more destructive than the imago; perhaps some of the other nine names, all of which Bochart considers to be the names of so many species, denote the insect in one or other of these conditions. SEE GRASSHOPPER.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

(3.) GAZAM' (גָּזָם, Joe 1:4; Joe 2:25; Am 4:9; in all which the Sept. reads κάμπη, the Vulg. eruca, and the English "palmer-worm"). Bochart observes that the Jews derive the word from גָּוּז or גָּזִז, "to shear" or "clip," though he prefers גָּזִם, "to cut," because, he observes, the locust gnaws the tender branches of trees as well as the leaves. Gesenius urges that the Chaldee and Syriac explain it as the young unfledged bruchus, which he considers very suitable to the passage in Joel, where the gazam begins its ravages before the locusts; but Dr. Lee justly remarks that there is no dependence to be placed on this. Gesenius adds that the root גָּזִם in Arabic and the Talmud is kindred with כָּסִם, "to sher" — a derivation which, however, applies to most species of locusts. Michaelis follows the Sept. and Vulgate, where the word in each most probably means the caterpillar, the larvae of the lepidopterous tribes of insects (Supplema. ad Lex. 290, compared with Recueil de Quest. page 63). We have, indeed, the authority of Columella, that the creatures which the Latins call erucae are by the Greeks called κάμπαι, or caterpillars (11:3), which he also describes as creeping upon vegetables and devouring them. Nevertheless, the depredations ascribed to the gazam, in Amos, better agree with the characteristics of the locust, as, according to Bochart, it was understood by the ancient versions. The English word "palmer-worm," in our old authors, means properly a hairy caterpillar, which wanders like a palmer or pilgrim, and, from its being rough, called also "beareworm" (Mouffet, Insectorum Theatrum, page 186). SEE PALMERWORM.

(4.) CHAGAB' (חָגָב, Le 11:22; Nu 13:33; Isa 40:22; Ec 12:5, and 2Ch 7:13, in all which the Sept. reads ἀκρίς, Vulg. locusta, and Engl. "grasshopper," except the last, where the Engl. has "locusts." The manifest impropriety of translating this word "grasshoppers" in Le 11:22, according to the English acceptation of the word, appears from its description there as being winged and edible; in all the other instances it most probably denotes a species of locust. Our translators have, indeed, properly rendered it "locust" in 2 Chronicles; but in all the other places "grasshopper," probably with a view to heighten the contrast described in those passages, but with no real advantage. Oedman (Vern. Samml. 2:90) infers, from its being so often used for this purpose, that it denotes the smallest species of locust; but in the passage in Chronicles voracity seems its chief characteristic. An Arabic root, חָגִב, signifying "to hide," is usually adduced, because it is said that locusts fly in such crowds as to hide the sun; but others say, from their hiding the ground when they alight. Even Parkhurst demurs that "to veil the sun and darken the air is not peculiar to any kind of locust;" and with no better success proposes to understand the cucullated, or hoode, or veiled species of locust. Tychsen (Conmment. de Locust. page 76) supposes that chadab denotes the Gryllus coronatus, Linn.; but this is the Acanthodis coronatus of Aud. Serv., a South American species, and probably colnfined to that continent. Michaelis (Supplem. 668), who derives the word from an Arabic root signifying "to veil," conceives that chagab represents either a locust at the fourth stage of its growth, "ante quartas exuvias quod adhuc velata est," or else at the last stage of its growth, "post quartas exuvias, quod jam volans solem coelumque obvelat." To the first theory the passage in Leviticus 11 is opposed. The second theory is more reasonable, but châgâb is probably derived not from the Arabic, but the Hebrew. From what has been stated above, it will appear better to own our complete inability to say what species of locust châgâb denotes, than to hazard conjectures which must be grounded on no solid foundation. In the Talmud châgâb is a collective name for many of the locust tribe, no less than eight hundred kinds of châgâbim being supposed by the Talmud to exist! (Lewysohn, Zoolog. des Talm. § 384). Some kinds of locusts are beautifully marked, and were sought after by young Jewish children as playthings, just as butterflies and cockchafers are nowadays. M. Lewysohn says (§ 384) that a regular traffic used to be carried on with the chagâbim, which were caught in great numbers, and sold after wine had been sprinkled over them; he adds that the Israelites were only allowed to buy them before the dealer had thus prepared them. SEE GRASSHOPPER.

