This frightful creature is several times mentioned in the Bible. It is
the largest among insects, and more dangerous than any of them. It is
sometimes found in Europe, and is there about four inches long; but
those of hot countries are sometimes more than a foot in length.
The scorpion is very easily made angry, and then its sting is terrible;
it very often causes death, but not always. In Revelation, 9:5, 6, we
read, "And their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when he
striketh a man; and in those days shall men seek death and shall not
find it: and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them." This
shows that the pain caused by their sting is very great. When a person
has been stung by a scorpion, the part around the wound swells and
becomes very painful, the hands and feet become cold, the skin is pale,
and there is a feeling as though there were needles in every part of it.
This pain often increases and rages until the person dies in great
It is well for man that scorpions destroy each other as readily as they
do animals of a different kind. It is said that a hundred were once put
together under a glass, where they immediately began to attack and kill
each other; so that in a few days only fourteen were left alive. I have
heard that if a circle of alcohol or spirit of any sort, is set on fire,
and a scorpion placed within it so that he cannot get out on any side,
he will sting himself so as to cause his death. I am not certain that
this is true, and it would be a very cruel thing to try it even upon so
dangerous an animal as the scorpion.
It seems that this creature was sometimes seen in the wilderness through
which the children of Israel passed. When they had nearly reached the
end of their journey, Moses reminded them to praise God for having kept
them safely in so many dangers, while passing through "that great and
terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions and
drought; where there was no water."
Our Savior asks, "If a son shall ask of his father an egg, will he give
him a scorpion?" The scorpions in that country are about as large as an
egg, and when rolled up look a little like one. Yet no father would be
so wicked as to give one to his child instead of the egg which he needed
Christ once said to his disciples, when they were going out to preach
and to heal the diseases of the people, "Behold I give you power to
tread on serpents and scorpions, and nothing shall by any means hurt
you." This was a very wonderful power; and whoever should see one of
those disciples tread on the terrible scorpion without being hurt, would
know that Christ was surely with him to take care of him.