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SPIDER (שְׂמָמִית, H8532; SPIDER KJV; LIZARD ASV, RSV. The tr. “lizard” (gecko) is preferred: see Lizard. עַכָּבִישׁ, H6571, SPIDER all Eng. VSS). Spider is the name given to a large fairly well-defined class of the Anthropods (joint footed animals) differing from insects in having four pairs of legs and no wings. All spiders have special glands for producing silk; this is extruded in strands and used for making nests, egg cases, etc., as well as for web spinning by certain families, esp. those known as the orb spinners, which make webs of some complexity. The Heb. clearly refers to one of these. “They weave the spider’s web” (Isa 59:5); “His trust is a spider’s web” (Job 8:14). The word here tr. “web” is Heb. bayith, a common word usually tr. “house.” Its use could change the metaphor somewhat, and it could refer to a different species, one that makes a more obvious nest.

Job 27:18, “He buildeth his house as a moth” (KJV and ASV), from the LXX, Heb. and Syr. RSV regards the text as indefinite and in need of reconstruction. This is thus rendered, “The house which he builds is like a spider’s web, like a booth which the watchman makes,” a picture of the spider watching its trap from the vantage point alongside. (See Moth.)

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


(1) `akkabhish; compare Arabic `ankabut, English Versions of the Bible "spider"; Septuagint arachne (Job 8:14; Isa 59:5);

(2) semamith, "lizard," the King James Version "spider"; Septuagint kalabotes (Pr 30:28)): Semamith of Pr 30:28 is probably the gecko, a kind of lizard, as Septuagint and the Revised Version (British and American) have it. See Lizard.

In Job 8:14 the spider’s web is an emblem of frailty: "Whose confidence shall break in sunder, and whose trust is a spider’s web." Frailty or futility seems to be indicated also in Isa 59:5,6: "They hatch adders’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: .... Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works" "Spider’s web" is in Job 8:14 both `akkabhish, "spider’s house," while in Isa 59:5 it is qure `akkabhish, qur, according to BDB, being "thread" or "film."

See also

  • Animals