(5.) CHANAMAL' (חֲנָמָל, occurs only in Ps 78:47; Sept. πάχνη; Aq. ἐν κρύει; Vulg. in pruina; Eng. "frost"). Notwithstanding this concurrence of Sept, Vulg., and Aquila, it is objected that "frost" is nowhere mentioned as having been employed in the plagues of Egypt, to which the Psalmist evidently alludes; but that, if his words be compared with Ex 10:5,15, it will be seen that the locusts succeeded the hail. The Psalmist observes the same order, putting the devourer after the hail (comp. Mal 3:11). Hence it is thought to be another term for the locust. If this inference be correct, and assuming that the Psalmist is describing facts, this would make a fourth species of locust employed against Egypt, two of the others, the arbeh and chasil, being mentioned in the preceding verse. Proposed derivation, חָנָה, to set'le, and מוּל, to cut off, because where locusts settle they cut off leaves, etc., or as denoting some non-migrating locust which settles in a locality (see Bochart, in voc.). Michaelis (Supplem. 846) suggests the signification of ants, comparing the Arabic name for that insect, with ִח prefixed. Gesenius regards it as a quadriliteral, and argues from the term בָּרָד, hail, in the parallel member, that it denotes something peculiarly destructive to trees. See FROST.

(6.) CHASIL' (חָסַיל. 1Ki 8:37; 2Ch 6:28; Ps 78:46; Isa 23:4; Joe 1:4; Joe 2:25; Septuag. ἀκρίς, but in 2 Chronicles βροῦχος; Vulg. rubigqo, bruchus, cerugo; Engl. always "caterpillar"). Gesenius derives it from the root חָסִל, to eat off; De 33:29. It thus points to the same generic idea of destructiveness prominent in all this genus. SEE CATERPILLAR.

(7.) CHARGOL' (חִרגֹּל, only in Le 11:22; Septuag. ὀφιομάχης,Vulg. ophionsmachus, Auth. Vers. "beetle"), derived by Gesenius from the Arabic quadriliteral root חִרגִּל, to gallop, as a horse, and applied by the Arabs to a flight of wingless locusts, but thought by him to indicate in Leviticus a winged and edible locust. Beckmann has arrived at the conclusion that some insect of the sphex or ichneumon kind was meant (apud Bochaxt, a Rosenmüller, 3:264). The genus of locusts called Truxalis, said to live upon insects, has been thought to answer the description. But is it a fact that the genus Truxalis is an exception to the rest of the Acridites, and is pre-eminently insectivorous? Serville (Orthopt.

p. 579) believes that in their manner of living the Truxalides resemble the rest of the Acridites, but seems to allow that further investigation is necessary. Fischer (Orthop. Europ. page 292) says that the nutriment of this family is plants of various kinds. It is some excuse for the English rendering "beetle" in this place, that Pliny classes one species of grylhsis, the house-cricket, G. domesticus, under the scarabaei (Hist. Nat. 11:8). The Jews interpret chargôl to mean a species of grasshopper, German heuschrecke, which M. Lewysohn identities with Locusta viridissima, adopting the etymology of Bochart and Gesenius. The Jewish women used to carry the eggs of the chargol in their ears to preserve them from the earache (Buxtorf, Lex. Chald. et Rabbin. s.v. Chargol). SEE BEETLE.

