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English Bible Dictionary

Lice

 

(Heb. cinnam, cinnim). this word occurs in the Authorized Version only in (Exodus 8:16-18) and in (Psalms 105:31) both of which passages have reference to the third great plague of Egypt. The Hebrew word has given occasion to whole pages of discussion. Some commentators, and indeed modern writers generally, suppose that gnats are the animals intended by the original word; while, on the other hand, the Jewish rabbis, Josephus and others, are in favor of the translation of the Authorized Version. Upon the whole it appears that there is not sufficient authority for departing from this translation, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. Late travelers (e.g. Sir Samuel Baker) describe the visitation of vermin in very similar terms:--"It is as though the very dust were turned into lice." The lice which he describes are a sort of tick, not larger than a grain of sand, which when filled with blood expand to the size of a hazel nut: Canon Cook.

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