we'-z'-l (choledh; compare Arabic khuld, "mole-rat"):
(1) Choledh is found only in Leviticus 11:29, where it stands first in the list of eight unclean "creeping things that creep upon the earth." the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) agree in rendering choledh by "weasel," and the Septuagint has gale, "weasel" or "marten." According to Gesenius, the Vulgate, Targum, and Talmud support the same rendering. In spite of this array of authorities, it is worth while to consider the claims of the mole-rat, Spalax typhlus, Arabic khuld. This is a very common rodent, similar in appearance and habits to the mole, which does not exist in Palestine. The fact that it burrows may be considered against it, in view of the words, "that creepeth upon the earth." The term "creeping thing" is, however, very applicable to it, and the objection seems like a quibble, especially in view of the fact that there is no category of subterranean animals. See MOLE.
(2) The weasel, Mustela vulgaris, has a wide range in Asia, Europe, and North America. It is from 8 to 10 inches long, including the short tail. It is brown above and white below. In the northern part of its range, its whole fur, except the tail, is white in winter. It is active and fearless, and preys upon all sorts of small mammals, birds and insects.
Alfred Ely Day
These files are public domain.