The female of the hart or stag, a species of deer, distinguished for the lightness and elegance of its form. The hind is destitute of horns, like all the females of this class, except the reindeer. In Ge 49:21, Naphtali is compared to a hind roaming at liberty, or quickly growing up into elegance; while the "goodly words" of Naphtali refer to the future orators, prophets, and poets of the tribe. A faithful and affectionate wife is compared to the hind, Pr 5:19, as also are swift and sure-footed heroes, 2Sa 22:34; Hab 3:19.
Heb 'ayalah (2Sa 22:34; Ps 18:33, etc.) and 'ayeleth (Ps 22, title), the female of the hart or stag. It is referred to as an emblem of activity (Ge 49:21), gentleness (Pr 5:19), feminine modesty (Song 2:7; 3:5), earnest longing (Ps 42:1), timidity (Ps 29:9). In the title of Ps 22, the word probably refers to some tune bearing that name.
The word ayyalah is supposed to allude to any kind of deer found in Palestine: no particular species can be identified. It is used as a symbol of activity. Ge 49:21; 2Sa 22:34; Ps 18:33; 29:9; Cant. 2:7; Cant. 3:5; Hab 3:19. See HART.
the female of the common stag or Cervus elaphus. It is frequently noticed in the poetical parts of Scripture as emblematic of activity,
and maternal affection.
Its shyness and remoteness from the haunts of men are also alluded to,
and its timidity, causing it to cast its young at the sound of thunder.
HIND, ????, Ge 49:21; 2Sa 22:34; Job 39:1; Ps 18:33; 29:9; Pr 5:19; Song 2:7; 3:5; Jer 14:5; Hab 3:19; the male or female of the stag. It is a lovely creature, and of an elegant shape. It is noted for its swiftness and the sureness of its step as it jumps among the rocks. David and Habakkuk both allude to this character of the hind. "The Lord maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and causeth me to stand on the high places," Ps 18:33; Hab 3:19. The circumstance of their standing on the high places or mountains is applied to these animals by Xenophon. Our translators make Jacob, prophesying of the tribe of Naphtali, say, "Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words." Ge 49:21. There is a difficulty and incoherence here which the learned Bochart removes by altering a little the punctuation of the original; and it then reads, "Naphtali is a spreading tree, shooting forth beautiful branches." This, indeed, renders the simile uniform; but another critic has remarked that "the allusion to a tree seems to be purposely reserved by the venerable patriarch for his son Joseph, who is compared to the boughs of a tree; and the repetition of the idea in reference to Naphtali is every way unlikely. Beside," he adds, "the word rendered 'let loose,' imports an active motion, not like that of the branches of a tree, which, however freely they wave, are yet attached to the parent stock; but an emission, a dismission, or sending forth to a distance: in the present case, a roaming, roaming at liberty. The verb 'he giveth' may denote shooting forth. It is used of production, as of the earth, which shoots forth, yields, its increase, Le 26:4. The word rendered 'goodly' signifies noble, grand, majestic; and the noun translated 'words' radically signifies divergences, what is spread forth." For these reasons he proposes to read the passage, "Naphtali is a deer roaming at liberty; he shooteth forth spreading branches," or "majestic antlers." Here the distinction of imagery is preserved, and the fecundity of the tribe and the fertility of their lot intimated. In our version of Ps 29:9, we read, "The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests." Mr. Merrick, in an ingenious note on the place, attempts to justify the rendering; but Bishop Lowth, in his "Lectures on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews," observes that this agrees very little with the rest of the imagery, either in nature or dignity; and that he does not feel himself persuaded, even by the reasonings of the learned Bochart on this subject: whereas the oak, struck with lightning, admirably agrees with the context. The Syriac seems, for ?????, hinds, to have read ????, oaks, or rather, perhaps, terebinths. The passage may be thus versified: