Hebrew: tsir'ah, Meaning: “stinging”

(Exodus 23:28; Deuteronomy 7:20; Joshua 24:12)

The word is used in these passages as referring to some means by which the Canaanites were to be driven out from before the Israelites. Some have supposed that the word is used in a metaphorical sense as the symbol of some panic which would seize the people as a “terror of God” (Genesis 35:5), the consternation with which God would inspire the Canaanites. In Israel there are four species of hornets, differing from our hornets, being larger in size, and they are very abundant. They “attack human beings in a very furious manner.” “The furious attack of a swarm of hornets drives cattle and horses to madness, and has even caused the death of the animals.”