Why the rabbit is a friend of bible critics
In publications critical of the Bible, reference is repeatedly made to one specific Bible passage. In the King James Translation you can read as follows:
And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.Leviticus 11, 5 (KJV)
Bible critics therefore claim that this bible passage is proof that there are errors in the Bible, because coneys and rabbits are not ruminants.
Rabbit became Hyrax
But fact is that in the basic Hebrew text there is no mention at all of a coney or a rabbit. The translation error has already been corrected in more recent translations, and the animal is now translated as “hyrax” (Hebrew: shaphan), a designation from South Africa. You can find out more about the animal in zoological works and find out even more:
The Hyrax is a ruminant
In “Grzimek’s Tierleben”, a famous zoological work in Germany (Twelfth Edition, Mammals 3), which I bought specially to dispel the myth, we can read in a list of the animal’s characteristics that the hyrax is a ruminant (page 516, 1979 edition). A few more explanations of the term “ruminant”: The Bible does not say “to ruminate”, but translated more precisely. It must mean “to bring up the chewed meat”, and that is exactly what this animal does. He brings up chewed and already swallowed food and chews it again, so that he can better utilize the vegetable food. It is interesting how alleged errors of the Bible are repeatedly brought up to feed doubts about the Bible.
Again the Rabbit
But we want to restore justice to the rabbit, because rabbits are also ruminants, but in a different way than cattle: they eat their excrement in order to digest it again. This makes the food more digestible. Conclusion: Even with the wrong translation of King James (or even Luther), there is no way around the truth of the Bible.
I close with a quotation from Paul, with which he testifies to the governor Festus:
But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets.Acts 24, 14 (ESV)
- Klippdachs: Andi