(ἐλέφας) does not occur in the text of the canonical Scriptures of the A. V., except in the adj. ἐλεφάντινος, "of ivory," Re 18:12. But the animal is believed to be referred to in the Hebrew שֶׁנאּהַבִּים, elephant's tooth, i.e., "ivory," 1Ki 10:22; 2Ch 9:21. SEE IVORY. Some have also regarded it as identical with the BEHEMOTH SEE BEHEMOTH (q.v.), as in the margin of Job 40:15. Elephants, however, are repeatedly mentioned in the 1st and 2d books of Maccabees as being used in warfare. The way in which they were used in battle, and the method of exciting them to fight, is described in 1 Macc. 6. The essential syllable of the Greek (and modern) name seems to be derived from that which all the nations of the south and west of Asia have for many ages generally used, namely, fil, feel, pheel, phil, פיל; for we find it in the Chaldee פַּילָא, pila', Buxtorf, Lex. Talin. col. 1722), Syriac, Persian, Arabic, and Turkish, extending to the east far beyond the Ganges, where, nevertheless, in the indigenous tongues, anei, waranam, and hatti are existing names. See Cassel, De variis eleph. denomi. natt. in the Symbol. lit. Brem. I, 1:136 sq.; Zeitschr. f. Kunde des Morgenl. IV, 1:12 sq.
It is well known that these animals were anciently employed in battles, originally in India (Aristotle, Anim. 9:1; Pliny, 6:22; AElian, Anim. 13:8, 22; comp. Ritter, Erdk. verse 903 sq.), where they are commonly stronger and more sagacious than in Africa (Diod. Sic. 2:16; Pliny, 6:22; Philostr. Apol. 2:12; Curtius, 8:9, 17; AElian, Anim. 16:15; yet see Herod. 4:191; comp. Burmeister, in the Hall. Encycl. 33:265 sq.); next in Persia (although only indirectly before the times of Alexander, Arrian, Alex. in, 11, 6); later also in Asia Minor and even in the West (Flor. 1:18; Livy, 31:36; 37:40; 38:39; Hirtius, Bell. Afr. 48:86; Pliny, 8:5; Veget. Mil. 3:24; comp. Pausanias, 1:12, 4); and the Maccabees had to contend with such trained elephants in the Syrian armies of the Seleucidae (compare Plutarch, Demetr. 28 sq.; Appian, Syr. 46; Polybius, 11:32) in immense numbers (comp. Livy, 37:39; Pliny, 6:22; Polybius, 5:53). Military elephants were accustomed to carry on their backs a wooden tower (Pliny, 8:7; Philostr. Apoll. 2:6; Juvenal, 12:110; Livy, 37:40), in which were a number of soldiers (four in the Syrian army of Antiochus the Great, according to Livy, l.c.; according to Philostr. Apoll. 2:12, about ten to fifteen; in India only three, Elian, Anim. 13:19; comp. Pliny, l.c.; certainly not thirty-two, as is stated in 1 Macc. 6:37: in modern India only four or five persons are placed in the elephant-tower, Munro, Hist. of War in East India, page 91 [comp. Schlegel, Ind. Bibl. I, 2:176; Bochart, 1:262; and see Wernsdorf, De fide Macc. page 119 sq.], although an elephant can easily travel with 4000 pounds on his back); and their courage was artificially stimulated by wine (,Elian, Anim. 13:8; on the fondness of these animals for spirituous drinks, see Thevenot, Voyage, 3:89). This illustrates 3 Macc. 5:2; also 1 Macc. 6:34. Each equipped elephant was surrounded in battle by more than a hundred soldiers, to protect him on the side (1 Macc. 6:35 sq.), and thus were these animals conveniently distributed along the whole line (1 Macc. 6:35; comp. Livy, 37:40; Curtius, 8:12, 7). Occasionally, however, the elephant, becoming frightened, did his master more harm than the enemy (Curtius, 3:13, 15; 8:14, 16; 9:2, 20). The driver of a single armed elephant was called Ι᾿νδός, i.e., an Indian (1 Macc. 6:37), while the commander of a battalion of such was styled ἐλεφαντάρχης, an elephantarch (2 Macc. 14:12; 3 Macc. 5:4). See generally Bochart, Hieroz. 1:233 sq.; Schlegel, Indische Bibliothek, I, 2:129 sq.; Armandi, Histoire militaire des ilephants (Par. 1844); Oken, Lehrb. der Naturgesch. III, 2:783 sq.; Tavernier, Voyage, 2:72 sq.; Philippians a. S. Trinitate, Reisebeschr. page 386 sq.; fig. in Schreber's Saugethiere, 6, pl. 317.
