Proverbs 30:26 states, “hyraxes are not a mighty people, yet they make their homes in the cliffs” (CSB). The NASB retains the Hebrew term, “The shephanim are not mighty people, Yet they make their houses in the rocks.” ESV renders, “the rock badgers.” KJV has “conies.”
It is not unusual to see these animals in En-Gedi.
Ferrell Jenkins and I photographed these as we were walking up the trail to see the falls at En-gedi, while doing a personal study trip in Israel in 2009.
The NET Bible has this note:
This is the Syrian Hyrax, also known as the rock badger. KJV, ASV has “conies” (alternately spelled “coneys” by NIV), a term usually associated with the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) but which can also refer to the pika or the hyrax. Scholars today generally agree that the Hebrew term used here refers to a type of hyrax, a small ungulate mammal of the family Procaviidae native to Africa and the Middle East which has a thick body, short legs and ears and a rudimentary tail. The simple “badger” (so NASB, NRSV, CEV) could lead to confusion with the badger, an entirely unrelated species of burrowing mammal related to weasels.
Further, “Modern scholars identify this creature with the rock badger (the Syrian hyrax), a small mammal that lives in the crevices of the rock. Its wisdom consists in its ingenuity to find a place of security” (NET Bible note).
En-gedi is known for its beautiful falls.
En-gedi was an area where David and his men fled from King Saul.
I previously posted on the rock badger on our blog here.
In our home congregation we are completing a study of the Proverbs, with ch. 30 scheduled for Sunday. I find that visuals such as these can be very helpful in our understanding of the biblical text.
Click on images for larger view.