A well-known insect, remarkable for the thread which it spins, and with which it forms a web of curious texture, but so frail that it is exposed to be broken and destroyed by the slightest accident. To the slenderness of this filmy workmanship Job compares the hope of the wicked, Job 8:14. So also in Isa 59:5, it is shown that the works of sinners are utterly inadequate to cover or protect them. In Pr 30:28, it is said in our version that "the spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces;" but the Hebrew employs here a different word, which signifies, according to the best interpreters, a species of lizard frequent in Palestine.
The trust of the hypocrite is compared to the spider's web or house (Job 8:14). It is said of the wicked by Isaiah that they "weave the spider's web" (Job 42:17), i.e., their works and designs are, like the spider's web, vain and useless. The Hebrew word here used is 'akkabish, "a swift weaver."
In Pr 30:28 a different Hebrew word (semamith) is used. It is rendered in the Vulgate by stellio, and in the Revised Version by "lizard." It may, however, represent the spider, of which there are, it is said, about seven hundred species in Palestine.
akabish. Job 8:14, "the hypocrite's trust shall be a spider's web," namely, frail and transitory, notwithstanding its ingenuity; the spider's web sustains it, the hypocrite's trust will not sustain him. Hypocrisy is as easily swept away as the spider's web by the wind; it is as flimsy, and is woven out of its own inventions, as the spider's web out of its own bowels. Isa 59:5, "they weave the spider's web ... their webs shall not become garments"; the point is the thinness of the garment, as contrasted with what is substantial (Pr 11:18). When a spider attacks a fly it plunges its two fangs into its victim, and through them (being tubular) injects poison. In Pr 30:28 translated semamith, "the gecko ('lizard") taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces." it can run over smooth surfaces noiselessly in an inverted position, as flies on a ceiling. But the spider's characteristic is not this, but to weave a web; it is in cottages rather than "palaces." The gecko teaches, as much as the spider taught Robert Bruce, the irresistible power of perseverance. The spider's spinning organs serve as both hands and eyes (Kirby, Bridgwater Treatise, 2:186).
1. akkabish. This is known to be the spider by the web being referred to, which, as being very frail, illustrates the trust of the hypocrite, also the weaving of the wicked, which will not supply them with a garment. Job 8:14; Isa 59:5.
2. semamith. This is supposed to refer to a lizard, which has wide feet like hands, by which it holds fast to the wall while pursuing its prey. It is translated 'lizard' in the R.V. but others prefer some species of spider. Pr 30:28.
The Hebrew word 'accabish in
is correctly rendered "spider." Put semamith is wrongly translated "spider" in
it refers probably to some kind of lizard. (But "there are many species of spider in Palestine: some which spin webs, like the common garden spider; some which dig subterranean cells and make doors in them, like the well-known trap-door spider of southern Europe; and some which have no web, but chase their prey upon the ground, like the hunting-and the wolf-spider." --Wood's Bible Animals.)
SPIDER, ?????, Job 8:14; Isa 59:5. An insect well known, remarkable for the thread which it spins, with which it forms a web of curious texture, but so frail that it is exposed to be broken and destroyed by the slightest accident. To the slenderness of this filmy workmanship, Job compares the hope of the wicked. This, says Dr. Good, was "doubtless a proverbial allusion; and so exquisite, that it is impossible to conceive any figure that can more fully describe the utter vanity of the hopes and prosperity of the wicked."
Deceiving bliss! in bitter shame it ends, His prop a cobweb, which an insect rends.
So Isaiah says, "They weave the web of the spider; of their webs no garment shall be made; neither shall they cover themselves with their works."