(8.) YE'LEK (יֶלֶק, Ps 105:34, βροῦχος, bruchus, "caterpillars;" Jer 51:14,27, ἀκρίς, bruchus, "caterpillars;" and in the latter passage the Vulgate reads bruchus aculeatus, and some copies horripilantes; Joe 1:4; Joe 2:25, βροῦχος, bruchus, "canker-worm;" Na 3:15-16, ἀκρίς and βροῦχος, "canker-worm"). Assuming that the Psalmist means to say that the yelek was really another species employed in the plague on Egypt, the English word caterpillar in the common acceptation cannot be correct, for we can hardly imagine that the larvae of the Papilionidae tribe of insects could be carried by "winds." Canker-worm means any worm that preys on fruit. Βροῦχοςcould hardly be understood by the Sept. translators of the minor prophets as an unfledged locust, for in Na 3:16 they give the βροῦχος away. As to the etymology, the Arabic יָלִק, to be white, is offered; hence the white locust or the chafer-worm, which is white (Michaelis, Recueil de Quest. page 64; Supp. ad Lex. Heb. 1080). Others give לָקִק, to lick off; as Gesenius, who refers to Nu 22:4, where this root is applied to the ox "licking" up his pasturage, and which, as descriptive of celerity in eating, is supposed to apply to the yelek. Others suggest the Arabic וָלִק, to hasten, alluding to the quick motions of locusts. The passage in Jer 51:27 is the only instance where an epithet is applied to the locust, and there we find סָמָר יֶלֶק, "rough caterpillars." As the noun derived from this descriptive term (מִסמֵר) means "nails," "sharp-pointed spikes," Michaelis refers it to the rough, sharp-pointed feet of some species of chafer (ut supra). Oedman takes it for the G. cristatus of Linn. Tychsen, with more probability, refers it to some rough or bristly species of locust, as the G. haematopus of Linn., whose thighs are ciliated with hairs. Many grylli are furnished with spines and bristles; the whole species Acheta, also the pupa species of Linn., called by Degeer Locusta pupa spinosa, which is thus described: Thorax ciliated with spines, abdomen tuberculous and spinous, posterior thighs armed beneath with four spines or teeth; inhabits Ethiopia. The allusion in Jeremiah is to the ancient accoutrement of war- horses, bristling with sheaves of arrows. SEE CANKER-WORM.

(9.) SALAM' (סִלעָם), only in Le 11:22, ἀττάκη, attacus, "the bald locust." A Chaldee quadriliteral root is given by Bochart, סִלעִם, to devour. Another has been proposed, סֶלִע, a rock or stone, and עָלָה, to go up; hence the locust, which climbs up stones or rocks; but, as Bochart observes, no locust is known answering to this characteristic. Others give סֶלֵע, a stone, and עָמִם to hide under; equally futile. Tychsen, arguing from what is said of the salam in the Talmud (Tract, Cholin), viz. that "this insect has a smooth head, and that the female is without the sword-shaped tail," conjectures that the species here intended is Gryllus eversor (Asso), a synonyme that it is difficult to identify with any recorded species. From the text where it is mentioned it only appears that it was some species of locust winged and edible.

(10.) TSELATSAL' (צלָצִל, as the name of an insect only in De 28:42, ἐρυσίβη, rubigo, "locust"). The root commonly assigned is צָלִל, to sound (whence its use for a whizzing of wings, Isa 18:1; for cymbals, 2Sa 6:5; Ps 150:5; or any ringing instrument, as a harpoon, Job 41:7); hence, says Gesenius, a species of locust that makes a shrill noise. Dr. Lee says a tree-cricket that does so. Tychsen suggests the G. stridulus of Linn. The song of the gryllo- talpa is sweet and loud. On similar principles we might conjecture, although with perhaps somewhat less certainty, a derivation from the Chald. צלָא, to pray, and thence infer the Mantis religiosa, or Prier Iieu, so called from its singular attitude, and which is found in Palestine (Kitto's Physical History, page 419). The words in the Septuag. and Vulgo properly mean the mildew on corn, etc., and are there applied metaphorically to the ravages of locusts. This mildew was anciently believed by the heathens to be a divine chastisement; hence their religious ceremony called Rubigalia (Pliny, Hist. Na. 18:29). The word is evidently onomatopoietic, and is here perhaps a synonyme for some one of the other names for locust. Michaelis (Supplem. 2094) believes the word is identical with chasil, which he says denotes perhaps the molecricket, Gryllus talpiformis, from the stridulous sound it produces. Tychsen (pages 79, 80) identifies it with the Gryllus stridulus, Linneus ( — Edipoda stridula, Aud. Serv.). The notion conveyed by the Hebrew word will, however, apply to almost any kind of locust, and, indeed, to many kinds of insects; a similar word, tsalsalza, was applied by the Ethiopians to a fly which the Arabs called zimb, apparently identical with the tsetse fly of Dr. Livingstone and other African travelers. In the passage in Deuteronomy, if an insect be meant at all, it may be assigned to some destructive species of grasshopper or locust.

(11.) The Greek term for the locust is ἀκρίς, which occurs in Re 9:3,7, with undoubted allusion to the Oriental devastating insect, which is represented as ascending from the smoke of the infernal pit, as a type of the judgments of God upon the enemies of Christianity. They are also mentioned as forming part of the food of John the Baptist (Mt 3:4; Mr 1:6), where it is not, as some have supposed, any plant that is intended, but the insect, which is still universally eaten by the poorer classes in the East, both in a cooked and raw state (Hackett's Illustra. Of Script. page 97).

