Hare (אִרנֶבֶת, arne'beth'; according to Bochart [Hieroz. i, 994], from אָרָה, to crop, and נַיב fruit; Arab. arneb and Syr. arnebo, a hare; Sept. χοιρογρύλλιος and δασύπους, Vulg. lepus and cheerogryllus, both versions interchanging it with "coney") occurs in Le 11:6, and De 14:7, and in both instances it is prohibited from being used as food because it chews the cud, although it has not the hoof divided. But the hare belongs to an order of mammals totally distinct from the ruminantia, which are all, without exception, bisulca, the camel's hoof alone offering a partial modification (Ehrenberg, Mammalia, pt. 2). The stomach of rodents is single, and the motion of the mouth, excepting when they masticate some small portion of food reserved in the hollow of the cheek, is more that of the lips, when in a state of repose the animals are engaged in working the incisor teeth upon each other. This practice is a necessary condition of existence, for the e friction keeps them fit for the purpose of nibbling, and prevents their growing beyond a proper length. As hares do not subsist on hard substances, like most of the genera of the order, but on tender shoots and grasses, they have more cause, and therefore a more constant craving, to abrade their teeth; and this they do in a. manner which, combined with the slight trituration of the occasional contents of the cheeks, even modern writers, not zoologists, have mistaken for real rumination.
Physiological investigation having fully determines these questions, it follows that, both with regard to theshaphan ("coney") and the hare, we should understand the original in the above passages, rendered "chewing the cud," as merely implying a second mastication, more or less complete, and not necessarily that. faculty of true ruminants which derives its name from a power to draw up aliment after deglutition, when worked into a ball, from the first stomach into the: mouth, and there to submit it to a second grinding process. The act of "chewing the cud" and "rechewing" 'being considered identical by the Hebrews, the sacred. lawgiver, not being occupied with the doctrines of science, no doubt used the expression in the sense in which it was then understood (compare Michaelis, Anmerk. adloc.). It may be added that a similar opinion, and consequent rejection of the hare as food, pervaded many nations of antiquity, who derived their origin, or their doctrines, from a Shemitic source; and that, among others, it existed among the British Celtae, probably even before they had any intercourse with Phoenician merchants. Thus the Turks and Armenians abstain. from its flesh (Tavernier, Travels, 3, 154), also the Arabians (Russell's Aleppo, 2, 20), and even the Greeks and Romans avoided it (Hermann, ad Lucian. conscrib. hist. p. 135; P. Castellan. De carnis esu, 3, 5, in Gronov. Thesaur. 9) on sanitary grounds (Aristotle, Hist. Anim. 4:5; Pliny, H. N. 28, 79); but the Bedawin, who have a peculiar mode of dressing it, are fond of its flesh.
There are two distinct species of hare in Syria: one, Lepus Syriacus, or Syrian hare, nearly equal in size to the common European, having the fur ochry buff; and Lepus Sinaiticus, or hare of the desert, smaller and brownish. They reside in the localities indicated by their trivial names, and are distinguished from the common hare by a greater length of ears, and a black tail with white fringe. There is found in Egypt, and higher up the Nile, a third species, represented in the outline paintings on ancient monuments, but not colored with that delicacy of tint required for distinguishing it from the others, excepting that it appears to be marked with the black speckles which characterize the existing species. The ancient Egyptians coursed it with greyhounds as we do, and sometimes captured it alive and kept it in cages. "Hares are so plentiful in the environs of Aleppo," says Dr. Russell (2, 158), "that it was no uncommon thing to see the gentlemen who went out a sporting twice a week return with four or five brace hung in triumph at the girths of the servants horses." Hares are hunted in Syria with greyhound and falcon.