The Moses Fish

May 28

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, . . .The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” - Exodus 14:13-14 NKJV

As unlikely as it may seem, there is a shark-proof fish. It is a sole, which the Israelites call the Moses sole. It got its name through a legend that connects it with Moses. That it was shark-proof was not discovered until recently.

When icthyologists, scientists who study fish, placed several Moses soles in a tank with sharks, the sharks came toward them as they usually do when a small fish is around. But then instead of making a meal of the fish, the sharks jerked away, shaking their heads from side to side and holding their jaws at an odd an­gle.

Soon it was learned that the Moses sole secretes a milky poison from 240 glands located over its body. The fish constantly secretes this substance so that small amounts of it are in the water all around as it swims along. Slight amounts of the poison were found to kill small fish, starfish, and sea urchins. The fish can be eaten because cooking destroys the poison.

An exciting discovery was that a component of this poison counteracts the toxins of bees, scorpions, and many snakes. In ad­dition, it may one day be possible to use the substance as a shark inhibitor for swimmers and divers. The poison acts as a paralyzing agent. A drop on the tip of the tongue makes the area feel tight and numb for twenty minutes or so. Small amounts getting into the blood stream cause nerve damage to small animals.

The Moses sole in the sharks’ tanks were perhaps unconcerned when the shark bore down upon them. They knew that in some way they were safe. So Moses told the Israelites to trust in their God; that He would protect them. They were not to prepare to fight the enemy, or take action in any way, but simply wait. How God would care for them, they could not know. But they were to be confident that He would. And He did.

Windows on God’s World – James Tucker