II. Locusts belong to that order of insects known by the term Orthoptera (or straight-winged). This order is divided into two large groups or divisions, viz. Cursoria and Saltatoria. The first, as the name imports, includes only those families of Orthoptera which have legs formed for creeping, and which are considered unclean by the Jewish law. Under the second are comprised those whose two posterior legs, by their peculiar structure, enable them to move on the ground by leaps. This group contains, according to Serville's arrangement, three families, the Gryllides, Locustariae, and the Acridites, distinguished one from the other by some peculiar modifications of structure. The common housecricket (Gryllus domesticus, Oliv.) may be taken as an illustration of the Gryllides; the green grasshopper (Locusta viridissima, Fabr.), which the French call Sauterelie verte, will represent the family Locustariae; and the Acridites may be typified by the common migratory locust (OEldipoda migratoria, Aud. Serv.), which is an occasional visitor to Europe (see the Gentleman's Magazine July, 1748, pages 331-414; also The Times, October 4, 1845). Of the Gryllides, G. cerisyi has been found in Egypt, and G. domesticus,

on the authority of Dr. Kitto, in Palestine; but doubtless other species also occur in these countries. Of the Locustariae, Phaneroptera falcata, Serv. (G. falc. Scopoli), has also, according to Kitto, been found in Palestine, Bradyporus dasypus in Asia Minor, Turkey, etc., Saga Natoliae near Smyrna. Of the locusts proper, or Acridites, four species of the genus Truxalis are recorded as having been seen in Egypt, Syria, or Arabia, viz. T. nasuta, T. variabilis, T. procera, and T. miniata. The following kinds also occur: Opsomala pisciformis, in Egypt, and the oasis of Harrat; Paekiloceros hieroglyphicus, P. bufonius, P. punctiventris, P. vulcanus, in the deserts of Cairo; Dericorys albidula in Egypt and Mount Lebanon. Of the genus Acridium, A. maestum, the most formidable perhaps of all the Acridites, A. lineola (= G. AEgypt. Linn.), which is a species commonly sold for food in the markets of Bagdad (Serv. Orthop. 607), A. semifasciatum, A. peregrinum, one of the most destructive of the species, and A. morbosum, occur either in Egypt or Arabia. Calliptamus serapis and Chrotogonus lugubris are found in Egypt, and in the cultivated lands about Cairo; Eremobia carinata, in the rocky places about Sinai. E. cisti, E. pulchripennis, (Edipoda octofasciata, and OEd. migratoria (=G. migrat. Linn.), complete the list of the Saltatorial Orthoptera of the Bible lands. Of one species M. Olivier (Voyage dans l'Empire Othoman, 2:424) thus writes: "With the burning south winds (of Syria) there come from the interior of Arabia and from the most southern parts of Persia clouds of locusts (Acridium peregrinum), whose ravages to these countries are as grievous and nearly as sudden as those of the heaviest hail in Europe. We witnessed them twice. It is difficult to express the effect produced on us by the sight of the whole atmosphere filled on all sides and to a great height by an innumerable quantity of these insects, whose flight was slow and uniform, and whose noise resembled that of rain: the sky was darkened, and the light of the sun considerably weakened. In a moment the terraces of the houses, the streets, and all the fields were covered by these insects, and in two days they had nearly devoured all the leaves of the plants. Happily they lived but a short time, and seemed to have migrated only to reproduce themselves and die; in fact, nearly all those we saw the next day had paired, and the day following the fields were covered with their (lead bodies." This species is found in Arabia, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Persia. The ordinary Syrian locust greatly resembles the common grasshopper, but is larger and more destructive. It is usually about two inches and a half in length, and is chiefly of a green color, with dark spots. It is provided with a pair of antennae or "feelers" about an inch in length, projecting from the head. The mandibles or jaws are black, and the wingcoverts are of a bright brown, spotted with black. It has an elevated ridge or crest upon the thorax, or that portion of the body to which the legs and wings are attached. The legs and thighs of these insects are so powerful that they can leap to a height of two hundred times the length of their bodies; when so raised they spread their wings, and fly so close together as to appear like one compact moving mass.

