is the interpretation in the Auth. Vers. of the word תִּחשׁ, tach'ash (Eze 16:10; Sept. δέρματα ὑακίνθινα; Aid. ed. ἰάνθινα; Compl. ὑάνθινα, al. πεπυρωμένα in Ex 25:5; Alex. δέρματα ἃγια in Ex 35:7; ὑάκινθος, Aq. and Sym. ἰάνθινα in Eze 16:10; Vulg. pelles ianthinoe, ianthinus); but many doubt its correctness, since the badger is not found in Southern Asia, and has not as yet been noticed out of Europe. The word occurs in the plural form in Ex 25:5; Ex 26:14; Ex 35:7,23; Ex 36:19; Ex 39:34; Nu 4:6,8,10-12,14,25; and, in connection with עֹרֹת, oroth', "skins," is used to denote the covering of the Tabernacle, of the Ark of the Covenant, and of other sacred vessels. In Eze 16:10, it indicates the material of which the shoes of women were made. Possibly the Latin taxus or taxo, the original of the Spanish taxon, Ital. tasso, Fr. taisson, Germ. Dachs, is the same word as tachash; and these designate the badger. This, however, appears to be the only support for the rendering "badger" (meles tarus) besides that of the Chaldee paraphrast (סִסגוֹנָא, "taxus, sic dictus quia gaudet et superbit in coloribus multis," Buxtorf, Lex. Rab. s.v.). SEE ZOOLOGY.
The ancient interpreters understand by it a color given to leather, e.g. Sept. ὑακίνθινα: so Aquila, Symmachus, and the Syriac, which are followed by Bochart (Hieroz. 2:387), Rosenmüller (Schol. ad V. T., Ex 25:5; Eze 16:10), Bynaeus (De Calceis Hebraeorum, lib. 1, ch. 3), Scheuchzer (Phys. Sacr. in Ex 25:5), and others. Parkhurst (Heb. Lex. s.v.), observes that "an outermost covering for the tabernacle of azure or sky-blue was very proper to represent the sky or azure boundary of the system." But this is mere conjecture. The Talmudists say that it is an animal like a weasel. Others, as Gesner and Harenberg (in Musaeo Brem. 2:312), have thought that some kind of wolf, known by the Greek name θώς, and the Arabic Shaghul is intended. Hasaeus (in Dissert. Philolog. Sylloge. diss. 9, § 17) and Bisching, in his preface to the Epitome of Scheuchzer's Physica Sacra, are of opinion that tachash denotes a cetacean animal, the Trichechus manatus of Linnaeus, which, however, is only found in America and the West Indies. Others, with Sebald Ran (Comment. de iis quae ex Arab. in usum Tabernac. fuerunt repetita, Traj. ad Rhen. 1753, ch. 2), are in favor of tachash representing some kind of seal (Phoca vitulina, Lin.). Dr. Geddes (Crit. Rem. Ex 25:5) is of the same opinion. Gesenius understands (Heb. Lex. s.v.) some "kind of seal or badger, or other similar (!) creature." Of modern writers Dr. Kitto (Pict. Bibl. on Ex 25:5) thinks that tachash denotes some clean animal, as in all probability the skin of an unclean animal would not have been used for the sacred coverings. The corresponding Arabic word is not only a dolphin, but also a seal, and seals (?) were numerous on the shores of the peninsula of Sinai (Strab. 16:776). The etymology of the word in Hebrews is favorable to this view, from the root חָשָׁה, chashah', to rest; and seals no less than badgers are somnolent animals. (See Simonis Exercitatio de תִּחִשׁ, Hal. 1735.) Maurer, however (Comment. in Exod.), derives it from the root תָּחִשׁ, tachash', to penetrate, a notion which suits the burrowing of the badger as well as the plunging of the seal. Pliny (2:56) mentions the use of the skins of seals as a covering for tents, and as a protection from lightning. (Comp. Plut. Symp. v. 9; Sueton. Octav. 90; Faber, Archaeol. Hebr. 1:115.) The tachash has also been identified with the Trichechus marinus of Linnaeus, and with the sea-cow called lamantin or dugong. Others find it in an animal of the hyena kind, which is called by the Arabs tahesh (Botta's Voyage in Yemen, 1841). Robinson (Researches, 1:171) mentions sandals made of the thick skin of a fish which is caught in the Red Sea. It is a species of halicore, named by Ehrenberg (Symb. Phys. 2) Halicora Hemprichii. The skin is clumsy and coarse, and might answer very well for the external covering of the Tabernacle. According to Ehrenberg, the Arabs on the coast call this animal Naka and Lottum. Arabian