A well-known insect, of the grasshopper family, which commits terrible ravages on vegetation in the countries which it visits. "The common brown locust is about three inches in length, and the general form is that of a grasshopper." The most destructive of the locust tribe that occur in the Bible lands are the (Edipoda migratoria and the Acridium peregrinum ; and as both these species occur in Syria and Arabia, etc., it is most probable that one or other is denoted in those passages which speak of the dreadful devastations committed by these insects. Locusts occur in great numbers, and sometimes obscure the sun. (Exodus 10:15; Judges 6:5; Jeremiah 46:23) Their voracity is alluded to in (Exodus 10:12,15; Joel 1:4,7) They make a fearful noise in their flight. (Joel 2:5; Revelation 9:9) Their irresistible progress is referred to in (Joel 2:8,9) They enter dwellings, and devour even the woodwork of houses. (Exodus 10:6; Joel 2:9,10) They do not fly in the night. (Nahum 3:17) The sea destroys the greater number. (Exodus 10:19; Joel 2:20) The flight of locusts is thus described by M. Olivier (Voyage dans l' Empire Othoman, ii. 424): "With the burning south winds (of Syria) there come from the interior of Arabia and from the most southern parts of Persia clouds of locusts (Acridium peregrinum), whose ravages to these countries are as grievous and nearly as sudden as those of the heaviest hail in Europe. We witnessed them twice, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. It is difficult to express the effect produced on us by the sight of the whole atmosphere filled on all sides and to a great height by an innumerable quantity of these insects, whose flight was slow and uniform, and whose noise resembled that of rain: the sky was darkened, and the light of the sun considerably weakened. In a moment the terraces of the houses, the streets, and all the fields were covered by these insects, and in two days they had nearly devoured all the leaves of the plants. Happily they lived but a short time, and seemed to have migrated only to reproduce themselves and die; in fact, nearly all those we saw the next day had paired, and the day following the fields were covered with their dead bodies." "Locusts have been used as food from the earliest times. Herodotus speaks of a Libyan nation who dried their locusts in the sun and ate them with milk. The more common method, however, was to pull off the legs and wings and roast them in an iron dish. Then they thrown into a bag, and eaten like parched corn, each one taking a handful when he chose."--Biblical Treasury. Sometimes the insects are ground and pounded, and then mixed with flour and water and made into cakes, or they are salted and then eaten; sometimes smoked; sometimes boiled or roasted; again, stewed, or fried in butter.
* See also: Caterpillar.
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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