Locusts, like many other of the general provisions of nature, may occasion incidental and partial evil, but, upon the whole, they are an immense benefit to those portions of the world which they inhabit; and so connected is the chain of being that we may safely believe that the advantage is not confined to those regions. "They clear the way for the renovation of vegetable productions which are in danger of being destroyed by the exuberance of some particular species, and are thus fulfilling the law of the Creator, that of all which he has made should nothing be lost. A region which has been choked up by shrubs, and perennial plants, and hard, half-withered, impalatable grasses, after having been laid bare by these scourges, soon appears in a far more beautiful dress, with new herbs, superb lilies, fresh annual grasses, and young and juicy shrubs of perennial kinds, affording delicious herbage for the wild cattle and game" (Sparman's Voyage, 1:367). Meanwhile their excessive multiplication is repressed by numerous causes. Contrary to the order of nature with all other insects, the males are far more numerous than the females. It is believed that if they were equal in number they would in ten years annihilate the vegetable system. Besides all the creatures that feed upon them, rains are very destructive to their eggs, to the larvae, pupae, and perfect insect. When perfect they always fly with the winds, and are therefore constantly carried out to sea, and often ignorantly descend upon it as if' upon land. (See below, III.) Myriads are thus lost in the ocean every year, and become the food of fishes. On land they afford in all their several states sustenance to countless tribes of birds, beasts, reptiles, etc.; and if their office as the scavengers of nature, commissioned to remove all superfluous productions from the face of the earth, sometimes incidentally and as the operation of a general law, interferes with the labors of man, as do storms, tempests, etc., they have, from all antiquity to the present hour, afforded him an excellent supply till the land acquires the benefit of their visitations, by yielding him in the mean time an agreeable, wholesome, and nutritious aliment.

There are different ways of preparing locusts for food: sometimes they are ground and pounded, and then mixed with flour and water and made into cakes, or they are salted and then eaten; sometimes smoked; boiled or roasted; stewed, or fried in butter. Dr. Kitto (Pict. Bible, note on Le 11:21), who tasted locusts, says they are more like shrimps than anything else; and an English clergyman, some years ago, cooked some of the green grasshoppers, Locusta viridissima, boiling them in water half an hour, throwing away the head, wings, and legs, and then sprinkling them with pepper and salt, and adding butter: he found them excellent. How strange, then, nay, "how idle," to quote the words of Kirby and Spence (Entom. 1:305), "was the controvey concerning the locusts which formed part of the sustenance of John the Baptist,... and how apt even learned men are to perplex a plain question from ignorance of the customs of other countries!" They are even an extensive article of commerce (Sparman's Voyage, 1:367, etc.). Diodorus Siculus mentions a people of Ethiopia who were so fond of eating them that they were called Acridophagi, "eaters of locusts" (24:3). Whole armies have been relieved by them when in danger of perishing (Porphyrius, De Abstinentia Carnis). We learn from Aristophanes and Aristotle that they were eaten by the inhabitants of Greece (Aristoph. Acharnen. 1116, 1117, edit. Dind.; Aristotle, Hist. Anin. 5:30, where he speaks of them as delicacies). (See below, III.) That they were eaten in a preserved state by the ancient Assyrians is evident from the monuments (Layard, Bab. and Nin. page 289).

Birds also eagerly devour them (Russell, Natural History of Aleppo, page 127; Volney, Travels, 1:237; Kitto's Physical History of Pal. page 410). The locust-bird referred to by travelers, and which the Arabs call smurmur, is no doubt, from Dr. Kitto's description, the "rose-colored starling," Pastor roseus. The Reverend H.B. Tristram saw one specimen in the orange-groves at Jaffa in the spring of 1858, but makes no allusion to its devouring locusts. Dr. Kitto in one place (page 410) says the locust-bird is about the size of a starling; in another place (page 420) he compares it in size to a swallow. The bird is about eight inches and a half in length. Yarrell (British Birds, 2:51, 2d ed.) says "it is held sacred at Aleppo because it feeds on the locust;" and Colossians Sykes bears testimony to the immense flocks in which they fly. He says (Catalogue of the Birds of Dakhan) "they darken the air by their numbers... forty or fifty have been killed at a shot." But he says "they prove a calamity to the husbandman, as they are as destructive as locusts, and not much less numerous."

