a reptile belonging to the saurian or lizard-like order. In the original of Le 11:30, occur the words ko´äch (כֹּחִ, so called apparently on account of its great strength) and tinshe´meth (תַּנשֶׁמֶת), the first of which, in our version, is rendered "chameleon" (after the Sept. and Vulg. χαμαιλέων, chamaeleon), and the second "mole;" but Bochart and others consider both words as relating to animals of the saurian or lizard tribe, and that which our translators have termed the mole is, in reality, the chameleon (Chamaeleo vulgaris), while the chameleon of our version is some other and larger creature of the same order, perhaps a species of the land crocodile. SEE MOLE. "The chameleon is a small species of lizard, celebrated for the faculty it has of changing the color of its skin. This property, however, has no reference to the substance it may be placed on, as generally asserted, but is solely derived from the bulk of its respiratory organs acting upon its transparent skin and on the blood of the animal. The chameleons form a small genus of saurians, easily distinguished by the shagreened character of the skin, and the five toes on the feet, divided differently from those of most other animals, there being, if the expression may be allowed, two thumbs opposed to three fingers. Their eyes are telescopic, move separately, and can be directed backward or forward. Chameleons are slow, inoffensive, and capable of considerable abstinence from food, which consists solely of flies, caught by a rapid protrusion of a long and viscous tongue. Among themselves they are irascible, and are then liable to change their colors rapidly; dark yellow or gray is predominant when they are in a quiescent state, but, while the emotions are in activity, it passes into green, purple, and even ashy black. The species found in Palestine and all Northern Africa is the common 'African chameleon,' and probably is that referred to in Le 11:30, where unclean animals are mentioned." (See Penny Cyclopaedia, s.v.). SEE LIZARD.

Bible concordance for CHAMELEON.

Definition of chameleon

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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