Fly

Fly

is the rendering in the Auth. Vers. of two Heb. words. (Egli has a curious article on the name of the butterfly among the Hebrews, in the Zeitschr fur uissenschaftl. Theologie, Jena, 1864, 1.) SEE ANT; SEE BEE;SEE FLEA; SEE GNAT; SEE HORNET; SEE LICE; SEE LOCUST; SEE SCORPION, etc.

1. Zebub' (זבוּב Sept. μυῖα, Vulg. musca) occurs only in two passages (comp. Wisd. 16:9; 19:10), namely, Ecclesesiastes 10:1, "Dead zebubim cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor," and in Isa 7:18, where it is said, "The Lord shall hiss for the zebub that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt." The Hebrew name, it is probable, is a generic one for any insect, but the etymology is a matter of doubt (see Gesenius, Thes. p. 401; Heb. and Chald. Lex. s.v.; and Furst, Heb. Concord. s.v.). The word zebub, fly, enters as an element into the name originally appropriated to an idol worshipped at Ekron, Baalzebub (2Ki 1:2); but, according to the English version and the Vulgate, in the time of our Lord applied to the prince of daemons, interchangeable with "Satan" (Mt 12:24,26-27). . This "lord of flies" corresponds to the Ζεὺς ἀπόμυιος and the ᾿Ηρακλῆς μυίαγρος of time Greeks and Romans, as if a defender from flies (see Kitto, Pict. Bible, note on 2Ki 1:2). The Greek in the New Testament reads Beelzebul (Βεελ-ζεβούλ, which is said to mean "lord of dung" instead of "lord of flies," and has been considered as one of those contemptuous puns which the Jews were in the habit of making by slight changes of letters. There might be a peculiar sting in this particular case, from the circumstance that flies are chiefly bred in dunghills, and many species do greatly congregate thither; hence the deity in question, being confessedly a "lord of flies," must ipso facto be a "dungy lord." One of the names by which "idols" are expressed in the Old Testament is גַּלּוּלַים, which has the closest affinity with גֵּלֶל, ge'lel, dung. The margin of the English Bible, indeed gives "dungy gods" as the rendering of this Word in De 29:17. SEE BEELZEBUL.

Bible concordance for FLY.

In the first quoted passage allusion is made to flies, chiefly of the family Muscidae, getting into vessels of ointment or other substances: even in this country we know what an intolerable annoyance the houseflies are in a hot summer when they abound, crawling everywhere and into everything; but in the East the nuisance is tenfold greater. There the common houseflies (Musca domestica) swarm in immense numbers; and though they inflict no physical injury, yet, from their continual settling on the face, they are inexpressibly annoying. (Rosenmuller, Alterth. IV, 2:420 sq.; Russel, Aleppo, 2:123 sq.; Tavernier, 1:74; compare Prosp. Alp. Dassr. AEgypt. 4:3, p. 207). — In Egypt the peasants are so subject to a virulent kind of ophthalmia that almost every second person is said to be affected with it, and multitudes are blind of either one or both eves. The complaint is greatly augmented by the constant presence of the flies, which congregate around the diseased eyes, attracted by the moisture which exudes; and so useless is it to drive them away, that the miserable people submit to the infliction, and little children are seen with their eyes margined with rows of black flies, of whose presence they appear unconscious, though presenting a most painful sight to Europeans (Lorent. pages 25, 48; compare Forskal, Descr. Anim. page 85; Rosenmuller, in Bochart's Hieroz. 3:342). Thee "ointment of the apothecary," composed of substances perhaps peculiarly attractive to these impudent intruders, would be likely to become choked up with their entangled bodies, which, corrupting, would be the more offensive for their contrast with the expected odor. Thus would little follies render despicable him who bad a reputation for wisdom. The man is the ointment, his reputation the perfume, his little folly the dead fly, his disgrace the stinking savor. SEE UNGUENT.

Is the other passage, the zebub from the rivers of Egypt has by some writers, as by Oedmann (Vermisch. Samm. 6:79), been identified with the zimb of which Bruce (Trav. 5:190) gives a description, and which is evidently some species of Tabanus. Sir G. Wilkinson has given some account (Transac. of the Entomological Soc. 2, page 183) of an injurious fly under the name of dthebab, a term almost identical with zebub. It would not do to press too much upon this point when it is considered that Egypt abounds with noxious insects; but it must be allowed that there is some reason for this identification; and though, as was stated above, zebub is probably a generic name for any flea, in this passage of Isaiah ei may be used, to denote some very troublesome and Injurious fly, κατ᾿ ἐξοχήν. "The dthebab is a long gray fly which comes out about the rise of the Nile, and is like the cleg of the north of England; it abounds in calm hot weather, and is often met with in June and July, both in the desert and on the Nile." This insect is very injurious to camels, and causes their death if the disease which it generates is neglected; it attacks both man and beast. The phrase hissing, or, rather, histing, for the fly (Isa 7:18) is explained in the article BEE SEE BEE.

