on Deuteronomy 14 :5
The hart - איל aiyal, the deer, according to Dr. Shaw: see the note on Deuteronomy 12:15.
The roebuck - צבי tsebi, generally supposed to be the antelope, belonging to the fifth order Pecora, genus Mammalia, and species 38. It has round twisted spiral horns, hairy tufts on the knees, browses on tender shoots, lives in hilly countries, is fond of climbing rocks, and is remarkable for its beautiful black eyes. The flesh is good and well flavoured.
The fallow deer - יחמור yachmur, from חמר chamar, to be troubled, disturbed, disordered: this is supposed to mean, not the fallow deer, but the bubalus or buffalo, which is represented by Dr. Shaw, and other travelers and naturalists, as a sullen, malevolent, and spiteful animal, capricious, ferocious, and every way brutal. According to the Linnaean classification, the buffalo belongs to the fifth order Pecora, genus Mammalia, species bos. According to 1 Kings 4:23, this was one of the animals which was daily served up at the table of Solomon. Though the flesh of the buffalo is not considered very delicious, yet in the countries where it abounds it is eaten as frequently by all classes of persons as the ox is in England. The yachmur is not mentioned in the parallel place, Leviticus 11.
The wild goat - אקו akko. It is not easy to tell what creature is intended by the akko. Dr. Shaw supposed it to be a kind of very timorous goat, known in the East by the name fishtall and serwee, and bearing a resemblance both to the goat and the stag, whence the propriety of the name given it by the Septuagint and Vulgate, tragelaphus, the goat-stag; probably the rupicapra or rock-goat. The word is found nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible.
The pygarg - דישן dishon. As this word is nowhere else used, we cannot tell what animal is meant by it. The word pygarg πυγαργος, literally signifies white buttocks, and is applied to a kind of eagle with a white tail; but here it evidently means a quadruped. It was probably some kind of goat, common and well known in Judea.
The wild ox - תאו teo. This is supposed to be the oryx of the Greeks, which is a species of large stag. It may be the same with the bekker el wash, described by Dr. Shaw as "a species of the deer kind, whose horns are exactly in the fashion of our stag, but whose size is only between the red and fallow deer." In Isaiah 51:20 a creature of the name of תוא to is mentioned, which we translate wild bull; it may be the same creature intended above, with the interchange of the two last letters.
The chamois - זמר zemer. This was probably a species of goat or deer, but of what kind we know not: that it cannot mean the chamois is evident from this circumstance, "that the chamois inhabits only the regions of snow and ice, and cannot bear the heat." - Buffon. The Septuagint and Vulgate translate it the Camelopard, but this creature is only found in the torrid zone and probably was never seen in Judea; consequently could never be prescribed as a clean animal, to be used as ordinary food. I must once more be permitted to say, that to ascertain the natural history of the Bible is a hopeless case. Of a few of its animals and vegetables we are comparatively certain, but of the great majority we know almost nothing. Guessing and conjecture are endless, and they have on these subjects been already sufficiently employed. What learning, deep, solid, extensive learning, and judgment could do, has already been done by the incomparable Bochart in his Hierozoicon. The learned reader may consult this work, and, while he gains much general information, will have to regret that he can apply so little of it to the main and grand question. As I have consulted every authority within my reach, on the subject of the clean and unclean animals mentioned in the law, and have detailed all the information I could collect in my notes on Leviticus 11, I must refer my readers to what I have there laid down.
on Deuteronomy 14 :5
The "pygarg" is a species of gazelle, and the "wild ox" and "chamois" are swift types of antelope.
on Deuteronomy 14 :5