The elephant's tusks, growing from the upper jaw (Aristotle, Anim. 2:4; AElian, Anim. 11:37), which the ancients sometimes mistook for horns (AElian, Anim. 4:31; 7:2; 11:37; Pausan. 5:12, 1; Pliny, 8:4; 18:1; Philostr. Apoll, 2:13; perhaps the קִרנוֹת שֵׁן of Eze 27:15; comp. Ludolf, Hist. AEthiop. 1:10, 29; but see Havernick, in loc.) or ivory (שֶׁנהָבַים, or simply low; comp. Pott, in the Zeitschro f. Morgenl. IV, 1:13 sq.), much earlier known in Asia Minor and Europe than the animal itself, were used by the Hebrews from the time of Solomon for ornamenting (overlaying, Pliny, 16:84) furniture (especially the divan, Am 6:4; Philo, Opp. 2:478; 1Ki 10:18; Apulej. Metam. 2, page 37, ed. Bip.) and chambers (1Ki 20:39; Am 3:15; Ps 45:9; comp. Homer, Odyss. 4:73; Diod. Sic. 3:47; Pausan. 1:12, 4; Petron. 135; Horace, Od. 2:18, 1; Lucan, 10:119; Herodian, 4:2, 3; Elian, Var. Hist.
12:39; Avien. 1200), also weapons (Curtius, 8:5, 1). Likewise vessels and images of the gods (Pausan. 5:12, 1; 2:17, 4; Virgil, Georg. 1:480; Pliny, 36:4; comp. Hermann, Ad Lucian. conscrib. hist. Page 303) were constructed of it (Re 18:12); while the Tyrians, who disposed of ivory as an article of commerce (Eze 27:15), carried luxury so far as to make the rowers' benches of their ships of boxwood inlaid with ivory. For the estimation in which ivory was anciently held, and its various uses among the Greeks and Romans, see Heyne, Antiquar. Aufs. 2:149 sq. (also in the Nov. commentatt. Soc. Goetting. I, 2:96 sq.); Schlegel, ut sup. page 137 sq.; Kype, Observv. 2:461 sq.; Muller, Archdol. page 418 sq.; Bottiger, Archaol. Andeut. 1:108 sq. Solomon brought it by sea from Ophir (1Ki 10:22; comp. verse 11).
The animals of this genus consist at present of two very distinct species, one a native of Southern Asia, once spread considerably to the westward of the Upper Indus, and the other occupying southern and middle Africa to the edge of the great Sahara. In a fossil state, however, there are six more species clearly distinguished. The elephant is the largest of all terrestrial animals, sometimes attaining above eleven feet of vertical height at the shoulders, and weighing from five to seven thousand pounds: he is of a black or slaty-ash color, and almost destitute of hair. The head, which is proportionably large, is provided with two broad pendulous ears, particularly in those of the African species, which are occasionally six feet in length. This species has also two molar teeth on each side of the jaw, both above and below, and only three toenails on each of the hind feet, whereas the Asiatic species is provided with only one tooth on each side above and below, and, though both have tusks or defences, the last mentioned has them confined solely to the males: they are never of more than 70 pounds in weight, often much less, and in some breeds even totally wanting; while in the African both sexes are armed with tusks, and in the males they have been known seven feet in length, and weighing above 150 pounds each. The forehead of the African is low, that of the Asiatic high; in both the eyes are comparatively small, with a malevolent expression, and on the temples are pores which exude a viscous humor; the tail is long, hanging nearly to the heels, and distichous at the end. But the most remarkable organ of the elephant, that which equally enables the animal to reach the ground and to grasp branches of trees at a considerable height, is the proboscis or trunk — a cylindrical elastic instrument, in ordinary condition reaching nearly down to the ground, but contractile to two thirds of its usual length, and extensile to one third beyond it; provided with nearly 4000 muscles crossing each other in such a manner that the proboscis is flexible in every direction, and so abundantly supplied with nerves as to render the organ one of the most delicate in nature. Within is the double canal of the nostrils, and at the terminal opening a finger. like process, with which the animal can take up very minute objects and grasp others, even to a writing pen, and mark paper with it. By means of the proboscis the elephant has a power of suction capable of raising nearly 200 pounds; and with this instrument he gathers food from trees and from the earth, draws up drink to squirt it down his throat, draws corks, unties small knots, and performs numberless other minute operations; and, if necessary, tears down branches of trees more than five inches in diameter with no less dexterity than strength. The gait of an elephant is an enormous slide, performed with his high and ponderous legs, and sufficiently rapid to require brisk galloping on horseback to outstrip him. Elephants are peaceable towards all inoffensive animals; sociable among themselves, and ready to help each other; gregarious in grassy plains, but more inclined to frequent densely-wooded mountain glens; at times not unwilling to visit the more and wastes, but fond of rivers and pools, where they wallow in mud and water among reeds and under the shade of trees. They are most assuredly more sagacious than observers, who, from a few visits to menageries, compare them with dogs, are able to appreciate, for on this question we must take into account, on the one hand, the physical advantages of the proboscis added to the individual experience gained by an animal slow in growth, and of a longevity exceeding a century, but still placed in contact with man after a birth free in every sense, where his powers expand without human education; while, on the other hand, dogs are the offspring of an immense number of generations, all fashioned to the will of a master, and consequently with innate dispositions to acquire a certain education. In Griffith's Cuvier are found several anecdotes illustrating the sagacity of these animals, to which we shall add only a single one, related by the late Captain Hobson, R.N., as observed by himself at Travancore, where several of these animals were employed in stacking teak-timber balk. They had scarcely any human aid or direction, but each beam being successively noosed and slung, they dragged it to the stack, raised one end up, contrived to shove it forward, nicely watching when, being poised by its own weight, the lower end would rise, and then, placing their foreheads against the butt end, they pushed it even on the stack; the sling they unfastened and carried back to have it fitted again. In a wild state no other animal has the sagacity to break off a leafy branch, hold it as a fan, and use it as a brush to drive away flies.
