CROCODILE


CROCODILE
CROCODILE (Heb. תַּנִּיך or תַּנִּים), the largest surviving reptile, with a length of as much as 23 feet (7 m.) or more. The tannim or tannin of the Bible refers to the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) and also to gigantic mythological animals said to have rebelled at the time of the creation against their Creator and hence to have been punished with extinction (Isa. 51:9; Ps. 74:13–14; Job 7:12); similar myths are found also in Ugaritic epics. The reference may be to prehistoric reptiles, remains of whose bones have been uncovered in various places in the Middle East region and which may have stirred the imagination of the ancients and formed the basis of these legends. Footprints of a prehistoric reptile have been discovered at Bet Zayit in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Tannim also refers to another gigantic, non-reptilian animal, the whale (cf. Lam. 4:3), usually called leviathan , which word, however, also denotes a crocodile, as in Job 40:25–41:26, where the description, although poetical and mythical, applies to a crocodile. Thus, it is stated there that the leviathan has a tongue, a nose, enormous teeth, and shining eyes. Its head and neck are covered with protective scales impenetrable to spears. It is fearless and attacks every other animal. Mention is also made there of a bird that plays with it and of the covenant between them: this may refer to the crocodile plover (Pluvianus aegyptius) which pecks at the throat and teeth of the crocodile. This reptile was sacred to the Egyptians; hundreds of embalmed crocodiles have been found in cemeteries specially set aside for them. Plutarch relates that the Egyptians ascribed to them powers of prescience in that the female lays its eggs on the high water mark of the Nile. As it was a sacred animal, the Egyptians protected it, and it multiplied undisturbed in the country's waters. The sign performed by Aaron with his rod which became a tannin – a crocodile – (Ex. 7:9–10) may have been intended as a protest against its sanctity. Ezekiel calls Pharaoh king of Egypt "the great tannim that lieth in the midst of his rivers" (Ezek. 29:3; cf. Isa. 27:1), while Jeremiah (51:34) likens   the king of Babylonia to a crocodile that preys on human beings. No longer found in the Nile, the crocodile is at present indigenous only in Central Africa. At the end of the 19th century crocodiles were still found in Ereẓ Israel, and a river in the Sharon is called Naḥal ha-Tanninim. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lewysohn, Zool, 220 no. 271; F.S. Bodenheimer, Animal and Man in Bible Lands (1960), 65; J. Feliks, Animal World of the Bible (1962), 94–95. (Jehuda Feliks)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • crocodile — [ krɔkɔdil ] n. m. • 1538; cocodrille XIIe; lat. crocodilus, gr. krokodeilos 1 ♦ Grand reptile amphibien (crocodiliens) des rivières tropicales et équatoriales, au museau large et long (par opposition au gavial et à l alligator); abusivt Tout… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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  • Crocodile — Croc o*dile (kr[o^]k [ o]*d[imac]l; 277), n. [L. crocodilus, Gr. kroko deilos: cf. F. crocodile. Cf. {Cookatrice}.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) A large reptile of the genus {Crocodilus}, of several species. They grow to the length of sixteen or eighteen feet,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Crocodile 2 — (Crocodile 2: Death Swamp) est un film américain réalisé par Gary Jones, sorti en 2002. Sommaire 1 Synopsis 2 Fiche technique 3 Distribution 4 Autour du film …   Wikipédia en Français

  • crocodile — CROCODILE. s. m. Espece d animal amphibie à quatre pieds, de la figure d un lezard, mais beaucoup plus grand, couvert d escailles, qui se trouve ordinairement dans le Nil, dans le Gange, & dans plusieurs autres fleuves. Grand crocodile. la peau d …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • crocodile — CROCODILE. s. m. Animal amphibie à quatre pieds, couvert d écailles, de la figure d un lézard. Il y a des crocodiles dans le Nil, dans le Gange, et dans plusieurs autres fleuves. Grand crocodile. La peau d un crocodile. Des oeufs de crocodile.… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • crocodile — 1560s, restored spelling of M.E. cokedrille, kokedrille (c.1300), from M.L. cocodrillus, from L. crocodilus, from Gk. krokodilos, word applied by Herodotus to the crocodile of the Nile, apparently due to its basking habits, from kroke pebbles +… …   Etymology dictionary

  • crocodile — [kräk′ə dīl΄] n. [ME cocodril < OFr cocodrille < ML cocodrillus, altered < L crocodilus < Gr krokodilos, lizard (hence, “lizard of the Nile,” crocodile) < * krokodrilos < krokē, pebble, gravel (? akin to Sans sa̍rkarā, SUGAR) +… …   English World dictionary

  • crocodile — ► NOUN 1) a large predatory semiaquatic reptile with long jaws, long tail, short legs, and a horny textured skin. 2) leather made from crocodile skin. 3) Brit. informal a line of schoolchildren walking in pairs. ORIGIN Old French cocodrille, from …   English terms dictionary

  • crocodile — CROCODILE: Imite le cri des enfants pour attirer l homme …   Dictionnaire des idées reçues


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