(פִּרעשׁ), parosh', from its leaping; a name found in the Arab. equivalent: see Bocbart, iii, 474, ed. Rosenm.) occurs only 1Sa 24:14 [15]; 26:20, where David thus addresses his persecutor Saul at the cave of Adullam: "After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue ?-after a flea ;" " The king of Israel is come out to seek a flea!" In both these passages our translation omits the force of the word אֶחָד, which is found in the Hebrew of each: thus, "to pursue after, to seek one or a single flea" (Sept. ψύλλος, Vulg. pulex unus). David's allusion to the flea displays great address. It is an appeal founded upon the immense disparity between Saul, as the king of Israel, and himself as the poor contemptible object of the monarch's laborious pursuit. Hunting a flea is a comparison in other ancient writings (Homer, Il. 10:378; Aristoph. Nub. i, 2; iii,1) for much labor expended to secure a worthless result.- This insect, in the East, is often used as a popular emblem for insignificance (Roberts, Oriental Illustrations, p. 178). An Arabian author thus describes this troublesome insect: "A black, nimble, extenuated, hunch-backed animals, which, being sensible when any one looks on it, jumps incessantly, now on one side, now on the other, till it gets out of sight." The flea belongs to the Linns-san order anptera (Latreille, smphonap X tera; Kirby, ophanaopera). For a description of itself and congeners, see the Penny Cyclopedia, s.v. Puleax. Owing to the habits of the lower orders, fleas abound so profusely in Syria (see Thomson, Land and Book, ii, 94), especially during the spring, in the streets and dusty bazaars, that persons of condition always change their long dresses on returning home. There is a popular saying in - Palestine that " the king of the fleas keeps his court at Tiberias," though many other places in that region might dispute the distinction with that town (Kitto, Physical History of Palestine, p 421)..

Bible concordance for FLEA.

Definition of flea

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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