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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Monday, December 30, 2013

cat in apocrypha

. . . The Cat, then, having been the favoured companion of the Egyptians, among whom the Israelites lived while they multiplied from a family into a nation, it does seem very remarkable that the sacred writers should not even mention it.  There is no prohibition of the animal, even indirectly, in the Mosaic law; but it may be the case that the Israelites repudiated the Cat simply because it was so favoured by their former masters.
     The only passage in the Apocrypha is a passing allusion in Baruch (vi.22), where it is said of the idols, that bats and birds shall sit on their bodies, and the cats also.  That the word is rightly translated admits of no doubt, because it is the same that is employed by Herodotus in the passage already quoted.

Wood, J. G. 1827-1889. Bible Animals: Being a Description of Every Living Creature Mentioned In the Scriptures From the Ape to the Coral. New York: Charles Scribner, 1870, p. 38.  I found the King James version of the Apocrypha verse Wood identifies above, but it's in the Epistle of Jeremiah, and I'll throw in a couple of extra verses for context:
19: They are as one of the beams of the temple, yet they say their hearts are gnawed upon by things creeping out of the earth; and when they eat them and their clothes, they feel it not.
20: Their faces are blacked through the smoke that cometh out of the temple.
21: Upon their bodies and heads sit bats, swallows, and birds, and the cats also.

Well of course they're going to sit on them.  They're handy and not moving.  But I guess that's the point.


parlance said...

That's a very interesting post! There must have been cats all over the place in Egypt, so I wonder if the Israelites had cats as companions.

curator said...

They must have had SOME. After all, they can't have tarred all cats with the brush of "you are bad because my masters love you."