(Heb. kinnim), the creatures employed in the third plague sent upon Egypt ( Exodus 8:16-18 ). They were miraculously produced from the dust of the land. "The entomologists Kirby and Spence place these minute but disgusting insects in the very front rank of those which inflict injury upon man. A terrible list of examples they have collected of the ravages of this and closely allied parasitic pests." The plague of lice is referred to in Psalms 105:31 .
Some have supposed that the word denotes not lice properly, but gnats. Others, with greater probability, take it to mean the "tick" which is much larger than 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. Late travellers (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.
lis (kinnim (Exodus 8:17,18; Psalms 105:31), kinnim (Exodus 8:16), kinnam (Exodus 8:17,18); Septuagint skniphes (Exodus 8:16,18), ton sknipha, once in Exodus 8:18; sknipes (Psalms 105:31); Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) scniphes; according to Liddell and Scott, under the word sknips, Slav. sknipa equals culex):
The references, both in Exodus and in Psalms, are all to the plague of "lice." the Revised Version margin suggests "fleas" or "sandflies." The Septuagint rendering would favor "sandflies" or "mosquitoes," between which two insects the Old Testament writers would hardly be expected to discriminate. Mosquitoes belong to the order of Diptera, family Culicidae; the sandfly (Plebotomus papataci) to the family of Simuliidae of the same order. The sandflies are much smaller than mosquitoes, and are nearly noiseless, but give a sharp sting which may leave an unpleasant irritation. They are abundant in the Levant. In Southern Europe they cause the "three-day fever" or "papataci." As stated under GNAT (which see), there is little ground other than the authority of the Septuagint for deciding between "lice," "fleas," "sand-flies," or "mosquitoes" as translations of kinnim. See also under GNAT the note on ken, the Revised Version margin "gnat" (Isaiah 51:6).
Alfred Ely Day
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