And the coney
because he cheweth the cud;
or "though he cheweth"; which yet, some observe, the coney or rabbit does not, it having upper teeth, and therefore they think some other creature is meant by Shaphan, the word here used; and Bochart F13 is of opinion, that the Aljarbuo of the Arabians, a sort of mountain mouse, is meant, which chews the cud and divides not the hoof, and resides in rocks, which agrees with the account of the Shaphan in ( Proverbs 30:26 ) but this is rejected by Dr. Shaw F14, who takes the creature here to be the Daman Israel, or Israel's lamb, an animal of Mount Lebanon, a harmless creature of the same size and quality with the rabbit, and with the like incurvating posture, and disposition or the fore teeth, but is of a browner colour, with smaller eyes, and a head more pointed, like the marmots; the fore feet likewise are short, and the hinder are nearly as long in proportion as those of the jerboa; and though this animal is known to burrow sometimes in the ground, yet its usual residence and refuge is in the holes and clifts of the rocks; but a learned man F15, and very inquisitive in the things of nature, tells us, that the "cuniculus", coney, or rabbit, this sort of animals do chew half an hour after eating:
but divideth not the hoof;
which is well known of this creature:
he [is] unclean unto you;
not fit or proper to be eaten of, but to be abstained from as an unclean animal; and may be an emblem of timorous persons, as these creatures by Aristotle F16 are observed to be, and it is well known they are; even of the fearful and unbelieving, reckoned among the impure, who will have their portion in the lake of fire, ( Revelation 21:8 ) .
F13 Hierozoic par. 1. l. 3. c. 33. col. 1015, 1016.
F14 Travels, p. 177, 348. Ed. 2.
F15 Scheuchzer. ut supra, (Physic. Sacr. vol. 2.) p. 281.
F16 Hist. Animal. l. 1. c. 1.