|Does Ps. 58:8 err about melting snails?|
Ps. 58:8 As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.
What have we here -- a sort of fantastic creature-feature idea of a snail which slowly dissolves in the heat?
Not exactly. The Hebrew word here is temec, and this is the only place where it appears in the Bible. The main meaning here is liquefaction, with a root in a word referring to dissolution. All agree that slugs and snails leave a trail behind as they move -- this is not something that is hard to observe or unknown. And of course, it is obvious that this liquid comes from their own bodies -- and presumably, especially in a hot, desert climate like Palestine's, a snail that doesn't find a source of moisture to replenish itself is going to eventually shrivel away: hence the comparison to the "untimely birth of a woman."
For this objection to work, it would have to be assumed that temec means "dissolve" in the sense that snow, for example, melts -- but there is no point of comparison, and no reason why this word cannot refer to the dehydration process we describe.