(עָשׁ, ash, so called from its causing garments to fall in pieces, Job 4:19; Job 13:28; Job 27:18: Ps 39:11; Isa 1; Isa 9; Isa 51:8; Ho 5:12; Sept. and Vulg. everywhere [except in the Psalms, where they have ἀράχνη, aranea] render σής, tinea; like the N.T., Mt 6:19-20; Lu 12:23; with which may be compared the Heb. סָס, sas, from its leaping, Isa 51:8; Sept. σής, Vulg. tinea, Auth. Vers. "worm;" the word σής also occurs in the term σητόβρωτος, "moth-eaten," Jas 5:2), the name of a well-known insect, which, in its caterpillar state, is very destructive to clothing. The tribe of moths is called by naturalists Phalcena, and is said to contain more than 1500 species. Linnaeus, under the order Lepidoptera, genus Phalenaa, gives the species of moths — Tinea tapetzella, T.pellionella, and T. recurvaria sarcitella — as peculiarly destructive to woollen clothes, furs, etc. The egg of the moth, being deposited on the fur or cloth, produces a very small, shining insect, which immediately forms a house for Itself by cuttings from the cloth. It eats away the nap, weakens or destroys the thread, and finally ruins the fabric. Moths fly abroad only in the evening and night, differing in this respect from the tribe of butterflies, which fly only by day. Some of the species of moths feed on the leaves of plants. The "moth" par eminence is an insect of the order Lepidoptera, which possess four wings covered with minute tessellated scales, and of the tribe Nocturna, in which the antennue (or "horns") are drawn out to a fine point. The genus Tinea in this division consists of small species, with the fore-wings long and narrow, and the head covered with coarse hairs. It includes a large number of species, several of which are noted for their destructiveness to clothes, woollen stuffs, furs, specimens of natural history in museums, and corn in granaries. The most pertinacious are T. pellionella and T. tapetzella, which feed on cloth; and these, from their abundance, and from their minuteness enabling them to penetrate into drawers and wardrobes, are but too well known in every household The identity of this with the Biblical insect is apparent from the terms by which it is rendered in the Sept. (comp. Theophrast. Hist. plant. 1:16) and Vulg. (comp. Pliny, Nat. Hist. 11:41). "The following allusions to the moth occur in Scripture-to its being produced in clothes: 'For from garments cometh a moth' (Ecclus. 43:13); to its well- known fragility: 'Mortal men are crushed before the moth' (Job 4:19), which words really mean (so the Sept.) 'Like as (לַפנֵי, comp. 1Sa 1:10) the moth is crushed' (comp. Plautus, Cistell. 1:1, 73); but others take the phrase actively, 'As a moth consumes clothing' (so the Vulg.). The allusion to 'the house of the moth' (Job 27:18) seems to refer plainly to the silky, spindle-shaped case, covered with detached hairs and particles of wool, made and inhabited by the larva of the Tinea sarcitella; or to the felted case or tunnel formed by the larva of the Tinea pellionella; or to the arched gallery formed by eating through wool by the larva of the Tinea tapetzella. References occur to the destructiveness of the clothes-moth: 'As a garment that is moth-eaten' (Job 13:28); 'The moth shall eat them up' (Isa 50:9); ' The moth shall eat them up like a garment' (Isa 51:8);' I will be to Ephraim as a moth,' i.e., will secretly consume him (Ho 5:12); comp. Mt 6:19-20; Lu 12:33; Jas 5:2, metaphorically; and Ecclus. 19:3 — 'Moths and worms shall have him that cleaveth to harlots,' but the better reading is σήπη, 'rottenness.' Since the 'treasures' of the Orientals, in ancient times, consisted partly of 'garments, both new and old' (Mt 13:52; and comp. Jos 7:21; Jg 14:12), the ravages of the clothes-moth afforded them a lively emblem of destruction. Their treasures also consisted partly of corn laid up in barns, etc. (Lu 12:18,24); and it has been supposed that the βρῶσις, translated 'rust,' joined with the σής ' in Mt 6:19-20, refers also to some species of moth, etc., probably in the larva state, which destroys corn. Kuiunol says the 'curculio, or corn-worm,' the larva of the Tinea granella, is injurious to corn. Compare the Roman phrase blatta et tinea. Moths, like fleas, etc., amid other more immediate purposes of their existence, incidentally serve as a stimulus to human industry and cleanliness; for, by a remarkable discrimination in her instinct, the parent moth never deposits her eggs in garments frequently overlooked or kept clean. Indeed, the most remarkable of all proofs of animal intelligence is to be found in the larvae of the water-moth, which get into straws, and adjust the weight of their case so that it can always float: when too heavy they add a piece of straw or wood, and when too light a bit of gravel

(Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1:42)." "The Tinea pellionella. the larva of which constructs a portable case out of the substance on which it feeds, and is very partial to feathers, certainly occurs in Asia Minor, and we may safely conclude that it and biselliata (an abundant species often found in horse-hair linings of chairs) will be found in any old furniture-warehouse at Jerusalem." A detailed account of the habits of these insects may be found in Rennie's Insect Architecture (Lond. 1857), page 220 sq. SEE WORM.

Bible concordance for MOTH.

Definition of moth

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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