A small inoffensive animal, of the bear genus, which remains torpid all winter. It is an inhabitant of cold countries, and is not found in Palestine. Hence many think the "badgers' skins" mentioned Ex 25:5; 26:14; Eze 16:10, and elsewhere, as being used for covering the tabernacle and for shoes, were the skins not of this animal, but of a species of seal found in the Red Sea. Burckhardt remarks that he "saw parts of the skin of a large fish, killed on the coast, which was an inch in thickness, and is employed by the Arabs instead of leather for sandals." Others think it was an animal of the antelope species, the skins of which the Jews had obtained in Egypt.
this word is found in Ex 25:5; 26:14; 35:7,23; 36:19; 39:34; Nu 4:6, etc. The tabernacle was covered with badgers' skins; the shoes of women were also made of them (Eze 16:10). Our translators seem to have been misled by the similarity in sound of the Hebrew tachash and the Latin taxus, "a badger." The revisers have correctly substituted "seal skins." The Arabs of the Sinaitic peninsula apply the name tucash to the seals and dugongs which are common in the Red Sea, and the skins of which are largely used as leather and for sandals. Though the badger is common in Palestine, and might occur in the wilderness, its small hide would have been useless as a tent covering. The dugong, very plentiful in the shallow waters on the shores of the Red Sea, is a marine animal from 12 to 30 feet long, something between a whale and a seal, never leaving the water, but very easily caught. It grazes on seaweed, and is known by naturalists as Halicore tabernaculi.
(Ex 26:14). Badger skins were the outer covering of the tabernacle, in the wilderness; and of the ark, the table, the candlestick, the golden altar, and altar of burnt offering (Nu 4:6-14). In Eze 16:10 Jehovah alludes to this, under the image of the shoes made of badger skins for delicate and beautiful women; "I shod thee with badger skin." This was the material of the shoes worn by Hebrew on festival days. Weighty authorities render Hebrew tachash a "seal," not a "badger"; seals were numerous on the shores of the Sinaitic peninsula.
Others say it is the halicore, a Red Sea fish, which still is used by the Arabs to make soles for shoes and like purposes; called dahash, like tachash. Others think it is the stag goat, of the antelope kind, called thacasse, related perhaps to tachash, to be seen on Egyptian monuments. A great objection to the badger is, it is not found in Bible lands, Syria, Arabia, or Egypt, and certainly not in sufficient quantities for the Israelites' purpose. The objection to the halicore is Le 11:10; "all that have not fins and scales in the seas." But that prohibition refers only to using them as food; moreover, the tachash probably includes marine animals in general, their skins made into "leather" were well fitted to protect against the weather. Josephus makes the color sky blue (Ant. 3:6, section 4).
Rock badger (Le 11:5 Revised Version margin), i.e. Hyrax Syriacus. See Coney.
BADGER, ???. This word in a plural form occurs, Ex 25:5; 26:14; 35:7,23; 36:19; 39:34; Nu 4:6,8,10-12,14,25; Eze 16:10; and is joined with ???, skins used for the covering of the tabernacle in the wilderness. The Jewish interpreters are agreed as to its being some animal. Jarchi says it was a beast of many colours, which no more exists. Kimchi holds the same opinion. Aben Ezra thinks it some animal of the bovine kind, of whose skins shoes are made; alluding to Eze 16:10. Most modern interpreters have taken it to be the badger, and among these our English translators; but, in the first place, the badger is not an inhabitant of Arabia; and there is nothing in its skin peculiarly proper either for covering a tabernacle or making shoes. Hasaeus, Michaelis, and others, have laboured to prove that it is the mermaid, or homo marinus, the trichekus of Linnaeus. Faber, Dathe, and Rosenmuller, think that it is the seal, or sea calf, vitulus marinus, the skin of which is both strong and pliable, and was accounted by the ancients as a most proper outer covering for tents, and was also made into shoes, as Rau has clearly shown. Niebuhr says, "A merchant of Abushahr called dahash that fish which the captains in English vessels call porpoise, and the Germans, sea hog. In my voyage from Maskat to Abushahr, I saw a prodigious quantity together near Ras Mussendom, that were all going the same way, and seemed to swim with great vehemence." Bochart thinks that not an animal, but a colour, was intended, Ex 25:5; so that the covering of the tabernacle was to be azure, or sky blue.