Definition of fly

2. Arob' (עָרֹב; Sept. κυνόμυια, Vulg. omne genus muscarum, muscae diversi generis, musca gravissima; but in Psalm canomyia; A.V. "swarms of flies," "divers sorts of flies"), the name of the insect or insects which God, sent to punish Pharaoh (Ex 8:21-31; see Ps 78:45; Ps 105:31). The question as to what particular insect is denoted by arob, or whether any one species is to be understood by it, has long been a matter. of, dispute. The scriptural details are as follows: the arob filled the houses of the Egyptians, they covered the ground, they lighted on the people, the land was laid waste on their account. From the expression in verse 31, "there remained not one," some writers have concluded that the Heb. word points to some definite species; we do not think, however, that much stress ought to be laid upon this argument; if the arob be taken to denote "swarms," as the A.V. leaders it, the "not one remaining" may surely have for its antecedent an individual fly understood in the collective "swarms." The Sept. explain arob by κυνόμυια, i.e., "dog-fly;" it is not very clear what insect is meant by the Greek term, which is frequent in Homer, who often uses it as an abusive epithet. Thus he, represents Mars as applying the epithet to Minerva for instigating the gods to quarrel (II. 21:394). It is also referred to as an insect by AElian, who, in describing the myops, tabanus, or horse-fly, says it is similar to what is called the κυνόμυια (Hist. Anim. 4:51). Philo, in his Life of Joses (1:23, page 401, ed. Mangey), expressly describes it as a biting insidious creature, which comes like a dart, with great noise, and, rushing with great impetuosity on the skin, sticks to it most tenaciously. It seems likely that Jerome, in translating Exodus, derived the word from עָרִב, "to mingle," and understood by it a mixture of noxious creatures, as did Josephus, Aquila, and all the ancient translators. The diversity of Jerome's renderings in Exodus, however, betokens his uncertainty, and. in the Psalms he has adopted that of the Septuagint. More modern writers, reasoning on other senses of the Hebrew word, which are somewhat numerous, have proposed several different insects. Thus one of the meanings of עָרִב is "to darken," and Mouffet observes that the name cynomyia agrees with no kind of flies better than with those black, large, compressed flies which boldly beset cattle, and not only obtain ichor, as other flies, but also suck out blood from beneath, and occasion great pain. He observes that they have no proboscis, but, instead of it, have double sets of teeth, like wasps, which they infix deeply in the skin; and adds that they greatly infest the ears of dogs (Theat. Insect. 111). Pliny describes an insect of this kind (Hist. Nat. 11:40); so also Columella (7:13). (See Pliny by Grandsagne and Cuvier, Parisus, 1828, 2:461, note.) But the ancient naturalists generally describe the cynomyia as a sort of whame-fly (Tabanus), which might include both senses, for this genus is most impudently pertinacious in its assaults, spares neither man nor beast, gorges itself to bursting with blood, infusing an irritating venom at the same time, and occurs, in suitable localities even in our own climate, in immense numbers. If the arob was composed of one or more species of Tabanidae, miraculously augmented in numbers, and preternaturally induced to penetrate into the houses, such a visitation would be a plague of no slight intensity, even supposing their blood-thirstiness and pertinacity, individually considered, to be of no higher standard than we are accustomed to see. It is not improbable that one of the Hippoboscidae, perhaps H. equina, Linn., is the κυνόμυια of AElian (N.A. 4:51), though Homer may have used the compound term to denote extreme impudence, implied by the shamelessness of the dog and the teasing impertinence of the common fly (Musca). As the arob are said to have filled the houses of the Egyptians, it seems not improbable that common flies (Muscidae) are more especially intended, and that the compound κυνόμυια denotes the grievous nature of the plague, though we see no reason to restrict the arob to any one family. "Of insects," says Sonnini (Trav. 3:199), "the most troublesome in Egypt are flies; both man and beast are cruelly tormented with them. No idea can be formed of their obstinate rapacity. It is in vain to drive them away; they return again in the self-same moment, and their perseverance wearies out the most patient spirit." The arob may include various species of Culicidae (gnats), such as the musquito, if it is necessary to interpret the "devouring" nature of the arob (in Ps 78:45) in a strictly literal sense; though the expression used by the Psalmist is not inapplicable to the flies, which even to this day in Egypt may be regarded as a "plague," and which are the great instrument of spreading the well- known ophthalmia, this being conveyed from one individual to another by these dreadful pests; or the literal meaning of the arob "devouring" the Egyptians may be understood in its fullest sense of the Muscidae if we suppose that the people may have been punished by the larvae gaining admittance into the bodies, as into the stomach, frontal sinus, and intestines, and so occasioning in a hot climate many instances of death (see, for cases of Myasis produced by Dipterous larvae, Transactions of Entomol. Soc. 2:266-269). SEE GNAT.

The identification of the arob with the cockroach (Blatta Orientalis), which Oedmann (Verm. Sam. part 2, c. 7) suggests, and which Kirby (Bridgw. Treat. 2:357) adopts, has nothing at all to recommend it, and is purely gratuitous, as Mr. Hope proved in 1837 in a paper on this subject in the Trans. Ent. Soc. 2:179-183. The error of calling the cockroach a beetle, and the confusion which has been made between it and the sacred beetle of Egypt (Ateuchus sacer), has recently been repeated by M. Kalisch (Hist. and Crit. Comment. Exodus 1.c.). The cockroach, as Mr. Hope remarks, is a nocturnal insect, and prowls about for food at night; "but what reason have we to believe that the fly attacked the Egyptians by night and not by day ?" The miracle involved in the plague of flies consisted, partly at least, in the creature being brought against the Egyptians in so great an abundance during winter. Possibly, however, the better rendering of the Hebrew would be beetles. (See Wibel's treatise, Ueber der Arob. in the "Fruhaufgelesene Fruchte," 1738, page 244.) SEE BEETLE.

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