naturalists applied the term ensan alma, "'man of the sea," to this creature. Thevenot speaks of a kind of sea-man, which is taken near the port of Tor. "It is a great strong fish, and hath two hands, which are like the hands of a man, saving that the fingers are joined together with a skin, like the foot of a goose; but the skin of the fish is like the skin of a wild goat or chamois. When they spy that fish, they strike him on the back with harping irons, as they do whales, and so kill him. They use the skin of it for making bucklers, which are musket-proof." Niebuhr adds the information that "a merchant of Abushahr called dahash that fish which the captains of English ships call porpoise." The same traveler reports that he saw prodigious schools of these animals swimming. Professor Ruppell (Mus.
Senck. 1:113, t. 6), who saw the creature on the coral banks of the Abyssinian coast, ascertained by personal examination that the creature in question was a sort of dugong, a genus of marine Pachydermata, to which he gave the name of Halicore tabernaculi, from a conviction that it was the tachash of Moses. It grows to eighteen feet in length. See WHALE.
"In the present state of zoological knowledge, however, it is not necessary to refute the notions that tachash was the name of a mermaid or homo- marinus, or of the walrus, a Polar animal, or of the dugong or seal, for neither of these is known in the Indian, Red, or Persian Seas, and there is little probability that in remote ages they frequented the south-east extremity of the Mediterranean, where the current sweeps all things northward; still less that they nestled in the lakes of the Delta, where crocodiles then abounded. But Niebuhr's hint respecting the name tachash, given, with some reference to colors, to a species of delphinus or porpoise, by the Arabs near Cape Mussendum, may deserve consideration, since the same people still make small rounded bucklers and soles of sandals of the hout's skin, which is a cetaceous animal, perhaps identical with Niebuhr's. This material might have been obtained from the caravan-traders of Yemen, or from the Ismaelites of Edom, but does not appear to have been fitted for other purposes than pack-saddles and sandal-soles. Considering tachash, therefore, not to indicate a color, but the skin of an animal, which may have derived its name from its color, probably deep gray, ash, or slaty (hysginus), we must look for the object in question to the zoology of the region around, or to places accessible by means of the traders and tribute importations of raw materials in Egypt, where we actually observe leopard or panther skins, and others of a smaller animal with a long fox-tail, represented in the triumphal procession of Thothmes III at Thebes (Wilkinson's Anc. Egyptians, 1, pl. 4). These may have been of a canine genus, such as the agriodus, or megalotis Lalandii, which is actually iron- gray; or of a viverrous species, of which there are many in Africa both gray and spotted. Still these are unclean animals, and for this reason we turn to another view of the case, which may prove the most satisfactory that can now be obtained. Negroland and Central and Eastern Africa contain a number of ruminating animals of the great antelope family; they are known to the natives under various names, such as pacasse, empacasse, thacasse, facasse, and tachaitze, all more or less varieties of the word tachash; they are of considerable size, often of slaty and purple-gray colors, and might be termed stag-goats and ox-goats. Of these one or more occur in the hunting-scenes on Egyptian monuments, and therefore we may conclude that the skins were accessible in abundance, and may have been dressed with the hair on for coverings of baggage, and for boots, such as we see worn by the human figures in the same processions. Thus we have the greater number of the conditions of the question sufficiently realized to enable us to draw the inference that tachash refers to a ruminant of the Aigocerine or Damaline groups, most likely of an iron-gray or slaty- colored species" SEE ANTELOPE.