The great flights of locusts occur only every fourth or fifth season. Those locusts which come in the first instance only fix on trees, and do not destroy grain: it is the young, before they are able to fly, which are chiefly injurious to the crops. Nor do all the species feed upon vegetables; one, comprehending many varieties, the truxalis, according to some authorities, feeds upon insects. Latreille says the house-cricket will do so. "Locusts," remarks a very sensible tourist, "seem to devour not so much from a ravenous appetite as from a rage for destroying." Destruction, therefore, and not food, is the chief impulse of their devastations, and in this consists their utility; they are, in fact, omnivorous. The most poisonous plants are indifferent to them; they will prey even upon the crowfoot, whose causticity bursts the very hides of beasts. They simply consume everything without predilection, vegetable matter, linen, woolen, silk, leather, etc.; and Pliny does not exaggerate when he says, "Fores quoque tectorum," "and even the doors of houses" (11:29), for they have been known to consume the very varnish of furniture. They reduce everything indiscriminately to shreds, which become manure. It might serve to mitigate popular misapprehensions on the subject to consider what would have been the consequence if locusts had been carnivorous like wasps. All terrestrial beings, in such a case, not excluding man himself, would have become their victims. There are, no doubt, many things respecting them yet unknown to us which would still further justify the belief that this, like " every" other "work of God, is good" — benevolent upon the whole (see Dillon's Trav. in Spain, page 256, etc., London, 1780, 4to).

III. The general references to locusts in the Scriptures are well collected by Jahn (Bibl. Archaeol. § 23), while Wemyss gives many of the symbolical applications of this creature (Clavis Symbolica, s.v.). It is well known that locusts live in a republic like ants. Agur, the son of Jakeh, correctly says, "The locusts have no king." But Mr. Horne gives them one (Introduction, etc., 1839, 3:76), and Dr. Harris speaks of their having "a leader whose motions they invariably observe" (Nat. Hist. of the Bible, London, 1825). See this notion refuted by Kirby and Spence (2:16), and even by Mouffet (Theat. Insect. page 122, Lond. 1634). It is also worthy of remark that no Hebrew root has ever been offered favoring this idea. Our translation (Na 3:17) represents locusts, "great grasshoppers," as "camping in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth as fleeing away." Here the locust, gob, is undoubtedly spoken of as a perfect insect, able to fly, and as it is well known that at evening the locusts descend from their flights and form camps for the night, may not the cold day mean the cold portion of the day, i.e., the night, so remarkable for its coldness in the East, the word יוֹם being used here, as it often is, in a comprehensive sense, like the Gr. ἡμέρα and Lat. dies? Gesenius suggests that גּדֹרוֹת, "hedges," should here be understood like the Gr. αἱμασιά, shrubs, brushwood, etc. (See above, 1, 2.) With regard to the description in Joel (chapter 2), it is considered by many learned writers as a figurative representation of the ravages of an invading "army" of human beings, as in Re 9:2-12, rather than a literal account, since such a devastation would hardly, they think, have escaped notice in the books of Kings and Chronicles. Some have abandoned all attempt at a literal interpretation of Le 11:22, and understand by the four species of locusts there mentioned, Shalmaneser, Nebuchadnezzar, Antiochus, and the Romans. Theodoret explains them as the four Assyrian kings, Tiglathpileser, Shalmaneser, Sennacherib, and Nebuchadnezzar; and Abarbanel, of the four kingdoms inimical to the Jews, viz. the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans (Pococke's Works, 1:214, etc., Lond. 1740; Rosenmüller, Scholia in Joel. c. 1).

From the Scriptures it appears that Egypt, Palestine, and the adjacent countries were frequently laid waste by vast bodies of migrating locusts, which are especially represented as a scourge in the hand of divine Providence for the punishment of national sins; and the brief notices of the inspired writers as to the habits of the insects, their numbers, and the devastation they cause, are amply borne out by the more labored details of modern travelers.

1. Locusts occur in great numbers, and sometimes obscure the sun (Ex 10:15; Jer 46:23; Jg 6:5; Jg 7:12; Joe 2:10; Na 3:15; compare Livy, 42:2: AElian, N.A. 3:12; Pliny, N.H.

11:29; Shaw, Travels, page 187 [fol. 2d ed.] ; Ludolf, Hist. AEthiop. 1:13, and De Locustis, 1:4; Volney, Travels in Syria, 1:236).

