Dolphin – Day 19 out of 30 Days [Biblically] Wild

Dolphin/porpoise – תַּ֫חַשׁ (tachash)

Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Photo: David B./CC BY-SA 2.0. Source: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/dolphins-have-humanlike-conversations-underwater-says-science

Fairly common, but strangely unusual

This one might come as a bit of a surprise even to the most careful readers of the Bible! Perhaps that is rather apt. Although native to UK waters, sightings of dolphins are always special. For most people, they are unusual enough to make any encounter with them a treasured memory – a real ‘red-letter’ day. Unfortunately, I have as yet to seen one in the wild. However, when friends come back from their holidays, if they did manage to spot one, it is often related as one of the high spots of their time; “Oh, and we even saw a dolphin in the bay!”

In this respect dolphins remain in our imaginations as being something a little unusual and not part of our expected daily norms. So too is the tachash. Although it occurs 14 times in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), which is significantly more than some of the other animals we have been looking at, it still retains an air of mystique. Translators simply don’t quite know what to make of it.

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Acacia – Day 10 of 30 Days [Biblically] Wild

Acacia – שִׁטָּה  (shittah)

Acacia near the Tower of London. Source: http://www.londontrees.co.uk/acacia.html

Although it is not a native to the UK, the acacia or the name ‘acacia’ (to my mind at least) is indelibly connected to suburbia and leafy, neatly trimmed, privet-lined gardens of Middle England. Loved by bees, the acacia carries with it the scent of the exotic, which is not surprising as it is more usually associated with much warmer climes.

The tree of the wilderness

The Bible lists שִׁטָּה (shittah), usually translated as ‘acacia’, twenty-eight times. However, as Tristram (1898:392) cautions, we need to be careful not to confuse it with the acacia commonly found in Britain. The types of acacia normally found in the UK generally originate from Australia rather than the Middle East. Continue reading