The Asiatic species, carrying the head higher, has more dignity of appearance, and is believed to have more sagacity and courage than the African, which, however, is not inferior in weight or bulk, and has never been in the hands of such experienced managers as the Indian mohauts are, who have acquired such deep knowledge of the character of these beasts that they make them submit to almost incredible operations; such, for example, as suffering patiently the extraction of a decayed part of a tooth, a kind of chisel and mallet being the instruments used for the purpose. Elephants walk under water as long as the end of the proboscis can remain above the surface, but when in greater depth they float with the head and back only about a foot beneath it. In this manner they swim across the broadest streams, and guide themselves by the sense of smelling till they reach footing to look about them and land. They are steady, assiduous workmen in many laborious tasks, often using discretion when they require some dexterity and attention in the performance. Good will is all man can trust to in directing them, for correction cannot be enforced beyond their patience; but flattery, good treatment, kind words, promises, and rewards, even to the wear of finery, have the desired effect. In history they appear most conspicuous as formidable elements of battle. From the remotest ages they were trained for war by the nations of India, and by their aid they no doubt acquired and long held possession of several regions of High Asia westward of the Indus. They are noticed in the ancient Mahabarata. According to Sauti, the relative force of elephants in an akshaushini, or great army corps, was one to each chariot of war, three horsemen, and five foot soldiers, or, rather, archers mounted on the animal's back within a defensible howdah-in the West denominated a castle. Thus one armed elephant, one chariot, and three horsemen, formed a patti or squad of at most eleven men, and, if there were other bodies of infantry in the army, they are unnoticed. This enumeration is sufficient to show that in India, which furnished the elephants and the model of arming them, there were only four or five archers, with or without the mohaut or driver, and that, consequently, when the successors of Alexander introduced them in their wars in Syria, Greece, and even Italy, they could not be encumbered more than perhaps momentarily with one or two additional persons before a charge; for the weight carried by a war-elephant is less than that of one used for burden, which seldom equals 2000 pounds. In order to ascend his back when suddenly required, the animal will hold out one of his hind legs horizontally, allowing a person to step upon it until he has grasped the crupper and crept up. In the West, where they were considered for a time of great importance, no doubt the squad or escort was more considerable than in the East, and may have amounted to thirty-two foot-soldiers, the number given, by some mistake, as if actually mounted, in 1 Macc. 6:37. Although red colors are offensive to many animals, it may be observed that the use of mulberry-juice or grapes must have been intended as an excitement to their taste, for they are all fond of fruit. Wine, so as to cause an approach to intoxication, would render them ungovernable, and more dangerous than when in a state of fear. They do not require stimulants to urge them on in a modern battle, with all its flashes of fire, smoke, and explosion; and red colors usually employed for their trappings produce more of a satisfactory feeling than rage. Judicious and long-continued training is the only good remedy against sudden surprises caused by objects not yet examined by their acutely-judging senses, or connected with former scenes of danger, which are alone apt to make them turn. It is likely that the disciplined steadiness of well-armed ranks frightened them by their novelty more than the shouts of Macedonian thousands, which must have been feeble in the ears of elephants accustomed to the roar of hundreds of thousands of Indians. It is probable that the Carthaginians made the experiment of training African elephants in imitation of Ptolemy Philadelphus: they are noticed in their army only in the first Punic war; and, from what appears of the mode of managing them, there is reason to believe, as already noticed, that they were never so thoroughly subdued as the Indian elephants (see Penny Cyclopcedia, s.v.).