The word occurs only in the two parallel passages (1 Kings 10:22; 2 Chronicles 9:21) in which the magnificence of Solomon is illustrated by the things which are brought to him from foreign countries. Apes are mentioned with gold, silver, ivory and peacocks. Peacocks are natives of India and Ceylon. Apes and ivory may have been brought from India or Africa. Gold and silver may have come from these or other quarters. An Indian origin may be inferred from the fact that the Hebrew qoph, the Greek kebos and the English "ape" are akin to the Sanskrit "kapi", which is referred to the root kap, kamp, "to tremble"; but the question of the source of these imports depends upon what is understood by TARSHISH and OPHIR (which see). Canon Cheyne in Encyclopedia Biblica (s.v. "Peacock") proposes a reading which would give "gold, silver, ivory and precious stones" instead of "gold, silver, ivory, apes and peacocks." Assuming, however, that animals are here referred to, the word ape should be understood to mean some kind of monkey. The word "ape" is sometimes used for the tail-less apes or anthropoids such as the gorilla, the chimpanzee and the orangutang, as opposed to the tailed kinds, but this distinction is not strictly held to, and the usage seems formerly to have been freer than now.
Alfred Ely Day