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The tabernacle was covered with badgers' skins; the shoes of women were also made of them (Ezek. 16:10). Some 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 Sinai 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 Israel, 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.