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A form of
by rats or mice supposedly alluded to in Isaiah LXVI:17. The method lies
in their peculiar cries or some mark of devastation denoting evil which
they make. Aelian told how Fabius Maximus resigned the dictatorship because
of a warning from the creatures. Cassius Flaminius resigned being commander
of the calvary because of them.
Herodotus told of how the army of Semmacherib of which he was a member was
defeated after being infested by rats. The rodents ate through the quivers
and bows so that by morning the weapons were destroyed and in confusion
men fled as many were killed.
Horapollo, in his curious study of Egyptian Hieroglyphics, described the
rat as the symbol of destruction, and that the Hebrew name for the animal
came from the root meaning separate, divide, or judge. One of the commentators
on Horapollo remarked that the rat had a finely discriminating taste.
An Egyptian manuscript in the Biblotheque Royale in Paris contains a representation
of a soul going to judgment, in which one of the figures is depicted as
having a head of a rat, and having a well-known wig.
It is recognized that the Libian rats and the mouse of Scripture are the
same as the Arabian jerboa, which is characterized as having a long
tail, bushy at the end, and short front legs.
The mice and emerods of gold (I Samuel V: 6, 7) were essentially charms
sharing a precise symbolic meaning. A.G.H.
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