2. Their voracity is alluded to in Ex 10:12,15; Joe 1:4,7,12; Joe 2:3; De 28:38; Ps 78:46; Ps 105:34; Isa 33:4 (comp. Shaw, Travels, page 187, and travelers in the East, passim).

3. They are compared to horses (Joe 2:4; Re 9:7. The Italians call the locust "Cavaletta;" and Ray says, "Caput oblongum, equi instar prona spectans." Compare also the Arab's description to Niebuhr, Descr. die l'Arabie).

4. They make a fearful noise in their flight (Joe 2:5; Re 9:9; comp. Forskal, Descr. page 81: "Transeuntes grylli super verticem nostrum sono magnae cataractae fervebant;" Volney, Trav. 1:235).

5. Their irresistible progress is referred to in Joe 2:8-9 (comp. Shaw, Trav. page 187).

6. They enter dwellings, and devour even the wood-work of houses (Ex 10:6; Joe 2:9-10; comp. Pliny, N.H. 11:29).

7. They do not fly in the night (Na 3:17; comp. Niebuhr, Descr. de l'Arabie, page 173).

8. The sea destroys the greater number (Ex 10:19; Joe 2:20; compare Pliny, 11:35; Hasselquist, Trav. page 445 [Engl. transl. 1766]; also Iliad, 21:12).

9. Their dead bodies taint the air (Joe 2:20; comp. Hasselquist, Trav. page 445).

10. They are used as food (Le 11:21-22; Mt 3:4; Mr 1:6; compare Pliny, N.H. 6:35; 11:35; Diod. Sic. 3:29; Aristoph. Achar. 1116; Ludolf, II. AEtiol). page 7 [Gent's transl.]; Jackson, Marocco, page 52; Niebuhr, Descr. (de l'Arabie, page 150; Sparman, Trav. 1:367, who savs the Hottentots are glad when the locusts come, for they fatten upon them; Hasselquist, Travels, pages 232, 419: Kirby and Spence, Entom. 1:305). There are people at this day who gravely assert that the locusts which formed part of the food of the Baptist were not the insect of that name, but the long, sweet pods of the locust-tree (Ceratonia siliqua), Johannis brodt, "St. John's bread," as the monks of Palestine call it. For other equally erroneous explanations, or unauthorized alterations of ἀκρίδες, see Celsii Hierob. 1:74.

IV. The following are some of the works which treat of locusts: Ludolf, Dissertatio de Locustis (Francof. ad Moen. 1694) [this author believes that the quails which fed the Israelites in the wilderness were locusts (vid. his Diatriba qua sententia nova de Selavis sive Locustis de enditur, Francof. 1694), as do the Jewish Arabs to this day. So does Patrick, in his Comment. on Numbers. A more absurd opinion was that held by Norrelius, who maintained that the four names of Le 11:22 were birds (see his Schediassma de Avibus sacris, Arbeh, Chagab, Solam, et Chargol, Upsal. 1746, and in the Bibl. Barem, 3:36)]; Faber, De Locustis Biblicis, et sigillatim de Avibus Quadrupedibus, ex Leviticus 11:20 (Wittenb. 1710-11); Asso, Abhlandlung von den Heuschrecken (Rostock, 1787; usually containing also Tychsen's Comment. de Locustis); Oedman, Vermischte Sammlung, volume 2, c. 7; Kirby and Spence, Introduction to Entomology, 1:305, etc.; Bochart, Hierozoicon, 3:251, etc., ed. Rosenmüller; Kitto, Phys. History of Palestine, pages 419, 420; Harris, Natural Hist. of the Bible, s.v. (1833); Harmer, Observations (Lond. 1797); Fabricius, Entomol. System. 2:46 sq.; Credner, Joel, page 261 sq.; Thomson, Land and Book, 2:102 sq.; Tristram, Nat. Hist. of the Bible, page 306 sq.; Wood, Bible Aninmals, page 596 sq.; Hackett. Illustra. of Script. page 97; Serville, Aonograph in the Suites a Blufon; Fischer, Orthoptera Europcea; Suicer, Thesaurus, 1:169,179; Gutherr, De Victu Johannis (Franc. 1785); Rathleb, Akridotheologie (Hanover, 1748); Rawlinson, Five Ancient Monarchies, 2:299, 493; 3:144.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Scripture linking and popups powered by VerseClick™.